The storm before the calm

Like most of us out there that wanted a motorcycle when we were younger (anywhere from 18-24, even younger, or at whatever age), our mother, father, brother, sister, dog, cat, cow, horse, or a combination thereof, would scream at us while flailing their arms ... "You'll kill yourself riding those things!!  You're not going to do it while you're under my roof!!!" ... or something like that.  In my case it was my mom.  My dad has long since passed so he couldn't have said any thing to this effect.  nonetheless, I was crippled.  She would have disowned me.  Since then, years have gone by and any thoughts of getting a motorcycle vacated my empty head.  That is until just about a year ago, summer 2004.  During that time, a bunch of my friends and colleagues at work started buying motorcycles.  I noticed they're going hog wild about it and never seem to get tired of talking about the subject.  Of course I had my mother's view drilled into my little head and the first reaction was ... "They going to kill themselves" ... "It's way too dangerous out there.  Especially in the L.A. metropolitan area."  This coupled with the unknown of how hard it is to get a motorcycle license convinced me to put it out of my head.  But unbeknownst to me, the moto fever was brewing in the recesses of my dark and dank mind.  Most of my friends were trying to convince me to buy a sport bike but I just didn't like the idea of doing 140 on the 210  (yes ... this is you Nate ) and loosing my license with an impound of my vehicle by a state trooper (there are better names for them but I won't use it here).  So I shrugged it off again and said ... "Nah.. it's too dangerous."  That is ... until one day.

I had forgotten how fond I was of the Paris-Dakar race and the motorcycles they used in those races.  I remember watching a report of one of the races where a rider entered the rally with a BMW motorcycle one year (I still don't know who it was, what year it was, and which the heck BMW motorcycle model he rode), managed to trash his bike and left it there in the desert to collect sand, then came back the following year with another BMW motorcycle, had problems with the new one in the same stretch of the rally, he managed to fix his current motorcycle in the field by taking part(s) off of the wreck motorcycle from the previous year, and then kept on truckin' until the end of that stage.  I'm thinking to myself... "WOW!!! that's nuts but insanely COOL!!"   Anyway, my cool friend Jaime (with his big 6 cylinder Honda Valkyrie, or was that a Honda Civic on two wheels? Wait, there are more cylinders on a Valkyrie than on a Civic. ) said that I should look at the enduros offered by BMW.  I then remembered ... "Oh yeah!!! the enduro bikes!!!"  MAMAMIA!!! That was it.  At first I looked at the R1150GS Adventure and thought ... "That is one big ass moto Mang!!"  I don't think I can handle that behemoth of a bike.  I can just picture myself dropping that thing and crushing myself in the process.  But then another friend (Nate) said ... "They have a smaller bike that will fit your build."  He showed me the F650GS.  Game Over!!! Stick a fork in me and declare it done.  I'm now determined to get the 650.  Admittedly I was still hesitant.  The price tag was set at around $8500 and I still don't know if I can get a motorcycle license.  Plus, It's a Bee-Mer.

During this time I was having problems with this close female friend.  She was giving me a lot of grief about something or other.  So I thought to myself ... "WTF!!  Who cares if she doesn't want me to ride a moto.  Screw that!!!"  Viola!  Mind made up and inhibitions all gone.  So I asked another friend (Kevin) to see if he can go to the BMW dealer with me on the weekend and test ride a F650GS for me.  Maybe even ride the bike home for me.  I was pretty much determined to get a bike.  He said yes so we're set for the Saturday event.

That Saturday Kevin showed up at my apartment on his bike (a Honda CBR600 F4I at the time)  which we left at my place and drove off to the BMW dealer.  So we made it to the dealer in Pomona, CA.  I had called the dealer during the week asking if there are any used F650GSs they might have.  He mentioned they had a used 2003 F650GS with 7K miles.  That sounded interesting.  I might end up purchasing that motorcycle to reduce the expenditure.  Funny thing was, Kevin and I were pretty poorly dressed.  I had a pair of shorts, a Duke Nukem' t-shirt (yes I'm a nerd), and a pair of sandals.  Kevin wasn't that much better off than I was.  I can tell the sales guy, was kind of leery of us.  Probably thinking ... "These riff raffs probably can't afford much."  Anyway, we milled about a bit looking at various F650GS and even an F650CS until he showed us the used moto.  It was RED and ... it was used.   Personally, I wasn't very fond of red.  Nonetheless, Kevin was cool enough to go ahead and jump on that babe for a test ride.  I hung around the show room looking at the rally2 suits (they're cool) and I'm drooling over one.  When Kevin got back, he said that the bike didn't ride so hot (most likely because he's been riding a sport bike and doesn't really know what an enduro really felt like.  Sorry Kevin ).  He said there appeared to be oil leaking and all that good stuff.  So we went back in the show room and opted for a brand new 2005 F650GS with something like 11 miles on it.  To make a long story short ... bla bla bla bla bla ... we finished the financing of the bike and I got a Rally2 suit thrown in to boot.  I downed 2K and got the bike out the door at 9K.  Now it's time to take delivery of ... SCREEEEETCH!!! But wait ... I don't have a motorcycle license and I don't have motorcycle insurance.  I can't get my bike until I have at least a motorcycle permit and definitely motorcycle insurance since I'm the one getting the loan from BMW (bummer dude!!! ).  I is stuck!!!  And this stinks...

So the dealer is willing to hold my motorcycle for a week (no more, no less) until all the paper work is straightened out.  If I don't straighten it out in a week, it's a no sale (!!!).  To say the least, I wasn't having fun.  I even contemplated putting the entire loan for the motorcycle on credit cards to bypass the loan restrictions and what not.  Fortunately, I came to my senses and knew that wasn't a smart idea.  I spent the rest of the weekend reading the CA motorcycle handbook and the automobile handbook.  I don't like exams.  Never did like exams.  I hated them in college and I hate them now.  As the next week begins (Monday) I went to take my written exam.  I passed with only 3 missed questions.  Phew!!!  I then called AAA of Souther California on the same day to get insurance for my new, still at the dealer, motorcycle.  They said OK to the VIN and OK to the permit and I'm now insured (Oh YEAH!!!)  Now that all the pressure off of me, I get to call the dealer and have them deliver Mr. Moto.  Surely enough, the next day (Tuesday) the sales guy rides my beautiful silver F650GS (Yes ... with the orange seat) over to my apartment.  I then drove him back to the dealership and went to work.

This is a later picture with the saddle bags and a top bag.

A note to others out there in the world:  don't go buying a motorcycle unless you have at least a motorcycle permit.  Unless you like taking chances like little o' me.  It's no fun to be under the gun when there's so much green fluttering in the wind.  At least I know I can't do this again in the future.  For those that think I'm an idiot for doing this, all I have to say is...

Impulsion, Compulsion, and plain old ... Impatience!!!

I then waited until the weekend to take my first tentative ride on Mr. Moto.  Having 10+ years on a mountain bike definitely help me learn how to ride a motorcycle quickly.  After two sessions, on two separate days, I rode to work for the first time on the following Monday.  Suffice to say, my friends were surprise that I manage to ride within such a short amount of time.  Shifting and clutching was a new concept relative to the mountain bike but not extremely difficult.  With slow riding and a lot of thinking ahead, I was doing OK.

Alas, that's the story of my first motorcycle purchase and ride.  It was definitely hair raising for me.  Having all the paper work tied up because I didn't have a motorcycle permit.  I'm just glad everything panned out.  I guess the worst case is: a no sale, I would have to go get the permit, and attempt to purchase the bike again.  But that didn't happen.  Thank the almighty Zeus and all of his illegitimate sons.

I wish I can get one of these... or even afford one...

This is a F650RR entered in the 2001 Paris-Dakar Rally

Written on:  October 1, 2005
Last modified: September 3, 2007