I’ve heard it said that your life is determined by the decisions you make. At this point in my life I decided to learn about Blogs. As you can see, I am known to throw a leg over a motorcycle from time to time, and since my goal is to ride as many beautiful and interesting roads as possible in the time I have left, I thought it would be interesting to write about it and see who else has similar goals.
I had my first ride, as a willing passenger, at the tender age of seven. Two brothers, Jay and Curly Downs ran a bicycle/motorcycle repair shop about two blocks from where I lived. Since there were very few motorcycles in our small town in the1950’s, they mostly repaired bicycles. My Dad bought my first bicycle at their shop, so that naturally gave me an excuse to hang out there. I remember my first visit as if it were yesterday. Curly was the older of the two brothers, and seemed to be the business manager, while Jay did most of the mechanical work. They both raced Triumph motorcycle on the weekends in professional events held around the country. Jay had lost his left eye in a race somewhere along the way, and unlike a lot of folks who had suffered a similar injury, he did not wear an eye patch. That, along with his lean, wiry physiqe and a kind of crooked half grin, gave him a kink of scary appearance. As it turned out, I got to know Jay, and a nicer person you would never meet.
On one visit to their shop, I was eyeballing Jay’s racing bike, a Triumph 650 Bonneville which had been stripped down and modified for racing Flat Track. I guess he could read my mind, because he asked me what otherwise would have been the stupidist question in the history of man. “Would you like to go for a ride on it”? For what seemed like an eternity, the world stopped turning. Then somehow I managed to stammer…..Rrrreeally??? Sure, just go ask your Mom and Dad if it will be ok, he said. My heart sank, because I thought I might be able to talk my Dad into it, but I knew my Mom would never give in. Sooooo…I did what any self respecting boy smitten with motorcycle fever would do. I lied! When I came back and told him that it was ok with them, I think he knew I was lying, but he didn’t say anything. He just tied a piece of folded canvas on the back fender and said “keep you feet out of the chain”. He fired that bike up and the most beautiful sound I had ever heard came rumbling out of those open megaphone pipes. Off we went down the main highway through town, and I swear we had to be going at least a 100 miles an hour. We probably didn’t get over 40, but you couldn’t prove it by me. Needless to say, I was hooked.
I rode my first bike when I was 15, but did not get my own motorcycle until I was 21. That was in 1968, and since then there have been many miles and many bikes. Stories for another time. That is where my passion for riding started and is still strong today.
If you see motorcycles in a similar light, please feel free to toss out your story. I would love to hear it.