How I Learned to Ride

By: Old AlMar 24, 2020

I suppose I learned the way most people learned, from a friend or family member. I was 11 years old and had a mini bike, not a motorcycle, but semi close. My buddy Robbie had gotten a Suzuki 50 for Christmas and now that it was spring he rode it everywhere. Robbie was 14 then and in Colorado you could ride up to a 150cc without a license at 14.

He and I would ride out to Sky Ranch Airpark, way east of Denver. Riding two up back then was not an issue. One day on the ride back he stopped and we got off the bike and he told me to ride it.  I seemed to have the balance OK, but shifting was a new experience. It took a few times to get used to the clutch and throttle. After a number of futile attempts, I got off the bike so he could ride us back. I was greeted with ”you ride us home or walk”. As we were pretty far from home and there was virtually nothing that far east of town there wasn’t much choice.  I wanted to learn to ride that bike but didn’t think it would happen like this.

It was enough to just ride myself much less two up. After a few miles of stop and go practices, I got us home and was kinda proud of myself.  After that it was pretty hard to get back on the mini bike, as it wasn’t as fast and wasn’t a real motorcycle.

A year later Robbie got a Yamaha Twin Jet 100 – what a bike!  He sold me the Suzuki for $50 (I hate to think how many yards I mowed and raked to earn the cash). I was in heaven! I sold the mini bike and then I rode that bike every where.

The summer I would have turned 14 and would have been legal, they changed the law. Starting that July 1st you had to be 16 to ride anything and had to get the endorsement. Missed it by 23 days. At first I was furious for a couple days then realized I’d been riding all along without one. For 2 years I rode with no license and no problems until I turned 16.

I got my automobile  license and motorcycle endorsement. I admit – I was far more competent riding that bike than being a new driver.

Well that was bike number 1!  Now, after almost 56 years riding, I’m up 116 bikes. Robbie and I lost touch as we got older. I wish him the best and can never thank him enough for making me ride us home or for selling me  my first bike.

Old Al
It’s pretty odd how I came into motorcycles as my father couldn’t stand them.  But as life moves on, things change. Now here I am, still riding. It’s been a long road, 55 years riding and 116 bikes later, and now writing a column for this site. What a long strange trip it’s been.