12-18-2012, 10:06 AM
North GA bound
Joined: Nov 2012
Location: Atlanta GA
Your first ever bike and ride here's mine
You live once then you are dead forever. Strive to do something that challenges, educates or scares you every day of your life. With these beliefs I had done a lot of things over the years but riding a motorcycle was not one of them. My parents forbid me or my brother to ride motorcycles as kids so I never had one despite growing up in a small town in the rural south.
At 48 life had crept up on me. Knees creaky from years of Ultimate Frisbee, feet flat from trail Ultra Marathons and Adventure Racing and my supercharged red Mustang 5.0 convertible sold years ago, I now had a mortgage, 2 kids, 21 years in the cube working and a dog. I was playing the stock market for fun.
Then a guy a barely knew from our running club died in parasailing accident and at the remembrance we had for him I knew things had to change. I hadnít done anything challenging or scary exciting in months. A rut is not like the Grand Canyon you canít see it from miles away you just slowly descend until one day you wake up and see walls all around you, You canít go back, you can never go back.
I told my wife I was going to learn to ride a motorcycle and signed up for the Honda MSF course the week of Labor Day. She said ďdonít ever drink and get on your motorcycleĒ to which I agreed. With that and the course completed, after a few hours at the DMV my motorcycle endorsement on my license was in hand but I had no bike.
A quick trip to a few dealers showed I was way too cheap to spend 8 grand or more on a new bike no matter how nice and shiny they were. So it was off to EBay and Craigslist for me. There were 2 main requirements for the bike, it had to be reliable and look cool. The next week on Craigslist there it was, a Honda, black with red flames and chrome spoke wheels. A bridge worker was moving to Florida from his father in laws house an hour or so south of Atlanta and didnít want to take the bike. The price was right and so he had lots of calls but said Ď who ever gets here with the cash first gets the bikeĒ. My trusty Honda S2000 got me there 15 minutes before he and his father in law got home from work. Turns out he bought the bike from his father in law who bought it new and now had a really nice Harley. He got the cash and I got the title.
Tonight was going to be a good one. I educated myself and now the challenge.
Time to ride, except I had never ridden anywhere but a parking lot in the class on a small Honda 250 dual sport in the daytime. They had a gravel drive way that went uphill to the main road and it was getting dark. Fortunately a good friend of mine who quit riding gave me an old helmet, mesh jacket and pants and I had boots. Another friend lived about 30 miles away so the ride didnít have to go all the way back home just about 30 miles to his house on back roads or 20 on the highway. Deciding on the back roads I made it out the driveway and down the road.
The open roads of Grantville GA were pitch black and traffic free. I felt alive.
The bike felt big and powerful and after about 30 minutes of going really really slow and cautiously I thought about going for it on this deserted road but I didnít. I was lost having taken the highway in my car this route was different so I pulled over and got out my phone to check the map. After I pulled out into the road to continue three deer ran right across the road in front of me. One passed a within 5 yards of me. It happened so quickly there was no time react at all, if I had been going faster as I was tempted to do this story could have had a nasty end. I was now officially scared by what just happened and took a wrong turn ending up at the highway. After yet another map check, to heck with it, I was only 1 exit, about 6 miles, on HWY 85 north from the road to his house.
Having no fuel gage on this bike you must use the trip odometer to keep track of how much gas you have. Apparently you donít put a lot of gas in a bike you are going to sell so long story short I ran out of gas on HWY 85. After coming to a stop and some thought I remembered the class and turned the petcock to reserve and was back on my way, to the next gas station.
Arriving at my friends mansion on the dead end of long twisty hilly dark road I remembered he too has a long gravel driveway running past his lake and private range but I made it.
The next day I went back and rode the bike home in the daylight and all around my part of town. It cranked every time, everything worked.
The oil was overfilled and dirty, the clutch lever adjusted badly, the tires were 10 pounds low, the throttle was sticky and it had some very minor rust from being outside. It also had the original tools and manual in the storage area.
After a wash, polish, oil, filter and spark plug change, a new K&N filter, clutch lever adjustment, lubing the throttle cables, tightening and lubing the chain and putting Ride On in the front tire to cure the slow leak the bike is now sweet and ready to travel. The Cobra pipes are kind of loud but they do wake people up who are driving around playing with their cell phones and not paying attention.
Iíve put a little over 1000 miles on it in 3 months and sadly have come to realize itís not the bike I really want. The feet forward cruiser thing isnít what I want and Iíd like to be able to go if not off road at least on gravel or hard pack. I want a Suzuki DL650 V-Strom.
My wife is strong and tough and got right on the back and we ride 2 up around town some so sheí s plenty brave to ride herself. She takes the Honda MSF course next month. I really love her and she could learn on the Shadow but a 750 might be too big for learning despite the fact I did it. Iíve got a line on a Kawasaki 250 for her.
Eventually we both have V-Stroms and travel the country adventure touring.
My mother still doesnít know I have a motorcycle but my 13 year old step daughter already wants to know when she can legally ride.
Live your own life, for you will die your own death.
If you Don't Believe in Freedom For All -You Don't Believe in Freedom at All