Monday, May 12, 2008

In the beginning ....

Way back when, I started riding with my good friend Peter while we were classmates in high school physics class. Somehow, Peter had a very classy looking Gilera 125 bike that was made even more cool because it had an overlay sprocket and knobby tires that in only several hours would convert it to a 'dirt bike.' Peter was willing to teach me to ride down in the town leaf dump. It was immediately behind his house, down a steep walking path. Being way back when, this thing had a kick starter, and being that I had no idea of a friction zone, I stalled it several thousand times while learning to launch the bike in that soggy leaf covered road. But unlike most things I started, this motorcycle thing was to become a life-long passion. This is not Peter's Gilera, but it is beautiful! We always let the passangers ride on the back and maintained complete control at speeds over 20 mph. We even wore helmets - Buco white brain buckets.

Soon, I too had a 125cc Italian bike, a Ducati Bronco. We rode a lot of miles in rural New Jersey and enjoyed all the privileges of free-wheeling in hot, cold, rain, snow or whatever. While the other high school kids were buying Honda 50s, 90s and a big 160, we stood alone with Euro bikes. In the winter we took the bikes apart for no reason other than to see what was inside and they actually ran again when we put them back together.

Peter got a BMW R50 during college, but lucky for me his college did not allow him to keep it on campus so I got to ride it often. It was great. He switched colleges and then was able to keep the bike there, but it soon was stolen in NYC. I never forgot that bike even after riding a lot of other stuff. This is not Peter's bike, but it is beautiful!

I was able to find a similar bike in Oklahoma while stationed at Altus AFB and after spending some time in the "get-out-of-the-pickle-suit" jail, returned to Altus and bought it from the guy at the bar, and rode it home to Denver via New Mexico. Peter and I lived together in Denver and rode the bike a lot as a commuter and as a trip bike. An R50 two-up with camping gear is a mighty underpowered vehicle. Heck, even one-up it was a dog, but it was a loyal dog.

So, the seed was planted, and grew to a life-style. Riding in Denver winters make one a solid rider, fearless for better or worst. The bike was sold (never sell a favorite bike!) when I left Denver to be a circus promoter. Really. Bad mistake.

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