Adios to Motorcycles

bf-roadracingMy wife recently posted some throwback Thursday photos of me from the early 80s when I did some amateur roadracing. It was a lot of fun, but it was also expensive. I gave it up because it was at the time that I was just starting college. I think we can all agree that studying and learning needs to be a person’s main focus while in college, and that expensive extra-curricular activities, like roadracing, typically need to be put on hold.

When I finished college, I sold my old race bike and moved to Silicon Valley. After I landed my career job as a mechanical engineer, I took up amateur roadracing again as a hobby. But after a near crash at 150 mph, I decided to give that hobby a permanent rest.

saline-valleyAlong with roadracing, I also used to go dirtbiking with several friends from work. We road in all the off-road vehicle areas within a day’s drive of Silicon Valley. We also did a lot of riding in the Mojave Desert, Imperial Valley, and Baja California. We felt very adventuresome while riding the Baja 500 course. The picture to the right is in the White Mountains, looking back toward Saline and Death Valley.

Finally, I used to regularly commute to work on various motorcycles that I owned. I could ride in the car pool lanes, and get to work a lot faster than if I were driving in a car. I also got great gas mileage on the motorcycles. My old Honda XL-600 used to average more than 60 mpg.

Due to my failing health, though, I gave up all types of motorcycle riding a few years ago. My bones have become brittle, and I find that I bruise a lot easier than I used to.

I do not know how much money I am saving by giving up motorcycle riding. Roadracing was a very expensive hobby. Tires were more than $100 each. Crashing a motorcycle could cost in the thousands. I blew up the top end of my old RD-400, shown in the top pictures, a few times. Each blow up necessitated a complete rebuild of the engine. For those who care, I also roadraced a GSXR-750 at Sears Point and Willow Springs in the mid 80s.

Dirt-bike trips were not all that expensive. The cost was similar to a regular camping trip, but the wear and tear on my body could be pretty high.

So at this point in my life, I have to say, “Adios motorcycles. It’s been fun, but also dangerous and expensive.”

Have you had to give up a hobby due to cost or your age/health?

8 thoughts on “Adios to Motorcycles

  1. I had a couple different motorcycles during my college years, the best a Honda 360 with a fairing. Lots of fun! But, similar to you, a collision with a left-turning oncoming car at an intersection wrecked my Honda and ended my motorcycle riding career. I’ve been tempted to jump back in, but I suspect my wife would have a tizzy.

    1. Hi Kurt, I’m sorry to hear that it was an accident that ended your motorcycle riding career. I hope you didn’t end up with any lasting injuries.

      My second motorcycle was a brand new Honda CL-360, which was basically a CB-360 with high exhaust pipes. I rode it all up and down the West Coast. It was an awesome motorcycle.

    2. yeah i have a 06 as well and i havnt found anynoe on any vehicle that can beat me off the lights. your arms get a little tired after riding it tho because its always pulling u to the back of the seat. a very fun bike to show off on

    3. Yeh i have the 06 450x with megabomb heaedr and fmf carbon fiber muffler, airbox mods, i also put an r cam in it and ported it out, board it out to a 525 and now it rips. im only 15 and weigh 145 so its crazy with me on it!!!

      1. Hi Indraa, Glad to hear you are having fun on your motorcycle. I’m sure you learned a lot doing all that work on your engine.

        Please be sure to wear the appropriate safety gear while riding. I wore full leathers and a properly certified full-face helmet when I road raced, and I wore enduro boots, pants with knee and hip protectors, jacket, gloves, and certified full-face helmet with lexan goggles when I rode my dirt bike.

  2. Awesome! I love motorcycles. My last one was a sport/touring bike. Its a Honda VFR800. Nice motorcycle, my wife and I took it on a week long road trip to Boston. But alas, I had to sell it for money reasons. Just too darn expensive to maintain. I would love to get an old Honda 350 in the future. Just something to tinker with. 🙂

    1. Hi Thomas, I tinkered with Honda 350 and 360 twins back in the 70s. The engines are pretty simple and at least the top ends were easy to work on. I also had a Honda XL-600 in the 80s. I would be scared of trying to maintain a motorcycle from the 70s or 80s now. The cost for the many parts you would likely need to keep it going could be high. They were a lot of fun over the years, though.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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