The Anticipation. The Agony.

//The Anticipation. The Agony.

The Anticipation. The Agony.

It’s the middle of February. The freaking temp outside of J&P Cycles this morning was 1° F, and I’m jonesing for a motorcycle ride. Now mind you, I get to do a great deal of yacking about motorcycles here at my job; however, nothing quite replaces the adrenaline surge I get when I twist the throttle and hit the open road.

J&P E-Tech Scott Holton with his custom bike. I started riding at age 13 when my dad bought me a Montgomery Wards Riverside 250. I suppose these days that not many remember the retail giant that used to go toe-to-toe with Sears Roebuck. Heck, how many remember that name? The Riverside 250 was a single cylinder street bike that was made by Benelli. The tranny was toast, but I learned a lot with that piece of…ahem…gem. That was 44 years ago.

Every year, I get the same tingles as I think about the upcoming riding season. Of course, over the years, due to where I was living, the seasons could have lasted longer or started earlier. I think some of those warmer weather starts are what is making this year so hard.

My wife Debbie and I traditionally pick a day to aim for to have both our bikes ready to go. Over the past few years, maybe 10, we have considered the swap meet that John Parham started in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 33 years ago, as our opening day. Now run by Parts Girl Promotions, this year it will be held on March 8. Traditionally, we run into friends from all over the Midwest. We both are greatly looking forward to it.

J&P E-Tech Scott Holton with his wife's 1970 FLH My wife owns and rides a beautiful 1970 FLH. She’s had it longer than she has had me! It’s a relatively stock appearing dresser that is dependable as can be. My personal ride is a custom that I built a few years ago starting with an Indian Power Plus 100 engine. Made by Indian Motorcycle in Gilroy, Calif., its apt nickname is the Bottlecap motor. I, too, use the early dresser 4-speed frame, but I don’t think anyone would mistake it as a Harley. Upside-down forks, big wheels, carb on the left side—you get the picture.

We both love the crowds and looks our bikes generate when we participate in organized runs. In my opinion, they make quite the pair, just like my wife of 18 years and me. This year, we are looking to do more riding since our son doesn’t require as much supervision as in years past. As the year progresses, we plan more “us” time, and I’m really antsy for that.

Hope to see you on the roads!

By |2015-04-15T14:14:44+00:00February 12th, 2015|Categories: Editorial/Commentary Articles|23 Comments

About the Author:


  1. Steve Jensen April 8, 2015 at 7:30 am

    I to started out with a 125 montgomery wards benelli basket case i purchased for 25 bucks. that was 46 years ago. I had it made cause my father worked for montgomery wards as a service dept manager and he had a complete stock of parts he was to sell for scrape metal as wards had stopped selling them. life was good. My father had a 350 benelli, one lung, no compression release, had to split cases every year to replace starter shaft key. thanks for bringing those memories back for me. I had a fantastic childhood.

  2. Ryan York March 1, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    I hear you brother! its been quite the winter here in Massachusetts we have had record breaking Snow and cold temps! Cant wait to fire up the old Shovelhead will be thinking of you all when I do. Safe riding my friend say hello to the family for me. P.S. Pappas says hello!

  3. Mike February 27, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    I Remember my first bike as a Sears Riverside 60. Green piece of crap, but loved the freedom it gave me.

  4. Brian Mattison February 27, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Whoa,,,You guys are lucky! I m in Utica NY at about 15 below!! and another 6″ of snow on the way.
    ‘ just got a report that the ski slopes are planning on being open well into Memorial Day!! I rigged a hose for my exhaust so i can start that baby up just to listen to the rumble of my new pipes i added at the end of last season. guess I ll have to chat with the experts at JP to add some new flashy parts while I hibernate in the basement with her. Thank you guys for always being right there with tips and knowledge everytime I call in for advice.

    • Ed Olsen February 27, 2015 at 6:32 pm

      I remember my first ride it was a Hondamatic 50 cc yup all of 35 mph at 9 years old. It was -20 the other day and we have about 3’of snow on the ground here in Vt. How I yearned to ride my newest ride a 2012 Street Glide thank you J & P for all the great parts used to keeping my 81 shovel on the road

  5. jay February 27, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Ah; winter, shovel snow ;.watch the beautiful flakes gently float to the ground.#######@%$$*$#!@ snow. putting on 5 layers of clothing; 2 extra pairs of socks; go outside; come in after chores and then remove all the layers; rub some pain crème on my back; then get ready to do it again in 4 hours. But guess what? I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The wide open praire of eastern Colo; wind that is always blowing 12 months of the year; wide open views that go on and on for miles and a loving wife that never complains while riding on the rear of an old FXR to Sturgis every year. Thanks Scott.

  6. Ken Zea February 27, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Thanks for the memories! My first bike: a Montgomery Wards Riverside 50, with a top speed of 35mph, maybe.
    Then, while in High School, I moved on to a 1956 BMW R25.

  7. lonnie glasscock February 27, 2015 at 9:46 am

    igot my first bike a 1964 riverside 50 what i loved about it was that benelli had set the land speed record with the 50 cc motor at bonneville of over 99 mph and it also looked like a motorcycle not a moped stock it would go 50 mph had it bored out and other things done got it to go about 65 great memories

  8. bob spencer February 27, 2015 at 9:45 am

    in 1956, at the age of 14, my parents bought for me a
    Montgomery Wards motorized bike. I have no memory of the bike model name. I do remember that it had a 3H.P. Briggs & Stratton engine with a top speed of 35mph. at the age of 73 I still love riding in the wind on my Harley-Davidson.

  9. DAVID JAYNE February 27, 2015 at 9:01 am


  10. Ralph February 27, 2015 at 8:53 am

    Dad started me on a Honda CB 160 basket case. We put it together, thru a big ass knobby on it and I rode it through swamp, sand, and road.
    Groton MA here, got 5 feet of freakin snow in the front yard, Icicles from the roof line to the ground. we ain’t riding till summer at this rate. The wife and I have sold the house and are looking at South Carolina for a new home. Riding year round, the dream.

  11. Mrs. Lowrider February 27, 2015 at 8:32 am

    Great article…I’m in Westminster Colorado about 20min from downtown Denver. We are finally getting back the winters here like we use to when I was younger a lot of snow and cold. My husband and I also ride and have cabin fever bad…we have three Harleys 1999 full dresser, 1989 low rider she’s called ‘old and busted,” a black beauty, not that she is busted but does require gaskets now and then but such a sweet ride which I prefer on long rides vs my 2000 1200 custom sportster which my husband put a larger spoked gear on the back wheel and now I have an extra lower gear for long trips and doesn’t shake as much with higher speeds! Dave likes the large crows…me I like the open road and solitude…but its all good! Can’t wait to get out on the road and stop in the rocky mountains along the way and have a picnic and enjoy…have a blessed day everyone.

  12. Rick Scriver February 27, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Yeah, that Montgomery Ward Riverside 250, was pretty cool in its day. They just sold one at auction in Dubai for $1,275,000. US, do you still have yours?

    If not, don’t feel too bad, they predict that those 70’s vintage FL’s will be bringing that kind of money or more by the end of this century.

    My first ride was a 65 honda 90, I know it would be worth big bucks too in unmolested original condition, but then so would my wife , and that’s not happening

  13. ron February 27, 2015 at 7:59 am

    I remember those little Italian bikes from Montgomery Ward been ridin 40 years and still can’t get enough throttle time I don’t know if I understand what really cold is it was 80 here yesterday ride on my bro”z

  14. Paddy O'Furniture February 17, 2015 at 7:57 am

    SCOTTY, my main man…
    Dude, it’s Pat in Muskegon, where it is just as cold and even snowier (currently snowing sideways). The ’72 Triumph is sleeping quietly in the garage, dreaming of that first chilly ride in spring, but I think March 8 is a bit early, we had snow till April last year! Hoping to get out to see you this SUMMER, when it really is warm. Or, you can come to Muskegon for Bike Time!!

    • Ira February 17, 2015 at 10:07 am

      I live in Philly, we just got 6″+ inches of snow. My poor baby is in the garage in a frozen coma(plugged into the battery tender of course).

      Guess I won’t be riding her for a while longer!

      Bummed Out and frozen in Philadelphia!!!

  15. Bill Kruse February 14, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    Damn guys feel real bad for y’all , 72 here today in Florida, good riding all day .getting ready for Daytona. See Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

    • Romy February 15, 2015 at 1:40 am

      Heck, I’ll take Texas over Florida any day. The weather here is beautiful and I rode so much I’m down in my back! LOL… Why did the “Golden Years” turn into the “LEAD YEARS???

  16. Mark February 13, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    However, I just picked up a 1995 FLHT Police in Austin, TX. Made a few changes with some parts from JPC. If you haven’t been down here, there is some great riding in the San Antonio, Bandera and Kerrville area….

  17. Ira February 13, 2015 at 9:34 am

    Scott, I hear ya. I live in Philadelphia and it has been real cold this winter. Today is in mid 20’s and tonight and over the weekend will be in the single digits. My poor baby is in the garage plugged into the charger. I have a blanket on her and feel bad for her. 🙁

    At least we have not had much snow so far this winter. But with the temps so cold we might as well have snow.

    Stay warm buddy and hang in there. Can’t stay cold forever!!


  18. Romy February 12, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    I to had a Montgomery Wards bike. The stories I can tell.

    Have a glorious “Us” time with Mama Bear,

    • Mac February 13, 2015 at 11:15 am

      I grew up in NC where we could basically ride year-round. Finished up my military career in NJ, met a hippie, married her…and low and behold, she turned out to be the only yankee not interested in moving south. I had no idea. The bike is in the garage, because it’s 8 degrees today, but if it breaks 32 degrees I’ll be on the road. I have got to have a serious chat with this woman……

      • Romy February 13, 2015 at 3:02 pm

        Hahahahaha. Good luck with that serious chat. It gets hot in hell but, south of the Mason Dickson line is perfect riding weather today and better tomorrow. Sorry, can’t text and ride. Gitty up Clyde!

Comments are closed.