(Note: I did something to hurt my back yesterday. Today I’ve been taking it easy while reminiscing about better times when I was young and wild and free to roam the earth on two wheels. Okay, I was never wild, but I used to be young and relatively free.)
Studly Doright, my husband of 43 years, has been riding motorcycles since way before we met. When we began dating during high school many weekends were spent at motocross races all over the Texas panhandle. He raced, and I cheered him on.
After we married in July of ’76, he bought me my first bike. It was a little Yamaha scooter called a Chappy.
I loved that little scooter, and rode it all over Dumas, Texas. (By the way, all of these photos are from Pinterest.)
After I’d gotten my feet wet with the scooter, Studly decided I was ready for a real bike and bought me a 175 Yamaha Enduro. I had to learn to shift gears on this bike. While it was licensed for street riding we mostly took it to the sandy trails of the Canadian River between Dumas and Amarillo. On one trip I ran over Studly’s former girlfriend when she crashed her bike in the mud. I swear it was an accident. Honest.
When we discovered we were going to be parents, I took a break from riding, and not until our youngest daughter was bound for college did I begin riding again. After 20 years out of the saddle I was both excited and nervous to be riding once more.
After much shopping for just the right bike we ended up buying a new 650 Yamaha V-Star. This photo looks exactly like my bike. It was gorgeous. I bought leather chaps and a leather jacket and new riding boots to complete the ensemble. I looked like a badass biker (nope, I still looked like a geek), but the 650 had no oomph. Keeping it going highway speeds was exhausting.
We sold it and bought a secondhand 1100 Yamaha Virago from David’s former brother-in-law. Let me see if I can find a photo of one.
While the one above is similar, my Virago was much more gorgeous. It was Dallas Cowboy blue and silver, and ran like a beast. The Virago was getting on in age when I bought it, though, and Studly was concerned that it wouldn’t hold up mechanically. It remains my favorite bike.
We sold the Virago before moving to Florida, and soon replaced it with a used ST F650 BMW, in the appropriate color of Orlando Orange.
I don’t recall the year model, but the one pictured above is pretty close￼. It was a nifty little bike, and my first sport touring motorcycle. Unfortunately it had some electrical issues that were worrisome. I wanted to take a solo trip, and Studly didn’t trust the bike to carry me the distance.
By the way, when I bought this bike I began wearing a mesh jacket and pants with padding in all the critical places. While my leather chaps looked edgier, the mesh was much more comfy and lots cooler. Besides, the chaps fell off the back of my Virago onto the interstate on a blistering hot July day, somewhere between Denver, Colorado, and Salina, Kansas. I hope someone worthy found them. Oh, I wasn’t wearing them at the time. That would’ve made for a much better story.
So, (I know, you’re probably sick of my bike reminiscing. Sorry, not sorry!) we sold the BMW and bought me a 400 Yamaha Majesty scooter. I loved this bike, as well.
No shifting required, plenty of get up and go, lots of storage. I rode it from Mahomet, Illinois, to Dallas, Texas, and back all by myself just after celebrating my 50th birthday. It was a crazy trip.
I’m still not sure why I sold this bike. Maybe I felt like I was getting too old and klutzy. Heaven knows I’m getting older, and I’ve always been klutzy. Once it was gone I didn’t really think about getting another bike. But then a friend bought a CanAm Spyder, and I thought maybe it would fit the bill. I wouldn’t have to worry about falling over or putting my feet down at stop lights, or any other of a million things I tended to stress over.
Studly got all excited that I wanted to ride again. He began researching bikes and soon a Spyder was sitting in our motorcycle garage. Let me rephrase that, a Spyder was dominating our motorcycle garage. The thing was massive compared to all of the other bikes in Studly’s stable. He could’ve parked two and a half bikes in the same area.
And, after riding it around Tallahassee and on backroads in the area I had to admit I didn’t love the Spyder. It was too clunky and I didn’t enjoy riding it. Plus, after a distracted driver rear ended my car last November I became a bit paranoid about riding a motorcycle. I didn’t shed a tear when the Spyder left the garage for that of another rider.
If you’ve stuck with me this long, thanks. Hopefully my back will feel better tomorrow, and I can get out and about. Honestly, I’m kind of proud of myself for remembering all my bikes. I might be old and klutzy, but I remember the important stuff. Just ask Dudley. Er, Studly.