Thank you for the selection. My first unadulterated experience with motorized two wheels happened at the age of 8 when I tried out Jimmy Larkin?s minibike. His father, who was a bus mechanic for the city transit system, fashioned a 3.5 hp lawnmower motor to a Canadian Tire ?Supercycle? bike frame. It was pure joy riding through the local playground without a helmet knowing that you only had your shoes to stop.
Two friends bought bikes in grade 12 and I learned to ride on a 750 Honda. My first real bike was a used 1976 Suzuki Sebring 380, three cylinders and six gears. We rode all over southern Ontario for the next two years. I sold the bike to my car mechanic as I could only fund one mode of transportation while going to university and the bike would not have been an winter option commuting between Hamilton and Cambridge.
I got married in 1986 (Jane) and while living in England (four years) noticed the BMW tourers and how quietly and effortlessly they maneuvered and how comfortable the rider looked. That memory was parked in my sub-conscious, I?m sure as I start planting the seed to my wife about getting back into riding. The kids are older and in the summer of 2004, Jane states on August 10th that she want to get her license, so she writes the motorcycle test at the MOT office that afternoon, gets her learners permit, signs up for the motorcycle course run by OMSA (Ontario Motorcycle Safety Association) for the following weekend, passes the course and buys a Honda 500 on he Tuesday, we get and the safety and the insurance she is riding the following weekend! I waited until the following April, to pick up 1983 Yamaha Virago for $1000, I sell it the following year for $1800. We attended the London Ontario Motorcycle Show in the winter of 2005 where I meet Thane Silliker with his 1998 ST1100 (he had set the Canadian coast to coast record) I knew then, at that moment, that I am getting an ST. I pick up my 2005 from KW Honda in March with next to no kilometers on the odometer?and the riding begins?wow what a comfortable, smooth and fast bike.
Here is the best part, I get to ride, where time allows, with all my motorcycle friends in Ontario and in the states. I also have the opportunity to ride with my wife. We have taken three trips out to the Eastern Seaboard of the US, into New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and Quebec. I have left TAGs in all those locations! We completed a 26 day trip to Newfoundland in 2012 logging over 10000km. Jane has put over 80,000 kms. on her four bikes: 500 Honda Shadow, Yamaha Virago 1100, Yamaha V-Star 1100 Custom and her new ride: Honda CBF 1000.
My first independent foray into the States was to ride to NNESTOC in 2007 and then Moonshine in 2008. At Richard?s I sat with Kreis (H2o rider) Gene, Steve (ST1300Steve) and Charlie and Greg (GRN). Little did I know how fortuitous that first Moonshine meeting would be. Every trip back to Moonshine has some special situation with it. There are many great memory established and many more to create. I call Kreis and Gene my ?undercover motorcycle brothers from a different mother?. As we would say ?ride anywhere, any time in any weather. The ST has almost 200k on it and still performs well, I have benefit of great mechanical help from RaYzerman, Kreis and Gene.
One of the best things about ST-Owners continues to be social network about like-minded riders The initial draw to the site was for technical information, I had no idea about the scope of customization that could be achieved on a motorcycle! . I have been fortunate to have established relationships over the last eleven years that will last a lifetime. We have had several riders stay with us on Manitoulin Island and visit us in Cambridge. The Ontario riding contingent continues to grow and we continue to have had some great riders organize RTE?s, STOC event and Ontario A to Z. This past year was again an international success with Ray, Jeff, George and Dean organizing. I have met some very interesting people with such boundless resolve and capacity to achieve great things. I consider to be fortunate to have met Terry Hammond, Curt Gran, Bob Donaldson and Larry Granell (Putt). To name a few, I have rode with Trekker Dave in the Cape Fear Rally; Scootac, Paul Finewood, Rob Dalton and ST Dave throughout the Adirondacks, White and Green Mountains and the two Jacks (Old Crow and PopJack) from Tennessee through West Virginia and the Smokies and along with Landon picked up the Pony Express Terry?s place and delivered it to Indianapolis.
I hope to see more of you out on the road and I want to thank Joe for continued his hard work with the ST Forum.