Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My first touring bike

 As a new rider I spent all my spare time riding my early 70's Honda CB100. It was my free ticket to go anywhere. It didn't take long for me to realize that this bikes "anywhere" was a bit limited. The lack of power made it sort of dangerous on the highway.
 I needed something with longer legs and found it in the classifieds of the local paper. It was a red 1972 Kawasaki Mach III. This bike was a 350cc three cylinder two stroke. I remember seeing it for the first time and thinking how big and fast it looked. After giving it the once over it was time for me to take it for a test ride.
 It fired up on the first kick. No problem. I gently pulled away and headed down the road. Once out of earshot of my dad and the owner I let er rip. WOW! The front wheel came up and stayed there for what seemed like a whole block but was probably only a few feet. That was my first accidental wheelie but by far not the last wheelie I would do on this bike. Oh, it was also the last time I would gently pull away from a stop.
 This bike proved to be very reliable. Ya if I over-revved it too many times it would blow a head gasket or two. No big deal to replace them. My point is that I realized I could go anywhere I wanted and probably make it home without relying on a friend with a truck to rescue me. On a weekend I would spend a half day just riding away from home and the other half riding back. I covered a lot of ground and discovered a lot cool roads.
 This bike would be my first touring bike.
Its funny how that small rack on the back made this a touring bike in my young eyes. These days I seem to require bags, trunks or big racks to haul all my stuff.
 I had a lot of bikes come and go but this one stayed around for a few years. I finally traded it for a fast car. Looking back I now see that was a mistake but this blog is about bikes, not stupid crap I did in a car.
 I missed the bike after I traded it and longed for that rush that you get from a multi-cylinder two stroke. I picked up a 500cc version later in life but it just wasn't the same. The bike followed me around for a few moves until I found out a friend needed the engine for parts. I loaded the engine into a small trailer I towed behind my Kawasaki Voyager, hauled it 950 miles to a bike rally, and traded it for dinner. I was on a budget and considered it a fair trade.

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