Life as a Motorcyclist

Kawasaki 90cc

This was the bike I did my first accidental wheelie on. Had twisted my motor speed control to an accelerated position, released gear shift lever and thought I would just zoom down the street, but not on my rear wheel for about 20 or so feet! That was my last wheelie.
Second fact about this bike, I was late to Symphony leaving Georgia State – I had about 20 minutes to get from my office to the parking lot at GSU and then to my dressing room downstairs at the arts center.
I ran all the way to the parking lot. Tried to jump on the bike – but that didn’t work. When I finally got together, I ripped the bike as much as I could and ran every sin
gle stoplight on Piedmont going north to the art center from GSU. I was both scared and as cautious as I could be. The bike probably reached 60+ on Piedmont and I was very afraid I would be arrested both for speeding and running red lights. But it was around 7:40 p.m. and the streets were quiet – fortunately.
I arrived at the art center at 10 till eight. I of course had to play at 8 o’clock. I just laid the bike down and ran to the back door of the Arts Center. It was a guest conductor– not Shaw-and I actually bumped pretty hard into him trying to get past him at the back stage entrance. He said “Not to worry, we have plenty of time.” Of course, he only had to walk a few dozen yards to where he would get ready to conduct. Me, I had to run down two flights of stairs to the musicians’ changing room, unlock my locker, grab my black tails, white vest and white tie. Then run up two flights of stairs, grab my equipment which was all in order to be put back on stage from the rehearsal, and be ready to play by the 8:00 PM downbeat.We were of course running just a few minutes late so I made it – flushed face, heart racing, hair out of place, and shaking. And that’s the rest of that story.

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This was my second bike: Honda CB125SPhoto credit: Wikimedia Commons

It was during my single years and the first years of my marriage to April. I rode the bike everywhere. I was living close to Symphony Hall and it was very convenient to ride through Morningside and right to the hall. It was only about 15 minutes plus away. I also rode it back-and-forth to Georgia State and did all my errands on it. I don’t hardly remember what car I owned at that time. One moment stands out on that bike: I took my son for a long ride up to the north Georgia mountains trying to find a fishing spot. He liked to fish as I did back then. The ride to the mountains was too far. As you know from Midtown it would be around 45 to 50 miles. My son was quite young and fell asleep with his head nodding against my back while we were riding. I felt very bad that I had taken him so far, that he was so young, and that we didn’t do any fishing. I had to stop and try to make it a nice moment where we both laid down on some really nice grass and took a pretty good nap. But then, of course, I had to ride us all the way back to midtown. I can’t remember how I tried to reward him afterwards but I certainly hope I did. End of this bike story.

This was my second bike: Honda CB125S

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

It was during my single years and the first years of my marriage to April. I rode the bike everywhere. I was living close to Symphony Hall and it was very convenient to ride through Morningside and right to the hall. It was only about 15 minutes plus away. I also rode it back-and-forth to Georgia State and did all my errands on it. I don’t hardly remember what car I owned at that time. One moment stands out on that bike: I took my son for a long ride up to the north Georgia mountains trying to find a fishing spot. He liked to fish as I did back then. The ride to the mountains was too far. As you know from Midtown it would be around 45 to 50 miles. My son was quite young and fell asleep with his head nodding against my back while we were riding. I felt very bad that I had taken him so far, that he was so young, and that we didn’t do any fishing. I had to stop and try to make it a nice moment where we both laid down on some really nice grass and took a pretty good nap. But then, of course, I had to ride us all the way back to midtown. I can’t remember how I tried to reward him afterwards but I certainly hope I did. End of this bike story.

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This was my favorite bike of all that I owned:

Honda Helix Sccoter (mid- to late 1980s).

It was sleek and low. It was one of the few large bikes that I could actually flat foot when I came to a stop. It would top out at almost 80 mph. I never wrote it past 60 to 65 as it would start to shake beyond that point. I used to ride to symphony with Don Wells – bass trombone player.
I remember two great things that DON did on his bike. We were at a side street trying to make up extra time getting to Chastain Park for a Pops concert. The traffic on the main street was very heavy. Down revved up his bike and bumped it forward into the main street bringing all the traffic to a stop! We both laughed and then entered the street on our way to Chastain Park. One other time I was coming out of a gas station with Don and cut in front of a car too close. The guys in the car were real rednecks and started following me very close and yelling through their window. Don cut right in front of the car on his bike and told me to just keep riding the way I was. In his leather jacket and enormous frame, he began hitting his brakes and forced the car to a stop. He never told me what was said just that “he took care of things!

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Honda Pacific Coast 800
(early 1990s)

Photo credit: Wikipedia, By No machine-readable author provided. Bernard bill5~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims).

I finally wanted to trade up to a larger bike. I thought the Pacific coast was the “all in all” of bikes. It even had a very good radio built-in. That was probably the first bike that started my conversions. It was the most powerful bike I had owned in my life. It would top out faster than I wanted to go. It was a heavy bike – The heaviest bike I had ever owned. I adjusted to riding it very well. This was the only bike I crashed in. It happened after work at Georgia State in the rain, in heavy traffic, in the dark, and I was rushing much more than I should have been to get to a boat US store on the expressway. When I was coming through the intersection at Piedmont and Cheshire Bridge Road my tire hit a curb submerged in water. The bike and I crashed left to the pavement and I accelerated the throttle as we were going down. That cause the bike to spin on the pavement before I could release the throttle. I had on riding gloves and a jacket and a raincoat but it tore through those and my skin on my left arm, elbow and shoulder area. I also injured my left leg but fortunately nothing was broken. It was really a mess! The amazing thing to me was that when the light changed all the traffic started moving forward around me and absolutely no one stopped their car to get out and help me!! A fella from the gas station came over and helped me pick up my bike, as well as a lot of the broken pieces. We walked the bike over to the parking area of the gas station where I stood out of the rain trying to recover. After a short while the rain stopped and I wiped myself down with cleaning towels. So I got back on the bike and rode a long distance up to Lake Lanier and home. That’s enough of that story.

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Yamaha Morphous – first conversion of my bike into a trike.

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This was a good bike. No major incidents happened with it. What I remembered most is that with the trike assembly the bike had to slow down greatly in order to turn flat around corners because you could no longer lean into them.

You also felt as though you were being pulled to one side or the other as you were turning and had to learn to adjust to that. It was a big adjustment. What was great about the bike was that you never had to put your feet on the ground. The bike of course balanced you in position to ride.

The suspension of the trike assembly made the bike run harder on the surface then a bike without the assembly. That is what led to my next bike!

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1500cc Gold Wing with side car,
mid- to late 1990s

This is my famous gold Honda 1500cc Gold Wing with a sidecar. I liked this bike because it had about everything on it. I remember once April and I rode it up to Helen Georgia for a nice outing and it worked pretty well. Most difficult part of riding this bike was the strength involved in turning the arm connected to the side car wheels. I think it took the strength of Hercules! This bike had the same trouble turning around corners that the Trike did. You felt you were being thrown to either the right or the left depending on which way you were turning so you had to lean very carefully to control where you were in the seat. One very difficult moment occurred when April and I were going toward Lake Lanier Islands. I was making a right turn and I came into the turn a little too fast. The sidecar’s wheel actually started coming off the ground so I turned the handlebars immediately to the left to balance this out which shot April and I across the other side of the road in front of a car waiting for the stop light. We ended up in the grass beside the road before I was able to stop us. I had some good rides on the bike but finally decided once more that it was time for a change – my pattern.

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Photo from WWW

Suzuki 400cc dark red Burgman professionally customized into a trike with GPS Double horns Sirius radio etc. 2014 – 2015  (see 4 pictures)

This is my next to last bike. I just realized I forgot to number by years every one of the bikes when I sent these forwarded emails. I will send you and mark the last email with the bikes and I will list each bike in numbered order.

As you can see in the subject this bike was really my grand finale!

The bike was customized little by little over a period of two years. It was a very comfortable bike ride and since it was converted to a trike I did not have to worry about holding the bike steady at traffic lights or stop signs. It had a GPS, Sirius radio, dual horns and really about every other standard accessory you could ask for on a bike that was also a large 400cc streamlined scooter with automatic transmission – of course. The only disadvantage of the bike was that the crossbars across the bottom holding the scooter wheels were too close to the ground, so when I went over railroad tracks or a big dip in the road the braces would scrape. It was still the best customized and designed bike I ever rode.

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Photo from WWW

Vino 125cc Yamaha scooter we carried on the back of our first RV – 20 foot Carri-Go by Dynamax in Elkhart, Indiana

I owned this bike beginning in 2010 to be carried on the back of our first motorhome- a 20 foot Carrie – Go by Dynamax in Elkhart, Indiana – which was my hometown! One quick word or two about the motorhome: I bought it online after an intensive search for about a month. I flew out to Colorado and purchased the RV. It was perfect for our needs at the time. I then drove it from Wyoming back to Elkhart where I had – as you might guess – a lot of customization done to it. One thing I learned about the factory workers in Elkhart was that they spoke in one or two word sentences – basically being yes or no – perhaps maybe and they got up at 4 AM to be at work at 5 AM to meet me at 5:30 AM. Groan! We drove the motorhome with my 125cc Yamaha Vino on the back carrier to St. George Island in Florida. By the time we had reached the island, the carrier had broken loose of its welding and was dragging the ground on the back right corner. The bike stayed attached but we realized how dangerous the situation could have become. That trip by the way was one of the times April was called back home for an emergency with one of her parents. I stayed at Saint George organizing everything in the new motorhome while a hurricane came in. It was not a direct hit and I was also taking care of a small black kitten that we could not keep because of our puppies. I had the carrier re-welded and weathered the storm with the house shaking back-and-forth on it’s pilings. After the storm, I had some of the nicest sunset rides I can ever remember all around St. George each evening.

 

The last bike:

The year was 2016 and the bike, believe it or not, had reduced to a small 125cc scooter from Havana Cuba! It was very similar to the one shown on a web page:

The scooter was actually very quick unless I was going up a hill but it did very well down hill. I knew my biking days were coming to an end so I just rode this little scooter all around my home area.

However, I did remove all the covers from the entire bike and there were a lot of them. Enough in fact that it took me a long time to reassemble the bike.

I had torn it apart for a very specific reason – I wanted to install a Sirius radio one last time. And I did. And it worked great!
                                 — End of my biking career.

Check my other pages:

Life as a Yachtsman

Photo: A dream realized – arriving in the Bahamas by boat !

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