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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How and Why I got into motorcycling

One of my favorite bloggers is Gary France (Flies in your Teeth).  He recently posted the question for fellow bloggers - "How and why did you get into motorbikes?  (He is from England hence the term motorbikes instead of the US term motorcycles).  He provided an interesting answer about his journey- Link.

Here is my story.
How I got to where I am now.
I had limited exposure to motorcycles when I was young.  A neighbor's grandson had a small dirtbike that he would allow me to ride when he visited.  I road less than 4 hours total over the years he owned the bike.  A classmate had a small Honda when I was in high school that I rode once by myself and several times as a passenger to another small town where we would visit some girls.

One of my brothers owned a 500CC bike for about a year, but after he had an accident in a parking lot (a lot of road rash) he sold the bike.  About 20 years later I worked with a fellow coach who rode.  It was about that time (2003) my stepmom's boyfriend bought a Harley Elctra-glide and they started riding (they live in Orlando Florida).

I had harbored a desire to have a motorcycle, but never expressed it.  In the early days of February 2004 I discussed taking the safety course and getting my licence with my wife.  We decided to take the course together.  Four weeks later we took the class and got our licenses and within 10 days I had my first motorcycle, a new 2004 Suzuki Savage!
2004 Suzuki Savage - single cylinder 650cc
Once I started riding I was hooked!  I loved it.  Most Saturdays that spring and summer I would leave the house by 7am and let my wife and son sleep.  Around 10:30 I would call home and let Martha know where I was.  I explored country roads throughout North Texas.  I began riding with my co-worker and other friends.

In June of that year two friends and I loaded up the truck and trailer and traveled to Red River, NM where we rode the Enchanted Circle and took a loop up through part of southern Colorado.  For four days my son (7yrs old at the time) rode with me.  That trip whet my appetite more more motorcycle trips.

In July of 2004 I joined the local chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association (CMA) and rode a lot with the chapter.  My wife rode a little with me and rode the bike by herself some, but she preferred to be a passenger.

By February, 2005 and 8,000+ miles I knew I wanted a bigger bike and Martha wanted a more passenger friendly bike.  After some research and looking I purchased a pre-owned 2003 Yamaha V-Star 1100 with 13,700 miles.
Two-toned V-Star - great handling, good power, comfortable, and reliable
I loved the V-Star immediately and beginning commuting to work on it. (My thoughts on the V-Star)  I rode as much I could get away with.  It was at this time I decided I would ride to Orlando, Florida instead of flying there with my son and wife.  In June I took Martha and Richard to the airport and then left the next morning on a very indirect route to my family and in-laws in Orlando.  I visited family in Arkansas, rode through the Mississippi Delta (stopping at some historic Blues sites and museums along the way), cut through Alabama and Southern Georgia before heading south to Orlando.  After a week in Orlando I headed home.  It was a great trip that solidified my desire to take long summer trips on the bike.

Over the next four summers the V-Star made trips to Colorado, South Dakota, Arkansas, and two more to Orlando.  In the Spring of 2010 the odometer hit 100,000.  With a trip planned for Yellowstone coming up and a couple of small mechanical issues Martha wanted me to get a new bike.  She did not like the idea of our son on a bike with that many miles touring around Wyoming. (Who is going to argue when the wife wants you to get a new bike? :)  )

April 24, 2010 I purchased my third bike - a new 2010 Yamaha Venture.  This bike had all the extras - CB, stereo, fairing, warranty, and great comfort.  The trip to Yellowstone was great.  The bike performed great and was very comfortable.
My wife and son really liked the comfort of the Venture.  I like the performance.
By August 17 I had ridden over 10,000 miles on the Venture - then a Tahoe hit the Venture with me on it.  Read about the accident.

While recuperating I had time to reconsider my choices of bikes.  I had wondered about the sport-touring bikes so I did some researching.  I had ridden a friend's Buell a few occasions and really like it.  I thought I could enjoy the twisties even more on a non-cruiser.

After researching, talking to friends, and a few test rides I decided to go with something completely different.  I chose the Yamaha FJR. (I really like Yamaha bikes).  I found a 2010 FJR with only 750 miles and about $4K less than new.  I grabbed it.
FJR without the saddlebags or trunk
Wow!  What a bike!  I love it.  My favorite of the four bikes I have owned, actually favorite of all the bikes I have ridden.

During my 2010 summer trip I gained new admiration for the bike as I rode some great roads in the Smoky Mountains.

Why do I ride? 
It is fun and relaxing.  I get to experience nature and the road more intimately.  Riding is exhilarating and liberating.  Truth is - it is difficult to explain to a non-rider.  But, I know I will ride as long as I can and as often as I can.

What about you?

6 comments:

  1. Great post. It is nice to see how everyone got started with riding. It is cool that your wife took the course with you too. Supportive spouses are a big plus.

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  2. Trobairitz, Yes, I am blessed with a great wife.

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  3. Fantastic, you have really run up the miles. Good stuff. Great bike to...

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  4. Great to hear about all your bikes, the how and why. You've had some great trips and some great memories.

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  5. Talk about passion. It makes me wonder why you didn't start sooner especially with that supporting partner of yours.

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  6. My wife is awesome and my career choice has been an advantage. Having 6 weeks off during the summer allows for some great rides. I have been very blessed.

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