Back to the beginning
WHEN considering whether to start up this site again to mark progress riding and a brand new bike, it seemed best to go back to the very beginning...
New Wheels [originally posted Tuesday, August 2, 2016]
On a recent, fabulously rainy Saturday Racer X and I grabbed his work truck with the lift gate, 4 tie down straps, and headed out in search of the perfect newbie bike for me. I'd been searching for weeks online for a small, light bike in the 250-400 cc range, standard with a nice upright seating position. It's tougher than you might think, since none of the Triumph Bonnevilles are less than 865cc. That's the style I was seeking.
I had tentatively identified the Suzuki TU250x (some folks affectionately refer to this as the TUX) and was lucky enough to get to ride a red 2009 model as my bike in the MSF safety course through PAMSP. I correctly figured that the MSF course was the best way to get myself up on a bike in a controlled environment, and decide from there whether riding was going to be right for me. I enjoyed the course thoroughly and passed my license exam as part of the second day's range course.
I had ten parking lot miles under my belt, mostly in 2nd gear, and was ready to go! Of course when I called around to cycle shops to see if I could test drive a bike I had to simply giggle and admit to two days in a parking lot as the extent of my riding experience - which disqualified me for a test drive by about 728 days. It turned out that it never mattered though, since it was a rainy day anyway and test drives weren't actually necessary for the bike we found.
Price was key. The assumption is that this is a very temporary, learn-how-to-ride-properly bike, that won't make anyone cry in anguish and lost dollars over nicked chrome or shattered mirrors if it gets dropped. Amazingly we found a 1982 Honda CM250C well within our range, in great and clean shape for a 30+ year old machine. We loaded it in the truck and brought her home.
Two days and 30 miles later she was dubbed Sprocket's Rocket. [2018 update: Looking back it is nearly surprising that I survived this lovely, yet seriously flawed tank slapper of a machine. Clean and great shape meant impossible to pass inspection, with no return throttle cable and a carburetor that alternated between screaming like a herd bound mare and gurgling with the death rattle. Certainly made for great practice though, and well worth it! Plus it's not like I knew any different at the time... and, I never dropped it!]