Cool storyI was 14 and the guy that lived across the street from my folks was 20. His name was Eldon. He had a 40 something Ford Hot Rod and a 1945 Harley 45" flathead motorcycle; 3 speed shifter on the tank, suicide clutch, and all the stuff an army salvage bike would have. While he would work on his car I would go watch him and set on the bike. Sometimes I would try to kick it through, but at 120 lbs. I wasn't very successful. I asked him if I could start it could I ride it, and he felt safe in replying "yes" thinking that skinny kid can never do it. Over the summer I watched every move he made when he would go to start the bike. I think I dreamed about going through the motions. One day I went through my mental checklist and the old bike came to life. He looked up from working on the Hot Rod and said, "Be careful." Been riding for 57 years. Thanks Eldon.
Never saw his it was before I was born. He had a BMW by the time I was a tot. Thanks for straightening that out.The suicide clutch was not a shifter, it was a spring assisted foot operated clutch. The gear shifter was mounted on the tank and the bike had a 3-speed transmission. The problem many folks had with the clutch was that they would remove their foot from the pedal while stopped and the bike would lunge forward. The coordination for shifting was to remove your right hand from the handlebar, press the clutch pedal, and shift to the next gear.
Did you read his first book about bicycling through Africa?It was two people. The first, a very close friend, and the second someone I greatly admire but have not met.
As I was reading the book Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road my friend purchased his first bike. He tried to steer into a Harley but I went with a used GS 500, which was a great starter bike. His enthusiasm for motorcycling definitely influenced me.
Ghost Rider was written by Neil Peart, the drummer and lyricist for the band Rush. It chronicles his long distance ride through North and Central America, which helped him come to terms with the deaths of his wife and daughter. I’ve been a huge fanboy of Rush since 1982 and identify with much of Peart’s philosophy and worldview, and this book is a window into the thoughts and emotions of a great thinker and feeler.
Motorcycling has been a great journey for me!
Did you ever meet Charlie Lipton? He used to work for Suzuki back in the 80's maybe the 90's? That was before he moved to Japan.Discounting the Briggs-engined mini-bikes my Dad set my brother and I up with as very young kids ... I'd have to credit a lifelong friend (our parents were friends in Austin when we were born a month apart) who started riding Brit bikes sometime around 1969~70 when we were in high school.
Much more interesting than him introducing me to motorcycles ... that friend made motorcycles a successful career:
Ed started wrenching at Triumph of Austin (Burnet Rd) while still in High School; moved to D&L Suzuki Service Dept. (N. Lamar) after a few years; squeezed a few years at UT Austin business school in there; was hired by Suzuki of America as a Regional Tech Rep a few years after that. Then was transferred to Suzuki of America HQ (LA/Brea, CA) where he's still employed and enjoying his work.
I don't know for a fact but I'd imagine Ed's in the top ~3 in terms of uninterrupted tenure among all current Suzuki of America employees (and probably in a small group among Suzuki worldwide). No question he's the 'go-to-guy' there when it comes to technical knowledge of Suzuki USA machines for the last 50 years and they'll lose an incredible institutional resource when he finally retires.
It doesn't matter if what you did is as impressive or amazing as what someone else did. It got you out of your "box" and showed you that you can do more in life. For a LOT of people, that is a much needed lesson/experience!So, I bought a cheap, small cruiser to learn on, had it about 6 months and traded it in for a Versys, kinda learned how to ride it, then strapped on my camping gear and did a two-week solo trip up through the rockies, Utah, Montana, etc. That was a kinda big deal for me. Yeah, not a 'round the world trip, but hugely fun, darn good for the midlife blues.
That was kind of my realization as well when getting passed by some ADV bikes while cycling in the Hill Country. I had no idea those bikes existed. Or Moto Camping. I thought it was just the three that you mentioned and I didn't have interest in those. I was already at a point where I wanted to do touring farther than what a bicycle trip would let me do, so it was just the next natural step.then Charley and Ewan informed me that motorcycles can be used for actual travel, camping, etc. That was a revelation - and I'm not exactly sure why. Previously, motorcycles were just noisy city-bound things that guys with creative facial hair and tattoos had. And there were only three kinds of motorcycles: Harlerys, Ninjas and dirt bikes.