October 5th, 2005
by Scott "Style_Cruizer" Gilley
I was thinking the other day about my father. I grew up living all over the United States. My father was a Marine, so we never got use to one place because we knew that we would be moving in 2 to 3 years. We enjoyed the times we had, but you never really made friends because you knew that you wouldn't be there very long. We (my brother, sister and I) became each others best friends, and had some really fun times together over the years.
My first memories of motorcycles dates back to the early 1960's. My dad was stationed in San Diego, CA as a Drill Instructor. I think it was 1963, I was 3 years old and my dad bought his first motorcycle. It was a Honda 90, I know that isn't much of a bike but when you are 3 and your dad sites you on the gas tank and drives you around the yard that was the biggest thing that I had ever saw. That is a vague memory, but that is my first. Jumping up a few years, we lived in Fredricksburgh, VA my dad still had the same motorcycle and I remember him riding me to school on his way to the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, VA. That was 1966 and I was 6 years old, that was the coolest thing. I was the only kid in school who's dad brought them to school on a motorcycle. By that time I was old enough and big enough to ride on the back, I felt like we were flying low in those days. The wind hitting you in the face as you do about 30 miles an hour. Funny how things seem more intense when you are a child. Dad kept that bike until 1968, we had to move to Torrington, CT, that was the last transfer that my dad had. In 1970 we moved to Kingsport, TN which was home for my mom and dad. In 1972 my dad got his next motorcycle, a brand new Honda 350. At this time I was 12 years old, I couldn't wait to go for a ride. I think back and I believe that my dad enjoyed that as much as I did, you see my brother and sister who are 6 years older than I didn't enjoy riding on motorcycles, so that was a bonding moment for me and my dad. That was the first motorcycle that I ever rode, I was 14 and my dad took me in the back yard and taught me how to ride. I laid that bike over a number of times before I got the hang of it. Boy, that was fun.
The first motorcycle that I owned was a 1975 Honda XL 100. I was 15, and I worked for my dad in his restaurant. I kept asking both my parents if I could get a motorcycle, you only had to be 14 to get a motorcycle permit. My mom didn't want me to have one but my dad won on that issue, he felt that this would help make a man out of me and give me some responsibility. He was right, my first motorcycle sold for $1000.00 brand new in 75, the only way that I could have it was if I paid half of the price. I worked for my dad and saved my paychecks from May to the first of December that year. I finally saved up enough money to pay half the price. I gave it to my dad and he wanted to know what that was for, so I told him it was my half of the cost of the motorcycle, he just laughed at me and told me he would see that it was up to my mother. I just ducked my head because I knew at that point I would never get a motorcycle if it was up to my mother, but I didn't say anything. It was 3 weeks till Christmas, my dad never said another word to me about the bike and I didn't mention it to him either. In those days you didn't question your parents, you just did what they wanted you to do and that was be seen and not heard. Christmas morning came and we opened our gifts and my dad told me that there was one more gift for me and it was on the front porch. I ran to the living room door and opened it and there was my first motorcycle.
In 1976, I didn't have that good of a year. I had my first real motorcycle accident, now I had laid my bike over doing stupid things and got some bumps and bruises from trail riding but never a real accident. I was riding down our road and this lady backed out of her driveway right into me. I was doing 40 miles an hour when the accident happened, I have a couple of nice scars to this day that reminds me of that accident. That scared me about motorcycles and I didn't want to ever ride another one. My dad wouldn't have any part of that, he took the insurance money and bought me another brand new Honda XL100 and brought it home to me. I told him that I didn't want it, but he made me ride it, I can still remember his words to me "you will ride this one time, if you don't you will be scared of them the rest of your life. After you ride it once, you can keep it, let it sit, sell it or trade it on a car. But you will ride it once". I did and he was right, but one thing I learned is that you must respect a motorcycle, because if you don't it will show you who is boss. I kept that bike for another year and sold it to put money down on my first car.
I got my next bike in 1979, it was a Honda 350 just like my dads. I had moved up in size but with working and dating I didn't have much time for it. When you are young you do not know how to manage your time very well. Besides that, my girlfriend parents wouldn't let her ride on a bike so I didn't use it that much. After a year I sold that one and didn't have another one till now.
The first of August 05, I bought a 2005 Suzuki Boulevard M50, the salesman told me that I needed something bigger because this is only a 800cc but after 25 years I think this is plenty big enough to start with. It has enough power for me right now and it handles great. My bike is Candy Apple Red and is looking sharper every day. I guess that I am going to have to slow down on dressing it out, I am putting an awful lot of money into it. I have put on my saddle bags and supports, Memphis Shades windshield and supports, Back Rest and Rack, now I have started buying some chrome parts for it. It sure does add up after a while.
I am now giving my children some memories of their old man. My son is 19, I took him for a ride and now he wants one just like mine, that worries me because he likes to jump into things and I want to make sure that he is safe. My two daughters 17 & 15, my oldest one likes to just have me take her to work from time to time but my youngest one reminds me of myself. She can't get enough of it, I have to take her for rides whenever I don't have to work nights. This past Sunday she and I did the DRAGON, my wife couldn't believe that she wanted to ride that, I just laughed "She is her fathers daughter". My wife wants to learn how to ride so we are going to get her in the local Motorcycle Course, after she finishes that we are going to look at the Suzuki Boulevard S40 for her, it is only 650 cc but that will be enough for her to start out with. Who knows after she moves up (which means I get to go to the Boulevard C90T and she gets my M50) I figure that my youngest daughter will want her mom's bike. The pictures that I have sent you are my wife, youngest daughter and myself, these were taken before I added the extras. Also I have some pictures of my bike after the extras were added.
I have talked a lot about my dad in this letter. He passed away in April 05, I am going up to visit his grave this weekend (it will be my first real road trip). I only wish that he was still with me so that I could show him my bike and take him for a ride like he did for me. He would have loved that, but I will tell him all about it and I know that he will be looking down with a smile on his face, because his son remembers the good times that we had when I was growing up
Scott and his wife Patty at the Deals Gap
Have a Nice Day,
Scott "Style_Cruizer" Gilley