By Bruce Mike
Celebrating 20 years of MMM last month has made me kind of nostalgic. I was thinking about all the bikes I’ve owned and ridden over the years and thought I would tell you about my favorites. I discovered that some of the bikes that made this list made it because of experiences I had on them and not necessarily because they were great bikes.
My first road bike was a 1978 Yamaha SR500. It was a fun little bike that I put a bunch of miles on in a short amount of time. It did amazing wheelies and was pretty quick up to about 50 mph. I sold it because I needed money to move to Colorado. This was in the early ‘80s. I then spent about a year without a motorcycle. I haven’t been without one since then.
While living in Colorado I bought a 1972 Triumph 650 Tiger. This was the first bike I ever rode in mountains and the first bike I ever rode in the snow. The mountain riding was on purpose, the snow riding was due to inexperience with Colorado weather. I ended up owning this bike longer than almost all my others. It moved back from Colorado with me. It was with me for my first wedding, the purchase of my first house and the birth of two of my three kids. My life when my kids were young allowed for limited riding opportunities. Another young dad and I would go out riding on Sunday nights around 9 pm and get home around 2 am Monday. I have no doubt this helped me keep my sanity at this point in my life.
I was rear-ended on the Triumph and received, what I thought was a very generous insurance check, and purchased my first Moto Guzzi. It was a 1971 700 Ambassador. I rode this bike on the first Minnesota 1000 in 1995. I won a “special” award for running a long distance rally with no odometer. This was the first of five consecutive Minnesota 1000 rallies I rode. It was my Father’s Day tradition. That and the Blind Lizard Rally. My other four Minnesota 1000 bikes were a Moto Guzzi SP1000, a Yamaha 600 FZR and a Kawasaki Concours that I rode twice.
My first marriage ended in 2001 which happened to be the same year Harley fuel-injected their bikes. No longer having a wife to share decisions with, I bought my first Harley. It was a Softail Deuce. It was a great bike that took me to Sturgis twice. It got traded in on my first, and so far, my only touring/bagger. A 2006 Road Glide. After ten years and 85k miles on Harley road bikes, I got my first BMW. A 2007 R1200R that I’m still riding today.
In 2004 I married a woman who shares my love of motorcycles. I don’t know that she is quite as obsessed as I am but we have always had a garage full of bikes and they have not all been ridden by just me. I have owned 20 motorcycles and three scooters since I started riding. I didn’t hate any of them. I didn’t much care for the 1964 Sears Allstate scooter but I got a great MMM cover out of it.
Over the past 30+ years that I’ve been riding I’ve been rear-ended, mildly side-swiped, had a couple of low speed tip-overs, hit a deer and crashed countless times off-road. I’ve never been seriously injured. I’ve ridden with full gear and I’ve ridden in shorts and a t-shirt. I’ve had loud bikes and I’ve had quiet bikes. Today I wear full gear and I have two quiet bikes and one loud bike and I enjoy riding all of them. I figured out a long time ago it’s not what I’m riding that makes it fun, riding anything is fun.