More about Motorcycles

So, some people have asked me why I’ve suddenly gotten interested in riding motorcycles.

I can’t answer the question except to say, ‘ Because I want to. ‘

Without sounding too much like a whining pussy, my mom and dad didn’t care much for the well-to-do parts of my family that seemed to have everything a kid ever wanted – motorcycles being one of those.  So, sitting back as a bystander for most of my childhood, I got to hear about my cousins riding this or that, or going on long trail rides into the UP.  Jealousy sometimes is a good thing.  My cousin, Justin got everything handed to him in that department, so did Logan.  Not me.  I was a part of, ‘that family’ and always felt like the black sheep.

So … I made my own path for my nieces and nephews unlike what my aunt and uncles did for me.

It started in the spring when it started getting nicer outside and the snow started to melt.  I started thinking about my 2 nephews, Corey and Johnathan and wondering what I would have done, if I were them, had I had access to a motorcycle.  This inspired me to buy something that the two boys could learn on.  I bought them a small minibike from Baja Motorsports.  It’s called a Blitz, 100cc 3 hp motor that easily does 40mph.

Seeing how much fun the boys were having with this bike, I decided that I should take a look at getting one for myself.  Not a minibike, mind you, but a full sized cruiser.  I started looking around and decided that a 250 cc cruiser would be the best place to start.  I looked around, sat on a few, and got hooked on the Honda Rebel.  Well, my credit sucked so bad that not even with a co-signer could I get the bike.  Disappointed is not even a good word to use to describe how shitty that felt.  (so I’m on my way to getting my credit cleared up so I can get one.  next year is my goal, among a few goals)

So, one day in the middle of June, I was checking Craigs List for motorcycles and I found a place selling scooters for a 1000 bucks.  I went to go check them out and ended up driving home on one.  It’s just a wee little 50cc scooter that I’ve managed to put over 1200 miles on -so far.  I drive it EVERY SINGLE DAY – EVERYWHERE I GO – EVEN IN THE GODDAM RAIN (which sucks to drive in, even at 35mph)

The purpose of me buying the scooter was to determine whether or not riding a motorcycle was going to be just a passing fad or something that I was going to stick to.  All I can say now is that I want a motorcycle more now then ever before.  It’s not a ‘mid-life crisis’ thing.  It’s about overcoming a fear.

Yeah, that was something else that I didn’t mention.  One of the reasons why I didn’t get into riding when everyone else that I knew were – fear.  I was scared shitless that I’d be destroyed by riding.  I saw what happened to my friend Bruce and heard plenty of stories from other people about friends who’ve been splattered by either their own stupidity or the stupidity of others.

The scooter has helped me overcome the fear of driving on the roads.  Now I want a real bike.  Now I’m not going to settle for a 250cc Rebel, I’m looking at a few options now.  I’ve sat on several bikes at Full Throttle and the ones that feel the best to me are the Shadows.  I didn’t like the Star/Yamaha’s at all.  Of course, theres the Victory’s that I drool for and the Vegas Low is what I like the most.  I’ve sat on a couple of HD’s as well but only on the Softail frames, which I really like a lot as well.  Those are the pre-built bikes that I like…

Then there’s building one.  I’ve looked around for various kit bikes but those don’t really fulfill the desire I have to build one from scratch.  I’ve started contemplating the idea of building a bike over the winter in my garage.  I have the room, just not the parts or the guidance to get started.

I’ve been studying the magazines and hitting online for bike info.  I know the difference between a rigid and a softail frame.  I know what a bobber is, I know what a chopper is, I know what a metric cruiser is refering to.  I know why carbed bikes are a bitch in the cold and why EFI is the best for this situation (like here in Michigan)  I know that a shaft drive is smoother than a belt or chain drive but much more complicated and harder to work on if you’re not mechanically inclinded – UNLIKE MYSELF.

Part of my frustration with this chinese scooter is that I have no idea where the fuck I can go to get parts to soup it up (as much as one could soup up a 50cc motor).  I need a new exhaust because I think I could get a little more out of it with a wider tube.  I’ve already opened up the air filter as much as I dare to, which increase my top speed and take off performance considerably.

The scooter has opened my eyes to the concept of ‘live to ride’ and ‘in the wind’.  I ride because when I am riding, even on my wee little scooter, I feel like I’m the only one in the world and anyone else can just go fuck themselves.  It’s a peaceful experience but it’s only a small touch of the freedom that riding a real motorcycle is all about.

The scooter proved to me what I already instinctively knew, that I was going to enjoy riding – a lot.  Just because it took me 20 years to get to this point doesn’t mean I’m faking it.  I’m not trying to pose for anyone. Fuck you if that’s what you think.  I’m not doing it to make ‘friends’ with anyone.

I couldn’t stop at just 2 motorcycles now, could I?  No, I did buy one more which was a 6hp, 200cc Baja brand bike (these baja’s are the cheapest starter bikes for the kids I could find)  I like this new bike because it has a bit of balls to it, much unlike the scooter.  We take the two mini bikes to my Mom’s place in Dewitt and ride them on the trails in her 5 acre gravel-pit backyard.  Yeah, lots of fun back there.

Last weekend I managed to teach my two 7 year old niece and nephew how to ride the mini bikes.  Chris took to riding right off while Koryn did well on her first try but got too confident and nearly kissed a tree.  Afterwards she took it carefully.  She was so proud of herself and I was proud of them both.

This laborday weekend, while my ass is stuck down here, my sister Shannon took the boys up north where they apparently learned how to ride REAL dirt bikes so it looks like I’m going to need to put that on my list of things to buy.  I’m glad I could have introduced these kids to the pleasure of motorcycles.

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~ by aeroslin on August 31, 2008.

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