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How well do you remember your very first motorcycle ride? I will tell you a little bit about my experience below, but I also want to hear about yours. Please share your first motorcycle ride experience in the comments below.
A friend of mine from college, Jeff, recently acquired his first motorcycle. For as long as I have known him, he has been more of a boat guy than a motorcycle guy (probably on account of him being in the Coast Guard). However, I could also tell he always envied my bikes – not enough to take the plunge and get one, but certainly enough to day dream.
Well, he recently had a tractor for sale and was offered a Yamaha TW200 in trade. I don’t know what it is about trade versus buy, but it is just “different enough” to get people to do things they normally wouldn’t. Anyways, the bike needed a little bit of work to get running, but it wasn’t anything a seasoned boat mechanic couldn’t handle. Jeff and I exchanged a lot of text messages during this period, and I could feel his excitement building as the bike became closer and closer to “ride ready.” When the day finally came, he texted me afterwards expressing just how incredible the experience was. I don’t remember his exact words, but I could tell this first motorcycle ride was one of the most ground-shaking, mind-blowing, ear-to-ear grinning things he had ever done. But then again, wasn’t it that way for us all?
Listening to him talk got me feeling nostalgic about my first motorcycle ride. I lived in Silicon Valley, California at the time and couldn’t afford much. I had a Kawasaki KZ440 that I had bought for $400 and pushed home because it didn’t run (see my related post for more of that story). I lived by myself and didn’t have any motorcycle friends yet. I fixed the bike up using a combination of the owner’s manual (amazingly this 1981 motorcycle still had it under the seat) and a Clymer manual that I had ordered online. I also had never driven anything with a manual transmission before, but the tiny little owner’s manual described the “concept” of how a clutch worked. Anyways, I pushed the bike into the street, turned her on, and gave it a whirl (what other choice did I have?).
Well, long story short, I stalled about 15 times before getting the hang of it. The thing I remember the most was how fast it seemed like I was going at first, when really I was only going between 20-30mph. The ground seemed like it was flying past me at a million miles per hour. I was so exhilarated. And the other thought that I couldn’t shake: “Oh my god, I regret not getting my first motorcycle at 16 years old. I regret ever minute I missed that I could have been riding.”
Was your experience similar? Tell me about it. I would love to hear your story.
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