Monday, February 18, 2008

Bikes I Have Loved, DT-1

Everyone has a favorite motorcycle, mine is the Yamaha DT-1B. Made in 1969, it was my first real motorcycle. I loved that bike; I was so greatly influenced by that motorcycle that its vibrations still resonate in my life.
I can still remember the first time I saw a DT-1. It was 1968, I was in Crestline in the San Bernardino Mountains, and I saw it, it was so tall and the lines so right. The sight of that bike made such an impression on me that I remember everything about the moment 40 years later.
My Dad bought the 1969 Yamaha DT-1B from K&N Motorcycles on La Cadena Dr, in Riverside, California. Malcolm Smith was the head of the service department and K&N Motorcycles later became K&N Air Filters. My Dad had been saving lead pennies, which were made during the war years out of zinc to save copper for bullets. My Dad had saved up $300 worth of the lead pennies and sold them to a dealer for 3 cents apiece. Coincidentally that was the price of the Yamaha $900.
My Dad found the Dt-1 to be too tall and bought a Yamaha 125 AT-1, which he liked better because not only was it shorter, it had an electric starter. Dad was the same age as I am now and I can see how he appreciated the electric starter.
I took over the 250. I was 15 years old, I could not ride on the streets, but we lived near the Santa Ana River and I could coast down the hill and ride to the river bottom which was like a sand highway to the hills at North Main St. My Dad, my brother and I would load up the bikes and go to the Canyon Crest area and ride all day on weekends. My Dad and I once road the bikes to Bodie, California. The bike was a great piece of machinery. It never broke, it rode great and it looked great, what more could a kid want.
When I graduated from High School, I decided to take a motorcycle trip. I loaded a sleeping bag on the DT-1 and headed off. I toured around California and parts of Nevada. I lost my student deferment and got drafted. That changed the direction of my life.
I would not change one iota, not one molecule not one breath taken of the time I spent with that bike.

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