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Most may not find this exciting but I just though I would tell a little story about my motorcycling.

I began riding some as a child on my neighbors Honda 70 dirt bike, never really rode a lot, just some, and never had my own (except the old moped that wouldn't crank, just pedaled). About the time I turned 29 (1995), I was a police officer in Mobile, AL and met guys on the force who rode. They mostly rode Honda Shadows and Yamaha's. Not really the Harley crowd but there was one or two.. I picked up a used 1986 Honda Shadow 750, got it painted ( I don't like to leave things alone) and began riding. Then it happened the 1997 Honda Valkyrie came out. I immediately sold my little Shadow and bought one. It was instant love. I kept it a few years, but when Excelsior Henderson came back with a new bike, I sold the Valk and bought a Henderson, The dealership I dealt with carried the Honda's and the Excelsior, and gave police a BIG discount....about cost.. I rode the Excelsior Henderson for about a year and although it was a beautiful piece of work, I didn't trust it like my Valk and the company had problems and folded. I sold the Henderson and picked up another 1997 Valk. I rode it for the next few years and when my son came along, time for riding was scarce so it sat. Fast forward a few years, one of my best riding friends passed from age (he was a motor cop and taught me most of what I know about riding). I remembered him taking his son on rides when we rode. Realizing that my son would soon be approaching his teenage years and be "too cool" to ride on the back of a bike, I decided that instead of trying to break out the old Valk and get it going, I would just buy a new one, The price was right, as it was the time when they were clearing them out and could be bought cheap. I didn't like the looks as I had grown to love the chrome and looks of the original but thought I would buy one to ride and not worry about carbs, petcocks, hydrolock, etc. etc.....I have ridden my 2014 for a couple years now and have grown to love the looks and the performance, it never fails to amaze me. Each time I ride it I find myself looking forward to the next ride even if its just a short jaunt to the coffee shop. My son is 13 now and rides some with me, I haven't gotten him on a long ride yet, but have picked him up from school (pre-covid) on it several times and took short rides around town. He wants a GROM now so riding is in his blood. It has been raining here pretty much the last week so I'm about ready for another ride on that blue Valkyrie that never ceases to amaze me an put a smile on my face each time I crank it up.
 

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Good story. I had my first ride on a Honda Z50A on a go-kart track in Lake of the Ozarks, MO. My dad took me there. They said not to shift it (I assume it was in 2nd gear), and I didn't even know how. I rode it around the track a few times, and when I got off, Dad asked me if I liked it, and I said "YEAH!!". He asked me if I'd like to have one. I couldn't believe it! So few months later, through Dad's connections, a brand new Honda 50 arrived at our driveway packed in a box. I kept that bike immaculate and rode it for two years. I had already outgrown it when we bought it. At 16, like every teenager, I was ready to hit the streets, and got my license. We sold the Honda for $20 less than we paid for it! I bought a Kawasaki KS 125 2-stroke enduro. It was fast and powerful for a 125, and I had a buddy who had one as well. We ripped up the town on them.

After college, I started working at a bank. They had a Kawasaki KZ650 repossession, and I was one of two bidders. I won it, and rode that until an old man pulled out in front of me on the highway and I totaled the bike, coming away thankfully with nothing more than a few skinned places, and not even wearing a helmet. Later I bought a slightly used Honda V45 Magna. That was one of the best bikes I ever owned. It was a ROCKET, good looking, and a chick magnet. When I moved to Richmond, the apartment complex wouldn't let me keep the bike on premises, so I had to put it in a storage unit a few miles away, and it sat way too long. I bought a house, and my financial priorities shifted toward fixing it up and neglecting the bike. It fell into disrepair and I ended up selling it for next to nothing. Many years went by, and after paying off my mortgage, I decided it was again time to get a bike.

I found a nice Honda VTX 1300r on Craigslist, and went to check it out. It was just what I wanted. A Harley look alike with Honda reliability and a huge engine. I rode that quite happily for a while, until I read on the VTX forum that it was kind of a dog in its class. But they said the 1800 was a rocker, so I decided to buy one. Figured I'd keep whichever I liked best. I couldn't decide, and ended up keeping them both. Then one day while on a client's premises, I spotted a CTX 1300. Never knew it existed. I saw it was a Honda and did some research and decided four cylinders was better than two, and I liked the foot peg position under my hips. I went looking for a used one, and couldn't find any. So I found a brand new one on the showroom in a Baltimore dealer on Cycle Trader, at HALF the original retail price. I called and told them I'd be up to pick it up the following weekend. Took the train from Richmond to Baltimore, a cab to the dealer, and did the deal. Rode that black bike in my black jacket and black helmet home in 95 degree heat with the sun blazing down, sweating profusely. It was a great break-in ride.

I was incredibly happy with my CTX. It was just what I wanted. Good looking, reliable, fast, comfortable. I started watching YouTube videos about it, and discovered a fellow CTX rider and started following his channel. Little did I realize, this guy traded motorcycles about as often as I change toothbrushes. One day he announced he was trading in his CTX for a new bike. I thought, my GOD, what could possibly be better? He opened up his storage unit and debuted his 2015 Valkyrie. On SIGHT, something came over me, and I KNEW - I was going to have to have one. I watched him accelerate on the road and could see how much power the thing had. It was badass, FAST, a Honda, and I WANTED it. I didn't find any locally, so I went on Cycle Trader and found one on consignment at a dealer in Iowa. I offered them $8500, they accepted, and I had it shipped to Richmond.

And here we are!

Richmonder
 

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I'll join in.




BSA C15
249 cc.
Single cylinder, chain drive. First motorcycle ridden at the age of 13. Belonged to a Sixth Former (Senior) at boarding school. How he persuaded the authorities to let him have the bike on premises I don’t know. An older fellow student, Charlie, once tried to attack me with a brick whilst I was riding on the driveway towards the paddock; I let go of the clutch by mistake, did a wheelie and nearly flattened him. He left me alone after that not realizing that I had reared up by mistake. Charlie much later took part in a bank raid near London’s Heathrow airport. Was cornered by the police, shot his female accomplice dead and then successfully shot himself.

Honda Benly CS90

90cc, single cylinder, chain drive. Mine had a full fairing on which was very handy for riding to my first job at age 16. Worked for a local newsagent, had to be at work at 5.30am rain, snow or shine. This machine was used and abused. I learned a lot about engine maintenance!!!

Matchless 650cc twin

2 cylinder, chain drive. This bike belonged to a big burly biker guy who had a large double adult sidecar fitted. He parked it most days behind the local newsagents I worked at by the railway station. I eventually realized that all I had to do was turn the ignition knob to on (no key) and I could kick start the monster to get it going. Then I used to borrow it (steal to be truthful) at lunchtime and go tearing around the local country lanes. After a couple of weeks I realized that I must have had a death wish, the owner would have beaten me black and blue.

Lambretta TV175
Engine: 175cc
H.P. 8.6hp @ 6000rpm
Fuel Consumption: 123mpg
Top Speed: 56mph

Quit the newsagents and started work for a commercial grass cutting landscaping company working at the local R.A.F. base. This scooter had such tight steering that I could lay down on the seat at 60mph and it would track straight and true. Stripped the engine down once and after reassembly had about 6 pieces left over. The thing still ran!!!

Velocette LE MKII
200cc

Shaft drive, water-cooled, flat twin, hand pull start, hand gear change. Ridden by the Police in England, known affectionately as a Noddy Bike (after a storybook character – Noddy). Eventually the left hand spark plug thread stripped so I took the cylinder head off and rode the bike side saddle for a couple of weeks so as to not get petrol and oil on my left leg. Eventually sold to a mechanic who wanted an old project bike.

Honda CB 200

200cc, 2 cylinder. This bike heralded my return to 2 wheels some 5 years later. English law at the time dictated that a learner could only ride up to a 250cc bike. I wanted something bigger and borrowed this from a local dealer on the understanding that I would take my test and purchase a bike from him. At the time I was a driving instructor in Leicester so knew the test route like the back of my hand. I had a couple of adventures on the bike before taking my test. Approached a large junction on a horrendously rainy night only to have a stop light change to red in front of me, the back wheel locked up and I skidded nearly sideways through the junction. Seemed that the rear shocks were shot. Dealer was embarrassed and changed them. I rode to see some friends one night about 20 miles away on twisty country roads. Came around a bend to find about 15 large white cows in the roadway, how I swerved and weaved through them I don’t really know, I ended up as white as a milk shake.

Took my test and passed even though during the test a car drove at me the wrong way down a narrow one way street. The test examiner told me that the sight of me standing on the foot pegs yelling at the driver had made his day.

400cc, 2 cylinder, chain drive
Honda CB400T. The bike I bought and regretted after running it in. A bland, boring, gutless piece of Jap Crap. Sold it.

Honda CX500

500cc, V twin, water cooled, shaft drive, 112mph (not). A great despatch bike. Comfortable saddle (riding 1,000 miles a week), low maintenance. Had this for about 2 years. Very early one morning in the company of a friend on a Suzuki GS1000 I raced down the Edgware Road in North London. Keith got chased by a Flying Squad (police) car and was stopped doing 130mph in a 30mph zone. He didn’t get a ticket they just wanted to make sure the bike hadn’t been stolen.

Honda CB400F,

400cc, 4 cylinder, chain drive. A great mini version of the CB750. Rode quite a few of these belonging to friends. Very nimble but too small for prolonged riding. I’d see other despatch riders on the motorway riding these and they would look shaken about.

Yamaha RD400, two stroke twin, power band crazy, wheelie at 40mph.

Kawasaki GPZ550, four cylinder, chain drive, pocket rocket.

This replaced the CX500 and what a transformation. Like getting off a broken down horse and climbing into a F16. This made despatch riding even more fun. The foot pegs had small balls welded on the underside of them and the foot pegs also folded up about 5 degrees. I wore the balls off the underside of the foot pegs With a new set of Dunlop TT100’s this bike would handle so well. I really enjoyed roundabouts; on a dry day I had a smile wider than a Cheshire Cat.

Yamaha XS750, three cylinder, shaft drive. Rode one of these about 10 yards down a dirt road, fell off and unfortunately the owner riding pillion ripped his brand new imported Levis 501’s. Didn’t get to ride the bike again

BMW R100RS. Flat twin, shaft drive.
Rode a friends that had cylinder head crash bars fitted and managed to chamfer off a good portion of the right hand one.

Honda Benly 200cc, 2 cylinder, chain drive.

The Kawasaki died a sudden and painful death when its rear mono suspension collapsed. This Benly became my despatch bike. Luckily the friends I worked for gave me pickups and deliveries that entailed chugging from one side of London to the other. The Benly would cruise at about 65mph all day and return about 70mpg around town. Took me to the South of France 3 times in the company of larger bikes. Never missed a beat and was eventually retired after 35,000 miles of use when I quit despatch riding. Ended up giving it to a collector of motorcycles who wanted a small project bike to work on.

Had a 1998 Valkyrie Honda which I bought in April of 2002. Ridden over 50,000 miles in 4 years. A very large 1500cc, 6 cylinder, six-carb behemoth that handles very well. Bit of a gas guzzler. Gets about 32mpg to the American gallon. The bike has taken me out to Colorado, Sturgis – South Dakota, western Canada and the whole length of the Blue Ridge Parkway (twice). Mostly ridden around north Georgia and the neighboring states of North and South Carolina with frequent forays into eastern Tennessee. Sold in 2006.

Picked up a lightly used (1,500 miles) 2005 Honda ST1300 in February 2006 in Fort Worth, TX. Rode it back to Atlanta, 850 miles in 14 hours of riding. 5,400 on April 12th, 2006.

27,000 miles March 12, 2007.

46,000 January 28, 2008.

90,000 miles March 17, 2012.

120,000 miles August 2014.

135,000 miles August 2016. Destroyed in house fire
2005 KLR purchased in September of 2010 (12,541 miles). Rode for 13,000 miles. Sold February 2012.

1998 Valkyrie bought September 2016 with 38,000 miles on the clock. Now it has 80,000 miles in December 2020.

Sold the Valkyrie in March of 2021 with 85,000 miles ridden.

Now I live in Maggie Valley, NC
December 2020 I bought a 2014 1800cc Valkyrie with 12,500 miles. Now with nearly 20,000 miles in October, 2021

There are other bikes I’ve ridden or owned but nothing really stands out about them. Apart from the Yamaha 90cc moped, which would stand on its rear light when you quickly engaged the foot operated clutch/gear change. A fun post pub trick to amuse the onlookers.
 

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And something I put together a few years ago.


5 years full time as a f’ln lunatic motorcycle messenger in London in the early 80's.

Had lived in London for about 18 months. Hated the job I was doing and thought I knew every street Ha-bloody Ha-ha.

Got a job at Pony Express cause I was a warm body on a Honda 400 twin – piece of crap. Looked the dogs bollocks in cowboy boots – what a plonker.

Soon moved on to high tech Belstaff waxed cotton jacket and pants. What a load of crap that was. Wore Wellington boots everyday and thick wool socks. No frickin Gortex back then. Feet so hot and sweaty the weave of the sock would get embedded into the sole of your feet. Your feet looked like white playdough at the end of the day. Closest I’ve ever come to getting trench foot. The Belstaff had to be treated nearly every day otherwise it would leak like a sieve at all the creases like your elbows.

Handlebar muffs that pushed back onto the brake and clutch levers so you had to ride with your left fingers extended straight to stop the clutch slipping. The fuckers would fill up with water when parked in the rain. And of course it fucking rained. It was London. Rain, rain, rain. After a few months you became immune to it. Cause then it got cold and it fucking rained. Wore so many layers I could have steamed a piece of fish in my armpit.

Learned how to ignore all rules of the road except for red lights. Never jumped a one.

Learned all the traffic light phasing for central London.

Learned where all the least used payphones were.

Learned to chat up the receptionists so you could use their phone to call in.

Learned where it was quicker to walk 25 yards down an alley than ride half a mile around the block.

Learned how to fix flats in the dark and rain by the gloom of a street light – if you were lucky. The rain puddles came in useful for locating the hole in the tube.

Learned where all the bus stops and turns were so you didn’t get squeezed by them. Learned which way streets were numbered.

Learned how to get around traffic snarl ups due to IRA bomb scares.

Learned that the Guardian newspaper bag was the best at keeping packages dry.

Hated in this order Black cabs, Royal Mail lorries and Volvo drivers. Still hate Volvo drivers.

Rode the wrong way down one-way streets. Rode up flights of steps. Rode, paddled the bike on the sidewalk when the traffic backed up. Could squeeze thru gaps with about an inch each side at 40 miles an hour and then do it again, again, again. Knew the correct speed to get thru the timed lights in Slough without getting caught at a red light.

Carried the master tape for Supertramp – Crime of the Century. Other important bits and bobs for RAK Records plus many other record companies whose names I’ve forgotten. Went into so many business’s and private homes you lot couldn’t imagine. Had a cuppa with Sting in Hampstead in his gaff near the pub on the one-way system. I had no idea who the Gordon Sumner was the delivery was addressed to.

Got stopped by the Special Branch (police) who couldn’t wait any longer to take a look inside the metal briefcase I had strapped to my bike. I’d had it there for a bout 2 hours as I skipped from delivery to pick up across London. It had about $80,000 of cocaine in it. They’d been watching and sweating that no one would steal it. Wanted me to wait for them to bring their own fake courier bike to deliver it. I’d been paid as a cash job so I didn’t care what happened to it. Figured that the customer wouldn’t be using us again so I buggered off.

Had to pick up dry cleaning, McDonald's, deliver presents to wives and girlfriends. – don’t mix those up – the girlfriends presents were always wrapped better. Paid parking fines. Delivered coffee.

IBM used Pony Express for a multi drop job once a week. This was something like 25 or 30 pick ups and drop offs starting in West London at 4 in the morning and ending up in Essex. Quicker you did it the sooner you got on with the rest of the day. That was a hoot absolutely flying across London with minimum traffic until the worker bees started emerging at around 7am. One time in winter I walked into the last drop and jumped up and down on the entry mat. The front of me fell off. I was cased in frozen slush from neck to crotch and knees to ankles.

Move onto Delta Dispatch cause Pony Express got bought out and sucked. Did buy a green / white leather jacket subsidized by Pony Express that had the horse rider Pony Express logo on the back. Fitted some arrow shafts to the back and staggered into Wells Fargo bank yelling Indians, Indians. Security guards didn’t think it was funny.

Delta Dispatch had better radios so not as much standing around phone boxes but you could tell when the money jobs were being handed out cause a rider would be told to call in. After a couple of months I was one of them cause I was a regular long hour suck up the crap jobs brown noser. I discovered Helly Hansen yachting gear which was 100% waterproof on the outside. This rubberized pull over top was like wearing a tropical rain forest next to your skin BUT it kept out the wet and the wind.

Pulled up next to a grey Ford XR3i turning off Picadilly.The attractive young blonde woman driving saw me leching at her and put her finger to her mouth in a Ssssh manner. Realized it was the young Diana. Nodded my head and looked away. A couple of weeks later the engagement was announced. After that I started carrying a cheap camera with me and earned extra money as a snapper. Took photos of all the “faces” I saw on the streets. Police action etc. The Daily Mail and Express bought my photos. I didn’t ask for a credit – plonker - but the money was welcome. I would dash into the paper and drop off the roll of film and let them decide if they wanted it. Started to carry a pager so they could text me yes / no and the money. If they didn’t want it I’d pick up the negatives and drop them at another paper. Could have made more money but enjoyed riding my bike – masochist. Part of it was just for the adrenaline zipping across London when the dispatcher thought I was in place A and I was in place B and having to get to place C for the next pick up.

Carried a check for 300 million pounds from Esso (now Exxon) to the taxman.

Carried original blueprints for oil refineries. 6 foot tube - that was fun bungee strapped across my back.

Watching a messenger get wrapped around the rear axle of a 18 wheeler who got pissed off at him. Didn’t die – lost both legs. Driver jailed for 20 years cause of my testimony. Yeah I embellished the truth a little to make sure the jury got pissed at him.

Had a good young friend Guy get killed by another wanker. Elton John wrote a song for him.

Riding down Hanger Lane on a CB200 splitting lanes between a van and flat bed 18 wheeler. Van moves over and I end up with my right handlebar and mirror under the flat bed with about to squash me fucking dead wheels in front and behind me. That taught me a lesson.

Smelling burnt wiring on my bike, panicking and then remembering I was going past the coffee factory near Hanger Lane. Did this so many times I felt a right twat.

Racing Keith on his GS1000 from a red light on the Edgeware Rd at 3 in the morning. I’m on a CX; he leaves me standing. A dark blue Triumph 2.5 PI (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triumph_2500) whips by with police alarm clanging. Down the road Keith is stopped with police car. I mosey on by looking the other way and circle back to find both him and car gone. Get back to Clapham to find Keith already at the apartment 3 of us shared. It was a Special Branch car and they wanted to make sure he hadn’t stolen the bike. The only rider I know who got pulled doing 120 in a 30 and rode away scot-free.

Going to work early so I could go around and around Marble Arch hanging off a GPZ550 scraping the pegs.

Being seduced by Middle Eastern brown eyes behind a yashmak in a Roller when the oil money came to town in a BIG way.

Getting knocked off by a Nigerian Embassy car – they paid me off cause I had a small hole in my skin on my knee.

Racing down Park Lane with other messengers. Absolutely nuts.

Never got busted by the police – how this happened still amazes me.

Averaged about 200 miles a day every day for 5 years. Thatsa lotta kerb side oil changes, chain lubes and chain adjustments. Bikes were on the whole pretty reliable although the sub frame on the GPZ550 did break. Didn’t notice for a couple of days until I noticed how low the bike was sitting. Stripped it down, got it welded, reassembled and ran it into the ground.

Spraying the inside of your face shield with anti fog every night knowing it would last about 30 minutes in the next days rain.

Drinking too many pints in various pubs after work and then zooming home and up early to do it all over again.

Knowing where every pothole and manhole cover was in central London.

Knowing when the Changing of the Guard took place so as to keep away from the tourist hordes. http://www.changing-the-guard.com/

Putting pennies on top of the front fork springs on a CX500 (English pennies were bloody big) to help stiffen the front up.

Seeing the Queen Mother cruise down Bond St. in her Roller whilst shoe shop salespeople brought boxes of shoes for her to look over. The bodyguards popping in and out of her limo like ferrets in a rabbit warren.

Having a bank account in Mayfair – hey it was convenient – and getting a kick out of depositing my pay check every week noticing the other clients looking a bit miffed that a messenger was rubbing shoulders with them.

Using a Yamaha 90cc step through moped whilst the CX was off the road waiting for parts. Popping little wheelies on the Yamaha at Oxford Circus. The dispatchers took pity on me and kept me in town or they gave me a series of pickups and drops spanning the whole of central London.

Riding through Spitalfields Meat Market and getting cursed at by the butchers and their boys as I weaved past blood stained white coats carrying slabs of near quivering meat.

Getting annoyed with myself when I had to use an A-Z Streetfinder to look an address up.

Getting really annoyed at wannabe Black Cab drivers wobbling around the streets on their mopeds learning “The Knowledge”. The plonkers would simply stop in the middle of the road looking for street addresses. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxicabs_of_the_United_Kingdom

Some messenger friends left Delta to start their own company. Holborn Globetrotters (amazing the names you can think of after a spliff or two). The company is still going strong 25 years later http://www.londononline.co.uk/profiles/78073/ although Ken left to live the hippy, organic life in Wales or SW England somewhere. As far as I know Keith (he of the Special Branch stop mentioned earlier) is still running the company.

Located a few blocks east of the British Museum this more central location was great for jobs so I bailed from Delta and worked for them. No radios which was a bummer, but no weekly fees which was good. By now all the receptionists in London knew messengers wanted to use a phone so no radio wasn’t too much of a pain for the riders. It did mean the little Hitlers aka dispatchers really had to ramp up their game to make sure all jobs were picked up quickly. A BIG plus was that a higher percentage of the jobs were cash – luverly jubbly – shaking out yer pockets at the end of the day and adding to the jar on the chest of drawers. Very fiscally responsible and all declared to Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise Ha ha.

What a bunch or rascals and vagabonds we were. A very tightly knit group who really looked after each other. Bikes were fixed, lent, stolen from each other, sold, resold so that everyone could keep ripping up the streets of London. Fuck Baker Street and Gerry Rafferty – nothing to do with the thread just hated that song. Baker Street was a real pain to use.

The police used BMW’s and they could really cut through traffic. Seemed to be used for escorting The Royal Family and visiting heads of state. The lead rider would have a whistle to get road users attention and if you heard the whistle you’d better move cause they would steam roller you out of the way. One day one of the local street characters, a little old guy nicknamed Titch, was doing his usual traffic-directing act from a traffic island in the middle of Clerkenwell Rd when a bike cop pulled up next to him. This cop was a large beefy, red faced, red haired S.O.B who I’d seen around town quite a bit looking officious. Well he pulls up next to Twitch and his best cop voice ask “What the hell are you doing” because of course only cops can direct traffic. Titch in his best Titch voice calmly replied, “Why don’t you fuck off” and gave him the English bird. Well the cop went bright red as all the onlookers laughed. Sensibly he decided to go fight another battle and gathering all his dignity rode away with that straight backed posture that only Beemer riders seem to have.

Didn’t think anything of finishing work on a Friday night and riding a couple of hundred miles to visit friends outside of London. The riding became such a part of a messengers life it just seemed natural.

One day I’m in bum fuck can’t remember where in the countryside on a roller coaster 2 lane road. It’s 4.30 in the morning and I’m heading away from London on THE cash job of the day. Summer time, not raining, and the sun is peeking. I see a single headlight in my mirror and figure it’s a guy on the way to work so I keep ripping up the road. The bike behind zips by me and the rider gives me a thumbs up. It’s a cop on a cop bike and if I’m doing 20 over he’s got to be doing 50 over. So I tuck in behind him and get escorted for about the next 25 miles. We zip by other vehicles like jet fighters.

Slowly an undeclared war developed between messengers and other road users as traffic became more congested. Leann had a swift answer to road rage. She had a 1lb lump hammer secured in a clip on her gas tank. If someone pissed her off she’d pull up next to them at a stoplight. As the light went green she’d smash their wing mirror and zoom away.

I never resorted to those tactics I’d just move the mirror so they couldn’t see out of it.

Lots of messenger companies sprang up with riders thinking they were going to get off the road and earn big money. They’d hire anyone on 2 wheels and most couldn’t ride a bike let alone cope with the demands of city traffic. I soon got to recognize the sound of a bike wrecking. There’s something unmistakable about metal and plastic hitting blacktop. I’d say that 95% of the time it was rider error. They’d see a gap and try to squeeze through or they’d hit blind pedestrians. Too much pressure from the dispatchers and not enough common sense.

Note my riding had got more sensible or I’d just got much better. I swear there were days when I could feel the vehicles around me and see pathways through the traffic before the gaps opened. It was a very meditative state of mind. Hard to explain without sounding like a complete nut job. I don’t remember being on the brakes , on the gas, on the brakes, on the gas. Speed wasn’t always your best friend it was being able to read the traffic flow and use the road accordingly. BUT you know there were days when I’d be completely fucked without a drop of adrenaline left in me and those days were good. It just felt much safer to be weaving through the traffic rather than being stuck in a hole with no way out.

Most of the time as a messenger was pretty boring but looking back it was some of the best working years of my life to date.

The people I rode with were in the main outstanding riders, not at the same level as track riders but as street riders. A completely different breed.

I worked from 1983 to 1988 and quit at the age of 35 when I had to be dragged off a Black Cab driver in the Wandsworth one-way system. The bastard had tried to push me into the fence at the edge of the sidewalk and I snapped. Too many close calls with people trying to kill me. Yep I honestly believe most of the Black Cab drivers would try to clip you cause we had taken a lot of work from them. So I got a real job and moved to the countryside. Gave the bike I’d been using, a CB200, to a friend who wanted a small bike to restore.

Moved to the USA in late 1993.

Didn’t ride again until 2002 when I bought a Valkyrie. Sold that and got a ST1300 in 2006. Have ridden over 150,000 miles in the past 9 years.

2005 KLR purchased in September of 2010 (12,541 miles). Rode for 13,000 miles. Sold February 2012.
1998 Valkyrie bought September 2016 with 38,000 miles on the clock. Now it has 80,000 miles in December 2020

Sold the Valkyrie in March of 2021 with 85,000 miles ridden.

December 2020 I bought a 2014 1800cc Valkyrie with 12,500 miles. Now with nearly 20,000 miles in October, 2021
 

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DAMN, Britman! You've had some experiences! And some very unique motorcycles! Let's keep this thread going. Interested to hear the tales.

Richmonder
 
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And something I put together a few years ago.


5 years full time as a f’ln lunatic motorcycle messenger in London in the early 80's.

Had lived in London for about 18 months. Hated the job I was doing and thought I knew every street Ha-bloody Ha-ha.

Got a job at Pony Express cause I was a warm body on a Honda 400 twin – piece of crap. Looked the dogs bollocks in cowboy boots – what a plonker.

Soon moved on to high tech Belstaff waxed cotton jacket and pants. What a load of crap that was. Wore Wellington boots everyday and thick wool socks. No frickin Gortex back then. Feet so hot and sweaty the weave of the sock would get embedded into the sole of your feet. Your feet looked like white playdough at the end of the day. Closest I’ve ever come to getting trench foot. The Belstaff had to be treated nearly every day otherwise it would leak like a sieve at all the creases like your elbows.

Handlebar muffs that pushed back onto the brake and clutch levers so you had to ride with your left fingers extended straight to stop the clutch slipping. The fuckers would fill up with water when parked in the rain. And of course it fucking rained. It was London. Rain, rain, rain. After a few months you became immune to it. Cause then it got cold and it fucking rained. Wore so many layers I could have steamed a piece of fish in my armpit.

Learned how to ignore all rules of the road except for red lights. Never jumped a one.

Learned all the traffic light phasing for central London.

Learned where all the least used payphones were.

Learned to chat up the receptionists so you could use their phone to call in.

Learned where it was quicker to walk 25 yards down an alley than ride half a mile around the block.

Learned how to fix flats in the dark and rain by the gloom of a street light – if you were lucky. The rain puddles came in useful for locating the hole in the tube.

Learned where all the bus stops and turns were so you didn’t get squeezed by them. Learned which way streets were numbered.

Learned how to get around traffic snarl ups due to IRA bomb scares.

Learned that the Guardian newspaper bag was the best at keeping packages dry.

Hated in this order Black cabs, Royal Mail lorries and Volvo drivers. Still hate Volvo drivers.

Rode the wrong way down one-way streets. Rode up flights of steps. Rode, paddled the bike on the sidewalk when the traffic backed up. Could squeeze thru gaps with about an inch each side at 40 miles an hour and then do it again, again, again. Knew the correct speed to get thru the timed lights in Slough without getting caught at a red light.

Carried the master tape for Supertramp – Crime of the Century. Other important bits and bobs for RAK Records plus many other record companies whose names I’ve forgotten. Went into so many business’s and private homes you lot couldn’t imagine. Had a cuppa with Sting in Hampstead in his gaff near the pub on the one-way system. I had no idea who the Gordon Sumner was the delivery was addressed to.

Got stopped by the Special Branch (police) who couldn’t wait any longer to take a look inside the metal briefcase I had strapped to my bike. I’d had it there for a bout 2 hours as I skipped from delivery to pick up across London. It had about $80,000 of cocaine in it. They’d been watching and sweating that no one would steal it. Wanted me to wait for them to bring their own fake courier bike to deliver it. I’d been paid as a cash job so I didn’t care what happened to it. Figured that the customer wouldn’t be using us again so I buggered off.

Had to pick up dry cleaning, McDonald's, deliver presents to wives and girlfriends. – don’t mix those up – the girlfriends presents were always wrapped better. Paid parking fines. Delivered coffee.

IBM used Pony Express for a multi drop job once a week. This was something like 25 or 30 pick ups and drop offs starting in West London at 4 in the morning and ending up in Essex. Quicker you did it the sooner you got on with the rest of the day. That was a hoot absolutely flying across London with minimum traffic until the worker bees started emerging at around 7am. One time in winter I walked into the last drop and jumped up and down on the entry mat. The front of me fell off. I was cased in frozen slush from neck to crotch and knees to ankles.

Move onto Delta Dispatch cause Pony Express got bought out and sucked. Did buy a green / white leather jacket subsidized by Pony Express that had the horse rider Pony Express logo on the back. Fitted some arrow shafts to the back and staggered into Wells Fargo bank yelling Indians, Indians. Security guards didn’t think it was funny.

Delta Dispatch had better radios so not as much standing around phone boxes but you could tell when the money jobs were being handed out cause a rider would be told to call in. After a couple of months I was one of them cause I was a regular long hour suck up the crap jobs brown noser. I discovered Helly Hansen yachting gear which was 100% waterproof on the outside. This rubberized pull over top was like wearing a tropical rain forest next to your skin BUT it kept out the wet and the wind.

Pulled up next to a grey Ford XR3i turning off Picadilly.The attractive young blonde woman driving saw me leching at her and put her finger to her mouth in a Ssssh manner. Realized it was the young Diana. Nodded my head and looked away. A couple of weeks later the engagement was announced. After that I started carrying a cheap camera with me and earned extra money as a snapper. Took photos of all the “faces” I saw on the streets. Police action etc. The Daily Mail and Express bought my photos. I didn’t ask for a credit – plonker - but the money was welcome. I would dash into the paper and drop off the roll of film and let them decide if they wanted it. Started to carry a pager so they could text me yes / no and the money. If they didn’t want it I’d pick up the negatives and drop them at another paper. Could have made more money but enjoyed riding my bike – masochist. Part of it was just for the adrenaline zipping across London when the dispatcher thought I was in place A and I was in place B and having to get to place C for the next pick up.

Carried a check for 300 million pounds from Esso (now Exxon) to the taxman.

Carried original blueprints for oil refineries. 6 foot tube - that was fun bungee strapped across my back.

Watching a messenger get wrapped around the rear axle of a 18 wheeler who got pissed off at him. Didn’t die – lost both legs. Driver jailed for 20 years cause of my testimony. Yeah I embellished the truth a little to make sure the jury got pissed at him.

Had a good young friend Guy get killed by another wanker. Elton John wrote a song for him.

Riding down Hanger Lane on a CB200 splitting lanes between a van and flat bed 18 wheeler. Van moves over and I end up with my right handlebar and mirror under the flat bed with about to squash me fucking dead wheels in front and behind me. That taught me a lesson.

Smelling burnt wiring on my bike, panicking and then remembering I was going past the coffee factory near Hanger Lane. Did this so many times I felt a right twat.

Racing Keith on his GS1000 from a red light on the Edgeware Rd at 3 in the morning. I’m on a CX; he leaves me standing. A dark blue Triumph 2.5 PI (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triumph_2500) whips by with police alarm clanging. Down the road Keith is stopped with police car. I mosey on by looking the other way and circle back to find both him and car gone. Get back to Clapham to find Keith already at the apartment 3 of us shared. It was a Special Branch car and they wanted to make sure he hadn’t stolen the bike. The only rider I know who got pulled doing 120 in a 30 and rode away scot-free.

Going to work early so I could go around and around Marble Arch hanging off a GPZ550 scraping the pegs.

Being seduced by Middle Eastern brown eyes behind a yashmak in a Roller when the oil money came to town in a BIG way.

Getting knocked off by a Nigerian Embassy car – they paid me off cause I had a small hole in my skin on my knee.

Racing down Park Lane with other messengers. Absolutely nuts.

Never got busted by the police – how this happened still amazes me.

Averaged about 200 miles a day every day for 5 years. Thatsa lotta kerb side oil changes, chain lubes and chain adjustments. Bikes were on the whole pretty reliable although the sub frame on the GPZ550 did break. Didn’t notice for a couple of days until I noticed how low the bike was sitting. Stripped it down, got it welded, reassembled and ran it into the ground.

Spraying the inside of your face shield with anti fog every night knowing it would last about 30 minutes in the next days rain.

Drinking too many pints in various pubs after work and then zooming home and up early to do it all over again.

Knowing where every pothole and manhole cover was in central London.

Knowing when the Changing of the Guard took place so as to keep away from the tourist hordes. http://www.changing-the-guard.com/

Putting pennies on top of the front fork springs on a CX500 (English pennies were bloody big) to help stiffen the front up.

Seeing the Queen Mother cruise down Bond St. in her Roller whilst shoe shop salespeople brought boxes of shoes for her to look over. The bodyguards popping in and out of her limo like ferrets in a rabbit warren.

Having a bank account in Mayfair – hey it was convenient – and getting a kick out of depositing my pay check every week noticing the other clients looking a bit miffed that a messenger was rubbing shoulders with them.

Using a Yamaha 90cc step through moped whilst the CX was off the road waiting for parts. Popping little wheelies on the Yamaha at Oxford Circus. The dispatchers took pity on me and kept me in town or they gave me a series of pickups and drops spanning the whole of central London.

Riding through Spitalfields Meat Market and getting cursed at by the butchers and their boys as I weaved past blood stained white coats carrying slabs of near quivering meat.

Getting annoyed with myself when I had to use an A-Z Streetfinder to look an address up.

Getting really annoyed at wannabe Black Cab drivers wobbling around the streets on their mopeds learning “The Knowledge”. The plonkers would simply stop in the middle of the road looking for street addresses. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxicabs_of_the_United_Kingdom

Some messenger friends left Delta to start their own company. Holborn Globetrotters (amazing the names you can think of after a spliff or two). The company is still going strong 25 years later http://www.londononline.co.uk/profiles/78073/ although Ken left to live the hippy, organic life in Wales or SW England somewhere. As far as I know Keith (he of the Special Branch stop mentioned earlier) is still running the company.

Located a few blocks east of the British Museum this more central location was great for jobs so I bailed from Delta and worked for them. No radios which was a bummer, but no weekly fees which was good. By now all the receptionists in London knew messengers wanted to use a phone so no radio wasn’t too much of a pain for the riders. It did mean the little Hitlers aka dispatchers really had to ramp up their game to make sure all jobs were picked up quickly. A BIG plus was that a higher percentage of the jobs were cash – luverly jubbly – shaking out yer pockets at the end of the day and adding to the jar on the chest of drawers. Very fiscally responsible and all declared to Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise Ha ha.

What a bunch or rascals and vagabonds we were. A very tightly knit group who really looked after each other. Bikes were fixed, lent, stolen from each other, sold, resold so that everyone could keep ripping up the streets of London. Fuck Baker Street and Gerry Rafferty – nothing to do with the thread just hated that song. Baker Street was a real pain to use.

The police used BMW’s and they could really cut through traffic. Seemed to be used for escorting The Royal Family and visiting heads of state. The lead rider would have a whistle to get road users attention and if you heard the whistle you’d better move cause they would steam roller you out of the way. One day one of the local street characters, a little old guy nicknamed Titch, was doing his usual traffic-directing act from a traffic island in the middle of Clerkenwell Rd when a bike cop pulled up next to him. This cop was a large beefy, red faced, red haired S.O.B who I’d seen around town quite a bit looking officious. Well he pulls up next to Twitch and his best cop voice ask “What the hell are you doing” because of course only cops can direct traffic. Titch in his best Titch voice calmly replied, “Why don’t you fuck off” and gave him the English bird. Well the cop went bright red as all the onlookers laughed. Sensibly he decided to go fight another battle and gathering all his dignity rode away with that straight backed posture that only Beemer riders seem to have.

Didn’t think anything of finishing work on a Friday night and riding a couple of hundred miles to visit friends outside of London. The riding became such a part of a messengers life it just seemed natural.

One day I’m in bum fuck can’t remember where in the countryside on a roller coaster 2 lane road. It’s 4.30 in the morning and I’m heading away from London on THE cash job of the day. Summer time, not raining, and the sun is peeking. I see a single headlight in my mirror and figure it’s a guy on the way to work so I keep ripping up the road. The bike behind zips by me and the rider gives me a thumbs up. It’s a cop on a cop bike and if I’m doing 20 over he’s got to be doing 50 over. So I tuck in behind him and get escorted for about the next 25 miles. We zip by other vehicles like jet fighters.

Slowly an undeclared war developed between messengers and other road users as traffic became more congested. Leann had a swift answer to road rage. She had a 1lb lump hammer secured in a clip on her gas tank. If someone pissed her off she’d pull up next to them at a stoplight. As the light went green she’d smash their wing mirror and zoom away.

I never resorted to those tactics I’d just move the mirror so they couldn’t see out of it.

Lots of messenger companies sprang up with riders thinking they were going to get off the road and earn big money. They’d hire anyone on 2 wheels and most couldn’t ride a bike let alone cope with the demands of city traffic. I soon got to recognize the sound of a bike wrecking. There’s something unmistakable about metal and plastic hitting blacktop. I’d say that 95% of the time it was rider error. They’d see a gap and try to squeeze through or they’d hit blind pedestrians. Too much pressure from the dispatchers and not enough common sense.

Note my riding had got more sensible or I’d just got much better. I swear there were days when I could feel the vehicles around me and see pathways through the traffic before the gaps opened. It was a very meditative state of mind. Hard to explain without sounding like a complete nut job. I don’t remember being on the brakes , on the gas, on the brakes, on the gas. Speed wasn’t always your best friend it was being able to read the traffic flow and use the road accordingly. BUT you know there were days when I’d be completely fucked without a drop of adrenaline left in me and those days were good. It just felt much safer to be weaving through the traffic rather than being stuck in a hole with no way out.

Most of the time as a messenger was pretty boring but looking back it was some of the best working years of my life to date.

The people I rode with were in the main outstanding riders, not at the same level as track riders but as street riders. A completely different breed.

I worked from 1983 to 1988 and quit at the age of 35 when I had to be dragged off a Black Cab driver in the Wandsworth one-way system. The bastard had tried to push me into the fence at the edge of the sidewalk and I snapped. Too many close calls with people trying to kill me. Yep I honestly believe most of the Black Cab drivers would try to clip you cause we had taken a lot of work from them. So I got a real job and moved to the countryside. Gave the bike I’d been using, a CB200, to a friend who wanted a small bike to restore.

Moved to the USA in late 1993.

Didn’t ride again until 2002 when I bought a Valkyrie. Sold that and got a ST1300 in 2006. Have ridden over 150,000 miles in the past 9 years.

2005 KLR purchased in September of 2010 (12,541 miles). Rode for 13,000 miles. Sold February 2012.
1998 Valkyrie bought September 2016 with 38,000 miles on the clock. Now it has 80,000 miles in December 2020

Sold the Valkyrie in March of 2021 with 85,000 miles ridden.

December 2020 I bought a 2014 1800cc Valkyrie with 12,500 miles. Now with nearly 20,000 miles in October, 2021
DAMN!!!! What a tale! I'm really impressed that you carried the master tape for Supertramp! I'm a rock and roll buff and that kind of history fascinates me. I was actually a roadie for Cheap Trick for one night in 1982 when they came to my little college in Iowa and played at the peak of their career after Budokan came out. Got paid $50 and a free concert. Hardest day's work I ever did. And seeing Diana! That must have been really cool. Man, your cockney vernacular takes some time to discern! Love it!

Richmonder
 

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My story is short, I've only had three bikes.

In 2008 at the age of 58, I got my first motorcycle, a 2008 Honda Shadow 750 C2. I was perfectly happy with that bike until later that year I was in McCloud, CA during a rainstorm and notice across the street there was a flatbed truck with a motorcycle on it. I went to take a look. The motorcycle, being on the flatbed was about chest high. As I approached the rain stopped and the clouds opened up, a shaft of sunlight illuminated the bike. There may have been a chorus of angles too. On the flatbed was a blue 1500 Valkyrie. It was the most beautiful bike I had ever seen.

Three months later I was making reservations to fly to Nashville, TN to purchase a 2003 black Valkyrie and ride it back to Northern California when a coworker found another 2003 black Valkyrie with 5000 miles on the odometer in Portland, OR, for $9,000 and less than a day's drive to the north. The Portland bike became mine.

I had that 2003 Valkyrie until June 2015 seven days after I retired. On the second day of my long-planned retirement cross-country trip, I was involved in a hit & run accident on I-84 near Boise, ID that totaled my beautiful 2003 black 1500 Valkyrie. I have children who are older than the two firefighter-medics that treated me at the scene of the accident (in a previous career I had spent 15 years in the fire service). I had only minor injuries, it seems the brain is not a vital organ for me. A mild concussion and what didn't hurt on the first day, hurt on the second day.

The Boise, ID Honda dealer where my totaled Valkyrie was hauled had a brand new 2014 black 1800 Valkyrie on the floor with a $12,000 price tag on it. This was my first in-person introduction to the new Valkyries. Within 48 hours my insurance company had $7,000 deposited in my account for my wrecked 1500 Valkyrie and with my $5,000 vacation money, I had more than enough to purchase it. I was so tempted to buy it and continue my trip but I was pretty shaken up from the accident. I rented a car and drove back home to Northern California.

My first real effort to purchase a second-generation Valkyrie was when the new leftovers were selling for about $8k for a brief period a few years back. I put a down payment on a black 2014 1800 Valkyrie and had a plane ticket to fly to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to pick up a brand new one and ride it back to the west coast. With bags packed, it came time to go to the airport. My wife refused to drive me to the airport and wanted nothing to do with me getting another motorcycle. So I thought in the interest of marital peace I would cancel this deal.

Two years later my wife of 43 years and I decided to split the sheets, I moved to Washington State to be close to our daughter and grandson and my ex-wife moved to South Dakota. It's now 2019 and I located a lightly used black ABS Valkyrie in Portland, OR, and was on my way to purchase it when I got cold feet and decided to not go through with the purchase. Too many things were kind of red flags in the deal (a guy with an Eastern European accent, wanting to meet me in an alley behind a warehouse and bring cash!).

But the attraction was still there. In November of 2020, I located a Black 2014 1800 Valkyrie on consignment at a dealer about 100 miles away in Auburn, WA. This beauty was completely unmolested or accessorized with 19,000 miles and all service records. I could not tell it from a new one and purchased it for $8,000. It's been a great bike and even though I really like the looks of an unadorned 1800 Valkyrie, mine now has a bunch of Honda accessories on it.

This summer I rode it from western Washington to Minnesota and back. Tomorrow it's supposed to rain, but today I put another 30 miles on it.
 

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My story is short, I've only had three bikes.

In 2008 at the age of 58, I got my first motorcycle, a 2008 Honda Shadow 750 C2. I was perfectly happy with that bike until later that year I was in McCloud, CA during a rainstorm and notice across the street there was a flatbed truck with a motorcycle on it. I went to take a look. The motorcycle, being on the flatbed was about chest high. As I approached the rain stopped and the clouds opened up, a shaft of sunlight illuminated the bike. There may have been a chorus of angles too. On the flatbed was a blue 1500 Valkyrie. It was the most beautiful bike I had ever seen.

Three months later I was making reservations to fly to Nashville, TN to purchase a 2003 black Valkyrie and ride it back to Northern California when a coworker found another 2003 black Valkyrie with 5000 miles on the odometer in Portland, OR, for $9,000 and less than a day's drive to the north. The Portland bike became mine.

I had that 2003 Valkyrie until June 2015 seven days after I retired. On the second day of my long-planned retirement cross-country trip, I was involved in a hit & run accident on I-84 near Boise, ID that totaled my beautiful 2003 black 1500 Valkyrie. I have children who are older than the two firefighter-medics that treated me at the scene of the accident (in a previous career I had spent 15 years in the fire service). I had only minor injuries, it seems the brain is not a vital organ for me. A mild concussion and what didn't hurt on the first day, hurt on the second day.

The Boise, ID Honda dealer where my totaled Valkyrie was hauled had a brand new 2014 black 1800 Valkyrie on the floor with a $12,000 price tag on it. This was my first in-person introduction to the new Valkyries. Within 48 hours my insurance company had $7,000 deposited in my account for my wrecked 1500 Valkyrie and with my $5,000 vacation money, I had more than enough to purchase it. I was so tempted to buy it and continue my trip but I was pretty shaken up from the accident. I rented a car and drove back home to Northern California.

My first real effort to purchase a second-generation Valkyrie was when the new leftovers were selling for about $8k for a brief period a few years back. I put a down payment on a black 2014 1800 Valkyrie and had a plane ticket to fly to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to pick up a brand new one and ride it back to the west coast. With bags packed, it came time to go to the airport. My wife refused to drive me to the airport and wanted nothing to do with me getting another motorcycle. So I thought in the interest of marital peace I would cancel this deal.

Two years later my wife of 43 years and I decided to split the sheets, I moved to Washington State to be close to our daughter and grandson and my ex-wife moved to South Dakota. It's now 2019 and I located a lightly used black ABS Valkyrie in Portland, OR, and was on my way to purchase it when I got cold feet and decided to not go through with the purchase. Too many things were kind of red flags in the deal (a guy with an Eastern European accent, wanting to meet me in an alley behind a warehouse and bring cash!).

But the attraction was still there. In November of 2020, I located a Black 2014 1800 Valkyrie on consignment at a dealer about 100 miles away in Auburn, WA. This beauty was completely unmolested or accessorized with 19,000 miles and all service records. I could not tell it from a new one and purchased it for $8,000. It's been a great bike and even though I really like the looks of an unadorned 1800 Valkyrie, mine now has a bunch of Honda accessories on it.

This summer I rode it from western Washington to Minnesota and back. Tomorrow it's supposed to rain, but today I put another 30 miles on it.
Great story, Farther! Seems Valkyries were your destiny. I'm like you. I love the look of an unadorned Valk, but have added a lot of Honda accessories and a few of my own. But that's what making it "ours" is all about. Your story about the hit and run incident reminds me why I insure to the max with liability coverage. That will automatically increase your uninsured/underinsured coverage and protect YOU if some loser hits you and there's no liability coverage to pay your damages. 1 in 7 motorists on the road is uninsured, and that's pretty bad odds against us. And it gets worse daily as the government lets foreigners in by the thousands and gives them drivers' licenses. Glad you survived the ordeal. And I think it's always a shame when one spouse wants a motorcycle and the other says no. I've always felt that it was best to go into the marriage as a biker and an understanding that it would always be thus, rather than having a midlife crisis and springing it on them. Course, having a bad accident can sour anyone's interest. I have only been down once, and although it was not something I'd ever choose to repeat, I never even considered the possibility of not riding anymore. The thought never crossed my mind. What HAS made me consider the whole pastime is distracted driving. These people driving around staring at their cell phones instead of the road scare me to death. It has made me ever more vigilant.

Richmonder
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The number not time I’ve laid my bike down was one of my 1500’s. I was getting off work late one night sitting at a red light. I was a bicycle cop so I was wearing a reflective bike uniform. I hear tires screeching behind me. I’m not sure if it sounded more on my right side or what, but I lifted my right leg and leaned left. The truck slid past me taking the chrome off my right engine guard and knocked me off balance, dropping the bike, He was DUI and I was not happy.
 

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Most may not find this exciting but I just though I would tell a little story about my motorcycling.

I began riding some as a child on my neighbors Honda 70 dirt bike, never really rode a lot, just some, and never had my own (except the old moped that wouldn't crank, just pedaled). About the time I turned 29 (1995), I was a police officer in Mobile, AL and met guys on the force who rode. They mostly rode Honda Shadows and Yamaha's. Not really the Harley crowd but there was one or two.. I picked up a used 1986 Honda Shadow 750, got it painted ( I don't like to leave things alone) and began riding. Then it happened the 1997 Honda Valkyrie came out. I immediately sold my little Shadow and bought one. It was instant love. I kept it a few years, but when Excelsior Henderson came back with a new bike, I sold the Valk and bought a Henderson, The dealership I dealt with carried the Honda's and the Excelsior, and gave police a BIG discount....about cost.. I rode the Excelsior Henderson for about a year and although it was a beautiful piece of work, I didn't trust it like my Valk and the company had problems and folded. I sold the Henderson and picked up another 1997 Valk. I rode it for the next few years and when my son came along, time for riding was scarce so it sat. Fast forward a few years, one of my best riding friends passed from age (he was a motor cop and taught me most of what I know about riding). I remembered him taking his son on rides when we rode. Realizing that my son would soon be approaching his teenage years and be "too cool" to ride on the back of a bike, I decided that instead of trying to break out the old Valk and get it going, I would just buy a new one, The price was right, as it was the time when they were clearing them out and could be bought cheap. I didn't like the looks as I had grown to love the chrome and looks of the original but thought I would buy one to ride and not worry about carbs, petcocks, hydrolock, etc. etc.....I have ridden my 2014 for a couple years now and have grown to love the looks and the performance, it never fails to amaze me. Each time I ride it I find myself looking forward to the next ride even if its just a short jaunt to the coffee shop. My son is 13 now and rides some with me, I haven't gotten him on a long ride yet, but have picked him up from school (pre-covid) on it several times and took short rides around town. He wants a GROM now so riding is in his blood. It has been raining here pretty much the last week so I'm about ready for another ride on that blue Valkyrie that never ceases to amaze me an put a smile on my face each time I crank it up.
Hey, brother. I rode my dark red metallic '14 today and very much feel the same way ... AMAZED at each ride. Powerful, smooth, steady and really just amazing. It hauls my squatty self down the road like nothing else. i had a '99 and loved it but this 1832cc is truly 'the beauty and the beast". Enjoy and be safe.
 
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