I find it interesting that so many riders can look back to their first bike with such fond memories and longing.
I’ve been lucky enough to own several bikes since my youth. I started with an early Honda 1980s era XR75 after begging and pleading for one that a friend of a friend had; his name was Rusty – it was the early 1980s. I would dream about it and pester my mother relentlessly. One morning on the way out of town for a day trip in our Chevy Vega, my mom broke the news to me that she wouldn’t be able to buy it for me. Times were tight – I was an only child living with a single mom struggling to make ends meet. I understood. I think that is the day my mom saw me grow up. I didn’t give her grief – I just said I understood. It killed her inside.
Then, surprisingly, another popped up not long after from an older neighbor who had one sitting in his backyard against a weedy fence. I asked him if I could take it and mess around with it to see if I could get it started. He said yes! I didn’t have much luck, but it opened my eyes to tinkering with bikes – a chance to escape from the troubles of being a young kid – a latchkey kid – and in to my own private world.
One day, my father showed up at my house – I had not seen him in a very long time and I was quite disconnected from him. He found me fettling with the bike and asked what I was doing – he offered a tip or two and then he was off again. Bikes were becoming a part of me – filling the void of not having a father and filling the time I had while my mother was at work.
Eventually, I gave up on the XR…I simply had no idea what I was doing. It was not yet the time of internet or of ordering a Clymer manual. I was about 11 with no experience or mentor.
A year or so later, I somehow managed to get my mom to bring me to the local Honda shop. I remember seeing a CR60R in the shop and finding out about “layaways.” I begged and begged to put the bike on layaway promising to do any manner of tasks to earn money to pay for it. I look back fondly at the owner smiling when she saw me walk in the door with my $5.00 to put towards the bike. I was so proud.
Christmas was approaching and I really had no idea that the bike could become a present, but it did! Christmas Eve that year was quite special. My mom had hidden the bike in her bedroom and left the door slightly ajar – she set me up by asking me to go to a closet nearby to get wrapping paper and I saw the front tire behind the chair in her room. I went screaming down the hallway with excitement – I suppose she couldn’t contain her excitement either and let the cat out of the bag a bit early.
Read more soon.© Copyright 2012nolarocks, All rights Reserved. Written For: Motorcycle Road, Track & Trail