Monday, January 18, 2010

My First Bike

With snow on the ground, ice on the road and very cold temperatures that can freeze the balls of a brass monkey, there is no motorcycle riding at the moment. Every time I go in the garage and see the bikes, I long to be out on the road, but that will have wait, at least till the middle of March.

With that said, we decided we have to do something motorcycle related, even if it's not actual riding. The Toronto motorcycle show was on this weekend, so we decided to go have a look. You could see that all motorcyclists in Toronto are feeling the same as me and are suffering from the winter blues, since they were all at the show, and the place was packed. I must say it wasn't a great show but there were lots of bikes, and that is always good.

One of the exhibit areas was reserved for vintage and restored old motorcycles. And that's where I saw it. My first bike. You know that nostalgic moment when you realize that it was the best bike you ever had. You know you will never have a bike that can make you feel the same way, that bike did.

I got a similar 90cc Honda, shortly after my 16th birthday. It was sitting in somebody's garage, and was not used anymore. It was still in relative good shape, so I got it with some help from my dad. This bike spelled one thing, FREEDOM. You can go where you want, whenever you want.

This one at the show had some slight differences from mine. This one shows 90cc prominent on the side, but mine did not have that drawback. You must understand that being a 16 year old in South Africa, that was a big deal. You were allowed to get a 50cc motorcycle when you turn 16, but you were only allowed to ride anything bigger than 50cc after your 18th birthday. So by law I wasn't allowed to ride this bike, but the cops were never the wiser. It looked and sounded just like a 50. But it didn't go like a 50. It was a lot faster. Well in my mind it was. It had 3 gears, but no clutch, so shifting was faster that my friends bikes. I can still remember dicing home after school, and smoking all the 50s. Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
The other difference was that mine had 2 separate seats for the driver and the passenger. You would lift up the driver seat, and the gas tank and filler cap was under the seat. It had no latch to keep the seat down. You just used your butt for that. However, when I took it off roading, and you stood up on the pegs, that seat would be bouncing up and down like a toddler on a trampoline. Fuck, that was a lot of fun.
When I turned 18 I bought a VW Beatle, and the bike was not that cool anymore. I always thought it was pretty cool, but maybe only for me. I could never get girls to go on the bike with me. It sat in my mother garage, and I think my brother sold it to buy a new bike for himself.

There was another bike, very similar to the one I had. This one had the leg guards removed. I guess to shave some weight off. This one was actually used to do a cross Canada trip. You can see that some modifications were made, but it shows you can do a long trip with any bike. If I may use the title of a Lance Armstrond book "It's not about the bike".
I think if you have the time and the right mind set, you can do any trip on any bike. I actually saw a tv show of 4 guys doing a trip in Mongolia on these kind of bikes.

The white PVC piping in the back, is actually an extra fuel tank. Not sure if the blue bottle is Nitrous oxide or not. But it would be very cool to have N2O on a bike like this.

I especially like the way he constructed a map holder with PVC piping that you then wrap the map around. Not as sophisticated as the map rollers they use in the Dakar, but it will pretty much do the same job. I just love this kind of stuff.

There were some pretty cool looking custom bikes at the show as well. Nothing as cool as my 90cc Honda, but not everybody will agree.

I did like the paint job on this bike. I liked the Canadian maple leave theme done in the Fall colours. I thought it was fitting for a Winter bike show.
The way the yellow transition into brown on the cylinder heads are done very well, and you can see this was done by a very good artist.

This bike was also pretty cool, but I'm not sure how much fun it will be to ride it.

The plan is to go to Wolf BMW in London Ontario on February 20 for the maintenance seminar for the BMW F650GS.