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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well I finally have some wheels under me and thought I would share the journey with everyone.

Background first – A year ago I pretty much had the world by the tail; 63 and an active road cyclist for nine years and coach for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training Program for 5 years. I was having fun helping other people train and learn how to ride 100 miles on a bicycle in one day. Give us anybody and in 16 weeks we can get them to the finish line. In the first four years I had completed 7 Century’s. In 2006 I stepped it up and completed a Sprint Triathlon, ran a marathon, and rode America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride in Lake Tahoe (100 miles) all in 30 days. Old – naw just hitting the prime.

February 7, 2007 I was diagnosed with Stage IIIA non-small cell lung cancer; 4 cm mass in upper right lung and some lymph nodes involved. Not what I wanted to hear as I started to ramp my training back up for a new year. Thirty-three sessions of radiation therapy, a six week stay in the hospital to remove the dead part of the lung, and then six weeks of chemotherapy. May 27th, 2008 I was declared in remission so we move on with life.

By now you might have figured out that I love life and want to be active and working with people. But I have also learned how precious life is and not to take it, or my family, for granted.

The old internal motor has just not been coming back the way I thought it would. Where I used to take a quick 25 mile ride before dinner or go for a 60 mile ride with the group on Saturday morning, now 12 miles puts me on the couch for the rest of the night. No fun – miss the wind in the face, country to look at and working on getting better at something.

Fifteen years ago I had thought about a HD but never followed thru. This time though I got more serious about it.

First I started reading and keep coming across articles that said a 250 is the best size to learn on. Research the 250s and guess what kept coming to the top? But before I went too far I decided I would go take the MSF course at the local community college. I knew I needed it and I would also have a chance to ride some bikes and see if I was really up to it. The weekend of August 10th was my MSF and I don’t need to tell you how it went – grinning ear to ear. Definitely did not like the way a cruiser sat though. Went to the local dealer just to sit on a street bike and be sure I would like the fit – yup. Just like on a road bicycle, feet under the butt and arms forward. I was home.

Then the quest for some wheels began. Every morning check the motorcycle adds in both news papers, eBay, Craig’s List, ask people. A lot a false leads, un-answered phone calls and eMails, and a couple of false starts. Guy had a bike 60 miles away on CL with no pictures. It had been running for 3 weeks and was still there. Asked for pictures, he borrows camera and finally sends them. I call to come up and see the bike when he gets off work. He also post pictures on CL. You know how that went – calls me an hour before I’m to leave saying bike is sold.

More looking, and find another one 70 miles away. A 2001 EX250F with 9,916 miles. Has some fiber glass damage on the right side but mechanically he good shape. Drive down, look it over, test ride in the parking lot, made an offer, accepted and handed over a down payment. That was last Sunday. Bike was delivered Wednesday night. I spent Thursday and Friday going over the “new” baby lubing, cleaning, etc.

Then this morning, the big day. Crank her up and gear up while she is warming up. Now keep in mind while I’ve been riding a rode bike on the highway and in town traffic for 10 years, the MSF course was the only time on a motorcycle.

Left the house about 9:30 after doing all the checks and just rode around our neighbor hood practicing shifting, stops, left and right corners. After five miles headed over to a Medical Center that is a just over a mile from the house with a nice big empty parking lot and started practicing there. More stops/starts, left/right turns at start, up/down shifts. Then put my cones out and started working some slow speed weaves and mixing runs through the lot for sifting and turns to keep engine temperature down. Changed the cones to a wider off-set and quickly determined that is one drill I really need to work on.

Set up a swerve box and worked on that for a while and then changed it to a breaking chute and started working on quick stops. I was surprised at two things; how much more grab this bike has than the school bikes and how much the front end dips. Concentrated on smooth stops with both front and rear and down shifting to 1st. Once that was becoming more normal then I started picking up the speed each time around. I think I did 15-20 stops with the last from 25mph. Only locked the front wheel up once but that was good because I know what that sounds like now and it was right at the end of the stop so no real harm.

After ~3 hours and 12 miles in the parking lot I took the cones home and decided to go for a ride. A good mix of 2 and 4 lane streets with speed limits from 25-45. Towards the end was taking it up to ~8K before shifting and the shifting was getting much smoother. The 23 miles of actual riding really felt good and I was finding that my radar was working a lot more on auto than when I'm in the car. I was surprised at how many bikes I saw out. Funny, the first one I saw was an older man on a HD coming at me and I did the low 2-finger wave and he gives me this big thumbs up. The rest of them were just the usual low 1 or 2 finger wave.

About half way through the ride I realized how much I had missed being out on the road. I was seeing things out ahead of me, around me, keeping room, and even had some hill starts without killing it. In downtown things slowed down pretty good but I started to get this warm feeling between my legs. Ah shit did I just pee in my paints with all the excitement. You know us old folks have to be careful about that. Nope just a nice warm engine caressing my thighs thank you very much.

40 miles all together I'm home and still grinning from ear to ear and can’t wait to get back out.

Thanks to everybody on the forum who has given me a great wealth of knowledge before I even swung a leg over the bike. But most especially to Kelly – you’re the man.
 

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OG- It was my pleasure to help you in your quest to make your dream a reality. Congrats to you on making that dream a reality. I played but a very small part in comparison to the determination and obstacles you have endured in life.

Enjoy, my friend... welcome to the brotherhood of riders.

have fun, ride safe

aloha,
Kelly

ps- more pics! :)

pss- lol... even with the helmet blocking the lower portion of your face, I can still see that ear to ear, shit eating grin!! :D
 

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are those the pre clean pics? if not, you missed a spot under the countershaft sprocket area on the frame tube. :p

I was hoping for some "after" shots.

Bike looks to be in pretty good shape.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
you missed a spot under the countershaft sprocket area on the frame tube. :p

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Well I didn't know what that was for sure. I thought it might be the lock-out for seventh gear and I know I'm not ready for that yet. Maybe next week when I start practicing wheelies.
 

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Well I didn't know what that was for sure. I thought it might be the lock-out for seventh gear and I know I'm not ready for that yet. Maybe next week when I start practicing wheelies.
damn newb :mad:... the 7th gear lockout looks nothing like that... keep searching. :p
 

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Good for you OldGuy!!

--David
 

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+1 rep for you...what an awsome story....even after all that life handed you, you still got back in the saddle. I wish you many happy journeys ahead of you.
 

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Welcome to KF, it was good to read your story, glad you have a good sense of humor, your going to need it around here!
 

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Thanks for the post and the reminder to enjoy each day and to always be grateful !! Cheers!
 

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it's always great to hear from someone so happy with their new ride :)
 

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Great story, man. Glad to have you aboard. I'm impressed with how you approched your new hobby with maturity and forethought, instead of just jumping on the first bike you could find with no training. Stories like yours give inspiration to us young guys (in our late 50s.) :D
 

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That's a great story. Do you think riding road bikes in traffic helped you when you got on your motorcycle? I also ride road bikes and will hopefully sometime soon be a first time motorcycle rider on the road and was kind of wondering if my defensive skills would help or hurt me.
 

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Well I didn't know what that was for sure. I thought it might be the lock-out for seventh gear and I know I'm not ready for that yet. Maybe next week when I start practicing wheelies.

well well well, a person who can tell a great story and has a good sense of humor!

glad to have you join the 250 family.

PS. just to let you know, you should see about 280 miles on your trip meter before you run out of gas and have to switch to reserve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
That's a great story. Do you think riding road bikes in traffic helped you when you got on your motorcycle? I also ride road bikes and will hopefully sometime soon be a first time motorcycle rider on the road and was kind of wondering if my defensive skills would help or hurt me.
It's a start but MSF, MSF, MSF, MSF, and in case you missed it MSF.

Road bikes have gotten you to start looking at what is going on all around you and reading tail lites, tires turning, etc. You and I have been doing all of our"cruising" at what 18-23 mph?. Maybe on a nice down hill at Lake Tahoe we hit 40-45 mph. When you get on your motorcycle though you are most likely going 35 -45, most of the time in town - things are coming at you a lot faster and you basically have a front and rear brake to worry about. Yea we shift on our road bikes but a couple of pops and we have a gear we can move out.

On your motorcycle you will have more things going on; throttle, clutch, front brake rear brake - wait rear first then front or . . . and dam I forgot to down shift while everything else was going on and I stalled it when I went to start again.

If you haven't found it yet here is a great link to go read (http://faq.ninja250.org/wiki/New_Riders). Also, a great book to get that was recomended by a good friend :))) is David Hough's Proficient Motorcycling.

As Kelly would tell you, use the search function, look in the other sections of the forum (newbies, two wheeled) and then ask.

Have fun, ride safe, and enjoy life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
PS. just to let you know, you should see about 280 miles on your trip meter before you run out of gas and have to switch to reserve.
Glad to join the family thanks.

As for the trip meter, well there is a problem there. I know the trip meter was working because it had changed from when I looked at the bike. But I top the tank off coming home last night, reset the trip and now I'm rolling 11111's. $#%@#^

To the books, to the books and look for a symptom - fix.
 
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