|OSBMWR Club Store Manager Message|
When I go shopping for lunch every day and get my five dollar salad at Shaw’s on East Main Road in Middletown I often comment to the cashier when my card is “approved” that, “That’s why I shop. I love to be approved.” They usually smile and say, “That’s nice”, and have no idea of the deeper meaning implied. Then again maybe they do.
My second bike was a 1982 Honda V45 Sabre. (The first was a 1970ish Honda 305 Scrambler.) The V4 was a wonderful ride. The interesting thing about the Sabre is that I took both of my ex-wives for a ride on that bike. Ummm? Now don’t read too much into that. When I bought the bike in 1983 I took my first ex for a ride. When we pulled into the driveway and dismounted she started swinging at me. I kid you not. “What the f#$@!? Are you trying to kill me?” To say the least she didn’t approve of the top end of the V45. She never got on the bike again. Oh well.
I rode the Sabre here and there but didn’t have any riding friends at the time. Looking back that was the issue all along.
Time passed and while dating Mrs. Tulips #2 (circa 1990) we took a ride out to Beavertail one warm springtime night on the Sabre. It was a beautiful night for a ride. You know the route. Over the old Jamestown bridge, out to the Beavertail light for some stargazing, and home again. On the ride home the engine started overheating (no pun intended), and when I pulled into the Shell station on Wickenden Street in Fox Point little did I know that the engine had seized. I walked my date home (she lived on Brook Street on the East side) and then had the bike towed back to Warwick. The good news is we did ride again. A few years into the marriage I bought the red K75s (it’s for sale by the way <http://marketplace.bmwmoa.org/classified/1991-k75s-low-milage-marakesh-red-new-oem-windshield-f-tire-battery-listing-6984.aspx> ). The bad news is the Mrs. really didn’t like riding. Oh well no real approvals this time either.
I rode the K-bike more than the Sabre but still no real riding buddies. My longest haul was a 100 mile ride around the state with a few guys at the Church I went to in Cranston. John Kelly, former president of our club, was one of the guys who went on those rides. He had a side car rig at the time, and would take his son Adam with him on these short “ride-to-eat” adventures. But at the end of the day I was looking for more. I had heard about people who rode across the country but I just didn’t have the connections or “approval network” to make it a reality for myself.
In 2011 my world had changed. I decided it was time to get a new ride. I searched the web, did my homework and found my K1200GT in Charlotte, NC. I flew down to Charlotte and got a ride to the owners home from his son. I had bought a Garmin Zumo and ran the wiring under the faring, screwed in the Ram mount in the owners garage, and was on my way. What an epiphany. The K12 was awesome and amazing back in the day. So much faster and stable on the open highway. I stopped at my son’s place in Bedford, VA on the way home, still not believing or even realizing that a 500 mile day was something anyone would call normal. I made it home just fine and enjoyed riding the bike here and there but never venturing too far from home. When the fall came around I decided to take a ride back down to VA for a visit. I made it a two day trip, covering about 350 miles per day. That first trip down and back was a test of my character and confidence. I believed I could do it but doing it alone was daunting at the time, but I did it. Looking back at that trip and several others I took alone back then is revelatory. No one told me I could or should do it so I doubted myself. These doubts persisted but I learned to just not listen. I knew I loved the riding experience. I just didn’t have anyone’s approval.
So here I am today, writing this article. What’s the point? The point is this. My father had forbidden guns and motorcycles. He didn’t want his children to get hurt, so instead of teaching us how to be safe and knowledgable he removed the things he thought could cause us harm. That my friends is a powerful force, and to this day it still holds me back to some degree. I needed his approval more than the prohibition. Just for the record my dad was an awesome guy. He loved his wife and kids and made growing up a wonderful experience. Dinner at home every night. Car trips to the mountains and New York City. We went to the beach every summer, and even had a family beach house near Scarborough Beach in Narragansett. He was a WW2 Vet who fought in France and Germany. He received two Bronze Stars for bravery under fire and he is buried in Exeter, RI at the Veterans Cemetery. I still visit on a regular basis.
When I joined this club back in 2012 I didn’t fully understand what a significant force my dad’s prohibition was. As I got to know many of the members and developed some great friendships, I also began to realize how my many questions about riding styles, safety, riding apparel options, tires, gps, etc. needed answers from an expert, and how the club members filled that role. Not only had I found some great riding buddies but also the mentoring and approval I needed to really enjoy our sport at a higher level and to a greater degree. The value of like minded friends and mentors is an intangible that I would have missed entirely had I not joined the Ocean State BMW Riders, and one that will pay dividends for many years to come… Deo volente.
Thank you and good night!