I mentioned a day or so ago that I have a motorcycle. A little clarification is in
I started riding in 1986 when my 1969
Citroen Safari broke a timing chain at 70 MPH, and embedded a couple of valves
in the pistons. It was either a cheap car or a decent motorcycle, and a Honda
FT500 made its way to my apartment. After a few months of riding, I got my endorsement,
and started riding from time to time. Kim was also interested in riding, but the FT
was a bit tall for her, and her attempts were not successful.
Enter the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
MSF was formed in the 1970s to provide, not surprisingly, motorcycle training. I took
their Experienced Rider
Course, and Kim took the basic
course. The basic course is a wonderful way to find out if you really want to
ride a motorcycle - the course provides motorcycles, helmets, and a world-class
curriculum, all for a few hundred dollars or less. In many states, you walk
away from the course having earned a motorcycle endorsement (assuming you pass).
Kim's success led to a 1988
Ninja 250 for her, which was soon followed by a 1989
EX500 for me, followed closely after by an MSF instructor course for me.
MSF takes its instructor training very seriously, and I spent 10 days doing nothing
but motorcycle training. After that, I taught a lot of classes, and did a lot of riding,
commuting year round by motorcycle for about a decade. The Ninja 250 was replaced
by a CBR600F2 for Kim,
and a few years later, my EX500, having hit 50K miles, was replaced with a 1997
VFR750, my current bike (though mine is a bit more customized than this one).
Kim liked the power of her CBR, but it's a little too tall for her (she's somewhat
height-challenged). So, where do you find front-line sportbikes for people who are
a bit on the short side? The answer is
obvious. All the Japanese manufacturers make home market bikes that would be perfect.
A friend led me to somebody who imports Japanese-spec bikes and registers, and the
CBR was soon replaced with a very rare in the states Honda CBR400RR,
which is pretty much the perfect wife for Kim
Then, a few years ago I moved near the Microsoft campus and got a lot more busy, so
I had to give up teaching motorcycle safety, and I still have a hard time finding
time to ride.
I missed a few high points, including an introduction to the pavement, riding a GP
spec 125cc bike, and being a passenger around a racetrack at 130MPH, but that's for