A little bit of honesty!
I wish that I could say that my first bike was either a 50 when I was 5 or a CR500 that I worked on and got running for my 14th birthday but the reality is very different from that. As I have said before, motorbikes were strictly forbidden at my house growing up so I had to wait until I moved away.
I graduated high school in 1994 and moved to Ft. Collins Colorado to attend Colorado State University. Like most college students I didn't have any money and I was taking enough classes that a full time job was out of the question. I was fortunate enough to have my folks paying for my collegiate experience so I didn't have to work to get by but there was NO money for fun things. This wasn't a problem until one day I decided that I NEEDED a 1979 Vespa P200E scooter. Yes, I said scooter. I was heavily into the SKA scene at the time and the Vespa made sense. The problem was the fact that I had zero extra dollars.
I knew that I must have this scooter. It was $750 and it was RAD!! Original white paint complete with dings and scratches. I knew that I needed a job so I went to the Hardee's (if you don't know what that is then google it) and asked if they were hiring. The owner said "this is a fast food joint on a college campus, we are always hiring." I filled out an application and within 2 hrs, not surprisingly, I had a job. I forget what I was making but It was barely anything but it was SOMETHING and that something meant HOPE!!
After I got my first paycheck that didn't come close to the amount I needed I brewed up a plan to borrow the money from a friend who had just purchased a street bike and needed a riding buddy. When I asked if I could borrow the money he happily said yes and I was in business. I drove over to the owner's house and bought it without even starting it. A buddy rode it home for me.
Now I just needed to figure out how to ride the thing. See, the P200E isn't an automatic "twist and go" kind of scooter. Its a 4 speed manual that shifts by twisting the entire left grip. Lever and all.
I knew how to drive a manual car so I wasn't completely blind going in, but it was strange for sure. After what seemed like one million stalls and jerky starts I got it figured out and I was ecstatic. I was a "motorcyclist." Yes that's in quotes because it was after all a scooter. But it was a scooter with a 200cc 2 stroke motor so it kinda hauled the mail. Kinda!
I LOVED that scooter. I rode it everywhere! I took my then girlfriend, now wife on dates on it. I raced jocks in their lifted trucks with it. I passed a handle of vodka back an forth between it an my friends motorcycle at speed near horsetooth reservoir! I tried to teach Ruth how to ride a motorcycle with it. That one didn't end well. Ruth was OK but the scooter was crashed in a yard.
I didn't know it at the time but that 2 stroke motor was burning a sound and power band into my soul that will never go away. I did things on that machine that I will never forget and were SOOO much fun. I am not proud of all of them but they are times that forged who I am today and I will cherish those memories forever! There is something about experiences on a motorbike that are just more clear and indelible than any other! I didn't own the Vespa for very long (that story is coming) but it set in motion a series of decisions that have lead me to where I am today and for that I am thankful!