I awoke to snow this morning...snow and a stiff neck. The snow is due to 'ol mother nature, the stiff neck is courtesy of a young and inexperienced driver who cut me off on my drive home from work yesterday afternoon.
I have been working on this post sporadically over the past few days. It's just a few thoughts on some significant life events a a bit of my story on how I became HighwayMan.
As this spring stumbles into summer several milestones are on the horizon. Most immediate of these is the pending end of the school year (my 27th) taking me one year closer to retirement and the end of my professional career. On a personal level, today I took my youngest out for her first driving lesson. By the end of the summer she will be ready to take her driver's license test...which will bring with it a whole new bunch of worries.
As the temps nudge upward, I have gotten a few motorcycle rides in. 2014 is my 8th season as a rider and very early in the season I will surpass 100,000 kms under my arse. I'm pretty proud of that milestone, though I'm not gettin' a big head over it. I know lots of riders who have ridden that much and more in the same period. I also know many who have ridden less. For me riding is such a big part of my life/identity/long-term plans that the 100,000 kms is pretty huge. I think back to the day in June 2007 when my cousin, Brian, came by the house on the '85 Kawasaki 750 that he'd just bought for $1200.00. I had always wanted a motorcycle and when Brian came by something clicked. I had ridden as a kid (borrowing friends dirt bikes or riding on back with buddies) but never owned one. Then life came along and before I knew it I was 42 and...
Anyways, back to Brian; I said too him "man, if I can get a bike for $1200.00, I'm havin' one." Long story short, two weeks later I was the very proud owner of an ice metallic blue, brand spankin' new 2007 Honda Shadow 750 V-twin. With its raked out forks, 21" front wheel and low-rider seat it was cooool!!! I put 4500 kms on it my first year riding and over 16,000 kms in my second. I was, and am, hooked.
|A file copy, but exactly like my first bike. It called my name from the showroom floor.|
I've owned two bikes since the Shadow, which I sold again after two years and 21,000 kms. It was a great bike but I soon became a highway rider and it was nothing for me to head out for coffee and travel 600-700 kms before I made it back home. The V-twin 750 wasn't made for that kind of highway riding. I needed something with more oomph! My second bike, purchased in December 2009, was a 2000 750 Honda Magna V-4. Those two extra cylinders made all the difference. It had 18,000 kms on it. It has provided me many hours/miles of therapy and pure peace & contentment. It has also resulted in my meeting and having extended conversation with several RCMP officers in our fine province. That bike does accelerate VERY quickly! I have personalised it in several different ways:
|All black as it was when I bought it|
|Customised paint & also with custom made leather seat. The copper color is the paint code, called burnt orange, from a '69 Plymouth GTX that my brother owned.|
|I created the tank logo, combining several old Honda logos I found online|
|Amongst my riding friends I am known as HighwayMan, for my penchant for long highway trips. I found the logo online and had the side cover decal made up. Barb wire pinstripes by Neil Butler at "Signs First"|
|HighwayMan logo embossed in seat backrest|
|Me trying to look far more badass then I have any hope of ever being. Note the dual headlights I had installed and also custom made leather tool kit behind me.|
|Cleaned up and ready for the open road.|
The Magna is 14 years old now and has 90,000 Kms on it. One of the big and unexpected positives of my motorcycle experience is that it has become a shared passion with my wife. Sherry is not a rider but a happy passenger. We both love riding so much that our retirement plans are centred around it. When the time comes we'll sell the homestead out from under the young'uns, buy the RV and, with bike in tow, we'll ride wherever the sun shines...I hear Arizona is quite nice! With this in mind, and given the advancing age & mileage on the Magna, we decided to purchase something more suited to long haul two-up riding. I found a reasonable deal on a 2008 Honda ST 1300 V-4 with only 10,000 kms on it. It has all the amenities of a tourer i.e. tour pack/rack, side bags, larger seat and a few cushy add-ons like heated grips and butt-warmer for NL fall and spring riding. It also goes like a scalded cat... not going to help my situation vis a vis getting to know RCMP officers :(
|The ST with the North Atlantic behind us at Cape Spear, the eastern most tip of North America.|
So that is a bit of my story about becoming a motorcycle enthusiast. The bike has taught me that we all need a passion, something that gives to us far more than it takes from us. When I ride I feel genuine peace and freedom. In the coming days and weeks the weather will begin to warm up on a more consistent basis (snow currently in the forecast) and I'll have some pics of actual road trips to share in later postings. 'Til then...
See Ya out There.... Ride On!