Monday, August 27, 2012

Easy Rider

I've had this poster forever taken from an Easyriders Magazine the summer of 1988. The rider just always struck me as happy and content.
I don't know exactly when or how my fascination for motorcycles began but if I had to guess it was when I was five and my stepbrother took me for a ride on his Honda 100 trail bike over a huge dirt mound in the local park.  To move on two wheels and  motorized was a concept that I then constantly pursued.

Of course my parents never even got me a mini-bike which sucked but the interest never waned.   I remember when I was ten and my next door neighbor got a Suzuki 1976 TS185 which we took apart through the winter of 77-78 turning it into basically an RM250 after it was bored out. Really the only thing original was the frame.  I also remember about the same time riding my cousin's Honda XL75 which back then they didn't direct the exhaust under the seat it came out along the side and my foot slipping off the pegs and burning a tennis ball sized burn on my inside right calf that I had to hide for half the summer from my parents.

But my my love for bikes has always sort of been there.  Once I finally started riding when I was older I took to it like a duck to water.  But my dream had evolved from dirt bikes to cruisers and large V Twin Harleys in general.

Of course that is not where I started, no.  My first bike was a 1974 Honda CB550-Four cylinder that I bought for a song and had to take apart and put back together.  Now that bike in as good as condition as it was would fetch a pretty penny I am sure.  Big engine, not so much power, heavier than shit.

Nothing synthetic or light on this bastard.
Finally later on I got my dream bike... well sorta... I got my Electraglide Classic that I sold in 2004.  I called it my couchglide as I could hop on it and easily ride 14 hours at a stretch.  It was an awesome bike and sometimes I really regret selling it but I know that I made the right decision at the time.  Now I don't know about getting another HD... seems every one that I see anymore has some old fat fucker riding it and well, I'd rather not be associated with that. Old or fat...(Of course this excludes old friends who have had HD's and riding forever, ie, Tim and Tony.)

Me on top of Berthoud Pass.  Memorial Day weekend 2002.  I rode from COS to Grand Lake, through RMNP to Estes then back home the same day.

But really as far as HD's are concerned my absolute dream bike is the 1962 FLH... That was the year that they introduced the fat FL front forks on the "Pan Head."   If I ever found one and could afford it I am sure that would just pass up on it as it really would not be a practical bike to own or maintain.

Back in the day this was my dream bike.  The original "Bagger."

After I sold the HD, I did go into riding withdrawals the following spring, major.  It was so bad that I was about to buy a moped just to scratch that itch.  Fortunately I had a buddy who was ready to get rid of his old bike, a 1996 Yamaha Seca II which I still have.  It's fun little bike, very light and super fast.  It runs like a raped ape when you get it wound up and it can get away from you if you aren't careful.

The current ride... great for around town but too light for long rides and scary as hell next to an 18 wheeler.
I had to go to the office today so to make the best of a bad situation that was the bike that I rode.  Needless to say I took the long way around both to the office and back home.  Sitting in the meeting I just couldn't wait to get back on the bike and get out of there... more daydreaming.... I was thinking of taking the bike for a long road trip this fall, maybe to CA before the weather changes.  The bike isn't really made for that kind of riding so it would be more of a minimalist kind of trip...  Maybe rent a bike?

A long time ago before Jesse James of West Coast Choppers became such a household name and also known for being the biggest douche in the U.S. he did a special where he built a bike and rode it to Sturgis from CA.   It was sort of a cathartic experience for him but what I remember the most about that trip was the simplicity... how the only thing he had was in his pockets.  No bags... no gear, hell, not even a windscreen on the chopper... just riding along.

I think now that I am sort of on a running break and having time to think I am craving that.  A day or two riding through the dessert... maybe to Flagstaff and then on the California and home.  Not taking a  whole lot of shit with me just riding and thinking for a few days...  Ride, eat, get gas (for the bike) and sleep... then do it again.  Right now that sounds pretty awesome.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that was a great story! I have always loved motorcycles, and my first ride was when my neighbor took me for a short trip up the road and back on what I remember to be a 50cc Harley that almost looked like a moped. It had the clutch & shifter on the left handlebar, and shifting was accomplished by squeezing the clutch lever and then twisting the grip to the desired gear, much like the old 3-speed bicycles. Although the tiny bike would probably only get to 40 mph on a good day, it felt like we were breaking the sound barrier!

    Ever since that day, almost 50 years ago, I've been a "bike-nut", and have owned dozens of motorcycles, and still own most of the bikes I've collected over the years, including my first. It was a 1963 Honda "Cub" 50. I sold it back when I was in 6th grade, and it finally turned up after many years of tracking it. Of course it was totally trashed, but a long winter in the garage, many hours on eBay, and a couple thousand dollars had it looking & running like new! Although I have at least 20 other bikes, it's the pride of my collection.