Observations from the Road – Youthful Dreams Come and Gone

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By Thomas Kreutzer 24, 2013 6

Cash in hand, I as the delivery driver rolled my GSX-R1100 into the back of his and then supervised while he and fidgeted with the tie downs would hold the bike on its final trip out of my life and someone else’s. When the was done, I walked around the gave each strap a to make sure that was right and then watched as he into the cab.

As he paused to check his map, I looked at the wad of in my hand and once more at the in the back of the truck. I could stop this, I thought, but in my heart I knew it was better way.

I had spent more 20 years as a motorcyclist and the big Suzuki had the culmination of many years’ work. Back when the were walking like I had followed the rules and started Around the time Hair gave way to Grunge I stepped up to a GS850 and rode that for a full decade prior to to Japan and dropping all the way down to a racer.

By 2005, I had moved to the States, then Jamaica and headed back to Japan, I was to go big again. This time, I I wanted a liter bike and the one I was perfect: a ’91 GSX-R1100 SACS in Yoshimura red and black.

Silly as it seems now, my was based almost entirely on dreams and unicorn farts. The had been the bike I had wanted I was young but had never been to afford. Getting one now would be an that I had finally “made It would be tangible proof I had achieved everything I ever and could now live my life to my own rules.

There was no longer any to compromise. I had the experience, I had the ability, I had the and now, I had the means. I would not be It was an almost perfect storm.

The ’90s was a dangerous time to be a The demand for ever lighter, faster motorcycles had surged a few years prior and the manufacturers had by shoving huge, powerful into lightweight frames sat upon finicky, complicated With rider’s aids traction control, ABS and slipper still firmly in the realm of fiction, it was up to the rider to make work together.

Not everyone was to get it right and, to be frank, is a reason why so many people “street fighters” back in the These were not bikes to be lightly.

We had some adventures, that and I, and together we spent a couple of summers exploring the countryside of Japan.

As hard-core as a plain old would have been, meaning to I compounded my problems by a bike that wasn’t In my own defense, of course, the old GSX-R had sat unloved and lifeless on the dealer’s floor for so long that I’m not anyone truly knew it was anymore.

The signs were a stainless four-into-one exhaust and racy looking stickers on the but they merely hinted at might be concealed within and I them little attention. rides aren’t allowed at Japanese dealerships so I took a and bought the bike because of its condition and the small number on the It wasn’t until I got it home I found out that there was there than met the eye.

It I think now, a middle man’s wet dream; the product of who had sworn, once upon a to own the angriest, fastest street-legal bike he could build. he was, he had both time and to throw at the project and in my mind’s eye I him as a Japanese businessman. He would been nearing middle age in I thought, young enough to want a fast bike but old to fund such an ambitious

Once he actually had the bike in his however, it seems that he little time to use it and, the course of a decade, only to put 9,500 kilometers on the clock. the bike frightened him, or he was just too busy to really it. Whatever his reasons, eventually, he to sell.

Like a wild the big Suzuki was simply unwilling to any rider who was anything less its complete master. Unlike bikes, the kind that you into a sense of security and bite you when you least it, this bike had an almost aura of menace about it. It was the of bike that told you in bold terms, every you dared to sit upon it that it intended to kill you the first your attention wavered.

it was difficult at first and my prior probably saved me a half times in the first few weeks I it. But I kept after it, day after gradually working up to the edge of the and then reeling it back in as I learned the bike’s idiosyncrasies. day I was able to take it a little go a little faster and, by little, we became one.

We had adventures, that bike and I, and we spent a couple of happy exploring the countryside of Western Specific stories will later in this series but I can you now that I spent many a day on the road, short shifting to the bike’s glorious howl as I through small farm and then dropping back into the lower gears as I the bike out on the narrow, twisting that followed the course of meandering river or wended way over some rugged pass.

In 2007 I relocated to Okinawa and the big came along. The tropics seem a perfect place to own a but because of the heat and humidity I not to use it as frequently as I should and one by one, small decisions to take the car of the bike put me on a path from there could be no return. For a to truly be in control of such rage, he needs to be at the top of his game. The he slacks off, he opens up to disaster.

Getting and keeping edge takes hard and consistent seat time and the you stop honing your your skills begin to By choosing not to ride, I had stepped on to the slope. It could only end one

I ran an ad on a local website and got a couple of kickers and some young who were bold talkers … was crawling with young guys looking to drop deployment pay on fast machines, but of those guys had scant in a bike that had been when they were

Selling the big GSX-R was fraught its own set of problems, not the least of which was the right buyer. Sure, was crawling with young guys looking to drop deployment pay on fast machines, but of those guys had scant in a bike that had been when they were I ran an ad on a local website and got a couple of kickers and some young who were bold talkers, but no one

The ad ran for weeks with almost no but eventually the right guy turned up. He fit the a responsible and alert Marine Sergeant in his mid-30s with a amount of riding experience. He what he wanted, of course, and I tell by the faraway look in his that his mind held the unfulfilled desires that I had felt myself.

There much haggling and we quickly a deal. Rather than the bike with me while he the necessary paperwork, he sent to collect it.

The driver eventually the best route, stashed his map under his seat and slipped the rig gear. I followed on foot as the made its way onto the road and watching from the end of the driveway as it into the distance. Had I been a educated man, I might recalled some quote Shakespeare to mark the big bike’s from my life but I could stand amid the swirling exhaust and watch as the truck farther away.

The fumes burned my eyes.

the Author: Thomas Kreutzer lives in Buffalo, New York his wife and three children but has most of his … life He has lived in Japan for nine Jamaica for two and spent almost years as a US Merchant Mariner primarily in the Pacific. A long auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has his hobbies whenever possible.

He enjoys writing and public where, according to his wife, his subject is himself.

Honda Dream Kids Dokitto


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