This summer has given me the opportunity to finally do something that I have wanted to do for a great deal of my life. I remember being a little boy playing with toy motorcycle and making the sounds as the bike rolled through the landscapes that sprang forth from every imaginable surface. I remember watching with fascination as red, white and blue striped dare devils performed death defying stunts on television. I remember riding on the back of my father’s old Honda with the giant white fairing and holding on tight enough that he had to tell me to ease up. I remember after he had a close call on the highway one day him telling me that I was not allowed to ever ride a motorcycle. I remember sneaking a friends dirt bike out one day to try and ride it but my lack of knowledge about all things clutch related ended up with the motorcycle bouncing off a tree and me with a damaged knee and a bruised ego. As an adult I have had so many friends with bikes. I have hung out with them for hours talking bikes and tinkering. All the while wishing that one of them were mine to ride. A couple of years ago I got a little taste from a friend who was willing to let me roll around the parking lot on a beat up old Buell. Oh man the flame was fanned at that point!
This spring my amazingly supportive (and hot) girlfriend and I took the MSF class together and got class M licenses. A few weeks later we had both purchased motorcycles. She found a great deal on a bike very similar to the one she rode in the course and for me we found a very classic looking old Honda. It is a Shadow ACE VT1100C. While it does not have the giant white fairing that my dad’s did, and it is a bigger bike than his was, there is a certain feeling of camaraderie with my dad the Honda gives me even though he isn’t around anymore. Even though he forbade me to ride a long time ago (I honored his wish as long as he was alive) I think he would approve of my bike if he were around to see it today.
With owning an older, “previously enjoyed” vehicle of any kind there comes the adventure of finding out what the previous owner did and did not do in the way of maintenance. Last week I found that even though the bike has been well maintained there are a few things that have caught me by surprise. The picture above shows how I found the air filter. Needless to say it had been changed and the bike runs much better than I even knew it could. I will do my best to follow the maintenance in a fashion that would make my dad proud. I’ll even try to put the tools away when I am done. I miss you Dad.