So my first street motorcycle was a 1983 Honda Interceptor 750. I was 16 when I bought it, and hanging on Martha’s Vineyard, where I lived with three friends in a one-bedroom apartment and worked on a roofing crew. The apartment below ours was occupied by a stoner named Rocket, which in all likelihood was not his given name, but I never heard anyone call him anything else. Funny. I just remembered about Rocket; hadn’t thought of him in a quarter-century or more. He must be at least 70 by now. If he’s still around.
I bought the bike for $500 out of the backyard of a middle-aged man who’d wrecked it and quickly lost interest; I would later learn far more than I wanted to know about wrecking bikes and losing interest (I believe this is called “foreshadowing”). The Honda was dinged up, but ran great, and I rode it a whole lot, and I am beyond grateful that the only time I dropped it I was in a parking lot spinning the back tire to show off for a girl I liked but who no doubt (and rightly so) had me pegged for a fool. Because really I had no business on such a powerful motorcycle. I mean, I’d had a couple of dirt bikes – a sweet old Honda Elsinore 125 among them – before the Interceptor, and I’d ridden my friends’ street bikes from time-to-time, but I was pretty green.
I rode the 750 for a while – couple of years, anyway – then bought an early 90’s Honda Hurricane 600. Smaller than the 750, but way quicker, and much more nimble. This one had been dumped, too, and I bought it cheap, too, though I don’t remember how cheap. Maybe $1000, $1200. Rode it all over the place, as much as possible. I vividly remember descending the snowed-packed dirt hill from my house, legs as outriggers, trying to keep it upright until I hit the dry pavement. Shivering to beat the band. During this period of my late teens, I also had a YZ125 (dirt bike), a XR200 (dirt bike), and a CR250 (dirt bike). No doubt there was something else in there, too, but it’s escaped my memory.
Ok. So I rode the Hurricane for a while, then sold it and bought a really nice Kawasaki GPZ750 from an older gentleman who’d babied it. First bike I owned that was in such good condition. I liked that motorcycle a lot, though like so many of those early sport bikes, it was too much engine mounted to too little suspension. Still. Fun, fun bike, and even pretty comfy.
After the GPZ – which I sold to I don’t know who – I had a KZ1000, then a KZ750 and, somewhere in there, a really cool little Honda CB350 twin. Gutless but style for miles and you know what a sucker I am for style. Seems like maybe I had a KX250 dirt bike in there, too, but I could be misremembering. I definitely remember the little XL125 I mentioned a few days back, and the Suzuki DR350 I fell off and rang my bell so hard I couldn’t remember my boys’ names. Puked a bunch, too. Truth told, that kind of put me off motorcycles. I just sort of reached a point where I realized the risk was no longer worth the thrill, and I sold the DR and that was it. With the exception of a handful of minor, low-speed dirt bike get-offs, it remains the only time I’ve dumped a bike, and I intend to keep it that way.
I just realized how few of you probably care about any of this, but it’s sorta fun for me, so thanks for humoring me.