The story of my interest in motorcycles starts around 1998 when I was in the 7th or 8th grade and taking flying lessons at the local airport.  One of my instructors, Steve Pickup, had a cherry Honda CB550 he’d brought over from England which was his only transportation.  Steve, a motorcycle mechanic and London bus driver turned flight instructor and I became good friends.  Not having any mechanic’s tools of his own here in America he asked to use mine.  In return, I began to learn about motorcycles.  At the time they didn’t make a big impression on me, perhaps because I was too busy flying and learning about airplanes.  That would change.

Five years went by.  Then, In 2003 I took a trip to London, England.  This is really where my fascination with motorcycles begins. While in London I remember walking down the street one afternoon near Foyles Books on Charing Cross.  All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I heard a strange new sound.  It was nothing like the burdened, obnoxious  popping of the Harley Davidson cruisers that populate the American Midwest, but a pure and perfect wail.  It was like music and it came from a sleek black motorcycle which moved though traffic like everyone else on the road was driving backwards.

As I later learned, the bike I saw and heard was probably a grey market Honda CBR-250RR privately imported from Japan.  Whatever it was, it sold my mind to the devil.


A Honda CBR-250RR “Baby Blade”. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

I thought to myself:  “If that’s what it sounds like, it has to be even more amazing to ride!”  My one and only obsession became learning how to ride.  Once back home I got my motorcycle license.  Much to my dismay, the CBR-250RR isn’t sold in America.  Instead, I bought a Suzuki GS-500 and “made do.”    Make do I did.  The first year I owned it I wore out two sets of sport-touring tires, a difficult feat for a bike with only 48 HP.  The only limitation on my riding was the price of gas.


My first bike, a ’96 Suzuki GS-500. Gone, but not forgotten.

It was on one of my many trips on the GS in late 2007 that I discovered the Glenn Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, NY.  It was within the walls of the Curtiss Museum that I discovered I wasn’t the only airplane nut with a motorcycle addiction.


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