When my friends were aging out of riding bicycles and into driving their father’s cars, I just had to have a motorcycle. Puberty had set in, and I knew that a rumbling, vibrating bike was the way to impress a girl. Plus to go for a ride, they had to hug you; a surefire way to break the ice!
I’d been hankering for a motorcycle well before I was legally able to ride. That point was driven home when a friend loaned me his NSU Quickly scooter. I thought that I could cajole my dad into letting me buy it, and keep it until I turned 16. Instead, he caught me riding it around our block, and was I surprised when the police arrived to get me off of it. I never found out what happened with my then ex-friend. Sorry, Murray! I had to wait until I was on my own in 1976 when I bought my dream bike: a 1973 red Honda CB175. I had to park it outside my apartment in the rain and the snow. At least when I drove to work at a camera/stereo store, I could park it inside the back storeroom. The owner dropped by one day, and he thought that a tank full of gasoline and cardboard boxes full of Sony Trinitron TVs didn’t mix. So he told me I had to park it outside. That’s me in the stockroom, looking incredibly cool.
When I moved 1,400 miles to be near my dad, who was by then ill, I brought along my new wife (thanks to those hugs while riding on the Honda!). But alas, I sold my bike. Every subsequent spring, I got the fever for a motorcycle, but family and other obligations always intervened. A few years ago, I gave in to temptation, and now have two bikes, both red. But neither has the chrome fenders and the kickstart that I love so much. One day I hope to find that bike, and travel in its time machine back to when I was 30 pounds lighter, 43 years younger, and feeling as cool as I thought I looked back then.
Vince Wesley/Vancouver, Canada
Thanks for writing. Keep looking for that CB175! — Ed.