Two Wheels No More

1-IMG_1319b_motorcycle_jacket_fbIt’s the end of an era for me in regards to riding a motorcycle. I sold my Victory and called it life experience which had run its course. I no longer ride. Actually, era is not exactly the correct term…it’s more like just another chapter which has been completed in the book of my life.

All in all, I have owned 7 bikes in my time of riding beginning in 1980 and rode for 4 years. When my bike became my sole source of transportation for a short period of time…I decided to sell it and get a car and quit riding in 1984. I picked it up again 20 years later in 2004 and have been riding the last 15 years…sometimes racking up some heavy miles. So there’s a little history of the riding, here’s a little history on each bike and maybe a memorable experience or two on each one.

1-wallytwinstarI bought my first bike in 1980, a Honda Twinstar 175 to go back and forth to work at the VA hospital in Charleston. For the life of me, I cannot remember how I got that bike home…as I had never rode a motorcycle ever before. This little bike was dependable and easy to ride and got me to work everyday. It is the only bike that I ever had a wreck on…and even then, it was not even on the road. I was on a levee and following old dried tire tracks. At one point I hit one wrong and the bike basically just killed over and threw me off. Luckily because it was so riddled with tire tracks and ruts, I was only going about 10mph. It still hurt like hell though.

1-wally_kawasakiMy next bike was bought about 1982, and it was a brand new Kawasaki 650 that I bought from Westbrook Honda in Blytheville, AR. This bike was fast…I took quite a few trips to Memphis on it and admittedly ride many times after drinking (something I DO NOT RECOMMEND). I was lucky though because I never did wreck that bike. The thing I will always remember about my Kawasaki was that a girlfriend I had broke up with me and so I had a date with another girl one night. The old girlfriend came over to my apartment, danced on my Triumph TR7 and then grabbed a handful of wires on my bike and ripped them out. That bike was never the same after that.

1-2004_honda_shadowSo 20 years goes by and I decided to start riding again. I had came into a little extra money and went to the local motorcycle dealer and bought myself a Honda Shadow 750. I wasn’t comfortable riding it…so I had them deliver it to my house. I rode the bike around the neighborhood an attended my first motorcycle rally with my wife on the back of the bike. With less than the 400 miles and no more than 2 weeks on the bike, I took it back to the dealer and told them I wanted a BIGGER bike. The salesperson stated that I should NOT trade the bike in…I would lose too much money. I didn’t care, and ended up buying another new bike.

1-wallyvtx1stplaceSo I traded my 750 Honda in for the Honda VTX (1300S). It was a great bike that I kept for about 5 years. This bike took me on my first IRON BUTT run. This is a ride where you ride 1000 miles in less than 24 hours with documentation and proof of each stop for fuel and witnesses at the beginning and end. It was me and 4 other bikes and we did the 1000 miles in 23 hours 45 minutes. IT WAS HELL, but fun. I felt I could do that trip much faster by myself (and I did later on). I actually won a trophy in a bike show with this bike…also this bike was painted a total of 4 times counting the original paint job.

1-Honda-h100-1This next bike was more a novelty. I think it was a Honda 100 and I paid about $300 for it…the sole purpose of this bike was to take it to Little Sturgis to ride around easily and quickly around the grounds without having to use my VTX. The bike ran for one day and I ended up leaving it at the Little Sturgis Rally.

1-bike1So by 2010 I guess I was feeling more like an old guy and bought my first touring bike. It was a 2009 Royal Star Venture. WORST BIKE I EVER OWNED. It was a TANK. It was difficult ride, especially when it came to turns. I tried all kinds of things to make the ride better and nothing seemed to help much. But as much as I hated that bike, I did have some good rides on it. In fact, the first time I rode 1000 miles under 24 hours by myself was on this bike. I had left Chesapeake, VA in the wee hours of the morning on a cold fall day and headed back to Arkansas, a total of 1040 miles. I hadn’t really even thought about trying to beat my previous record of 23 hours and 45 minutes. But the conditions were really good, the temperature was cool and I just never got tired…when I pulled up into my garage, I did the 1040 miles in 17 hours and 30 minutes. But I hated the bike in twisty roads…hated it.

1-Victory_alleyI had attended Bikes, Blues and BBQ for several years and every year I would test drive a Harley, and every time I got of the Harley…I swore I’d NEVER ride another one again. I won’t get into the bashing of the Harley (which would be easy), but it just wasn’t a good ride…and I did try several models, but mostly the touring bikes. This time at BBB I put my foot down and decided not to test drive any bikes…I was just going to make due with my Venture and learn to drive THE TANK. But my buddy was still test riding the Harley’s and walked over to the Victory demo rides and just to kill time…I hopped on one and took it for a test ride. I WAS SOLD!! BEST BIKE, BEST BALANCE, MOST COMFORTABLE bike I had ever been on…I test rode it again and within 2 weeks I bought my last bike… A 2012 Victory Cross Country Tour. I have many stories I could tell about my experiences on this bike…I put 66,500 miles JUST ON THIS ONE BIKE. Never a mechanical problem at all…A piece of me left when I sold that bike a few weeks ago. I don’t regret it, but I will always remember the joy I got from riding on this bike. This was the only bike that I TRULY loved riding on trips by myself. Such solitude, such relaxation, and time to just enjoy life. My Victory never saw a trailer in the entire 66,500 miles I rode it. Every single mile was my own.

IMG_0998_wally_victory_peAll in all…I think I did over 200,000 miles on the 7 bikes…been to the West Coast and the East Coast…I traveled on my bike to the following states…Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia. A total of 26 states in all and from the east coast to the west coast.

Yep…the motorcycle chapter of my life is now closed. But it was a happy chapter.

2 thoughts on “Two Wheels No More

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