Tuesday, October 08, 2013


In Alberta you could legally ride a motorbike when you were 14 years old as long as it wasn't bigger than 100cc's. I really wanted to get one but my Dad finally talked me out of it. He convinced me to save my money and buy a car when I was 16. Of course, when I turned 16 he talked me out of that as well but that is a different story. The point of this story is that I've wanted a motor bike as long as I can remember. That dream remained in the back of my mind until I was about thirty. One time we were in Taber visiting Patsy and LeRon Litchfield. We visited them often in those days. In his back yard he had an old Honda Supersport that hadn't been moved in years. I'd seen it there for some time but this time I asked him how much he wanted for  it. He said a hundred bucks but what ever it cost to get it running I could deduct from the $100. It cost me a few hundred dollars to get it running so I never actually paid LeRon anything for it but thinking back I really should have. It was a very fun bike and I rode it to work as often as I could. The problem is, in Canada that isn't very often. Between winter, rain and snow there isn't much time left. When we moved to the States we sadly left the bike behind and once again my dream of riding a bike was relegated to the back of my mind.

Four or five years ago Ben and Sharley moved to Orange County to go to school. Since Ben went to Fullerton and Sharley went to Long Beach they really had to have two vehicles. Ben decided to buy a motorcycle. This is Southern California after all. We only have a dozen days of bad weather a year and we never get snow so it is ideal weather for a bike. We looked up a bike on Craigslist and Ben and I went and bought it. I was really jealous. That sort of moved my dream of riding a bike back to the front part of my mind but I have resisted the urge. At least I did until Ben moved to Denver. He gets a company paid truck and with winters and all he didn't see himself riding his bike much. When he told me he was going to sell his bike I promptly told him that I wanted first dibs. He gave me the friends and family deal and I am now the proud owner of a new motorcycle. 

I love my bike. I ride it every day except Thursdays when I serve at the temple. Thursdays used to be my favorite day of the week but now when I climb into my truck on Thursday morning instead of hop on my bike it puts a bit of a downer on the whole day. I need to figure out a good way of packing my suit into my back pack.
Let me share with some of the reasons why I love my bike so much:

1) I love the shiny chrome mufflers, pipes and headers. Especially when I wash them.

2) I have always loved driving with my window down. I love to hold my arm out the window and let the wind blow over it. On my motor bike I essentially hang my entire body out in the wind. I love the sensation.

3) I love stopping at an intersection and standing in the middle of the road. It sounds dumb but I love it.

4) I love when the traffic is at a stand still and I can zip between the two lanes of traffic right up to the stop light. 

5) I love leaning into a tight curve and looking down at the asphalt which seems very close to my face. 

6) I love taking off from an intersection when the light turns green and flying through all six gears in a matter of seconds. I know the feel of my bike so well now that I don't even use the clutch.

7) I love the acceleration. When I crank that throttle I take off so fast that I'm hanging on for dear life. And then when the engine speed hits its sweet spot it very suddenly takes off even faster as if I had been sitting still. What a rush.

8) I love the visibility. On my bike I can see over the top of most cars and when I look around there are NO blind spots. I can see everything.

9) I love spending $10 to fill my tank every other week.

10) I love putting smart-alec rich boys in their place. One time I was lane sharing at a stop light and some idiot in a sports car convertible saw me and tried to pull into the gap and cut me off. I managed to squeeze past him and ended up next to him at the red light. Since he was in a convertible we were only a few feet away glaring at each other. He actually started revving his engine and nudging into the intersection. I took off so fast that I lifted my front tire. It rather startled me but I left that fancy sports car way behind in my dust. 

11) On a crisp sunny morning (pretty much every morning here in San Diego) I love the sun on my face as I ride down the street.

12) I love parking in very tiny parking spaces.

13) I love the smell of the garage about half an hour after I park my bike in there. The smell of a hot engine is wonderful.

14) I love how I am now so familiar with my bike that it feels like an extension of my body.

15) I love that my bike is a Vulcan. That's right, it is a Kawasaki, Vulcan. What better bike for someone like me?

There is one down side to riding a motorbike however. Here in San Diego, when a small side road enters a very busy street the light is always red for the side street (and green for the main road) unless a car comes to the intersection. The problem is that the sensors in the asphalt can't detect my motorbike so if there is no car at the light  I have to sit there until a car pulls up behind me. There is one intersection like this on my normal route to work and one on my way home. Normally there is enough traffic that I don't have to wait but every once in a while I'm sitting at a red light patiently waiting for another car to come.

It is very difficult for me to spend money on a big ticket item without properly justifying it. The way I figure it, I save more than $2 every time I drive my bike to work. Much more when the price of gas shoots up as it often does here. In the time I've had my bike I've saved over $200 and the bike will be paid off in a little over a year. What more can you ask for? Save money and enjoy a sensational ride all at the same time.

Motorcyclists are 34 times more likely to die in an accident than someone in a car.
Cars are 6 times more likely to get in an accident than a motorcycle.


Lynn said...

No. 8 -- Yes......but can they see YOU, is the question. ; ) Be careful.

I was just in California and I was shocked to see how those bikes were zipping in and out of cars even in the car pool lanes. I didn't think that was even legal. Here they have to drive as if another vehicle. No sharing lanes. And I was stunned to see how fast they were going, even without helmets. Good for you for wearing a helmet. ; )

Have fun!

Stacey said...

Daddy Fleavitt, please be careful! I get so nervous about bikes, I've had some close friends get into really narly tangles. How does Lisa feel about your bike? You don't provide a lot of comfort when you share your sports car story, but I'm glad you could defend your honour and all that... Isn't is against the law to go between lanes? Are you THAT guy? Still, the thought of you having such fun makes me happy. And it does seem serendipitous that's it's a Vulcan. Have fun and be safe.

Fred ... said...

I should clarify that in California it is legal to share lanes but in my opinion it isn't wise to share lanes if traffic is moving very fast. It is the law that you must wear a helmet though. And no, Lisa is not very happy about me riding a bike but she is being a sweetheart and indulging me. I guess she is just happy that this is about as bad a midlife crisis as I'm going to have.

Peter and Mandy said...

Does Lisa love #13 too? I think of her every time I get stuck behind a city bus.

Stacey said...

I'm happy that you're happy and you raise I good point about this being a rather "tame" option for a midlife crisis. Maybe your new favourite movie should be Wild Hogs! Love you and that good woman.