By the numbers

So it’s official. I, along with my brother have been riding motorcycles for forty years now. We got our first bike, a Honda Z50 mini-trail in the spring of ’73. Those first five years were a whirlwind of riding every chance we got, after school, weekends and summer vacations. By ’78 I had started racing motocross and even got a part time job at the local Honda shop putting bikes together after school and on Saturdays. Those were heady times. Every year brought new and exciting models to oggle and dream of owning “someday”. The next five years saw me continuing my carreer as a mechanic and achieving the rank of expert at motocross racing, only to have my ambitions of turning pro dashed by a broken collarbone towards the end of the ’81 season. The following summer my son was born and so I decided to be somewhat responsible and give up the racing, for a while. I had even sold my streetbike that year in order to pay for some machine shop equipment so I was down to just one lone trailbike that seldom got ridden. That was a tough summer as I rode my bicycle to work most days. The next five years saw me taking a new job at a more progressive motorcycle shop across town and leaving that for a stint at IBM in ’85 after working at Cycle City for two years. A couple more new streetbikes appeared and a project three-wheeler was completed during that time. By ’89 I had tired of the corporate rat race and took the leap of faith and started my own repair shop out of my house. That first year was tough but then word got around about my place and the work came in. I started motocross racing again after a nine year “retirement” when they started an over thirty class called “Vet”. I was a vet, alright, in more ways than one! In ’94 we moved the shop to Zumbrota and I bought the farm out by Wanamingo and proceeded to run the business and start the barn remodeling job at night and on the weekends. My racing days came to an end with the move but I still managed to go trail riding now and then. By ’99 I had closed the shop and decided to go back working for “the Man” at various shops in the area. In the process I started racking up ten thousand miles per year on the first of several streetbikes, one of which I still own, the ’84 Nighthawk. Then in ’04 I figured out that over the years I had owned and ridden more than thirty five motorcycles up to that point and had racked up more than one hundred thousand miles on them, not to mention the thousands of miles bouncing around in the dirt during my racing days! I have had some injuries over the years but nothing spectacular and I had a run-in with a deer in ’04 with the Nighthawk that I don’t wish to repeat but all in all it has been a fun forty years. These days I still ride to work most every day during the summer and my brother and I take our annual trip to Davenport for the Vintage swap meet and races. We plan on going to Ohio this July for the huge AMA Vintage motorcycle days event as a way of celebrating. I will keep you posted on that as well. Here’s hoping the next forty are just as fun. Happy motoring!

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