Ever since I was a young boy, I have always been drawn to motorcycles and their modification. My parents were mystified by my ability to receive a new present, whether a scooter, skateboard or bicycle, and in a matter of a few days, turn it into something else. This character trait followed me throughout my life with cars, boats and motorcycles.
When I was 12 years old, my first motorized project was a used mini-bike with a 3 HP Tecumseh engine. Within a week, I had pulled off the engine and traded it, along with my 3 speed Sting Ray bicycle for a 5 HP engine with a Comet TAV-30 Torque Converter! With my neighbor’s help, it took us just a few days to fit the new engine to the bike frame, not to mention spending all my savings for other needed parts. It fired right up like a dream, and I couldn’t wait to get on it and tear down the street.
During the initial test run, the bike ran like a bat out of Hell, with me holding on for dear life! With the throttle twisted wide-open, I could barely keep it under control. At the first turn I let off on the gas and applied the brake, but to my surprise, I realized I had no brakes! As it turned out, in our haste to get it running, we forgot to reconnect the brake cable. Well, a smarter person would have coasted to a stop and hooked up the brake, but not me. As most kids would agree, the soles of your tennis shoes work just as good - well most of the time! After I mastered the beast, I rode up and down the street, smiling as if I’d just won a week to Disneyland. That is, until I ran out of gas and had to push it back home.
That night, as my parents looked over my modified mini-bike, my Mom kept asking me why I had to be so different. My Dad just cast a weary look in my direction and muttered something about how he’d better look under the hood of his car to see if anything was missing.
Continue with Part II of this III part series posted below.