Wednesday, 30 November 2011

How and Why did you get into Motorbikes?

I have read a few motorcycling blogs recently that I haven't seen before.  With almost all of them, I was left wondering how the authors of those blogs initially got into biking, and why?

This wondering has got the better of me, so I thought I would ask.

Keen to set the ball rolling, I have set out below my reasons.  I would like to know your reasons, so if you want to participate in this, then write something on your own blog about 'How and Why I got into Motorbikes'.  Then, so we can keep track of the responses, please add a comment to this post, with a link to your own post.

Here is my biking background....

I can remember that when I was really young, maybe at around the age of four, that my Father had a motorbike with a sidecar. Rather frustratingly, that is all I can remember of this.

At about the age of 13, I was taken to some motorcycle races and I really enjoyed these.  I went for a couple of seasons and at the time, it was the Yamaha's and Suzuki's that prevailed and I watched the end of the Norton racing decline.  Racers like Giacomo Agostini, Barry Sheene and Kenny Roberts dominated and produced exciting racing.

Money was short in our family as my wonderful mother was raising us four kids on her own.  My father had died when I was 11 years old and as the eldest boy, I felt the need to start working as soon as possible to help out financially. I was sixteen when I left school and got my first job, full time.  The only form of transport I could afford was a pedal cycle and I rode that 13 miles to work and 13 miles home again each day. This kept me fit and I was as thin as a rake back then!

At 17, continuing to ride a bicycle was becoming impractical in all seasons, so I decided to buy a small motorbike (a Honda C90) as a necessity to travel to and from work. I bought a small motorbike because it was the only form of vehicle I could afford and I rode that bike along with its two replacements every day for about five years, in all weathers. Really good gloves and waterproofs were unusual and cost way too much for my limited budget, so I used to suffer really badly with the cold.  Riding in snow is not much fun if you have to because it is the only way to get to work.

Like many others, marriage and children put an end to my early motorcycling days and it wasn't until many years later that I bought my next bike.  Early for a meeting in London, I had about 45 minutes to waste, so I went to see a nearby Harley-Davidson dealer.  I admired the shiny gleaming machines so much that I arranged to rent a Road King for a weekend. Within an hour of riding the bike, I had decided to buy one.  Returning the rental bike saw me ordering one for myself.  That was six years ago and since then, I have thoroughly enjoyed my re-introduction to biking.  I guess I am a born-again biker!

What's your story?

59 comments:

Chillertek said...

Good blog Gary, and i love your blog title.

Here's my reason that i got into bike which differ quite a bit from yours. This will open a whole can of worms.......It'll be interesting to read everyone's blogs on how they got started.

http://chillerteksr1page.blogspot.com/2011/11/how-and-why-did-you-get-into.html

Nikos said...

I blame ASLEF!

I had to commute across SE London to school and in my 6th form year the trains went on strike. The bus service petered out at Penge so the parental justification case was made for a moped.

An FS1E was followed by an RD200 (when I hit 17) on which I took my test. That was stolen just as I was going to Uni so I made do with a pedal bike.

Many years later a BMW R1100R appeared!

Erik said...

When I was about 11 or 12, I went with my father to a motocross race. He knew I was interested in motorcycles and thought it would be a fun thing to do. I loved the sound and smell of the 2-stroke bikes. At the time, I was reading motorcycle magazines pretty much non stop. I was mowing my neighbors lawns for money, and I wanted a bike in the worst way. The summer I turned 13, I was able to convince my parents that I wouldn't kill myself on a motorcycle, and was able to buy a very clean '71 Honda SL-70. I had that bike for many years. I rode it all around the neighborhood. I only had contact with police once, they told me to push it home.
I think I have always been a dreamer. I purchased my first street bike while working with a guy who talked about riding to CA. After I bought a H-D Sportster, he was fired, and I've never seen him since.
After I got married, I had to stop for a while, But picked up riding again in the late 90's. When I got divorced, it's been pretty much non-stop since then.
On my blog, http://fjr-trips10.blogspot.com/ I list all the bikes I've owned.

Erik.

irondad said...

I was given a dirt bike at 8 years old. Fell in love and never fell out.

No Name said...

Like the song says, "all I wanna do is have a little fun before I die," ...

Life is short- ride a motorcycle.

Charlie6 said...

I never even considered motorcycles until the rise of gasoline prices here in the states. First time on one was day one of the Basic Rider Course, it was history after that...... : )

dom

ps: never did achieve that "save money on gas" objective though, rode way too much for that to happen. : )


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Raftnn said...

Here is my link Gary...hope you find it interesting.


http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=8545332438527100199#editor/target=post;postID=8177685923896312421

Trobairitz said...

Great post Gary. It will be interesting to see everyone's riding history and what got them into riding.

I'll have to do some thinking and post up one too.

Geoff James said...

Wonderful post Gary and we have so many similarities! I was some 60 miles north of you but trod a similar path!

Well done on a great idea!

bobskoot said...

Gary:

Nothing too exciting. I was introduced to riding, by accident. I am now in phase 3

http://wetcoastscootin.blogspot.com/2011/11/introduction-to-self-powered-2-wheeled.html

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

SonjaM said...

Gary, you asked, and you shall be given an answer:

http://2wheelersrevisited.blogspot.com/2011/11/how-and-why-did-i-get-into-motorbikes.html

Lovely idea.

bluekat said...

I love this idea - sharing the histories. Good one!
The c90 seems to be the starter bike of choice back in the day. Everyone I know who rode as a kid seems to have started on a c90 or similar trail bike.

It also seems like starting a family is often the end of motorcycling for a lot of families. This was true of us as well.

It's an old post, but this has a little of our history: http://bluekat78.blogspot.com/2009_03_01_archive.html

RichardM said...

Put up a post this afternoon on how I got started. My interest was that it was almost like bicycle touring only I could cover more territory.

How I got started

Richard said...

Great idea, Gary. Here is my take on the subject. Are these challenges going to be a regular thing?

VStar Lady said...

Yet another terrific invitation Gary! Gotta love it.
I think I posted a photo of my first ride sometime ago(my Mom had it in her archives). She(the bike) was a Honda 175 that stalled everytime I used the turn signal. Her name was Flame. I started riding because when I said I could get an M Lic. somebody laughed and said, "not likely." I never back down from a challenge...the rest is history.

Troubadour said...

Here is my link, thanks for the fodder.

http://troubadourtriumph.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-and-why-did-you-get-into-motorbikes.html

Trobairitz said...

Okay Gary - remember, you asked for it:

http://trobairitztablet.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-and-why-i-got-into-motorbikes.html

Thanks for the great idea.

Gary France said...

Chillertek – I am glad you like the blog and its new title. You are right, it has been interesting to read everyone’s start stories. I enjoyed reading your story and when you next see that brother of yours, shake him by the hand for giving you the introduction into sports biking.

Gary France said...

Nikos – Is that ASLEF, as in “No trains running today because aslef the train at the depot due to the strike”. I saw a bunch of restored FS1E’s the other day and while I didn’t personally have one, they did bring back a lot of happy memories of early biking years. They certainly were popular back then. The RD200 was very similar to an early bike of mine, Yamahas YR5, the 350 version of the same bike.

Gary France said...

Erik – Oh the smell of those two-strokes! Good for you that you have been to Sturgis every year since 1999 – what a rally! You got your first bike at a younger age than most, so at thirteen it must have been very exciting and I can see why you have continued riding in all those years that followed. It is interesting how marriage and then divorce can so influence people riding of motorbikes.

Gary France said...

Irondad – 8 years old is a great age to start riding a motorbike!

No Name – I couldn’t agree more.

Gary France said...

Charlie6 / Dom – I imagine your gas consumption went up considerably! Most people I have met that rode bikes originally to save money on gas pretty soon gave them up as they never had biking in their veins. It was because they were forced to ride a bike by circumstance, not choice. You are therefore somewhat unusual as you stuck with bikes and it then became a passion. Good for you!

Gary France said...

Roger – You hoped I would find it interesting? Err, yes! Probably the most interesting of all stories about how someone got into biking and stuck with it, through some big changes in your life. A great read!

Gary France said...

Geoff – I really enjoyed your post, even the clothes which back then were no doubt very fashionable! I have never been to the TT but your post might just have inspired me to go.

Gary France said...

Bob – Yours was a story that spoke volumes about how things used to be. Looking back to those times must have bought back fond memories for you. You tale certainly made me smile.

Gary France said...

Sonja – Your story is full of lots of memories. I like it. I also like the monkey bike! Thanks for taking part.

Gary France said...

bluekat – Your story demonstrates more than most the challenge you had in your early riding years. It is amazing to have read your blog posts from the past year or so and read about a confident rider, then go back to your beginnings and see how it all began with your initial few rides to learn how to handle a bike. A great contrast!

Gary France said...

RichardM– Wow, travelling tens of thousands of miles on your bicycle is impressive. I can understand why you would want a bike with an engine after that!

David Masse said...

Nice initiative Gary. I'm happy to add a fresh post of my own to add to the fun. When I started my blog I posted something along these lines, but it never hurts to take a fresh opportunity to recount the tale. You've started quite a wave of responses. Until I get a fresh post up, here is a link to my very first post.

Dawnita Rose said...

I sure have enjoyed following you in all of your travels. Thanks for the invite to share.

http://mototripsandsuch.blogspot.com/2011/12/he-asked-how-and-why-did-i-get-into.html

Circle Blue said...

Here's my link. Thanks for the ask.

http://crcleblue.blogspot.com/2011/12/one-more-time.htm

David Masse said...

Thanks again Gary, here's my post: http://scootcommute.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-and-why-i-got-into-motorbikes.html

Gary France said...

Richard – Reading your story was just like reading my own. We sound very similar! I wouldn’t say my challenges are regular, but there are a few a year of one sort or another....

Gary France said...

VStar Lady – I cannot think of a better way of being challenged than being told you cannot do something. When I think back to the incredible tour that you did, one thing still strikes me and that was what you told some young women about motorcycling. It was something like “Girls can bike too”. I may not have remember the exact words, but I remember the sentiment. That drive to do things that are challenging is a good trait for anyone to have and I can see that you have this in heaps! Maybe that was why I wasn’t surprised when I read about your reaction to someone telling you “not likely”. Good for you!

Gary France said...

Troubadour – I laughed out loud at your “....at times I've been instructed to go for a ride” comment. Hilarious and I can certainly relate to that.

Gary France said...

Trobairitz – Yes, I remembered! For anyone that hasn’t yet read Trobairitz’s story about starting riding, go take a look now. She learnt to ride on a 900cc bike! I chuckled at the "sit down, shut up, and hold on" statement. LOL.

Dar said...

Gary

I like your blog. Great blog story idea. Its fun to see how people started their 2 wheeled adventure. I am rather new to riding. Here is my link http://scootermayhem.blogspot.com.

Gary France said...

David – I am glad that you silenced the Angels. I have added your blog to the list of those that I read. I look forward to discovering more about your scootering!

Canajun said...

Well here you go Gary. http://ontwowheels-eh.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-and-why-did-you-get-into.html

Now I can relax and enjoy reading about other's experiences.

Cheers.

Brian J said...

My riding was started young, 14. Mostly because everyone said that it was too dangerous and I'd kill myself.
Being the sort to ignore that kind of 'advice' I began on my life long passion. No regrets. Much to the surprise of Mom, I'm still alive and mostly undamaged.

Rene' and Jeanette Genereux said...

I started riding a Honda 90 (on road/off road) when I was 16 years old. Also raced motorcross with a Canadian racing license for a couple of years. Great fun.

Gave it all up to attend university - then got married - then children came along - career flourished - left the corporate world and started my own business - then at age 45 started riding again.

I purchase a rode bike - Kawasaki 500 and within a few years changed that up for a Kawasaki Nomad 1500 cruiser. Soon to change up again for the Kawasaki Nomad Voyageur - the Harley replica full dresser. I'm now 59 and - along with my wife - have now rideen well over 250,000 km from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, (where we live)to Mexico, all over the USA, Canada, etc.

I was born to ride.

Cheers.

Gary France said...

Dawnita – Thank you for reading and commenting on my blog and I am pleased that you have enjoyed following me in my journeys. I just read the story on your own blog about how you got into motorcycling and I am impressed! After a shaky start, you have put a large number of miles on your bike, as many in fact as bikers with many more years of riding experience. Happy riding!

Gary France said...

Keith – Yours is an unusual tale of why you started biking, in that you joined the riding party in your more mature years. It is unusual also in the positive effect it seems to have on you. It is a very good story indeed.

Rex J. Covington said...

I have always had a bike, from bicycles to mini bike, till the age of 15. My first street motorcycle was a yamaha 250 endro, that I rode back & forth from home, school & work. At the age of 26 I bought a Yamaha Virago & it was the only vehicle I owned for 5 years. I have progress up to touring bike about 15 years ago, the latest is a Victory Vision.

mq01 said...

such a fabulous post and response posts! im enjoying reading them all! i will get off my ass soon and put something up, i will :)

Gary France said...

Dar – Thanks for looking at my blog. You may be new to riding, but carrying on after wiping out an orange scooter on a test ride was a brave thing to do!

Gary France said...

Canajun – There are some great memories in your story. Good for your Dad giving you that first no-runner! I too eventually had a small Yamaha two-stroke, that belched blue smoke and sounded like a sewing machine on steroids!

Gary France said...

Brian J – I like your comments about both advice and your Mom!

Gary France said...

Rene – It is good to hear from someone else that worked on an Olympic Games. I worked out how to build all of the venues and infrastructure for London 2012 and put in place the plans that set out the timing, phasing and methods for their construction. I also got involved, albeit in just the strategy, for how and when all of the fitting out of the IBC / MPC would be undertaken, so I know a little of your business. I then worked indirectly for the Russian Government in their early preparations for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

I too started by riding a Honda 90 at the age of sixteen!

Wow, 250,000kms is one heck of an achievement and you are not kidding, you certainly was born to ride, even more so as you live in Canada where the riding season is shorter than many places. Thanks for telling your story.

Gary France said...

Rex – Oh the joys of being a kid and messing about with bicycles and mini bikes! I have never ridden a Virago, but have heard many people speaking highly of them. I like the look of your Victory Vision, especially as it is a dark color and long and sleek. Nice looking bike to go cruising on.

Gary France said...

mq01 – Thanks. I too have enjoyed reading everyone’s tales of how they started on this passion we all share. Still waiting for yours though....

Rene' and Jeanette Genereux said...

Gary,

FYI: On the Pacific Coast of British Columbia, Canada, we can ride 12 months of the year. We seldom get any snow and if so, we wait for the rain to wash it all away. It's usually very shot lived.

Vancouver, BC, (and the surrounding coastal area) is in a temperate climate area. It's known as the California of Canada. It tends to drizzle a fair bit during December, January and February though! But we can still golf and ride.....and we do!

Robert Wilson said...

For me it was simple economics. I had never really rode a motorbike till I picked up an old beat up Zuma 125. Funny thing though...It hooked me.

http://2smallerwheels.blogspot.com/2011/08/logic-or-lack-of-logic-in-my-getting.html

Gary France said...

Rene and Jeanette - Thanks for the explanation.  I guess I have a lot to learn about Canada, having as I do, a stereotypical view of Canada.  Snow and Ice Hockey, right?  Clearly wrong!

David Stans said...

My experience was all Dirt and remember my first bike was a 1980 Suzuki RM 80. After a few hours of training from my grandfather I was off on my own, I reved the throttle let go of the clutch and BAMMM handlebars came up and hit me in the mouth. Looked around and unbelievable noone was watching so picked up the bike and tried again. From that point on I have loved bikes and have settled in on the Harley Davidson brand and have never looked back!

George Ferreira said...

Great way to get to know how everyone started, I'm late to the boat, trying to catch up on blogs. I guess I will have to work on my story.
By the way, love the new name :-)

Gary France said...

Robert – I liked your story about how you got into biking. The part when you changed from doing to for necessary commuting to simply just going for a ride for the fun of it and realising just how much fun it is will be something recognized by many. Good for you!

Gary France said...

David – Yours is both a good story and also a sad one. Like me, many of those that shaped your life of motorcycling are no longer around and it is sad that you cannot share that with them. However, you and I have a lot to be thankful to those that started us on our biking journey, so for that I raise my glass to them as we start another year and think fondly of them. Thanks for telling your story.

Gary France said...

George – My turn to catch up now. I am glad you like the new name of my blog. Happy New Year to you!