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THE LIFE: THE LION’S DEN

SPORTBIKE VIRGIN

WORDS AND IMAGES: LION JAMES

I

can still remember the first time I ever rode a motorcycle, as if it were yesterday. The year was 1993 and I was 12 years old when I threw a leg over my friend Paul Wilson’s blue and white Yamaha YSR, a 50cc two stroke. I rode around the block never switching gears nor using the rear brake. It was the most fun I had had in my life by that time that didn’t involve me telling my friends to smell my finger afterwards. It made me want one and it planted a seed that would one day grow into the love of all things two wheeled that now drives me to ride my own motorcycles, spend my time around like minded motorcycle enthusiasts and write these very words to you. Now the first time I rode my first new sportbike was a little different. I’d have to look on my calendar to get the exact date but I’ll never forget that Saturday morning in March of 2006. I had trouble sleeping the night before because I was so excited. I was like a little kid the night before a trip to Disney World or something. I had my clothes for the next day’s first ride laid out on the bed in the other room. I had the directions to the dealership printed and ready to go. My helmet and jacket were hanging up near the door and my gloves inside the pockets awaiting their first grip full of new bike throttle. Up until this point I had been riding my first cruiser for the past two years or so, a 1980 Suzuki GN400e that I got at a police auction and wrenched on myself to get running right. I was used to a 400cc cruiser with only 4 gears, a kick start and a redline top speed of about 85 to 90 mph. I would be on the highway “getting it” in 4th gear wide open reaching ludicrous speeds of 90mph back before I really knew what “getting it” was. So anyway back to the first ride on the new bike. The morning of, the dealership opened at 9:00 am but I was eagerly up at about 6:00 am. The dealership was about an hour away and my girlfriend at the time, now my wife, was driving me. 106 | SPORTBIKESINCMAG.COM

She was cranky because for one I had her up early on a Saturday morning for a “stupid motorcycle” as she put it and two, of course, because I was getting a motorcycle to begin with. Now if you’ve ever met me you know how much I love motorcycles and if you’ve ever seen my home, either the apartment I was living in at the time or the house I own now, you know a biker lives there. How in the world I married a woman with so much disdain for motorcycles is still beyond me but low and behold she drove me nonetheless. We get to the dealership after a ride that felt like it took 2 hours and they aren’t even open yet. She’s pissed and tired, I’m anxious and chomping at the bit to see my new bike and the tension in the car is palpable. So after about an hour of waiting in the car the dealership opens and we go inside to sign the paper work and see the bike. I was having frame and swingarm sliders installed before I picked it up and they were still completing the installation when we arrived. Now we are being told that it’s going to be a while before the bike is ready and that they weren’t expecting me so early. I get “the look” from my lady and I tell her that she can leave if she wants to... after all, I had a ride home. She reluctantly says “No, I’ll wait with you.” Happy that I had someone to share my excitement with I thanked her for sacrificing her morning to help me to go pick up what would basically be her replacement... Now it’s about 12:00pm and the bike is still not done. We’ve gone and eaten lunch, we’ve gone window shopping at local stores, made a bunch of phone calls and even played games to keep ourselves occupied. At this point she can no longer stand to wait, mind you she’s never seen the bike except in pictures on the Internet and of course who didn’t have a big picture of the bike they wanted set as their desktop background or screensaver, and I tell her to go home. Before she leaves I ask her to take the OEM parts that the dealership took off

SportBikes Inc Magazine April 2014  
SportBikes Inc Magazine April 2014  

SportBikes Inc Magazine April 2014