Friday, November 10, 2006


I believe that no matter what your interest may be, that someone or something creates a spark to get your embers glowing. In my case, it involves motorbikes in any shape or form.

My most recent post was about a guy that just showed up one day. Today I'll write about someone I've known all my life.

Brad is someone that I played with as a little boy. He lived a half block away, and our families were friends. His nickname is Yogi, and I still refer to him as that now and again. He's cool in the way that when he's around, everything seems to be alright. The kind of guy that won't ask for anything, but will do for you at the drop of a hat. And he was everything that I wanted to be on a motorcycle.

It wasn't a Fonzie and Richie Cunningham thing, but the way he rode and the way he looked when he rode sold me on the cool that could be had by riding a bike. I remember my math teacher freaking out because Brad wheelied by the front of the high school every afternoon. And really bugging out when Brad rode down the hallway during class.

This was in 1976, and I was riding by the following year. It used to be common for me to hang out with him whenever I could and talk bikes. My formative years so to speak. I was learning, paying dues and honing my skills. He rode in the rain, and so did I. I wore used and battered leather jackets that he passed down to me.

I remember his Harley Davidson and the stripped XV920 Yamaha v-twin that he rode the snot out of. When he went with Yamaha, so did I. A 1981 550 Maxim was my ride of choice due to my gas station wages, and I rode it year round.

By this time I was hooked, and my circle of friends in the riding world was growing. I had my first taste of the 1%er lifestyle during this period. Two three-piece clubs were dealing with issues in my hometown in the early eighties, and as a pump jockey that always had his bike parked out front, I met a lot of really hardcore bikers. I went to their house, worked on bikes, and hung out when I was invited. I was threatened, stared down, and shown weapons that I'd never seen before. But I was young and hung in there and was still around after their issues were solved and moved on.

Brad had gone on to work as a logger, a longshoreman, and spent time in Alaska. We pretty much lost touch after this time. He got married, started a family and settled down with a job in road construction. Then he got hurt.

As life turns out funky sometimes, I bought the house of my childhood, and a few years later, Brad moved into the house across the alley from where he grew up. We were back where we started, and we would talk now and again when I would see him out with his kids or his dog, and I would end up talking about whatever bike project I was on. Brad on the other hand had given up motorcycles shortly after starting his married life. He hadn't ridden in years.

Well, about a week ago, as I was turning into my alley on my way home from work, Brad was on a walk with his dog. I stopped and popped up my helmet shield, and he walked over and said quietly, "You gotta stop by my shop one of these days, I've got a 67' Triumph you need to look at". I asked if it was his.
He just said "Yeah, it's mine". And it felt like 1980 again.

I hope to think that maybe I did for him, what he did for me by providing a spark of inspiration in motorcycles.

Have fun,


Anonymous ScooterGuru said...

My Dad was my motorcycling influence for all of my formative years, and much of my adult life. It came as a bit of a surprise to me when he bought a maxi-scoot shortly after I did.
Crawfordville, FL

6:59 PM  
Blogger Bill Sommers said...

Scooterguru, what a nice surprise though! I just shared a conversation with my Dad about the flat tracking days of his youth. I can't think of anyone better to share interests with than your Pop.
Have fun,

8:29 AM  

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