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.
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.
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!