My first motorcycle

When I bought my first motorcycle

My first love

For me, at least, it was never love at first sight. So, if you are looking for a story about getting puppy eyed on some street, heart pumping with adrenaline, you are probably reading the wrong tale. Not that I don’t believe in the spontaneity of such engagements. I am, in actual fact, as prone as anyone to falling in love on a whim. However, that was not how this one went down. In fact, it would be safe for me to say that the whole thing was more of a convenience; a bad idea that seemed like a bad idea even then. She was there and I was there and, although there was never any love lost between us, what could we do?

How it all began

I remember my mom almost going apoplectic when I brought her home. Now, that was really a sight to behold! She, as your own mom will likely do when you bring your first motorcycle home, chronicled all the nasty sounding statistics.

There is, did I realize, the fact that a person is much more likely to be killed when riding a motorcycle than when driving a car? What did I have to say about that? And what did I think I was? A wannabe member of some motorcycle gang?

The grim statistics

Okay, I have to admit that I had not actually stopped to think about the implications to my health and wellbeing before making my spur of the moment decision to purchase my first motorcycle. I mean, like almost everyone, I had heard that motorcycle account for a disproportionately large amount of the deaths that occur each year on the country’s highways.

Tell anyone that you are going to buy a motorcycle, and you are likely to have this fact thrown right into your face. And, do like I did and surprise everyone by suddenly bringing the thing home without any warning, and they will still throw the grim statistics right into your face.

How I bought my first motorcycle

If anyone had told me that I was ever going to buy a motorcycle, I would have laughed hard before walking away. I mean, I am a car type of person, thank you very much.

Yet I ended up having one, not because I went out to actually purchase one. What happened was that an old man lived not far from our home down the street. One way or the other, I had befriended him and would spend quite some time hanging out in his yard. That was despite the fact that there was a gulf of about 60 years between us.

The old man, may his soul rest in peace, inevitably had to move when getting old became more of a chore than it already is. He told me that he was moving to New York City to be closer to his family. And would I be kind enough to get the not so old 2002 Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 that he had never actually ridden off his hands?

The bike

What such an old man was doing with such a new bike is another story altogether. I mean, you would expect him to have a 1964 Ducati Mountaineer or a 1975 Kawasaki 500 H1. Not the Harley-Davidson Sportster from the year 2002.

The thing had been purchased for him by one of his grandsons. The old man had looked at the bike with what bordered on nostalgia, gone around the bloke a couple of time (to the shock of almost the entire neighborhood), shaken his head and promptly parked it in his garage.

There it had gathered dust during the course of three or so years, before the old man decided to move, not to heaven, but to New York City as I mentioned earlier. He also decided that I was going to take it out of his hands beforehand, and that’s how I ended up with my first motorcycle.

The old man even managed to pump me off for more than half the selling price of the Harley-Davidson Sportster.  Now, all that I had ever expected to pay for a motorcycle was a dollar or so, but there I was.

Home not so sweet home

I actually had to wheel the thing back home, on account of the fact that nobody had ever thought to teach me how to ride a motorcycle. When I arrived home, I was a mixture of trepidation and mild triumph. I had managed to push the Harley-Davidson Sportster for a mile or so without actually falling onto my behind.

My first motorcycle: The storm

Now, I don’t have to repeat the kind words that my mom threw in my direction when she discovered that I had blown all my savings on the whim of some old man. With college just around the corner, it now did begin to sound as if I had made the worst decisions that anybody had ever made on planet Earth (and maybe on Mars, Venus and Pluto too).

The noise was such that I promptly parked the thing in my parent’s garage before, weeks later, going off to college. I heard once there that my dad had actually taken the Harley-Davidson Sportster on a jaunt of two, ostensibly under the pretense of keeping the oil fresh and clean.

That explanation didn’t hold as much oil by the time my mom finished poking holes in it, so the bike promptly went back into the garage.


So, if there is anyone out there who wishes to purchase a slightly used Harley-Davidson Sportster, just get in touch? And if you live across the road from an old man, don’t let him talk you into purchasing anything….


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