I hadn’t really planned to start writing a blog however I do write a number of short stories and from time to time I write about motorcycle experiences so I thought I might share them with others who have similar interests and who might enjoy reading them. So that’s likely what will happen here. I will not promise to update regularly however whenever I write something motorcycle related it will probably make its appearance on here.
Bikes I have owned.
Honda 50 mini trail
Honda CB 350
Yamaha 175 Enduro
Yamaha 80 Enduro (kids)
Yamaha 250 Enduro
Virago 500 (or was it 550?)
Yamaha XS 650
Harley Sportster XL
The Honda mini trail I actually bought for myself to use when hunting. I have to say it worked great and took me places where I could never have believed it might be capable of going. The nice part about it was how I could pick it up and carry it through the bad spots. (I have a short story that I wrote about riding it beside my bro-inlaw on his artic cat mini that I will post if I can find it)
The mini was plenty of fun. It also did service for many years entertaining my two boys until they outgrew it. I sold it after that for more money then I had paid for it new from the dealer. Go figure. I guess it's called inflation.
The Yamaha 80 was really bought for the boys but it was rather a fun ride though no doubt I made for a comical sight touring around the farm on that thing with my knees about level with my eyes. I don’t remember getting rid of it but it disappeared somewhere along the way through life’s journey. I can’t say enough about how serviceable it and the Honda mini trail were. Then again, I never have had any significant issues with any of the bikes I have owned. I’d like to say it had to do with the regular service but that would be a lie.
The CB 350 came next. I picked it up for $400 from a co-workers brother. He had to get rid of it as he was constantly in trouble with the police for the way in which he rode it. I think it mainly had to do with the shorty mufflers and his excessive use of throttle in the wrong places. During the entire time that I had it I never had any issues with the same cops that he did. Might that be because I knew when to relaxing my throttle hand? Particularly when I could see the cops were around. I am here to tell you that it was loud. I sold it a few years later and at that time I lived about 3 – 3 ½ miles out of town. In the evening, I could hear the idiot that bought it all the way from my place as he cranked on the throttle around town. The CB 350 lasted him five weeks. When I sold it I had the feeling I was betraying an old friend as I watched it disappear down the driveway and onto the narrow country road. I saw him later and he commented on what a great bike it had been. Apparently the bike lasted him longer then anything, car or truck that he had previously owned. How sad is that………..?
I had the Yamaha 175 Enduro and the 250 Enduro around the same time. If one is good two has to be even better right? The 175 I picked up at a local auction for a bargain or else I would never have looked twice at it. Unfortunately a friend of mine killed the motor during a rough outing in the boonies a couple of years later. Had I done that to his bike I would have compensated him for the loss. Somehow he didn’t seem to feel the need to do that for me. Oh well, he is still a friend.
The 250 was a great all round machine. Wish I still had it today though I doubt I can keep up with the local groups that do off-roading around here. Would be nice though.
I bought the Virago when I moved to Vancouver Island. For the first time in my life I was living in a location where motorcycling seemed truly viable. Unlike Alberta where we had lived previously, the weather provides so many great riding days during spring summer and fall. Some of the more hardy people out here ride year round regardless of the rain and cooler temperatures but I am selective about the conditions I ride into.
There is a little story about the Virago that needs telling. I bought it in Parksville, which is about two and a half hours from Victoria. I had driven up to look at a Honda shadow but after I sent my ride home I learned that the Shadow was no longer for sale. You might say the Virago happened to be the next best thing.
What should be noted is that this was early season like April or very early May so the weather didn’t happen to be as warm as it might have been. The other thing was that I had not been on a motorcycle for about three years. It was late afternoon when I left Parksville on my way to Victoria. Before I got through Nanaimo, I had to stop and buy warmer gloves, I also should have bought more clothing but I didn’t. As I became chilled, I guess I picked up the pace and I recall entering a tight curve at a much higher speed then I should have been traveling. Thanks to my years of experience, I just gritted my teeth and leaned that bike hard into the turn. I made it but it was an eye opener, not to mention the pucker factor at the time. After that I slowed down and made several stops to warm up.
Lesson: a two and a half hour ride in heavy traffic with inadequate gear and when out of condition as far as riding is concerned, during dropping temperatures is not smart. I won’t do that again. In fact, since then I am extremely careful to be overdressed rather than under dressed.
The virago seemed to be an okay bike but I didn’t own it for long. I spotted a Vulcan 750 down at the dealers and liked it. You can guess the rest. The Vulcan seemed so much larger that I nearly dumped it on my way out of the dealer’s lot. Wouldn’t that have been an embarrassment? Fortunately I was quick enough to save it and never made that mistake again.
I liked the Vulcan. It had ample power to carry Ev and our little dog, Brutus as well as me. Brutus was a miniature pinscher that weighed seven pounds. I’d pop him inside of my jacket and away we’d go. Whether he liked it or not is hard to say. He’d peek out around my neck line until speeds reached 60 km/hr or greater, then he would duck back inside and curl up to sleep until we got to our destination. He didn’t seem to enjoy the wind in his face. Brutus logged more then a few kms inside of my jacket. He was great to have on the cool days, almost like a heated vest. I think he enjoyed the warmer days more then I did when having his extra heat was something I didn’t really need.
I sold the Vulcan after I retired but came to wish that I hadn’t. I wasn’t riding it because I had little need to except for occasional joy rides and it seems that joy rides are more fun when you have someone to share them with. Riding by oneself holds less appeal.
Somehow I ran across the website of the SCRC and learned that they had a chapter in Victoria or more to the point, on the island. When I found that they met only a short distance from where I live it was only a matter of time before I bought another motorcycle, a Yamaha 650XS, and joined the ranks of the SCRC.
For the first time ever, I will have a motorcycle that is licensed the year through. That is the 650XS that I picked up three years back. The bike is old enough to qualify for BC collectors insurance, which means a serious reduction in costs to insure and license it. I now feel I can afford to keep one insured throughout the off season so that if a nice spell of weather comes along I can take the opportunity to get out into the wind at least for a short spin if not for a longer ride. Unlike some I don’t feel the need to get in a New Years day cruise but I might depending on the weather.
I still have the old 650 and it is still is great shape with only 30,000 kms on the odometer. It’s not the only bike in the garage though as I picked up a Harley Davidson Sportster during a weak moment. The Sportster gets all my attention through the best riding weather and when the rainy season arrives it gets parked and the old 650 takes its place. What can I say; the Harley is the best bike I have ever owned in many ways. It may not get the fuel mileage that the Vulcan did but it can beat the Yamaha in that regard.
In truth I am somewhat surprised that I find it so enjoyable in light of the many derogatory things that people say about the Harley Davidson line up. I have reached the conclusion that the majority of the people, who make those remarks, have never owned or had opportunity to do any amount of riding on one. When you think about it, the simple answer is that each of us has different criteria when it comes to what we want from our vehicle. Lets just say the Harley fits nicely within my wants and needs.