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Motorcycle Monday: Fathers and Their Motorcycles

Jun 17, 13 • by Lindsay Shaw • Vintage Motorcycles1 CommentRead More »

RC50Yesterday was Father’s Day, and my dad is the reason I ride motorcycles. So, rather than focus on one specific motorcycle this week, I thought I’d say a little about my dad’s scoots. (Also, I sort of poked fun at him for being an old, cheap KLR rider last week, so I owe him one.)

My dad started riding motorcycles in his teens (Mesozoic Era) and then, like a chunk of other young men his age, found himself fighting an ambiguous enemy in foreign country where people wore pointy hats and grew a lot of rice.

After a few tours, he was back to the states and on with his life, which included marrying my mom and having two pretty awesome kids (if I do say so). But, he was never without a motorcycle.


Throughout my childhood, my dad had a Honda XL185S, a fun and capable little dual sport that he taught me to ride on in the pasture next to our house. It scared my mom to death. She was a nervous wreck whenever he went for a ride around the block, and she forbade even the idea of a newer, larger bike.

When I was in high school, my parents got divorced. My dad moved out of the family home and into an apartment nearby. Shortly thereafter, he acquired a new roommate—a 2001 Yamaha FZ-1. (For the record, this is also an old man bike. More on that in a future post.)


When my mom moved to a different city, my dad moved back into my childhood home and added a 2005 Kawasaki KLR650. Then, he turned the two car garage into a five car garage and brought home a Harley Davidson XR1200. Now he jokes that he likes to ride around on Saturday mornings, shaking his fist at metric bike riders and yelling, “Buy American, assholes!”

My dad is practical and calculating to a near-OCD level, so the FZ-1 and KLR were not surprising choices. The XR, however, caught me a little off guard. A part of Harley’s Sportster line, the XR1200 is a throwback to some of HD’s flat track heritage. With a more upright seating position (as opposed to the usual Harley slouch), wide bars, racy styling, and an engine tuned to produce 91 bhp, the XR1200 appeals to even the crustiest anti-HD whiners (such as myself).

Dad Garage

He had the bases pretty well covered with the FZ-1 and KLR, but the XR is all about fun, and I’m glad he has made good use of his retirement to go out and have a little of that.

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One Response to Motorcycle Monday: Fathers and Their Motorcycles

  1. William Robinson says:

    The xr is the only H-D cycle I would ever consider. It is definatly a looker and does not scream geezer. On a recent out of provence roadtrip I happened upon a bunch of weekend warriors, you know the type, they are wearing every piece of h-d branded paraphenalia they can get with the women having perfectly quoffed hair and the men sporting a goatee and gelldd up hair(why do this when a helmet is mandatory). Out of 120 or so cruizers, choppers, road kings and 888 sportsters there was not one xr1200.