When I was younger I, like many boys, thought dirt bikes were the coolest thing in the world. Living in a small town, a few of my friends had them, which meant that I occasionally got to drive them. I always wanted my own, yet somehow I wasn’t able to convince my parents to buy me an expensive, dangerous piece of machinery that I would likely outgrow within a few years. Once I was old enough to get a job and theoretically buy my own stuff I was too busy spending money on my car and then on University.
A few years ago my dad, on a whim, bought a 90CC mini bike because….. “buddy it was on sale!” Naturally me being the runt of my family at a mere 6’3″; my dad, brother, and I all had some comedic fun with that little bike, there’s really something just inherently fun about a dirt bike that’s way too small. Of course the novelty wore off and the bike sat for a few years getting the occasional ride… for comic value. One day I just kinda woke up and realized that I just dont have enough danger in my life. Sadly I fear I have inherited my dad impulsive behavior, much to Erin’s dismay. The search began with realizing I couldn’t afford or justify a brand new bike. So I combed the classified adds and asked around. Turns out that my dad, in his business deals, had become friends with a man who ran an ATV dealership. He had, with my name on it, a Suzuki 200 cc two stroke, with a brand new carburetor, for $500, at the time we did not know the year but it was old. we loaded up the mini bike to see about trading it in and headed over to have a look at the Suzuki. My dad of course couldn’t pass up the chance to take the ol’ mini for one last ride. I of course the whole time was yelling at him to put on a helmet.
My dad being involved always means a complicated deal, in the end I bought the mini bike off my dad and traded it for my Suzuki and my dad bought a brand new, Chinese made 250cc four stroke. We brought my bike home that day and picked up the 250 the next day.
Later that week my dad and I went out to his lake lot to test out the “new” machines.
We gave my old bike a once over for obvious safety reasons and discovered on the vin plate that it was made in 1985, which makes it a 1986 model. Then the riding commenced, I am pretty familiar with off road vehicles but I’ve gotta say, using a hand clutch is not something I can do intuitively. There were stalls… lots of them… a lot of laughter from my dad who was quite familiar with being on two wheels. Over the next two days I did a lot of riding and had two crashes, both a result of me stalling which causes the bike to stop immediately… essentially I fell over sideways at comically low speeds, I opted to jazz up this falling with a sweet somersault. I was also surprised to find that despite my bike being nearly 30 years older than my dads, it was substantially faster. When my dads bike was in 5th gear I could pull ahead of him in 3rd gear. I guess that’s the advantage that a two stroke has over a four stroke, or maybe there’s something to be said for name brand bikes, I dont know enough about bikes to say.
A few days later Erin and I came back out to the lake for some fishing (It was awesome, I’ll tell you about it next week) and so that she could try her hand a dirt biking. I figured she would be good at it because she has the kind of balance that could make a mountain goat jealous, and I’ve never really seen her afraid of anything, so I keep trying to find stuff that she’s not brave enough for and I am yet to have success.
We started our day with my dad and I on the bikes, while Erin drove the side by side with my stepmother Unice, and Rose the pug. Once we found a nice open field Erin hopped on and for probably about 45 minutes my dad and I explained what everything was, how it worked, and what all the dangers were. It was at this point I noticed the look on Erin’s face and decided maybe I should just give her the basic 2 minute run down. We fired it up and she eased the clutch out and… stalled. We fired it back up and second try… she had it! She was off and running.
I know I’m going to be an over protective parent, for many reasons. The most recent indication was the amount of concern I had when Erin, on her first run, went to the far side of the field where I could barely see her.
At the end of the week, after multiple days of riding and a few spills, the worst crash I had was walking up the stairs to get into my house… Seriously… I scraped skin off my hand, broke my wrist watch, and dropped a water melon.
All in all I’ve got to say that riding dirt bikes is certainly an exciting hobby and deep down I hope that its something I am able to integrate into a keep a part of Erin and I’s lives, and I’m sure many times my dad will also be involved.
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