…when you’re having fun or… getting older. Hey, I’m not getting older, I tell everyone I’m only 30 years old… with 25 years experience!? The reason I bring this up today is, it’s my daughters 28th birthday. I bought my CB750F about a week after she was born. That bike and I spent over 100,000 miles together.
Leah has been on motorcycles since she was about 3 years old…standard stuff, riding with me…I got a ticket for having her in between me and the gas tank on the way to day care..geez..she had a helmet and gloves on!!! Then there was the time she fell asleep riding on the back. Later in years we would take longer rides on the CB750 and then my FJ1200..she liked it a lot. We had many great rides together and the day came that she wanted to ride herself. So, onto the ’59 Honda Super Cub (a 55cc Honda step through) she went.
Ok, that lasted a day. Next up, the MSF course. Successfully passing that, onto what is fondly known in our family as …’The Mighty 350′. A 1971 Honda CB350. I’m a firm believer of starting new riders on small bikes. Both my kids started on that bike. I have seen and heard of far too many new riders that buy large displacement motorcycles, whether it be a sportbike or a large cruiser and trying to learn to ride it in the parking lot before heading off to home to show it off to his / her family and friends. I digress, sorry. Fodder for another post.
In a short period of time, Leah was bored with the little 350 and wanted/needed more. After school one day,her older brother wasn’t home, the key was in the ignition of his Honda Hawk..you can guess what happens next. Twice as much power, better handling and way more cool looking. The hook was set. Fortunately, her brother was a good brother and gave her permission to ride the bike whenever he wasn’t. Lucky her. But…remember, this my daughter…my only daughter..and she was riding pretty fast..really good and smooth but fast…scared the bejeebers out of me. One day I even got in front of her to set a good pace, but a pace I felt comfortable with her going..Ok, I was just being a dad..anyway, when we stopped she was all over me about going slow!!?? Oops.
Through the 90’s I was roadracing out at Willow Springs on a Honda Ascot, WSMC and AHRMA, Leah would come out occasionally and be the pit crew along with my dad. There were a couple of women racing at that time, I would ask Leah if she wanted to try, the answer was always no…but she was a really good rider and I thought she had great potential, there I go being the proud papa again.
It’s been quite a while since Leah has been on a motorcycle, college and career seem to have gotten in the way. I always hope that one day she’ll show up and say “Hey Dad, lets go for a ride”..This time I’ll ride the mighty 350.
Happy Birthday Leah, it’s been the best 28 years of my life.