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#982618 - 03/20/17 06:40 PM My Riding Life
SoCalBmr Offline
Member

Registered: 02/26/17
Posts: 56
Loc: CA, USA
Here's a topic I've always been interested in. How did you get started riding? I'll start with the first installment of mine; if you're of a mind, start yours.

I began my riding life at about 12 years old. Not actually
riding. I saw an ad in Popular Mechanics for a Triumph Bonneville and sent away for a Triumph catalog. I remember poring over it until it fell apart, imagining myself on one of those magical mechanical beasts. Even the names were cool; Bonneville, Speed Twin, Thunderbird!
Of course, I couldn’t actually get my hands on one. Even a mini bike was out of my league. None of my friends had one, either, but I never stopped wanting and I rode my Schwinn with as much panache and style as any wannabe Steve or Marlon.
I was in the U.S. Army before I actually threw a leg over. I had a good friend killed in ‘Nam, so when I was drafted, I declined Officer Candidate School, and to avoid humping a rifle through the jungle, I took the offer of marine engineer training. In 1969 I was sent to Thailand to serve on a U.S. Army tugboat at the Deep-Water port of Sattahip. While there I became friends with another GI who was a genuine rider. Chuck was from Michigan, and his whole family were riders, too, tooling around the back roads and forest trails of the Lower Peninsula. Oh, yeah, I said, I ride, too. We soon discovered there was a place where we could actually rent a motorcycle in Thailand. Only 30 klicks up the coast road from our home port was the little beach resort town of Pattaya. A local entrepreneur there had several Hondas, including two 350’s, and would rent them out from a kiosk on the beach. Chuck wanted to do it. I was all for it, because at this point it was still all conjecture, but the next payday, it came about. Here it was, time to walk the walk. Chuck was eager, so early one beautiful morning, we were on the bus to Pattaya. Chuck was excited and didn’t notice that I was mostly silent. I was soon to be chest deep in the bullshit I’d been slinging. I didn’t know how to ride at all. I make lame jokes about I hope I can remember how to do this shifting business. Chuck says, “Your left foot will remember!” So, that’s how you shift, with the left foot. Good to know.
We get to the place, check out the bikes. The guy warns us not to ride to Bangkok, about 150 klicks up the coast road. He provides helmets, and here we go. I’m sweating bullets, shaking and gasping for breath, wondering if I should fake a fit of some kind to get out of this. Chuck doesn’t notice. He whips the helmet on, jumps on the bike, starts it up. I watch him rev it a little, a few throttle blips to get the feel of it, and then he snicks it into first and tears off at a furious pace.
I manage to start the thing. I sort of knew the theory; throttle, front brake, rear brake, clutch, and now I knew that thing down there was the shift lever. The guy, watching over his asset, comes over. I look at him, he looks at me. “Pull the clutch in,” he says and points, “and push down for first gear, toe it up for the other four gears.” He waggles his left foot in a demonstration. Oh, OK. He shows me how to find neutral.
I get it into first, ease out the clutch, kill it, restart, ease it out again with a bit of throttle and manage to get rolling. I do that once or twice. After a bit, I got going enough to make an awkward shift to second, then another to third, and then, what do you know, I’m rolling right along. I am thrilled to my core. I am riding a motorcycle! I twist that grip to speed up, slow down and shift up and down several times. I’m really doing it!
Six klicks up the road, there’s Chuck, pulled over in the shade, drinking a Pepsi. I pull up and stop, and can feel the grin stretching my face.
“This is bitchin’! Let’s go!” Chuck hollers, and he’s off again. I’m after him, with more confidence now, and it wasn’t long before I was keeping up with him. We rode together many times in Thailand.
_________________________
Honda 350
Triumph Bonneville
Honda 450
Kawasaki 750
Yamaha SR400
H-D 883 Sportster
H-D 1200 Sportster
H-D Street Glide
Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad 1500
Honda Nighthawk 750
Yamaha FJR1300
BMW R1100RT

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#982624 - 03/20/17 08:22 PM Re: My Riding Life [Re: SoCalBmr]
TEWKS Offline
Member

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 6601
Loc: Tewksbury, MA.
Cool story and welcome to the site! thumbsup

Pat
_________________________
"If at first you don't succeed, keep on sucking till you do succeed" Curly Howard

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#982657 - 03/21/17 10:00 AM Re: My Riding Life [Re: SoCalBmr]
sardineone Offline
Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 972
Loc: Indiana, USA
Welcome to the board SoCal and man did you start out BIG! My first bike was a pretty red Suzuki M12 50cc. I delivered newspapers for 2 years to get up the $ to buy it. I was on my way to a nearby high school parking lot for practice on my controls when I killed the motor in the middle of a steep hill. I was ignorantly really lugging the little motor under break-in RPM's. As I killed it I looked to my right and there are people sitting on a front porch laughing at me. It was all the start to my riding my 49th season this year and the rider I have become!

_________________________
You are what you have ridden!
-------------------------------------------------
George Martin
R1200ST(ESA equipped)

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#982663 - 03/21/17 11:03 AM Re: My Riding Life [Re: SoCalBmr]
SoCalBmr Offline
Member

Registered: 02/26/17
Posts: 56
Loc: CA, USA
Love it! Anymore?
_________________________
Honda 350
Triumph Bonneville
Honda 450
Kawasaki 750
Yamaha SR400
H-D 883 Sportster
H-D 1200 Sportster
H-D Street Glide
Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad 1500
Honda Nighthawk 750
Yamaha FJR1300
BMW R1100RT

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#982699 - 03/21/17 06:12 PM Re: My Riding Life [Re: SoCalBmr]
Highway41 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/03
Posts: 1102
Loc: Jax, Fl
Like many, I began riding after watching “On Any Sunday”. Bought a Honda 250 the same weekend and just started riding. 46 years and 10 bikes later, I still think I’m McQueen. When riding.
_________________________
2013 R1200RT

http://highway41.smugmug.com/

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#982702 - 03/21/17 09:18 PM Re: My Riding Life [Re: SoCalBmr]
TEWKS Offline
Member

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 6601
Loc: Tewksbury, MA.
Minibikes here and there but my first real motorcycle riding was on a clapped out 72 TS125. My brother beat the snot out of it and burned up the clutch.

I remember I had to stand on a milk crate to start out because I couldn't touch the ground. I'd rev it and jam it into first to get going. I was making loops through the woods out to a dead end side street and riding it down into a little sand pit area we had then back to the house.

This was all going great until the LAST lap of the day of course. A nice shiny police car was stopped at the end of the road where I was entering the sand pit. Along with the shiny police car was a very large police officer standing out in front with his hand up telling me to stop. Now remembering the previous paragraph "I couldn't touch the ground" I did stop and proceeded to fall on my ass in front of him!

I think he did all he could not to bust out laughing. He held it together long enough to give me a scolding before driving off.

Now a neighbor had to come out and help me right the bike which I then dropped again. facepalm

Pat

_________________________
"If at first you don't succeed, keep on sucking till you do succeed" Curly Howard

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#982713 - 03/22/17 06:28 AM Re: My Riding Life [Re: SoCalBmr]
lawnchairboy Offline
Snuggie Jesus
Member

Registered: 11/14/05
Posts: 3436
Loc: Traffic hell, VA
Honda XR80 first thing I ever rode. A long break, then some Harleys, then my RT. I have orange lust these days.
_________________________
06 R12RT (for sale) 11 R12GS (for sale)

The focus is sharp in the city.

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#982753 - 03/22/17 01:45 PM Re: My Riding Life [Re: SoCalBmr]
Bud Offline
68% of an RT
Member

Registered: 03/27/05
Posts: 6605
Loc: Southern Illinois
Honda CB 160. 24 years old
_________________________
Charter Member "High Town" Crew

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#982756 - 03/22/17 01:58 PM Re: My Riding Life [Re: Bud]
Marty Hill Offline
The Energiser Bunny
Member

Registered: 09/04/01
Posts: 9431
Loc: Atlanta, Ga.
59 years old. Harley Road King, until I rode a BMW a few months later. rofl
_________________________
Marty
49 states/26 countries/3 continents

700GS/white...old age moto



WWMHD...ride till you can't

Semper Paratus

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#982773 - 03/22/17 03:52 PM Re: My Riding Life [Re: SoCalBmr]
Jake Offline
Madcap
Member

Registered: 02/04/01
Posts: 4666
Loc: South Florida
Mini Bikes leading to a Honda trail 50 at age 11
Rode a Yamaha DT 125 (not mine) at age 13, couldn't touch the ground, scared the hell outta me, but had a grin while it's owner saved me from crashing at the end of the ride.
My brother then bought a BSA 441 Victor - rode around on that with no headers - flame shooter, a bit loud I'd say, scared the hell outta me.
First legalized licensed riding was a Suzuki GS550E (brother's)
Then his Honda GL1000 - couldn't touch the ground but did not scare the hell outta me, just was heavy.
Then other brother's Yamaha XS Eleven Custom (1978?)- that was bad ass. Grinned.
Rode this bike while in the USAF - a beautiful Honda 500 Interceptor. That was 1986. (Inserting homage pic from the Barber museum.)
Then dormant until marriage, the Internet, leading to the '02 RT and all of you fine people.



_________________________
'76 R90/6
'04 ST4S

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