Monday, October 26, 2015

Not so Evel Knievel...

Den of the Beastly Bear

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Hi folks!
I'll bet you're all dying to know just how this motorcycle obsession of mine started, aren't ya?
Well that's just plain rude, but I'll let it slide this time!

As you may have guessed, it started with dear old Dad.
See, Dad had himself an old burgundy and cream Indian motorcycle. Which I pestered him endlessly for rides on.

One day Dad asked me if I wanted to go for a ride in the truck with him. He had something he needed to pick up. Of course, I was as eager as any 8-year-old boy to spend time with him. So we piled into Dad's '68 sky blue and white Chevy pickup.

Out we drove into the countryside, past farms and fields bouncing down dirt roads. The sun peeking through the canopied trees over the roads. Until, at last he finally pulled into a small farm with an actual red barn and little white country house.

The thing I remember the most? The smell. You see in front of the barn was a pen filled with 10-12 hogs, and the smell was, in a word atrocious! I was fascinated however, so wandered off to watch the pigs as Dad talked business.

Finally, a price was agreed upon, money changed hands and the doors to the barn parted. Revealing this...well not this particular one but you get the idea!
A bright yellow minibike with a 5 hp. Briggs & Stratton engine! I couldn't believe it! A bike of my own!!!

On the ride home rules were discussed, the consequences for the breaking of those rules reinforced by stern words and harsh looks! Dad was an ex-Marine after all!

I couldn't wait!

I was after all the terror of our neighborhood on my Raleigh 3-speed banana seated bicycle!

My first time, Dad fueled her up and showed me how to start her up. It was a she of course! After the engine warmed up, Dad pointed me towards the middle of the back yard.
He explained the centrifugal clutch, hand brake, and engine stop. "Start out slow..." He admonished me.

When I was fully prepared to Dad's satisfaction, my helmet was donned and I was ready. Mom and sisters came out to watch the maiden voyage...
So with fantasies of Evel Knievel and Ceasar's Palace fountains I was off.

Things went swimmingly at first as I accelerated into the yard. "Wow," I thought. "I'm a natural..." 
When another thought occurred to me...I've never driven this fast before!

And that's when panic set in.

So, I was instructed in what to do...grab the brake, the brake? Where the HELL is the brake?!? I know I was told, but where is it? My bike had peddle brakes, no that's not it. As I searched in vain I neglected to pay attention to where, exactly the bike was headed.

Just as I remembered handbrake! My forward momentum was suddenly arrested by my Mother's prized Forsythia bush!

While the bike stopped suddenly, I did not...
And just like my hero, I Evel Kneiveled right over the handlebars into the woody bush. The bush, however, had other ideas and having bent under my weight sprang back launching me back over the bike and onto the lawn. Arms and legs all akimbo, flat on my back.

"OH MY GOD BOB! I TOLD YOU HE WAS TOO YOUNG!!!" I knew that voice!!!
Suddenly Mom was there ripping at the helmet as Dad retrieved the bike, I wasn't sure which of us was in more trouble.

So, thinking fast I hoped up, disentangled myself from my Mother looked to Dad and said "Can I try it again???"

He smiled at my Mom, patted my shoulder and said "Sure, just remember the brake is up here." 

And that my friends was the start of it all.

May your travels be fair and your crashes few.

Be well Folks,
Beastly Bear


  1. very nice joe!
    i haven't thought about bikes in a long time.
    my dad won a mini bike in a poker game and a b.b gun one time but that's a chat for another time.
    so i got the mini bike because i was a tom boy (still am in some ways). when i out grew the mini bike he got me the next size not sure if that was also in a poker game, could have been.
    the next size was too big and needed a cover for the muffler. i burnt my inner thigh and still have the scar, because i was wearing shorts on the first ride.dumb!
    have a good monday!

    1. Hi Tracie, good to see you back! Good, I haven't scared you off yet. :-)
      Yes, girls+shorts+motorcycles=trouble! My step sister Colleen still sports a nasty scar on her calf from a ride on my Honda CBX, but mainly from not listening to her brother. I told her, "Stand up on the pegs, then swing off." What does she do?
      Puts one foot on the ground, and when she goes to swing the other legs off presses the leg on the ground against the exhaust for a good 5 count!

  2. Mini bikes! Yikes and yuck. I know kids love them and they are very popular down here, but damn! They are loud and these kids ride them through the sub FAST and without helmets, sometimes. I know that I'm an overprotective type and I did once own a bike, a Yamaha 250, but mini bikes and preteens drive me insane.
    We are also blessed with teens on dirt bikes which are not mufflered and also not road ready, but are driven through our streets regularly with lots of engine revving.
    I have always loved bikes, but since moving here, I'm losing my attraction.
    Bike weeks still all me out, though. I have to go see, hear and drive my suv along side while silently kinda of wishing I had my own.

    1. They're hard to give up Jo! You know the have some nice 3 wheel bikes you could get...indulge that wild side just a little! :-)

  3. My brother had one much like the picture. It was called a Doodlebug. Must have been years before yours, because he rode it without a helmet and on the street, of course he was much older, maybe 10 or 11, and I'm pretty sure he knew where the brake was.

    Great story!

    1. Ya know Joeh, I NEVER forgot again!!! Lol
      It was fun! it wasn't long before 2" X 12"'s and a cinderblock were involved and I broke the chain. New master link came out of my paltry allowance and lost privileges for 2 weeks!

  4. That's kinda funny, picturing it in my head. lol Were your parents able to laugh about that first time, as you got older?

    1. Well, JoJo they divorced a couple years later and was never really brought up again until I bought my first adult street bike and my Mother cautioned me to "Be careful, you remember what happened the last time you got a new motorbike!"

  5. Hahahahaha. I was imagining that WHOLE scenario Joe. Omg.. I would've been terrified if I was your mom but if I was a sibling? I'd of been laughing my ass off! There was only one kid in our neighborhood that had a mini bike and he would tear up the street all day and all night. We had a purple dune buggy that was a lot of fun. :)

    1. Oh yes, the girls laughed their butts off...until they tried it! But that's another tale.
      I was not allowed on the road, only our back yard or adjacent fields. I'd have loved a dune buggy!

  6. Better you than me! My dad had a motorcycle when I was a kid and he would give me rides. It always scared me to death. I never had the desire to try to ride one myself. Later on, husband number 1 had 4 wheelers much like my husband now. I can ride around on flat terrain, but I refuse to ride them where it is hilly. One time I went riding with my ex and we hit a ditch that was well hidden by high grass. We were thrown and the bike landed on top of us.

    1. Ouch Kathy! Glad you were alright. I always loved the lean of the motorcycle, cutting through the curves. That's what got right ahold of my soul...

  7. I've only ridden on a motorcycle once and I was too young to know to be scared! I can appreciate people loving them, but they scare me!

    1. Hi Stephanie, welcome back! What you need is someone that won't scare you to death your first time. You may just find that you love them too!

  8. Ahh, the joys of an engine between your legs and youth. I personally prefer a good old Honda 90 BUT loved those days when parents said "Here is how it works, don't kill yourself." I wish I could be that parent now. Awesome story as usual Joe.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and reading! And thank you for the comment! let's me know they're getting out there!