Monday, January 18, 2016

Back in the saddle again!

Awhile back, I wrote this on my web site:

I started riding dirt bikes in Jr. High in 1973 with a Honda XR75 and continued to ride through High School (upgrading to a Honda XL125 which I immediately tricked out for dirt riding). I raced a Suzuki RM125 during my last two years of High School (79-80), but sold it to buy my 1st Martin guitar. I bought a very used Honda SL175 (for $175!) while in college and rode it for awhile, but then was bikeless (a sad state of affairs) until about 1987 when I got a 1984 Honda XR200R. Not long afterwards, I bought a 1984 Honda XL200R as a second bike for commuting and for my wife to ride. I sold both bikes about 2 years later, to buy falconry telemetry (these hobbies are all inter-twined!). A long, dry period lasted until March 21, 1998 when I bought a brand-new 1996 Honda XR250 with proceeds from various writing projects, including the Falconry Equipment book (see what I mean about being intertwined?? <g>). The first thing I did upon getting it home was go out and catch some air!  That got me going again and since then I have been bike-less for just a short period.
In Fall 2010 at age 48, I decided it was time to hang up the dirt bike boots while all my joints and bones are still intact.  It was a great ride!

Well, never say "never", I guess.  After a 5 year break, we're back in the game.  Derek, you see, had been making noise about wanting to ride dirt bikes. I think there's a lot to be learned from them besides the actual riding skills (which are useful in themselves). There's mechanic work, trouble-shooting, economics, time-management, and more. I freely credit my dirt biking with many of the skills I have today, a large chunk of which have enabled me to do guitar repair.

Talking about dirt bikes during Christmas, we did a little quick research and settled on a few candidates- the Honda CRF150F or Kawasaki KLX140 for him and a Yamaha TT-R 230 or Honda CRF230F for me. A quick look at Craigslist later and I found a single buyer selling both an '08 Honda CRF150F and a Yamaha TT-R 230, for an excellent combined price. The Santa Fe Yamaha dealer was open and we took a look at a new TT-R 230 and they even had a used CRF150F.(for too much money). That visit put the TT-R 125 LE on my radar, too.

 But I wanted to shop and think. The biggest issue in buying a used dirt bike is the title. Here in NM, you have to have a registration sticker to ride on public lands (.e.g. US Forest Service) and since nearby Red River, NM is a fun and popular are to ride, I sure don't want to exclude it. However, bikes in Colorado and TX don't have titles. Problem. But,the original pair that I saw on CL's did have titles and long story short, we drove down there one Thursday and bought them. Even better, the following Monday, we got them titled!  Some gear and jetting later, we're riding.

Fresh off the truck

Derek's never ridden a dirt bike but he does have bicycle and ATV experience. He's picked it up pretty quickly, learning to use a manual clutch and shift gears. His Honda is a great bike- I wish I'd had one of these to start on!  Likewise, I'm really happy with my Yamaha.  I'm not going to do much jumping or racing anymore- we just want to putt around and have fun.

Got gear?  Got dirt!

It's good to be back on the bike.