This month's issue of Motorcyclist Magazine had a series of articles on first motorcycles. The special section was called "Roots" and it looked was an interesting trip through some of the staff's first riding experiences. It detailed who influenced them and how they came to be involved in our great sport.
It got me thinking about my first bike. I'm not exactly sure who influenced me into my interest in bikes. My earliest memories of motorcycles are of my Dad's cousin Jack and Evil Knievel. Jack had been in the Air Force and travelled all over the word, which is obviously very exotic to a four year old. I remember one summer he road into town on a bike and how much of an impression it left on me. I never saw him on a bike again and he never really came around much as it was. I don't know what brand of bike it was it it didn't matter. It was the epitome of two wheeled freedom and adventure.
The other formative influence was probably Evil Knievel. My dad was never a motorcyclist but he loved watching Evil jump. I have the image of Knievel's unsuccessful landing at Cesar's Palace burned into my memory. Every Saturday I saw it at the beginning of Wide World of Sports.
Of course there was the t.v. showThen Came Bronson. I think it was on two seasons when I was a kid but it's impact went on long after that. Or there was the Batcycle Adam West piloted, you know, the one with Robin's rocket sidecar.
Who knows where my love of motorcycles first started. It seems like all children have an instinctual fascination with motorcycles. I remember being stopped at a red light in Salinas, California a few years ago. I looked over and there on the sidewalk I saw a mother leading her daughter along by the hand. The little girl looked to be three years old and about the tiniest little thing I've ever seen. She looked over and saw my Vmax and stopped right in her tracks. Her mom started tugging her along but she stood there, pulling back, mouth agape and eyes wide. It made me laugh out loud and I remember thinking even then, "There goes a future motorcycle rider".