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Old 01-06-2009, 06:07 AM   #1
Motopumps OP
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Question What was your Gateway Drug?

I woke up in the wee hours of the morning yesterday, suffering mightily from P.M.S.. Life here in the Northeast sucks this time of year for me... I couldn't fall asleep and my mind drifted back to my first exposure to this wonderful life of motorcycling.

The first ride is a bit fuzzy in its detail. It was either 1975 or 1977. Spent a year in Oregon in 1976, so I know it wasn't then. My first ride was on the back of a friends Honda Trail 70. That was cool. That sunny summer afternoon he let me take the bike for a spin in their gravel driveway. After not enough explanation of the controls, or enough attention paid by me, I hopped on, twisted the throttle and shot into their garage. Wammo! Target fixation at it's best! Shook it off, found the brakes, realized the throttle worked in two directions, pointed the 70 in a safer direction and off I went. Life has never been the same since. I remember the overwhelming feeling of flying, just inches off the ground.

After much pestering and convincing my mom that I would not be killed, my dad joined in and convinced my mom that she should not be raising a boy in a bubble. Not sure what deals were made in the background, but my Dad came through for me. Thanks Dad! Thanks Mom! See, I have not been killed yet!

In the spring of 1979 dad presented me with a little booklet to keep track of my "bike balance". I had precious little $$, so it was decided that he would be my bank and I would work off the balance and could get a bike when I had earned enough. Game On!

We heated with wood, so there was plenty of wood to cut and split. The barn needed painting, along with the caboose (yes, we have a caboose) and I mowed neighbors lawns, as well as ours.

We started shopping! In retrospect, the purpose was two-fold. First, to figure out what to buy, but perhaps more importantly, to keep me motivated. I was not earning much and the required funds seemed huge. I remember checking out the Kawasaki KE100. Red or Green. I loved it! (I loved anything at that point!) My dad was not impressed.

Next we checked out the Yamaha DT125. Wow, that was a real step up from the KE. That looked like a REAL manly bike. Mono-shock rear suspension. That was Rad! Yes, I was a Yamaha man for sure!!! My dad was not so sure. I could see that this was going to be a long process.

More cut, split, stack, more painting, more mowing, some birthday money, more odd chores, lather, rinse, repeat. Getting there. In August we visited the Honda dealer. Woah! XR185R I want THAT! Gaaaa! That is a lot of money. About $1650 if I remember correctly, The XL185s was less. $1450 or so. My dad saw it as less for more. You get headlight, turn signals, horn, street legal (some day) etc. I wanted the XR! The dealer happened to have a 'new' XL185 with 600 miles on it. Classic situation - guy bought it for his wife, she didn't like it. Traded it for a pink moped... $899.99 SOLD!!!! ($963.00 with tax.) I had almost enough and dad let me work the rest off. Woooohooooo!


Disclaimer:
It was 1979.
I am posing, not riding (as far as you know)
I didn't have enough money for proper safety equipment...
It was hot in August.
It was 1979.





Hey, at least I had a helmet!

In action:
Note the extensive use of saftey equipment, including eye protection.
Note the extreme air!
Note the matching barn paint on my jeans!




My first bike and I still have it. It doesn't look as purdy as it did then, but it still runs, starts with one or two kicks after sitting all winter and has taught a second generation how to ride. What more could you ask?

What was YOUR Gateway Drug?
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:35 AM   #2
GB
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Your riding outfit is so 70'ish! Nice to still have your first bike..
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Old 01-06-2009, 11:23 AM   #3
jackanory
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That is awesome that you still have your first bike after all these years! My first bike was a real POS 1979 RM125 (bought quite thrashed in '86) that I saved up all winter to buy. It would break every 3 rides. As crappy as it was I wish I still had that bike.

After that hard lesson in used bike dealing I got an '83 RM250 that following summer (after another winter of saving). What a difference! That beast would come on the pipe and I would find myself bouncing along the ground on my ass while the bike ghost-rided away.
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Old 01-06-2009, 01:31 PM   #4
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Here is the drug in it's pristine unused condition....



Here is six months later after using said drug.



And a picture of the drug user returning to ther scene of the crime looking for scraps left over scattered in the dirt....

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Old 01-06-2009, 02:03 PM   #5
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xr350. Picture is from 1980 IIRC. Rode it to school everyday, and blasted in the AZ desert on the weekends. I had minibikes and a couple of those little honda's (50 and a 70), but this was my first street legal bike. Been hooked ever since...

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Old 01-06-2009, 02:23 PM   #6
riverguy9
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My gateway drug was a 1969 Penton 125. Had a fantastic time chasing friends around in the stripmines of Western Pennsylvania. I had way more fun with this than with the new '73 Honda Elsinore 250 that I bought to replace it.
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Old 01-06-2009, 03:57 PM   #7
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This is good! Mine was a Briggs & Stratton powered mini bike. The throttle was a pipe slipped over the handlebar controlling a throttle cable from a lawn mower. (Yup, you had to twist it both ways. Unintentional cruise control) That thing almost killed us many times as we bounced around on it through the woods trying to "de-throttle" the thing. Typically we'd bounce off and the stupid thing would continue grinding it's way along until it tipped over and then proceed to dig itself into whatever it ended up on. I had blisters on my hand all summer from the throttle death-grip. God that thing was fun!
From then on I harangued my parents for 3 or 4 years, worked and built up my "account" until I finally got a 1976 Harley-Davidson SXT125. Made by Cagiva, I think. I think it was about $850. One of the best days of my life. We owned an orchard, so I had a good place to practice amongst the apple trees. My buddy had a little 70cc Honda dirt bike (xr70?) and my other buddy had a 90cc Honda Trail 90. (love that low range!). Together we set off to explore the wild beyond. Of course, none of us had drivers' licenses, so it was the nearby railroad tracks that were our path to freedom. We'd barrel down the railroad tracks then stitch that together with farmers's fields, bush trails, ditches and bits of pushing along the highway (well, actually riding side-saddle so that we could jump off and pretend we were pushing if we spotted a cop) to get to the logging roads (forestry roads...modern politically correct term) where we could ride anywhere we wanted. That snow capped peak in the background in the below pic was one of our destinations. There was a fire lookout up there. What a blast!! And from there, there was a rough trail down the back that got us into a whole new network of logging roads.



Me and my freedom machine!


The motor finally packed it in after a few years. Destroyed the piston. Connecting rod scored up the cylinder. I still have it, in pieces. Someday I may put it back together if I can find some parts...

Looking back at it now, I wouldn't have wanted to be my mom when I took off into the bush for a day having no idea where I was going, no communication, no tools, no patch kit...nothing. Sometimes 60 miles into the woods (it had a 2.5 gallon tank!) with nobody else around. When you look at how bubble-wrapped kids are nowadays, it's amazing we survived!!
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Old 01-06-2009, 04:10 PM   #8
2degreesout
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riverguy9
My gateway drug was a 1969 Penton 125. Had a fantastic time chasing friends around in the stripmines of Western Pennsylvania. I had way more fun with this than with the new '73 Honda Elsinore 250 that I bought to replace it.
I used to chase my friends around the stripmines in western PA. A little later on, I had a '78 yz 250. (and a '74 CJ5) Whereabouts ya from?
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:05 PM   #9
jeffjbmw
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Do NOT laugh.......$140 if I recall right.


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Old 01-06-2009, 05:07 PM   #10
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Nice 1/2 shirt!

1981 Xt550

But I rode a lot of other peoples bikes. I cut my teeth on a Honda 250R 3wheeler.
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:55 PM   #11
RobbieO
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Not the first...........

An Italjet and a Mullet

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Old 01-06-2009, 06:02 PM   #12
Boon Booni
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Without a doubt I was the baddest mofo on three wheels. Even dragged my knees..

..seriously.
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:07 PM   #13
Mr. Annoying
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffjbmw
Do NOT laugh.......$140 if I recall right.


mine is a '63
I still have it needs carbwork
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:46 PM   #14
rjnutt
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Hodaka Combat Wombat babyyyy
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:52 PM   #15
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Cushman Eagle. A 57 model in about 1962. Also would ride my friends Big Bear scrambler (Yamaha) during lunch in high school while he and his friends would cruise around in my car so they could smoke. (tobacco only,) they said. Bought a Yamaha Gran Prix 350 2 stroke in 68. Lost count since then. SeeeeeYaaaaa Racer07
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