…even when you don’t need them to!
A while back I went to a ‘Bike Night’ hosted by a local dealership at a popular drive-in burger joint (aren’t they all?). I took a sh*tload of pictures ( thank god, and Nikon, for digital camera’s) and met a bunch of very friendly and enthusiastic riders.
There must have been at least 300 hundred bikes in the parking lot and more on the street. Cafe racers, cruisers, vintage bikes and a couple of very cool sidecar rigs. You name it, it was there. This was a time and place that being a motorcyclist was more important than what you rode or what you wore.
As the evening went along I made friends with a couple from Ireland, they had just moved here to California and were enjoying the bike culture that we have here. He told me great stories of riding in the UK, going to the Isle of Man TT and taking part in ‘Mad Sunday’, and the cafe racer society hanging out at the Ace Cafe in London. The stories got better as the Guinness bottles lined up next to his bike.
Around 10 o’clock the parking lot was thinning out and it was time to ride home. Nial and his wife were heading the same direction as me so we left together. The minute we pulled onto the street Nial launched a huge wheelie, almost leaving his wife on the street, and then just disappeared down the road. I said my goodbye’s inside my helmet and rode casually on. It wasn’t too long after that I spotted my new friends visiting with a local policeman. I stopped behind the cop car and got just close enough to listen to the conversation.
The officer had stopped Nial for speeding and here is what I heard of the conversation…
Officer, “do you know how fast you were going sir?”
Nial, “no sir”
Officer, “you were doing 85 in a 35 mile an hour zone”
Nial.”I couldn’t have been, this bike won’t do 85 in 2nd gear?”
At this point the officer looks at Nial’s wife and asks her, “do you believe that he wasn’t doing 85 miles per hour?”
Wife, ” I never argue with him when he’s been drinking like this…”
I ended up giving Nials wife a ride home because he did leave her on the street anyway.
I’m an open minded kind of guy, I think. I like all kinds of food (including stuff that if you really knew what it was you wouldn’t get it anywhere near your mouth), most all kinds of music (I learned to like punk because of my son but I will never accept rap as a form of music…), and even some friends choice of wives (or husbands as the case may be).
The area that I think I am the most open minded is motorcycles. As far as I’m concerned if it has two wheels and a motor, it’s great! I like most all motorcyclists as well. Ok, I do have a bit of a problem when it comes to certain motorcycle brand owners that are too into the ‘lifestyle’ instead of actually riding their status symbol, but I’m working hard at getting over it and thousands of hours in therapy are helping. I like cafe racers, dual sports, adventure bikes, long distance tourers, stretched out choppers, bobbers, baggers, vintage English bikes, UJM’s from the 80’s, and scooters too. I love motorcycles, even the ones you wouldn’t be caught dead riding much less be in your garage.
For some strange reason though, I have this weird affinity for the little old Honda 350. I have seen them laying in fields by the side of the road (that is where I found the first one I bought for my dad, yes I did like him), in the farthest back corner of an abandoned warehouse, in the basement of an old house in Hollywood (I did buy one there, really), a good number of them turn up at Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Swap Meets, and on ebay (generally way over valued).
I have seen Honda’s omnipresent 350 turned into cafe racers,desert racers (I have had both), choppers and bobbers.Grocery getters and student commuters. Todd Henning is the Guru of making Honda 350 roadracers that put bigger, more modern bikes to shame on the track. I have even seen some left stock?! The Honda 350 is the one bike that you can buy without breaking the bank (or even having to ask the bank…your wife…) and turn into anything you want it to be. That’s why I love ’em.
While looking for parts for my latest SL350 Cafe’ Racer project the other day, I came upon the coolest, or at least the most unique, styling treatment I have ever seen for a Honda 350.
I can’t imagine any high fashion woman not wanting to ride around in this classic Honda. Soichiro is probably turning over in his grave right now.
I started attending church when I was eight years old. The local Presbyterian church is where my grandmother decided I should go to learn about God and Jesus. Ok?…when you live with your grandmother and you’re only eight years old you can’t argue can you?! But, eight years later I really learned about God and Jesus.
In 1968 my mom married Mike, a good guy who loved motorcycles. 1968 turned out to be the year I left the Presbyterian church to join ‘The Church of Speed’ and really came to know God and his Son. Most all Sunday’s I found myself either going way too fast on a canyon road or bouncing along in the middle of the Mojave Desert (occasionally wondering where the hell I was??) on a Bultaco motorcycle that was as untrustworthy as an unattended dog near a big picnic table loaded with food. In both situations I was constantly saying “Oh GOD help me” or “Oh Jesus get me out of this” and more often, “Holy SH*t”.
Recently I was searching my library for a book I hadn’t read before or at least not in the past few years when my phone rang and divine intervention took over. The call was from my old friend Rob, the Pastor of Bikers Church back in Ottawa Canada. He is planning another trip out west this summer and was asking route advice. As I was pulling out my old maps I told him about my search for a new book and it took him less time to come up with a suggestion that it takes Ricky Gadsen to come off the starting line at a National Drag Race…”The Bible” he said. “When was the last time you read it?” I told him I was sixteen when I last read the ‘Good Book’, “well it’s about time you revisited it” he said. After talking about his trip and his urging me to read the Bible numerous times we said our goodbyes and made plans to meet on the road.
Knowing that Rob would ask me Bible questions when we next talked I picked up the book and started reading. Genesis was good but it was Exodus that really got my interest. It was in the book of Exodus that I discovered that Triumph motorcycles have been around a lot longer than most people think. Sure, Triumph has been telling everyone that they have been around since 1902 but if you read the book of Exodus closely you will find that Triumph has been making motorcycles since biblical times. When Moses led the Jews out of Egypt, he did it on a motorcycle! Really. And how do I know this? It says it right there in the bible…”the roar of Moses’ Triumph could be heard throughout the hills!”
And…here’s the original Triumph owners manual!
Long way to go for a bad joke huh?!