Monday, January 16, 2012

boys and their toys

They say boys never get over their toys, they just get more expensive.  Or something like that...

While Mike is clearly no longer a boy (he even had a full beard in high school...) he still loves toys.

But perhaps a dirt bike isn't really a toy.  Most toys can't cause broken bones in many different body parts, or bring such delight.  For Mike, a dirt bike is so much more than a toy.

Mike has great passion in his life, for the things that are important to him.  And riding dirt bikes is definitely one of them.  The sport keeps him in shape, gives him a shot at competition, brings he and Charlie together on many weekends in the summer, gives him the opportunity to pursue another of his passions-taking pictures and making movies,  and it evokes great memories of his youth.  On top of that, he is really good at it.

He has needed a new dirt bike for a while, last year he lost half of the racing season as his bike was in for repairs, or broke down at the event.  His riding buddies kept hounding him to get a new one, but it just wasn't in the budget.  (I am the accountant of the family, and I am pretty fiscally conservative...)

But 2012 is a new year, and Mike has quietly been lobbying and hinting about a new bike for a few weeks.  And Saturday, while I was in the middle of organizing jewelry parts and pieces, he asked me to read this post he had placed on Facebook:

‎37 Years ago (the year 1975), about this time of year and on a cold overcast day just like today, my brother, my Dad and myself set off on a three hour drive to a town I had never been to before; Cambridge, Minnesota. Our destination was, of course, Larson's Cycle. It seemed like a long drive with our boat trailer, converted to a snowmobile trailer, bouncing along behind our metallic lime-green 1974 Ford LTD. The LTD was our "Sunday car".

When we arrived at the shop with great anticipation, it was like no cycle shop I had been to before. It was like stepping into a hardware store for motorcycles. It had that same sense of intimacy that a hardware store has. Motorcycle merchandise was stacked to the ceiling and your eyes couldn't seem to take it all in. The bikes were displayed in a cramped, but warm, display area that felt like a living room.

We were there to purchase a 1975 Can Am TNT. My brother had saved up his paper route money and decided to bet all of it on this grand purchase. While there he bought a pair of wonderfully fragrant Full Bore Motocross Boots and a white, vented nylon Can Am jersey. Barney Larson wrote up the sale as Mrs. Larson filled out the paperwork for the license and title. It was a family affair on both sides of the transaction.

I was but a spectator on this day. No bike for me. I had just started my paper route and had not saved up enough money to buy a motorcycle (yet). On the long drive back home, I was mesmerised as I stared out the back window at that fascinatingly beautiful machine, as wisps of snow flitted past the handlebars.

A year or so later my brother wanted out of his relationship with motorcycles. I eagerly stepped into the void and bought his Can Am, upgrading from a spindly Kawasaki KE-125 that spent more time in the shop than on the trail.

The Can Am felt solid and well built compared to my week-kneed Kawasaki. And it was fast. I rode it everywhere and went on 100 mile trail rides all alone. I entered my first enduro on it in 1978. It was a National at Hill City and I never even made it to the first checkpoint. But I grew alot with that bike. I learned to take responsibly for it and myself (100 miles in the woods, alone!). I gained mechanical self-confidence, which still serves me today in my business.

It's funny what comes back to you when you look out the window at a cold, overcast sky. I might have to make a journey to Larson's Cycle today. It's not nearly so far away as it was 37 years ago. And maybe I can talk my 14 year old son to come with me. He's the same age I was when we hooked up that converted boat trailer to a metallic green 1974 Ford LTD.

And then he turned to me, with puppy eyes, and I said, "you're going to go and get that bike today, aren't you?"  He said the day felt just like that January day, so long ago.  He certainly knows which buttons of mine to push!  So he and Charlie bundled into the pick up truck, and several hours later, he came back with this:

I have to say, that is the most genuine grin of pure joy I have seen on his face in a long time.  And I loved that he and Charlie shared the experience together, even though Charlie won't look back on it as a wonderful memory until he is older.  I am really happy for my hubby, as he loves the sport so much, and deserves to have a  great bike to ride, so he can keep enjoying this sport for years to come.


  1. Now I feel all warm and cuddly inside and I can't believe a dirt bike story is responsible. Mike is as good a writer as you! I'm so happy he got his new bike. :o)

  2. It's important that our spouses have their own interests and hobbies, even if we don't "get it." My husband is really into Ham Radio. He sits in his office on his radio talking to people all over the world. It makes him happy.

    P.S. I'd love to try a dirt bike some day, but alas, I think I would break something.

  3. Way to go, Mike. Congratulations!


Thanks for stopping by!


Related Posts with Thumbnails