When I was 16 (am now 55) my first view of a real motorcycle was a 1962 BSA 500 Catalina Goldstar. It was for sale at a local car lot. They wanted $500.00 for it. The sales turd told me that it had been there for a long time.
My folks thought I was nuts to want it and told me if I earned the money I could buy it. Well I did just that. I had to wait for a week before I could buy insurance for it. I was the only kid in my high school class to ride a motorcycle to school. It was pretty cool too because the only motorcycles you saw in those days were either the British stuff or an occasional Harley. The Japanese stuff hadn't got here quite yet.
I remember the sound of that thing and the starting ritual.
Went something like this:
1. turn on the fuel petcock.
2. depress the float bowl tickler until gasoline ran out of the hole in the plunger! (no kidding!)
3. pull the spark retard lever back!
4. roll the piston TDC.
5. Squeeze the compression release just a hair whilst kicking it just to get it past TDC.
6. With any luck it would start.
Back in those days you could ride with or without a helmet. I usually rode with one. Once in awhile I'd go for a short ride without it just to feel the wind in my face and to strain a few bugs through my teeth.
I rode with the following types of bikes that don't seem to be on the road any more:
Indian 500 Single
Norton 750 Atlas, Commandos, Dunstalls
Matchless and Velocettes
Triumph 650 Bonnie's,
Harleys (when the guys were nice even if they were outlaws)
After I sold my Beezer (wish I still had it) my next scooter was a Yamaha 360 Enduro. I promptly modified the expansion chamber that was made for the MX version of that bike, installed a MX head. Rode it until I got off it several times and finally hurt my shoulder bad enough that I lost my taste for dirt.
Next scooter was a 1969 Gold and Black CB750 four. What a great bike that was for the time! My buddy had a 750 Kawa triple that was truely a rocket ship but had some spooky handling challenges. I sold the 750 and didn't ride again for 30 years!
The next bike was a new Honda VTX. WOW! What a great crusier it was too! I just didn't like being in the crusier catagory especially with all the Harley snobs. So I have always been in love with what we used to call the "Cafe Racers". Road race bikes have always been dear to my heart. My friend Carl and I were the first guys in our neck of the woods to put clip on handle bars on our street bikes!
Last bike is my current CBR 1100XX. What a great machine it is too! It's not as fast as the hot rod bikes but I don't care. Way fast enough for me. I enjoy it's finish, it's excellant handling and gobs of low speed torque. It's a well mannered machine and is well suited to large guys like myself 6'-2" 225 lbs. It sorta reminds me of driving a real expensive watch . It's that precise. But then you guys all know that huh? LOL.
I'm glad that back in the 60's I decided to buy that BSA. Where would I be today if I hadn't? Motorcycles have truely made a difference in my life and for the better I might add.