- Written by Jeff Summers Jeff Summers
When I turned twelve, I began to ask my father what had happened to his bike. He explained that the flywheel had broken and it was in storage. I asked if we could work on the bike and restore it to working order so that I could learn to ride. He readily agreed and we retrieved the motorcycle from storage. Few of my friends had heard of a Penton let alone seen one. This also went for the local parts stores as we constantly had to wait as they special ordered parts in for the bike. Each weekend we would work together to set up the bike and before long it was back in running order. It was an awesome experience to work on the bike with my dad then have him teach me how to ride it. The Penton was a tremendous bike that had more power than a twelve year old should have. My mother was worried that the bike was too big for me and so it was sold. I had saved money from working and was given the opportunity to purchase a new bike. I bought a Kawasaki 125 which was a great bike. It had just enough power to be fun but not too powerful so that I had to be afraid of it. This was definitely an off-road bike which was fine with me. I kept this bike until I was sixteen. Then on the day of my first date with Trina, I was riding with my dad when a rock came out of nowhere and I hit it flipping me over the handlebars cracking two ribs and hurting my shoulder. I would go to the dance that night with Trina but I was definitely in a lot of pain.
My dad had purchased a Yamaha IT175 and it was an amazing bike. In order to keep up with him I sold my Kawasaki and bought a Yamaha. My younger brother Rod also bought a bike and the three of us would go out each weekend riding. It was great fun and we had a ball as a family. My brother was a better rider than I was but I held my own. I had great reflexes so my reaction time was better than his. When I was eighteen, Rod and I were riding along a road that was 20 feet above a lake. We were as usual racing and he was as usual beating me. I could see a short straight section of road before a curve and took off. I had too much speed when I reached the curve and hit the brakes. My bike slid out from under me and towards the cliff. I could only think about how much money it would cost me to replace that bike if it fell so I hung onto it to save it from falling. I was successful saving the bike but the bike was not successful in saving me. The bike remained on the road but I fell down the cliff face. A tree broke my fall and two ribs and hurt my wrist. I was able to slowly get out of the tree and make my way back to where my bike was. By this time Rod had gotten help and they took me home. My mother was none to pleased and this time put her foot down making me sell my motorcycle before I killed myself.
I soon went to college and then got married. The thoughts of riding a bike lingered in the back of my mind but both Trina and my mother would remind me whenever the subject came up how I nearly died on a bike and the subject was closed. It remained closed until August 2004. Trina was visiting family in Idaho and I was at home working. Mallorie had wanted us to get a car so that she would have transportation so it was my job to go and see if there were any model year end deals on a small pickup. I went to the dealership and found that pick-ups were in very short supply and therefore unavailable. The salesman did say that he had an overstock of Corvettes if I would be interested he could make me a great deal on one. Well my Camaro was showing its age so I thought this would be a great idea. I went home and called Trina to see how she felt about that. Trina was less pleased than I had anticipated and stated, “A Corvette is not practical and just would not work. You would be better off getting a motorcycle than you would getting a Corvette.” I took that to mean that a motorcycle is ok, she meant it that a Corvette ranked right up there with motorcycle in the top 10 list of dumb ideas I had. Since neither of us asked for further clarification the door was opened.
I went down to the Harley Davidson dealership and began looking at motorcycles. I thought that if I got a street bike I could ride it to work and save on gas and allow her or Mallorie to drive my car. So one night while she was at work I went down to look at a bike for the ninth time. The salesman said they were having a great deal going right now and they actually had one I was looking for in stock. I decided to buy it but as I was signing the papers I realized that Trina would probably go crazy since I didn’t even have a helmet. The salesman was very helpful and said if I bought the bike he would throw in the helmet. That seemed like a good deal so I bought the bike. They needed a day to get it ready and I needed a day to try and tell Trina. I left the dealership with the free helmet and a T-shirt and headed home. Along the way I tried to decide how I was going to share this good news. When I got home I found Trina there and not in a good mood due to the kids failing to clean their room or something. I thought perhaps I should wait until later to share my news and so I left the helmet in the back of the car. That night we went to get groceries. As we parked the car and got out to go into the store, Trina happened to glance back and noticed a helmet in the back seat. “What is that?” she demanded. I had to think quickly and before I could stop myself I explained, “Oh, it was the weirdest thing. I went down to the Harley store and they were having a promotion. I bought a helmet and they threw in a motorcycle.” To this day I have no idea how but I actually lived through that night and she let me keep the bike. I am now riding a 2005 Harley-Davidson Softail Night Train. It is an incredible bike and I love it. Trina is warming up to the idea and has actually purchased a few accessories for it. When my mom found out I had a bike all she said was, “you are an idiot.” I don’t think mom will be riding with me any time soon.
If you would like to talk about motorcycles or if you would just like to hear how long it took me to heal after pulling a stunt like buying a motorcycle without telling Trina, please contact me and I’ll be happy to talk about it.