December 15, 2018

Motorcycles have been part of our Lifestyle:

By: Rob Lowe

Featured Picture

Early in 2018 my son, Peter told me he was going to buy another motorcycle after many years of not having one. He mimics his dad in many of those life events. Let me explain:
When I was fifteen (15) years old, my friend Dave bought a Honda Scooter which had a 50cc engine. While we could both ride on that scooter it was not a motorcycle. After a few months of riding, he decided that a larger Honda S90 bike was in the cards. The following May, I joined him as he shopped around the greater Toronto, ON area checking out what was available at the Honda dealers. He found one that had a 150cc engine that looked like a typical motorcycle. I spied a Honda Sport 90 motorcycle and decided that when I could drive one, that this was what I wanted. The dealership was phasing out the sale of motorcycles and I learned that this bike was their last one. I could buy it and they’d hold onto it until I could legally drive it. I went home and talked with my parents. I had been working after school on Fridays and all day each Saturday and had saved a lot of what I needed to buy the motorcycle.

I discussed the decision with my parents and to my surprise they agreed provided I always wore an approved helmet. I purchased it and gave a substantial deposit and the dealer agreed to hold it until early August when I could get my driver’s license. I was very excited however waiting was difficult!
The day of my birthday I showed up at the license bureau, wrote my drivers test and walked out with a temporary license that allowed me to drive a motorcycle. The examiner compared the current date to my date of birth and remarked at 9:10am when I handed in my completed written test that I had not wasted any time in getting my driver’s licence. The date numbers matched, with the exception of the year, which was 16 years difference! That evening my parents drove me to pick up the Honda and I drove home alone. What an experience! I loved the independence and the exhilaration of motorcycle cruising. With a 90cc motor I could not go to fast (60-65 mph or 100-105kmh) but that was alright with me. 

Honda 80 ScooterWithin a few weeks I began travelling on main highways to my friend’s family cottage with a small pup tent strapped to the side of the bike and a very small bag with the essentials. I pitched the tent off to the side of a highway construction worksite and storage area and slept very peacefully.  A few weeks later I loaded the bike inside my family’s small pull behind trailer and when we arrived at our destination, I spent a week exploring the nearby area on short day trips. The second week of my family’s vacation, I packed my tent and left to go back home, enjoying every minute of it on my Honda motorcycle.
Over the fall of 1966, I travelled all over Southern Ontario and by the fall I decided that a car would give me more ability to travel, especially in colder weather and for greater distances.
When Peter was sixteen (16) he wanted a motorcycle and we bought an 80cc scooter. As he developed his Honda 250skill, he wanted to buy a larger 250 cc Honda motorcycle. We agreed, provided he took the motorcycle licensing course which taught many of the defensive driving skills along with how to safely drive a motorcycle. Completing the course, also gave him a substantial discount on the insurance. He and a friend took the course together. Over time, I decided to buy a Honda 400cc bike and we often travelled around our country home together. He even drove his bike from Hamilton, ON to Grand Rapids, MI to visit friends there.

Honda CB400True to form he decided to buy a larger bike (a Kawasaki Ninja 500) the following year and I sold my bike and bought a Honda Nighthawk with a 750cc engine. Ninja 500Here is a video that shows a bike that looks like the bike I had:
He kept his bike until his need for a car became a reality and he sold his bike replacing it with a car. As we approached the decision to downsize our home, the Honda Nighthawk had to go.
As you can see from this story, we played off each other, he’d buy a bike, then Dad bought one. He sold and moved up and Dad did the same. We enjoyed the independence and fun of travelling together.

Honda Nighthawk 750Fast forward a number of years, a wife and two children later, and Peter announced in the early Spring of 2018 that he was buying a new Kawasaki Versys (650cc) motorcycle. He had located one in northern Ontario, that he thought he had a verbal agreement to buy, however it was still winter there and the dealer was more focussed on selling his remaining inventory of winter vehicles and would not confirm the sale. Peter and I had discussed driving up with a trailer to bring it back in early April. When that deal fell apart, he widened his search criteria and found the same bike northwest of Montreal in his preferred white color. It has some additional equipment that would add to his enjoyment, so he jumped onto this deal. We discussed picking up this bike and arranged a date. I had a suitable car for towing a trailer, so I made the arrangements to pick up the trailer and meet him after he finished work on a Friday afternoon. We drove part way to Montreal and stayed in a motel overnight. We left there early the next morning and arrived at the dealership about thirty (30) minutes before they opened.
Kawasaki Versys 650After checking out the bike and sorting out the paperwork, we loaded it on the trailer and started our eight (8) to nine (9) hour journey back to home in Ontario.

During the trip, Peter kept hinting that I should buy a bike again. It was a long trip, so we bounced the idea off each other for a few hours. When he asked me once again, I said that if I was going to buy one, then I would buy a Zero electric motorcycle. He agreed that would be a great one to buy, since it eliminated the clutch and shifter, (allowing me to focus on driving) and it would have almost no routine maintenance. Given that I probably could get it into our single car garage, where it could be recharged, it made a lot of sense.
Zero SRBy the end of May, I had bought a 2016 Zero SR with a PowerTank, which had been a demonstrator at the dealership. It could be driven all day at any speed I chose and would allow Peter and I to travel around the area together. We bought a pair of Communicators which we installed in our helmets so that we can converse as easy as possible while travelling together. They also allow the GPS program from my phone to provide guidance. When alone, I can listen to local FM radio stations or my iTunes music. What a great innovation to enjoy while motorcycling.       
Zero & VersysThe fun we have together is matched by the enjoyment we each get by comparing notes in the coming electric vehicle revolution that Peter enjoys at his work at a car dealership and I enjoy by riding my Zero each day! 


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