Two Wheel World

After selling my first motorcycle, I throttled down to a variety of bicycles, including a 1976 red, white, and blue 10-speed and a couple different motocross bicycles. It was about 5 years later when I got my next motorized two-wheeler, which was a moped. It seemed kind of cool to have a moped … until the day I rolled into the parking lot my freshman year of high school. It didn’t take long to figure out that a moped was not cool. Let me say that again. Not. Cool. That was the first and last time I rode a moped to South Grand Prairie High School. So, for the rest of the year, I either walked or rode a bicycle to/from school.

SuzukiTS100BlueI turned 14 in the summer of 1979 and got a royal blue Suzuki TS100. On my birthday, I passed the driving test and received my motorcycle license. (Today you the minimum age to get a motorcycle license is 15, but the cc limit is higher. Back then, 100cc was the limit.)

On that same day, I came within inches of hitting an elderly man dressed in overalls who was shuffling across 14th Street in Grand Prairie. As I swerved and barely missed him, I yelled, “Crazy old man, what’s wrong with you?”

It was a very merciful policeman who informed me of the many moving violations I had just committed by speeding through a school zone and almost hitting a crossing guard. I was pretty embarrassed to hand him my paper license that I had received less than 6 hours prior. The only thing I can conclude is that he was so shocked that the ink had barely dried on my license before I sped through a school zone and almost hit an elderly crossing guard that he let me go with only a verbal scolding and warning. He certainly would have been justified to throw the book at me. To my memory, that is the only time I ran afoul of the law on that motorcycle.

In the 2 years I owned this bike, I had an amazing amount of fun, riding about 5,000 miles while commuting to/from school and exploring the country roads between Grand Prairie, Cedar Hill, Midlothian, and Mansfield. I regularly went out for 2-3, even 4 hours riding. One of my favorite places to ride is now under Joe Pool Lake.

I ended up selling the TS100 because my interest began to wane when I bought a 1973 Camaro just prior to my 16th birthday.

Yamaha XS 750 SpecialThe last motorcycle I owned, a 1979 Yamaha 750 Special, had belonged to my dad. He bought a Harley and sorta passed this one down to me when I was 18. I took it to college.

Riding 750 Special was a different experience than any other motorcycle I had ridden. It gave a much smoother ride because it had a drive shaft rather than drive chain. The smoother ride made it difficult to gauge how fast I was going and resulted in me laying the bike down the very first time I drove it.

I was riding near Mountain Creek Lake, trying to get adjusted to the power and weight of this machine. On my previous motorcycles, I had learned to judge my speed by the vibration and whine of the motor; this bike didn’t vibrate or whine. On this occasion as I was moving through an easy curve to the right, I couldn’t stay in my lane and quickly found myself in the on-coming lane then on the opposite shoulder before finally going off the road. Thankfully, I was able to hold things together long enough to leave the pavement onto a dirt road. Unfortunately, it had recently rained and the dirt road was actually mud. The bike slid out from under me and came to rest on its left side. I was embarrassed and scared, but unhurt. Wow.

My mind raced to figure out how I could keep news of this event to myself. I didn’t want my dad to know lest he take it back. I had plenty of time to think about my plan of action because I couldn’t lift the bike. The combination of the bike’s weight and the mud under my feet meant that each time I got the bike almost upright, my feet slipped out from under me, and the bike fell to the ground again and again.

Thankfully, an elderly man came by on a bicycle and I screwed up the courage to ask for  help lifting my motorcycle. I’ll never forget his cutting comment: “I didn’t think you were supposed to lay these on their sides.” Duh! “I didn’t have any choice,” I said. I wanted to cut him back, but I needed his help. So I didn’t say anything more. Thankfully, he was able to help me get the bike upright. I said, “Thank you,” and bid him farewell.

The left side of the bike was caked with mud, so I found a car wash and emptied my wallet to get it clean. After all traces of the accident were gone, I limped my shiny clean motorcycle back to the house and kept the story to myself … until now.

That was the only close call I ever had on that motorcycle. But it wasn’t the last time it was on the ground. I foolishly let another college student ride it around the neighborhood and on his way through the front gate at the school he hit some gravel and lost control. He left the bike laying on the ground and ran back to the dorm to tell me about the crash. Thankfully, there wasn’t major damage, but the gas tank was dented pretty good. I didn’t worry about the repair because he promised to take care of it. Guess what? He didn’t.

I haven’t had a motorcycle in about 30 years. I’m thankful that I survived owning them, and guess I’ll probably never have another.

 

Comments

  1. Pleasurable read! Glad you survived those youthful
    exploits!

  2. WOW is right. It is amazing what I am just now learning about you. LOVE your stories and like Billyboy I am glad that you survived those youthful exploits!!! I don’t think your dad would have taken the bike from you but I might have.

Speak Your Mind

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: