Although I’ve been a pilot for over 35 years I have been a motorcycle rider even longer. I first rode a Honda Cub in 1966 when I was in Churchill Manitoba where there was a defined beginning and defined end to the road that didn’t go further than the distance a polar bear could walk in an afternoon. I rode that bike everywhere on the local roads and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police just smiled and waved and let the Captain’s son go where he wanted. The next summer, back in Lac du Bonnet, I got my own Honda Cub. A perfect little chalk blue 1966 model. I drove that thing everywhere although down south the RCMP kept a closer eye on me. I stayed off the main highways and pioneered a trail along the road to town and alongside the railways tracks that still exist today 45 years later although populated now with four wheel ATVs. I was simply the first pre-16 year old in our area to own a motorcycle and I needed to get to town. The next bike I bought was a 1969 Husqvarna 250. It was big leap from my Cub but the thousands of miles I put on that 50cc paid off. I join the local motocross club and started racing. I never won anything and only stopped when I broke several ribs after missing a double jump when I was 18. I was training to be a pilot and so I couldn’t afford to be in the hospital. My 16th birthday was a special event that I carefully planned many years in advance. I worked and saved so that I could buy a beautiful new Gold 1971 Honda CL350 Scrambler on the day of my birthday. I wrote my beginner’s drivers license and bought and drove my new bike home the same day. It was May 10th and I froze my fingers on the way home. I thought it was going to be an easy transition from the dirt bike but the Scrambler wasn’t all it was advertised for. It was a great first street bike but a lousy trail bike. The best part was as soon as I could drive my licensing test I was able to take my girlfriends for a ride. That kept me busy for awhile. In 1974 I sold the Scramble and upgraded to a Norton 850. I decided that I needed to rebel from the line of Honda’s and I never regretted that decision. What a beautiful and sexy bike. I loved that bike and rode it from one end of Canada to the other in two different summers. In 1974 I rode for two months and over 9000 miles from Winnipeg to St. John’s Newfoundland and back. In the summer of 1976 I rode with my new wife from Winnipeg to Vancouver as part of our extended honeymoon.
Since then I have owned two Honda ST1100 Pan Europeans while living in Bali and now that I am living back in Canada I have become the proud owner of a Pearl Blue 2004 Honda ST1300, a Blue and Gold 2008 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa and a Nebulous Black 2010 Honda Gold Wing.
Obviously I plan to do a lot more riding in the next 25+ years but in the meantime I still have 20+ years of work before I can retire. So I will need to find time every summer (I live in a winter ridden country) to “fit” a ride into my life. These blog entries are an attempt to document my rides so I won’t forget where I have been and what I have done. In the end I really only want to keep to where I started. I can still remember the caffeine like rush from the smell of gasoline vapours and hot engine oil and the exhilarating revs of my first motorcycle. As long as I can continue living that feeling I will keep riding.
By the way, when I say I am riding the “byways” of America I mean the “Americas” including any or all of North and South America as was originally named by the cartographer Mercator in 1538. The map below shows where we have ridden so far on the American highways and byways.
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