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Motorcycling History

The first motorcycle I ever rode was a Yamaha DT-100 back in 1974-76. Here's a picture of my brother and I doing some preventative maintenance: (That's me with the helmet on.)

At that time we lived out in the country and having a motorcycle was a blast. We rode that thing into the ground and I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did. We eventually moved back into the big city of Tyler, Tx and I never rode again until October of 2000 when I picked up a new 2001 Harley-Davidson Fatboy. While the bike is no longer part of the arsenal, I thoroughly enjoyed the 9.5K miles riding all over Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. It was a solid bike and I never had a single problem with it and I had a difficult time rationalizing that it was best to sell the bike and help round out the stable. I understand the bike went to a good family and that makes me happy.

My passion is long distance endurance riding. Even before I started riding again I was familiar with the Iron Butt Association and the Iron Butt Rally. I was intrigued by the insanity of such an event and the people who felt it necessary to push their body and mind to such an extreme while riding on the whim of a machine.

The relationship between man and machine is certainly at a pinnacle in the long distance riding community. The vast majority of enthusiasts customize their bikes to make them more comfortable to ride, to increase fuel capacity, to navigate more accurately and to see more clearly to name a few. Since it's practically impossible to find a manufacturer that caters to the long distance community, each rider will wind up outfitting the bike to meet their needs. From custom seats to radar detectors and even HAM radios, you'll find just about everything on one long distance mount or another.

A large part of why I started riding again is rooted in the desire to compete in long distance events. For me, the competition is analagous to walking a round of golf. It's definitely a mind game. If you're an idiot, you will not fare well. Additionally, there's no direct adversary. The main competition begins between the ears and is manifest in the chosen route and everything that happens in between. At the end the scores are tallied and compared against the field to determine the winners. 2002 will be the first year that I enter any rallies. It's going to be interesting. I look forward to learning a hell of a lot and hope the embarrassing moments are minimal.


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