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Old 04-16-2008, 07:22 AM   #1
Yossarian™ OP
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Thanks Dad

It was a little over 32 years ago when my father surprised me by buying for me a new (leftover) 1975 Honda CB125S from our local motorcycle dealer. I had been good friends with the dealer's son for many years, and while I didn't ask for a motorcycle, my Dad probably knew that I would love to own and ride one. In some ways I think Dad got me the bike because he had wanted one when he was a younger man, but never did take the plunge. My initial training was rather sparse; Mr. Bauerkemper (the dealer) took the bike out to the county fairgrounds, where my father and I met him. I plopped on a helmet and learned to kick start the bike and engage the clutch with Mr. B running beside the bike. Once I could get it moving without stalling it, I made a few laps around the track, learned how the brakes worked, and then the bike was loaded up and taken home.

Even though I wasn't yet old enough to get a license, there was a large expanse of blacktop available to me right across the street, as the school system had elementary, middle, and high schools all situated there. I'd have to push the bike up the hill to the lot and then start it and ride it. Back and forth, around and around, getting the feel of the bike and its controls. A few weeks into ownership I thought I had it mastered pretty well, took off quickly and attempted turning while accelerating, and managed to run into a swingset. That put a nice dent in the front wheel, necessitating replacement, and showed me that I didn't know as much about riding as I thought I did.

Once I was old enough to get my operator's license, I used that first bike as transportation and enjoyment. With my light weight, I could hit about 62mph on a level road if there was no headwind. Going down a hill, it might approach 70. I took trips to the Black Hills on it, and it got me around town without having to ask for the keys to the car.

I remember one incident of riding out on the highway on a hot, hot day. The piston siezed up and as I was sitting on the roadside, a fellow touring on a Guzzi 850 stopped to see if I needed help. We chatted for a while, and the piston cooled enough that I could kick the bike back to life and continue on my way. That helpful stop showed me that there was a cameraderie among riders, and I've stopped to offer my assistance whenever I see a fellow rider at the roadside, whether I'm on a bike or not.

As years went by, I moved to larger and different bikes, but have rarely been without a cycle. I ride whenever it's possible, as the initial thrill has really never faded. After leaving home for college and then a career, I would make the trek home many times through the years, quite often on two wheels. Though my father would never own a motorcycle of his own, I believe that each time I pulled in his driveway, that he got a little thrill of his own to see his youngest son enjoying the gift of riding that he'd given years ago. Dad passed away in 2003, but it's not uncommon for me to think of him when doing things that are cycle-related.

Thanks, Dad.
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Old 04-16-2008, 07:27 AM   #2
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Thanks for sharing a very touching and fitting tribute to your father!
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Old 04-16-2008, 07:53 AM   #3
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:44 AM   #4
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Fathers and motorcycles...

Good memories...

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