I have had some awesome two wheeled machines over the years, and thy have taken me across town, over state lines, and even places where an invisible line separates ‘Guten Tag’ and ‘Bon Jour.’ Travel is always great, but as George Orwell said, “Four wheels good, two wheels better.”
1. 1990 Honda XR80
(No picture available because at the time, pictures were on film and Steve Jobs wasn’t trying to take over the world)
My father brought home an XR80 when I was in the fourth grade. If was for me and my older brother. He cleaned up the backyard and built a custom track for us. Our Dad taught us how to ride it, as we had some good times, even if he took it in the backyard once and broke his toe.
2. 1980 Peugeot TSM
The Peugeot is what happens when you’re not really an adult, but you aren’t a kid. My mom and I stopped by a yard sale when I was in High School, and this gray haired man with crazy eyes in Sussex County wanted 120 dollars. But like all crazy grey haired men from Sussex County, they’ll take a bit less.
The Peugeot gave me my first real taste of the open road, at 25 miles per hour on an even road…up hill I was going just over 10 miles per hours and I was peddling like a madman. But I had a helmet, a license, an a gas-oil mixture that smelled like freedom. The Peugeot is still running strong, thanks to my old man.
3. 1982 Yamaha Vision: Epona 1
$700 dollars and a guy on Craigslist can get you a lot of things. But in August of 2008, it got me a V Twin, shaft driven, 550 cubic centimeter beast. I was ecstatic. Sure, the day I brought it home, someone kicked it over less than 8 hours later. Sure, it got me my first out of state speeding ticket, and after three attempts, the hoodlums down the road finally stole it, after they broke it the first time they tried to steal it. I think it’s somewhere in central Virginia, in someone’s barn, slowly rusting away. If I ever find it, I will give it what it deserves after all these years- A Viking funeral.
4. 2011 Harley Davidson 1200N Nightster: Epona 2.
At the Yellow Sea, South Korea
R. Lee Ermey, a WWII, Korea, and Vietnam Vet, and some guy sitting on my bike
I always wanted a Sportster. So, when I got my first adult job, I bought a Nightster in Korea. I brought it back with me from the states, and asked myself ‘what is this bike missing?’ Then I realizes, a sidecar, obviously!
Well, if $700 can get you a motorcycle, $400 will get you a sidecar originally made for Chinese military motorcycles but now is only actively used by North Korea (I kid you not). After the sidecar was fitted, I threw a surfboard on it, and eventually took it across the country, from North Carolina to Sturgis, west to Washington state, and all the way down to Malibu, just to head east back to the Atlantic Ocean.
4. 2004 Buell XB12S: Ramona
It was July 2012. My truck was broken, and the Sportster didn’t arrive from Korea yet, and I needed a daily driver. A redneck in North Carolina, on Craigslist, wanted $3500. I took it for a test ride, loved it, and for two months, it was my only mode of transportation. I took it from North Carolina to Pensacola once. It was a fast trip, but a sore one.
5. 1993 Harley Davidson MT500: Jessica
I bought this without seeing it, driving it, or really knowing too much about it. From a guy. On Craigslist.
I need to stop browsing though Craigslist.
The MT500 was originally made by Armstrong, a British bike company. They threw in a 500cc Rotax engine, and the British military used it. The Americans got the idea to try it out, and Harley bought the model and started making them in York, Pennsylvania. Austrian Engine. British design. Put together in America.
It’s a fun enduro. A bit heavy, but when it’s running good, it runs really good
5. 2015 Harley Davidson StreetGlide: Epona the third.
After 27,500 miles of sidecars and Sportsters, it was time for an upgrade.
And here we are, over 35 US states, nine countries, and 72,000 miles.