I've had a motorcycle licence since I was 16 years old. The year was 1985, and I lusted after the latest and greatest sport bikes. The Honda Interceptor 500 was what I dreamed about. It was state of the art at the time, and was a two-wheeled weapon for the road. By todays standards it's pretty meek and mild, but back in the day it was all I could dream about.
My dreams of being like Fast Freddie Spencer however were dashed when I ended up with a Honda Elite 125 instead. If the Interceptor 500 was a weapon for the road, the Elite was a spoon from the cutlery drawer.
Don't get me wrong, compared to my friends armed with bicycles, and a bus pass, I was loving the 125cc of scooterness. I was free to fly, and it was my first taste of independence. Much like my daughter Maggie is experiencing now with her Honda Giorno.
I rode the piss out of that thing, still pretending I was Fast Freddie on the Interceptor. The fact that my parents would not allow a real motorcycle into the house most likely saved my life. At 16 years old, you're pretty much an idiot. Some of us never outgrow that. I'd like to think I have now, at the age of 47, but let's be real, I still have my moments. Being a testosterone fuelled 16 year old with visions of being a MotoGP racer on sport bike probably would not have ended too well for me. Luckily the Elite accelerated at the speed of smell, and would reach a top speed of 100kph, downhill with a tailwind. It took the entire length of the Harbour Arterial to get it to warp speed.
I became aware of our mortality at a young age, when a BMX riding buddy of mine, who was also a talented motocross racer died on my dream bike the Honda Interceptor 500.
McDonald Drive in St. John's, NF is pretty straight road through a residential area in the east end of the city. It begins at the T- intersection of Logy Bay Rd. Oliver's Store used to be there. I bought a lot of Hubba Bubba and Fun Dip there.
My friend Robbie Cook was headed south on Logy Bay Rd, turned onto McDonald Drive by Oliver's Store headed westbound. The speed limit is 50km/hr.
Motorcycles have an insane power to weight ratio, and can accelerate to triple digit speeds in a heartbeat. Even a 1984 Honda Interceptor was fast.
Robbie took the turn at Oliver's and pinned it, cresting a blind hill at more than double the speed limit. At the same time an elderly woman in a car was further down McDonald Drive headed in the opposite direction, and was making a left turn onto one of the side streets on her way home. There was almost no way she could have seen Robbie. She would never, in a thousand years, thought a motorcycle would be coming up that road at that rate of speed.
He hit the back quarter of the car as she was part way through the left turn. The force of the impact spun the car almost 360 degrees. Robbie was thrown from the bike and hit a telephone pole and mailbox. He survived the initial crash, but sadly succumb to his internal injuries a week later.
A foolhardy mistake robbed a family of their child, we lost a friend, and an elderly woman was traumatized for life. Robbie was the first person that was my age to die. It was a big deal, and it rocked all of us.
It was then I realized that my parents were looking out for me by not allowing a big bike into the house, because that easily could have been me doing that stupid shit.
Don't get me wrong, I know I could, and can be easily smucked by a dumbass inattentive driver at an intersection, but life is a risk, and when it's your time........it's your time. However doing stupid shit that speeds up our departure from this life is something we can control.
So, I have an affinity to the scooter because of this. If I was allowed to buy that Interceptor 500, I most likely would have never, ever given a scooter a second, or even any glance at all.
My early years on that Honda Elite are some of my fondest memories. I loved that thing.
I think my reason for liking scooters so much now is it brings me back to the past, and the good times I had, making me feel younger again.
The other day I was giggling in my helmet while riding the Ruckus around. I'm wearing Vans sneakers like the ones I had in high school, and I once again have braces on my teeth. Well, now they are called Invisalign, and I'm ripping around town on scooter like it was 1985 again, and I'm still listening to Stiff Little Fingers and The Clash. The only way it could be any better was if Rick Mercer was sitting on the back of the scooter and we were headed to Geoff Brown's place to partake in some smoking of the Mary Jane.
Honda is releasing a new scoot later this year. If it actually makes it to Canada is another question. However this new scooter is as close to a cross between an ADV bike and scooter as you can get. It's based on the engine in NC750X. So yes it is big and relatively powerful.
It's the new City ADV. I mean it looks like an Africa Twin step through, kinda. I love the damn thing. That...... right there, will be enough for me to give up the Guzzi and go full on scooter. Assuming of course, Honda Canada imports it for sale, and it's not just relegated to the European market. The Euros get all the cool bikes and cars. Bastards.
The above are concept versions of the scoot, however Honda has confirmed it's going into production, and even released a teaser video. I have my fingers, toes and and anything else I cross, crossed hoping it shows up on a dealers floor near me.
I know I'll be ridiculed and made fun of for riding a scooter, but I don't care. I'm 47 years old, I don't give a shit about what people think anymore.
Come on Honda........bring it to Canada, I promise I'll buy one.