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How did you get started riding? What's your personal history with bikes?

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  • How did you get started riding? What's your personal history with bikes?

    I've seen some fascinating stories here and there on this site over the years, and in visiting the video for the National Motorcycle Museum, it brought back a ton of memories of past experiences in the sport, starting with my late big brother in the 60's.

    Please post your story, whatever it may be! Pics are encouraged, but not necessary!

    My bro was a bit of a wallflower, pretty much an introvert who wasn't at all athletic, but somehow a couple of his buddies got him interested in motorcycles. The only guy I can think of was a guy named Randy Skiver, who went on to ride nationals in a number of different venues, particularly flat track and road racing. He started as a motocrosser and started winning from virtually Day 1.

    Randy raced for Curtis Racing early on, with plenty of racing pics of him here:

    Randy flat-tracked with Kenny Roberts, Ted Boody, Jay Springsteen, Mert Lawwill, Chuck Joyner, Mike Kidd, Gary Nixon and the rest of the crew from the 70's. We kept distant tabs on him, but once he hit the national circuit he wasn't around all that often. He had his share of national wins. He was a hometown boy who pretty much owned every track from Canada to Castle Rock, including Graham, south of Tacoma, near Shores stomping grounds.

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    Randy would come by and shame my brother into getting a bike and riding himself, occasionally lending a bike for him to ride.

    My siblings and I were all really active in school and sports, but my brother, Mike, who was the oldest, just wasn't into any of that. So one day my Dad bought my brother a new Honda 90 trail bike, just to support him, and that got it started. We had an empty lot next to our house, next to the forest on the end of the street, and Mike built a loop to ride day and night, which he did. That's when I started riding as well. I was probably around 12 or 13. I know I got my big game hunting permit at 14, and this was before then.

    He modded the bike and raced motocross with it a number of times, around 1968-69, before putting the motor into a custom frame, and eventually upgrading that to a full-on flat tracker. He raced with Skiver and others, a guy named Bob Young among them, at an indoor horse arena called Gold Creek, north of Seattle near Everett, every weekend. Skiver most always won the A Main, and my bro was usually in the B Main, collecting his share of trophies as well, in both the A and B Mains. Randy had no mercy on Mike if they were both in the A. I spent a lot of Saturday nights at Gold Creek.

    As time went on my bro ventured into bigger events, both motocross and flat track, never really rising to the top. But we constantly had the latest bike-du-jour, with Hodaka's, Jawa's, CZ's, Bultaco's, BSA's, and even a Triumph along the way. Most had never heard of the other brands back then, when everyone referred to EVERY bike simply as a 'Honda'.

    "Oh, your brother rides a Honda?"
    "No, it's a Triumph, like it says there on the tank..."

    I remember when my brother picked up a Honda 450 for the road, and that was considered a really big bike. Eventually he picked up a Honda 750, and I can remember him doing burnouts from our carport, down the driveway, and into the street, rear tire smoking along the way. I do remember I was 15 around then, because one time he was going to hangout with friends in another town, so he rode me there and had me ride the 750 back home by myself using the back roads, which I'll never forget. I wasn't licensed to drive. He put a lot of trust in me, considering my relatively low seat time on the road. He and I made occasional speed runs, me the passenger, and I remember plenty of 100+ mph runs on remote highways at night. My open-helmet face shield would flatten out against my face in the wind. 100+ MPH was pretty fast on a bike 50 years ago! The 750 ruled the day, and it was a legend at that time.

    Mike kept telling me I should race bikes, but I was more into skiing and other sports. Unfortunately he passed in 1978 in a car wreck in which he was the passenger. But I ended up with his Honda 175 at the time, which I rode all over the place on the street.

    From there I decided to buy myself a 'real bike', and picked up a 1978 Kawasaki 750 triple, a 2-stroke with tuned porting and expansion chambers. Couldn't keep the front end on the ground. Got a serious ticket on the freeway with the bike, so told the judge I'd sell it and buy a new car, which I did.

    A Corvette.

    I moved to Central California in 1980, and soon met a guy at church named Ron Ely, a former racer who grew up riding with Rick and Roger Mears there in Bakersfield, CA, and was still good friends with them and their clan, the Mears Gang. Ronnie was a terrific guy that we lost a couple of years ago. His son, Rob, was racing then, motocross and flat track, but mostly flat track, and I put him to work for me during the off season. Rob's riding buddy was national flat tracker Steve Monger, who later hung with the Bostrom brothers, Ben and Eric. Ben would drop by occasionally while he was still coming up through the ranks. Steve Monger's most notable national moment was when he crashed into the hay bales at over 100 MPH at the Sacramento Mile when it was on ABC's Wide World of Sports. Chris Economaki interviewed Steve after the crash, and Steve was fine 'and smiling'.

    I bought tires for my 4wd directly from Roger Mears when I needed them, which was totally cool because they were siped and take-offs from their desert pre-runners. CHEAP.

    I occasionally pitted for the guys, depending on where they were racing. Steve and I ran down to Ascot, CA one night, and he placed in a national event. I'll never forget doing a rear sprocket swap while he was in the staging area waiting for his race, which was next. We decided he needed a little more gear.

    Here's Ascot, for those unfamiliar:

    From the late 1950s to the early 1990s, Ascot Park, in Gardena, California, was one of the iconic tracks in all of motorcycle racing.

    I hadn't ridden for a few years, so bought Steve Monger's Kawasaki KX250 from him so I could maybe start racing. Plenty of practice later, I was racing the 'famous' Sprockets Park outside Bakersfield, raced on occasion by guys like Malcolm Smith of 'On Any Sunday' fame, as well as others, including the Mears brothers. The Mears Gang hosted a truck event one year before they shut the park down.

    I hung out with several of the guys in this pic. Malcolm Smith is in yellow:

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    I started racing motocross in 1983 after getting married, racing Sprockets and elsewhere, but got serious and bought myself a Yamaha YZ-250 in 1984 and again in 1985. I raced something called the Golden State Series which took you up and down California. Raced places like Carlsbad, Ascot, Hungry Valley, Santa Maria, Hanford, and others, in addition to our new local park, White Wolf Raceway. Even did a 'stadium event' at Mesa Marin raceway there in Central California (pic below).

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    Because I had a lot of time on a microphone, I quickly found myself announcing races as well as racing them. Sometimes I just announced, but doing both proved a huge challenge at times. I did local races, the California Police Olympics, and some national events on the west coast. Announced for guys like Jeff Emig, Mickey Dymond, Jeff Ward, Jonny O'Mara, and even Jeremy McGrath when he was coming up through the ranks.

    I was doing an event in Las Vegas when Buddy Antunez crashed into Jeremy McGrath in a race right below the announcer's tower, and I climbed down to hold Jeremy back as a much bigger Buddy was trying to goad him into a fight. "Beat him on the track, BEAT HIM ON THE TRACK", is what I said to a younger befuddled McGrath, to which he climbed back on his bike and dusted him. Jeremy went on to be a multi-national champ in the years to follow. During that race event I shared the announcing booth with Donnie Hansen and chatted-up Bob Hannah, both of whom would drop in during the series over the weekend. Pretty cool.

    I was surprised when several weeks later my friends presented a photo of me in Motocross Action magazine with my arms wrapped around McGrath after his crash with Antunez. I had a copy of that for years but have no idea where it ended up after a couple of moves to new homes and locations.

    I could have gone pro, but just wasn't at a level that I felt would be competitive, and I was seriously too old by then. Those thoughts ended when I was rear-ended by a semi-truck in early 1987. Took me five years to get on a bike again. That was a little Honda Rebel 250, a fun mini-chopper to ride. I then stumbled across a used bike auction one day while working a project in the Northern Seattle area, me living in Bakersfield, and ended up buying seven bikes to ride and flip. I sold a few but hauled the rest to Northern California before opening up an eBay account and selling the rest online, when most had never heard of eBay, let alone have an email account. I soon went to my Suzuki RF-900R after moving to Northern California, a fun sport touring bike that was a blast in the canyons. At the same time I picked up a Husqvarna TE-610, a big thumper of a dirt bike, which was a blast in the dunes and on backwoods trails. That thing had some serious grunt.

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    I sold my bikes after opting to move to Central Oregon near Mt. Bachelor, knowing I'd need a cruiser up there since canyons weren't all that abundant, and just never picked anything up. I was single by then and spent my time skiing, snowboarding, and building my business. I then moved to Vegas and had ran a search on Craigslist one day while looking for speakers, and suddenly up came this Roadstar. I wasn't even looking or in the market for a bike, but the price was right so i went over to have a look. Ended up riding it home, back in 2017, and have been riding it ever since, though not nearly often enough due to too many other interests and projects.

    That's pretty much it!!

    Randy Skiver is still active in local events, most recently doing annual track designs at a motocross track not far from me, south of Spokane, as well as other things. Rob Ely, my former best friend's son, had a serious crash at a Southern California track while prepping for a national event in Houston, and that proved to be a career-ending injury. He went on to race sprint cars and suffered serious burns in a crash back east, and that shut that down as well. His son Ryder went on to race motorcycles, while his other son Arai cheered him on. (Ryder and Arai, truly racer's sons!) Ben Bostrom went on to win a number of championships.

    If not for Randy Skiver's impact on my brother's life, I can't say whether I'd have ever owned a bike. You just can't know how many lives your actions may affect, and sometimes for a lifetime!

  • #2
    i always wanted one. not as colorful a background. after checking out all the other cruisers. especially after the harley dealership, where the sales ladies laid it on thick. saw that i could practically get two bikes for the price of one harley. i ended up going back to yamaha. first sergeant was trading in his 1100 silverado for a roadstar silverado. i couldnt let him outdo me so i got the red one. they're faster.


    • #3
      Wow...that's quite a story!

      I was a kid and Dad bought a '72 Honda SL175.
      I'm not sure where he got it but I remember stopping by the local Indian dealer in our small town (population ~1000) now and then and envying some small bikes that I felt were "my size" as I was probably 10 or so. We made a deal that when I could sit on the bike flat footed I could ride it. I remember going out to the garage sitting on it checking to see if I'd made it yet! I'm guessing I was 12/13 by the time I got there. All summer long that was my pastime riding that around the neighborhood (we lived in a small development in the country) and through the cow pastures of my grandpa's farm. I put a few thousand miles on that bike over a few summers before we got bigger bikes. I rode all the time as a teen and into my mid 20's. Never raced them (legally).

      From there I get into stock car racing on local dirt tracks and did that for a few years. Then got married and had kids. Since a child carrier doesn't strap well to the back of a bike I sold my baby. An '82 Suzuki 750T that was the first thing I'd ever bought new (wish I still had it). With the kids out of the house I had an itch to get another bike. I picked up an '82 Suzuki 550L just like the one Dad had that I'd often ride before I got my 750 just to see if I still enjoyed riding. I found I still liked riding but I didn't fold up like a teen and the 550L wasn't comfortable for any length of time.

      I looked at Harley's but just couldn't swallow the $$$ for something I'd only ride a portion of the year. I looked at the local power-sports dealer and saw my first Road Star and it's styling was exactly what I wanted in a bike and it' seating arrangement was way more comfortable than my old Suzuki. Plus after taking the wife to the Harley shop the price for a Road Star was much more agreeable to her as well. I got my '08 Roadie back in 2017 and have enjoyed it for the past 20K miles. I'm hoping my health holds long enough to wear it out. Not sure which of us is going to win that battle.


      • MidnightRide
        MidnightRide commented
        Editing a comment
        Brad, great story, but believe it or not, your SL175 is identical to the one my brother left me, including the color. That's what got me started on the street (legally). That was a great little bike.

        Same color, everything!

      • Duke
        Duke commented
        Editing a comment
        Wow! That SL-175 takes me back. My first bike was a blue Honda SL-70 and looks just like that 175. I'll bet I put over 5000 miles on that Honda around Monument Valley.

      • Brad_G
        Brad_G commented
        Editing a comment
        MidnightRide yeah that SL175 made many laps around the development road (maybe even the country roads but don't tell anyone since I didn't have a license yet!). My neighbor and I would pull the muffler off so it sounded like "a Harley" although neither of us knew what a Harley sounded was just loud.

        I don't recall ours having turn signals though. I'd have broken them off since the bike got dropped now and then riding through the cow pastures. Never even dreamed of wearing a helmet back then.

    • #4
      I'll have to get some photos, but my Uncle was big into motorcross! Took me on my first ride on his Honda CR500 when I was probably 6-7. He's into motorcross, has his Chopper and used to be a knee dragger on the roads with his Blackbird among others. So my father got me started on a Yamaha Moto80 atv. From there I went to a 1986 Honda XR80R. We had 5 acres of woods in our backyard in New Jersey. From there my father came home with a 1986 Kawasaki KDX200. Could only get one tippy toe on the ground, but I ripped that thing! Years later moved to Florida and traded a Honda Civic for a 2005 Honda CBR600RR, well I was an idiot and layed it down at about 100 mph. Got my senses back and cruised around on my 1980 Kawasaki KZ650 that I turned into a Cafe Racer style. Now have my 2000 Roadstar and thats all I need. Nothing like having the freedom and air in your face!


      • MidnightRide
        MidnightRide commented
        Editing a comment
        I had a racing buddy who had a KX-500 2-stroke, and we swapped bikes while out playing one weekend. That thing was a BEAST. Way too much power to get to the ground, especially compared to my YZ-250 race bike. Total handful. That CR-500 was very similar to the KX.

    • #5
      Everybody in my family rides, Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister. It's genetic.


      • #6
        Wow in looking at those responses, a couple of other things come to mind. The Honda dirt bike stories reminded me that at one point, when my girls were old enough, we were living on 7 acres outside of Redding, CA. I picked up a bike for both my girls, a Honda 185 for my oldest, and a Suzuki 50 moped for my youngest, IIRC. I was truly surprised how much grunt that 185 had. We lived on top of a hill in the country so there was plenty of variety to ride. The neighbors even let us ride on their 15 acres, between the trees, where I built a small track for the girls.

        My oldest, on the 185, got pretty good on it, but seriously, the fuel in the tank would go bad before she actually burned it all up. High school kid, just didn't ride much. I'd have gone through a tank a week, or more, had I had that chance at her age! I had a buddy in jr. high who had a small Yamaha of some kind, and he'd come over after school and pick me up and we'd tear up what we could in the boonies between our neighborhoods. Tons of places to ride, and we were lucky. We even had a place that we could see from our picture window, 1/3 mile away, that we called 'The Honda Hills', which were just that. Remember, back then everything was called a 'Honda', regardless of brand. This was 15 miles north of Seattle, very rural back then, around 1970.

        I forgot all about that.

        I also forgot about the bike I bought right after I sold the Honda Rebel 250 street bike. I picked up a Suzuki GS 500 in the 90's that I took down to the frame and did a complete restoration, finished with custom neon paints. My youngest daughter was 10 and she was the family risk-taker. I'd put her on the back of that GS and we'd run canyons out of Bakersfield in the middle of the winter, pegs on the ground, and she'd hold on tight, with a smile tattooed across her face. She was my riding partner. One day I ran that bike from Bakersfield, up through Death Valley, up the 'Loneliest Highway in America' on the back roads of Nevada, up through Idaho, over to Spokane, then across the Cascades to my family in Snohomish, where we'd contracted a project with the USPS. I strapped a sleeping bag over my tank and gear behind me, and slept aside the road along the way.

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        Suzuki GS 500E

        It was on that trip that we stumbled across the bike auction, buying seven bikes by the end of the day. I hauled those back to California, and hence started the restoration. That may have been where I picked up the 185 Honda for my daughter.

        As I recall, I bought

        2 more Suzuki GS 500's
        1 Yamaha Virago 920
        1 Turbocharged street bike, a Yamaha XJ-650 Turbo Seca. I sent the turbo to Garrett for a rebuild. Fun bike once the turbo hit.
        1 Honda CR 125, a 2-stroke motocross bike
        1 Honda 185 4-stroke dirt bike
        1 Honda 900 street bike (another fun bike)

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        Yamaha XJ-650 Turbo Seca

        I had fun on that CR 125 while riding with my girls around home. I bobbed the Virago 920 and it made the cover of the Virago Owners Club website, 23 years ago. The turbo I sold to a pilot who flew into town with his buddy and rode back down to Sacramento from Redding. The Honda 900 I sold/traded to a guy for cash, a guitar, broadcast microphone, and other electronics. In the end it was all sold, and after that I picked up the red Suzuki RF 900R in the photo with my dog above, as well as the Husky TE 610. I sold a lot of it online when eBay first fired up, and shipped several of the bikes across the country. Used to buy and sell all of the Honda mini CT 50's and 70's that I could get my hands on. One of my favorites was a sweet little Honda Passport 70 scooter. Sold it to a trucker who picked it up on his way through town. (Similar bike in pic below)

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        Honda Passport 70

        I do remember when I was racing I bought a bike from my buddy, Frank Roseberry, one of the guys in the Malcolm Smith pic above (#83), for my wife. Frank was a small guy so built a Honda 175 2-stroke that he rode before having to quit due to a leg injury. Frank was a 2-stroke motor guru, including custom pipes and porting for all the local racers. That bike proved to be a handful for my wife, but she enjoyed it. Frank had put a tuned-down pipe on it for smoother riding.

        We used to all go out and camp near a place called Red Rock Canyon on the southern end of Owens Valley, west of Ridgecrest, CA. We actually stayed and rode out of Jawbone Canyon. Check the map below. We'd ride the hell out of that area until the Sierra Club managed to get most or all of it shut down. Total desert hills and canyons, with some of the best dirt bike offroad riding anywhere.

        Those Sierra Club assholes screwed things up for all of us.


        • #7
          A shipmate and roommate had a Honda CB150 that he'd ridden from Pensacola, FL to Charleston, SC, that he let me ride. His brother announced that he had a Kawasaki 350 Bighorn that he'd let go of for the first $100 he was offered. I got my wallet out first. The bike, a two-stroke single cylinder dual sport, could be started (kick start) w/o a key, so I took it to a dealer to be made street legal.. The repairs they made included replacing the Preston Petty rear fender. The day I picked it up from the dealer, I tested it in the dealer's parking lot, and headed to the double wide I shared with other shipmates. At first, everything seemed fine, until traffic started backing up. Then, I had to brake. NO GOOD! The brake pedal went straight down to no effect and, for all I was squeezing on the front brake lever, no slowing occurred. I tried to pop the bike over the curb, and failed. Picking myself up from the bike, I immediately realized that I had rebroken the collarbone that I'd broken in fourth grade. This was especially bad , because we were scheduled to deploy overseas in two weeks. Examination of the bike revealed that one of the rear shocks had been bent by the crash. It was also discovered that the adjustment wingnut for the rear brake has vibrated loose by the pulsations of the engine, and the front brake cable was rusted solid in the casing.
          After returning from the patrol, I rode that bike until the engine developed lower end problem. Getting ready for another deployment, I didn't want to store a inoperable vehicle, so I sold it (at the time, I didn't know how easy a rebuild would have been). Returning from THAT patrol, I lucked into a deal for a nice, garage-kept Honda CL350. . That bike accompanied my transfer to the West Coast, where it got stolen from just outside the base's main gate. That was the start of a long line of Hondas, before I got my first Yamaha.


          • MidnightRide
            MidnightRide commented
            Editing a comment

            "If we only knew then what we know NOW". The benefits of age and experience.

            2-strokes are insanely easy to rebuild, if you can find the parts. But I had a hell of a time just trying to find fork seals for my Husky TE-610, anywhere in the USA. And the bike wasn't all that old. I was stunned, which is why I'll never own another Husky.

            When I bought my first 'new' racing bike in 1984, the yellow Yamaha in the pics above, I took it over to my pro friends to prep it for riding, including conditioning the motor, etc.

            One of the first things they had me do was to check and tighten every bolt on the bike, to not trust the dealer or manufacturer, before I ever started it up. We found a bevy of loose or improperly adjusted items.

            Those guys not only torqued everything on their race bikes, but drilled and safety-wired a hell of a lot of the screws and bolts on the bike. Didn't want something vibrating loose while diving into a corner at 120 MPH on the Sacramento Mile dirt track, as an example.

            Now they run 140 MPH down the straights at SAC-- Great pics below!

            Insanity ensues.  A mile long loop of tightly packed dirt with two-wheeled monsters being ridden at speeds, that could only be described as irresponsible.  Tucked down behind the bars of your machine, with your right hand holding the throttle wide open, and your left tucked in behind the front fork; or laid flat along the...

        • #8
          Nothing quite as elaborate as these folks…

          POVERTY….. i couldnt afford a car… suburb of nashville without public transportation…. And riding a pedal power bicycle more than 5 miles was time consuming and tiring…. Riding at night after a shitty fast food job was also a bit on the risky side…
          1st bike i owned was a Kawasaki H2B two stroker… that was a very fun bike for a 20 year old idiot… it was so fun that i would stretch the chain and curl the sprocket teeth every year… even with proper adjustment every other week… fun times…

          So unlike my fellow enthusiasts… my story is one of simple “lack of funds”….


          • MidnightRide
            MidnightRide commented
            Editing a comment
            Yeah bikes made traveling affordable, but your fitness level had to drop a notch, for sure! That was a 'deadly ride' if that was your first bike! The term 'Killer Kawasaki' came out about the time they had this and the 900 4-stroke. IIRC, the H2 was the quickest production bike ever offered, and that held for decades to come.

            So where did you go from there? You obviously do a lot of wrenching so you must have a long history with bikes?

            I'm not sure if mine was the B model or just an H2. Any idea what changed between the two? Seems like it might have been the wheels. They made an A, B, and C model IIRC.

            My post below shows three pics of some H2B's, one with a small faring and tuned expansion chamber exhausts, and the next somewhat stock in appearance. The third looks totally stock. The blue bike is pretty much how mine looked, but I don't recall if I had spoke wheels or the mags. Seems like I had spokes.

        • #9
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          • #10
            Yes… the bike was a lot of fun… acceleration on a 3 cylinder 2 stroker is all that and more… add a bit of young and dumb attitude and it is a recipe for disaster….
            i learned to respect the bike rather rapidly… my bike resembled the first picture if i remember the seat design correctly…. A lot of years have passed since then…
            as far as wrenching… well i acquired a car… actually 2 of them… a honda civic wagon with a rusted out front suspension (press gas .. tire moved forward in wheel well).. and a honda civic hatchback with a bad motor… moved the motor from the wagon to the hatchback and i finally had a car…
            From there i raised a family till i was presented divorce papers and bang… poverty again… so i basically tried to survive a vindictive ex-wife for the next 14 years…
            i wrenched because of poverty too… various cheap cars until i could afford my next baby… my 2004 roadstar… bought it used for cash… 56k miles with me as the only mechanic apart from tire changes which i drop off the rims for…. Will i part with this bike?…. Most likely it will be pried from my cold lifeless fingers… a bit of sentimental pride after years of poverty…


            • #11
              I used to do canyon loops while living outside Redding, CA, riding my Suzuki RF-900R sport-touring bike. That was an awesome bike, with the crank and low end of Suzuki's famous GSX-R1100, and scaled-down 900 cc rods and pistons. It made the bike virtually bulletproof. It was rated 125-135 HP and weighed around 550 lbs. Top speed was around 170 as geared from the factory.

              The canyons I rode were such that if you went off in certain areas, it may be weeks or months before anyone found you, if anyone was looking at all. I normally rode alone. You could be buried in the trees over a steep bluff and simply NEVER be found, even if someone was looking. But my focus was more on hitting gravel or water crossing the road on the inside of some tight curve while some semi-truck was coming from the other direction. I can still remember telling myself, while diving into one of those corners, that if I was going to keep it up I was going to have to shift my emphasis to the track at Willow Springs, Laguna Seca, or similar, all within a few hours driving from my home in Shasta County, CA, where track conditions were much more controlled. I was continually looking to see how close to the edge of my bike's handling and performance that I could get without spreading everything across the pavement and beyond. That was shortly before moving to Central Oregon, first Sunriver, and then Bend, so I could get some serious skiing and snowboarding in before I was too old to enjoy it.

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              Running canyons with a friend, west of Redding, CA in 2006. She made me stop at the top of the canyon because she said her heart felt like it was going to explode. Not long after this she had a full medical exam and discovered her adrenal gland was greatly enlarged, and her heart literally could have exploded! Surgery corrected the problem...

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              Motocrossing White Wolf Raceway near Arvin, CA in the mid-80's

              At that time I was skiing and snowboarding Mt. Shasta every Wednesday and Saturday night, and, despite my season's pass up at Mt. Bachelor in Oregon, I didn't enjoy it half as much since they didn't have night skiing. At least I was out of California, never again living there after leaving for Central Oregon in 2007.

              As I write here, I'm thinking I should find another motocross bike and start racing again with the old guys, just to have fun and find something to do to help keep me in shape throughout the year. But we don't have the riding here like we did in California and Nevada, from what I've seen so far. There's a huge national event in Odessa, WA, 30 miles south of me, each year, in which the participants build a massive temporary city west of Odessa during the annual Stumpjumpers Desert 100 event. Check out the video below. If you've ever ridden offroad, it'll definitely get your heart pumping.

              The 2023 51st Annual Stumpjumpers Desert 100 is coming up on April 1st and 2nd, 2023. For the latest news and updates, please follow our SJMC Desert 100 Facebook page. The Desert 100 is really a we…


              • #12
                I wish I had similar stories but mine is relatively benign. I started riding back in grade school with a friend who had a 3hp minibike and progressed from that to motocross. I didn't hit pavement until 2006 with a brand new V-Star 650 which, after a year of incident free riding, was t-boned at an intersection by a driver on their cell phone. After 3 months of recovery, I bought my first Roadstar in 2007 and my wife an I ventured into Ontario and most of western NY until I sold it in 2019 to move to Albuquerque. I then acquired a Suzuki ZRX1100 which my wife would not get on, traded that for a Triumph Trophy which I loved but couldn't find a top box for longer trips so that was traded for a BMW R1200CLC which was awesome but akin to riding a Cushman so I sold it and found my current Roadstar Silverado that badly needed rehab but now she runs great. Plans to add a faring, tourpack, or trade/sell for a full faring tourer...? For now I ride here in ABQ unless its snowing, then again it is New Mexico...


                • roadiemort
                  roadiemort commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The Road Star is a great bike but to set it up for touring you will need to upgrade the front and rear suspension before you throw all that extra weight and luggage at it.

              • #13
                Took the course at the Harley dealer because it was free. A couple years later, the opportunity to go to motor school came up and I took it. Went through the school having never rode besides the license course. No bad habits to overcome.


                • MidnightRide
                  MidnightRide commented
                  Editing a comment
                  So your primary riding experience was that of riding for a police agency?

                  Things that make you go Hmmmmmmm.

                  I'll bet you've got some stories to tell!

              • #14
                When I was 4 years old, some older kids put me on a bicycle and taught me how to ride it. The feeling of riding I felt has never left. Haven't stopped 2 wheels since, Need I say more?
                Motorcross throughout the 70s. Elsinore CR-125, sponsored by Hodaka, Super Rat 100, Suzuki RM-250, Husqvarna CR-250, and the Yamaha TT-500. Throughout the 80s, and 90s riding enduros when possible while raising 3 children. In 2001 found the Star of all the my bikes.


                • MidnightRide
                  MidnightRide commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Ahhh! So you're one of the original "On Any Sunday" guys from the 70's!

              • #15
                Dang, these are some awesome stories!

                Mine, like many others here, starts when I was young. My parents had gotten divorced when I was 6, and my mom, my new little brother, and I packed a car full of stuff and headed to Oklahoma. I was the odd new kid on the block with my big island tan (my dad was a marine) in the middle of the country and found out really hard to make friends, but fortunately, my neighbors across the street had a boy my age and brought him over to introduce themselves.

                It wasn't until I went over to his house that I saw my first (what I thought) cool motorcycle, my new friend's 50cc Honda dirt bike. Conveniently located on the second turn of the little dirt track his dad had made for him in their little backyard. After s few more visits with each other he let me ride it. Woah. It was awesome. I didn't ever want to do anything but go over to his house and ride his motorcycle. Selfish asshole I was.

                But then he moved. I got into skateboarding and forgot all about motorcycles until I was 17. One day a buddy of mine popped over and was talking about his motorcycle he couldn't get running. It was an '86 Suzuki 450. He was completely frustrated with it, and although I had no idea what I was doing, or even where to start, I asked him if he wanted to get rid of it. He said he would. I asked him if he'd trade a bag of weed for it (good 'ol mexi schwag in 1991) and he said he would. Score!! So I went to my dealer, bought a half ounce of brick weed, went over to his house, traded the bag of weed for the title, and walked the bike to my house (about 2 miles away).

                Pre-YouTube days were hard. No real information just readily available, but fortunately I knew a guy who had just graduated from motorcycle mechanics school. So I asked him where to start. And he gave me my first insight ad to vote engines work, with the 3 things every engine needs. Spark, Air, and Gas.

                So I replace the battery. Changed the air filter. Emptied out the garbage gas in the tank, changed the fuel filter, and tried starting it. Nothing. Back to Josh. Josh says "does it smell like gas?" I said "Sure does. Real bad." He said "stuck floats in the float bowl on the carburetor." I said "So what do I do?", and he told me to pull the carb, take it apart, clean it, put it back together, and put it back in the bike. He introduced me to a B12 chemtool dip bucket, told me to strip the carburetor, soak it in the can overnight, and the next day put it all back together.

                So I did. Put gas back in the tank, and it fired right up.

                MAJORLY HAPPY at this point. I just got a perfectly fine motorcycle for $50 worth of weed I didn't even have to pay for because my dude owed me.

                I took it for a spin around the block. No tag, no inspection, no license, and a passenger. Yeah, I know, super stupid of me. And of course, I got pulled over. Lol. I didn't care though. I was exhilarated. I took the ticket, and the cop gave me the option of walking my bike back or impoundment, so I put it in neutral and walked it back. I was hoping I'd get out of sight and just hop on and ride it back, but he actually followed me all the way home. No worries.

                I got it tagged and insured the next day, and went to see a friend who had just started working at a body shop. He talked his boss into letting us work after hours in the shop giving it a new paint job, so a couple of quarts of BMW blue metallic later, I had a fun little 450 to ride around.

                I still didn't have a motorcyclist's license though, but I didn't care, I rode that thing everywhere. That is until I found a 750 Virago for so cheap I couldn't afford not to buy it. The same issue though, it was a beater. And didn't run. This one needed an entirely new wiring harness, a top-to-bottom fluid replacement, and of course a good carb clean. Did all of that, and now I'm regularly riding my new motorcycle around the state. Still no motorcycle license.
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