The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree

Oct 21, 2014 View Comments by

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the TreeI would like to lecture my youngest son, but I can’t. Two years ago he convinced my wife that he needed a new Honda Ruckus, as this would save him (her) money on gas consumption. No matter that it would cost her (yes, I said her) money to buy it—he just had to have it. Of course he got it, a nice bright red little scooter. It didn’t make a difference that at six foot two and two hundred pounds, he looked out of proportion. He rode it maybe 12 times. Then he started taking it apart. First to go were all the plastic parts. Then he painted it white. Why? Because there were no other white Ruckus’ on the road—Honda didn’t offer them in white. Then went the handgrips, and mirrors, but things didn’t get interesting until he started messing with the carbs. That’s when it stopped running. The Ruckus has been sitting ever since. To his credit, he saved all the takeoff parts … I think.

But I can’t get too mad at him because I did the same thing to my first bike—a 1966 Yamaha Trail 80. It was bright yellow, and (please forgive me) I painted the front fender with a red racing stripe, as well as the side covers. When I sold it, the buyer remarked that it looked “like it was painted with a whisk broom.” Ouch! And still to this day I have added something to every car and motorcycle I’ve owned. Only I don’t use a whisk broom any more.

I believe it’s in our DNA to make these things our own, with a flash of chrome or a fringe of leather. Otherwise, think of all those aftermarket parts places that would go out of business. I think what bothers me more is that he took it apart and never tried to put it back together again. At least I put my stuff back together. I may have had a few extra parts left, but I managed—for the most part.

Don’t worry about the future of the Ruckus. My grandson, who just turned 16, wants to buy it. At least my wife will get some of her money back.

Ride on.

Hey, wait a minute, aren’t those my billet mirrors?


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About the author

A Wisconsin farm boy, I learned how to ride a cow, before a horse and way before a motorcycle. I first started riding on my 16th birthday and I took my first real ride at my party: I pulled a wheelie and dug a trench in the lawn, which sent the bike in one direction and me in another. I was irrevocably hooked!