Prepubescent Lust, in the cards...
When I was around 12 or 13, before I stopped being afraid of girls (and don't think for one minute that in some ways they don't still TERRIFY me), I became very interested in motorcycles. My neighbors Tim, Brad and Kevin all had a mini-bike or small dirtbike of some kind to ride-back then, around here there were plenty of places to ride-the places that are all developments now were marked with various trails that had been worn into the dirt by the likes of Tim et al. The next neighborhood over was named for the circular street that formed it-Smiley Circle. The guys on Smiley Circle were two years older and had REAL bikes. I remember Dave, a gangly redhead who was so thin his chest was concave, with skin like a shrimp, nearly translucent. Dave had the Honda XR200R you see on the above playing card. You see, every year my dad would take me down to Nevil's Honda to look at the new models that had come out. Dad had spent some time on two wheels, and legend has it he still has bits of gravel in his face from a bad wreck (though rumor also has it said wreck was actually on a Vespa), and I think he truly enjoyed looking at what was new in the cycling world. He'd talk to the sales guys, and my brother and I would wander around looking at the bikes, sitting on them (after politely asking) and pretending we were riding. At the end of it all we'd get free swag, which included a deck of playing cards with all the new models on them. The images in this post are from a deck I recently acquired on Ebay, part of my Adult Overcompensation phase I currently find myself in.
(The CB1100F-in pre sportbike days, this was bad-ass-it's worth a decent buck today if you can find one)
Somewhere along the line I had decided I wanted one-it was pretty hard not to when "all the other kids" had one, and took off for parts (and seemingly worlds) unknown to me outside the neighborhood. Alas, I had not been born into a family with good motorcycle luck. My great uncle had lost a leg to his youthful motorcycle days, and a constant reminder was driven into my skull every year at family reunion time-Uncle John and his wooden leg (though by that time they were some sort of composite, the term "wooden leg" seemed to get used when referring to him, or more aptly, his accident), and my mother saying "THAT's what happens when you ride a motorcycle". Still another relative lost to history had allegedly beheaded himself collding with a utility pole guy wire in the dark. As a result, the odds of me getting on two wheels myself were pretty slim unless I was the horsepower.
Tim was the closest neighbor, and to this day, the coolest-he had, somewhere along the line, come into possession of a 1981 Honda XL80S-the XL was a Dual-Purpose bike, good for trail or street, what used to be known as an "enduro", for the long races that required headlights and sometimes street-legality, one assumes. Today we'd call it a DualSport or Motard. Tim's XL was the coolest color scheme of Honda Red, with white and yellow/orange highlights and pinstriping. I can only assume Tim's dad had bought the bike-Dick had a Yamaha RD350 of his own, and I had been lucky enough to get a ride on the back of it, though burning my leg on the tailpipe further hindered my arguments towards ownership with my mother.
After a fair amount of whining, I had managed to work out a deal with my parents-if I could do everything they asked, stay out of trouble, and get good grades for ONE YEAR, I would be given a motorcycle for my birthday. As a kid, I never really stopped to examine the futility of it-at that age, I was bound to fuck up eventually. As far as school was concerned, I was certainly smart enough, but boredom left me lax in my studies. I was at the age where rebellion is born, and was already becoming strong willed, so something was bound to happen there as well. In retrospect my parents probably knew this and were fully aware of just what an empty promise it was. For the first few days I recall scrubbing the house from top to bottom, including the all-important room cleaning, mowing the lawn, etc. I was bound and determined to get that bike!
(The XL200R-the object of my pre-teen lust-sadly it may as well have been the Ace of Spades)
Who knows where it went wrong-it could have been the refusal to eat a friggin brussel sprout. It could have been one sly remark as back talk. But I never got the bike. It would not be until a few years ago that I would ever get to own one, and to no surprise, it was one that was, quite literally, in the cards. I had sat on the V65 Magna as a kid-it was so big and bad-ass I could never in a million years, at that age, ever have envisioned owning one and driving it on the street.
(The V65 Magna-a bike no doubt designed for Satan Himself. With nearly 125 horsepower, for it's time, it was the King of The Hill-and I can at least say I owned one.)
I paid 500 bucks for my Magna-it was in great shape, I road the hell out of it for two years and traded it for Greta. Soon I'll most likely buy something else, but it will share little with the Magna or the legacy it represents to me. In the end I got my damned bike, and almost got killed by a telephone pole while it sat parked in my garage-go figure.