One of my favorite motorcycle memories will always be the very first time I rode a motorcycle as a kid. You see, I began dreaming of owning and riding a motorcycle at the tender age of 14. At the time, most of my friends were riding off-road motorcycles, or dirt bikes. Of course, I didn’t have one, mainly because my mom felt it was just too dangerous. My father, on the other hand, didn’t mind. But mom had the final say, and it was a resounding “NO!” (Big surprise on both counts!).
However, I didn’t give up. I started riding my bicycle like a dirt bike! With determination, I became pretty adept at jumping trash cans with ramps and banking hairpin turns. After watching a local motocross racer practice every evening at a practice track near where I lived, I resolved to get my own bike. I read every motorcycle magazine I could get my grubby little 14 year old hands on and never stopped asking people if they had one to spare.
At that time, my uncle and I had a routine where he’d pick me up on Saturday mornings and take me to different places each time. One Saturday, to my surprise, he took me to the Honda shop to look at dirt bikes. I threw my leg over a Honda XR75, gripped the handlebars tight, closed my eyes and imagined I was out there on the racetrack, leading the pack and basking in the adoration of all my fans. Just as I thought we were going to leave, my uncle gestured toward the bike and asked me, “Do you want that?”
Are you kidding me?! Do I want that?!? I couldn’t believe what was happening. It felt so surreal. Of course I wanted it! I had been dreaming and scheming and obsessing for this very thing and all I wanted was to have it. I don’t think I ever wanted anything more up to that point.
Turns out, he and my grandmother were secretly putting money aside each month without me knowing, with a plan to make my dream come true. I can still remember how touched I was by their seemingly random act of kindness. It’s something that I will never forget. In fact, even to this day it encourages me and inspires me to do the same.
So they rolled that XR75 into the service department and a few minutes later it was prepped and ready to ride. Funny now that I think about it…while we were waiting for the bike my uncle turned to me and asked, “So, do you know how to ride it?”
“You bet I do!” I exclaimed.
To be completely honest though, it was my first time on a motorcycle, so naturally I stalled out a few times in the beginning. I was filled to overflowing with a nervous excitement, enhanced by my adolescent hormones. Do you remember how that felt? Soon enough, however, I was riding and shifting around the parking lot. I can still remember my mom’s face as we came home with the bike like it was yesterday: Unhappy would be a gross understatement. But we wore her down. I believe she saw how elated I was and she finally gave in. And the rest is history.
Little did I realize at that time that it would change my life. It wasn’t long after that I was fixing my own bikes, racing motocross, and helping my friends maintain theirs. I owned so many dirt bikes in the years that followed, some might consider it ridiculous. But you can’t help what you love, right?
My uncle and my grandmother allowed my dream to come true. They gave me an opportunity and to this day there’s nothing I want to do more than ride my motorcycles!
Thanks to Uncle Frank and my grandmother, both of whom will forever be in my heart…
What about you? What is one of your favorite motorcycle memories? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments section below and you could be featured in one of our future blogs!