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My Motorcycling History

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I started riding motorcycles when I was about 15. My best friend at the time had a Suzuki TS50 Gaucho. It was a real, honest-to-goodness motorcycle and I drooled over it. In the early 1970's, Terry taught me how to ride and we'd hop on it together heading up Best hill in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Whenever we got to a really steep part I had to get off and often push, but he'd let me take laps on it when we got to our riding area. I was smitten by the riding bug right then. My parents were not of a mind to get me a bike, so I had to content myself with the borrowed chances and forelorn looking at brochures, which I would pick up at the dealers and torture myself with. Plus, I had a subscription to Dirtbike magazine. I had it bad.

By the time I graduated from high school I decided I was going to get one somehow, my mom's opinion notwithstanding. So I saved up my money and in 1979 bought a one year old SR500 Yamaha thumper. It was a great first bike and I rode that for a year. Remembering the story my brother-in-law told of his touring around the western USA with a friend, I decided to do the same. A friend of mine had agreed to get a bike too, so I sold the Yamaha and bought a brand new 1980 Kawasaki KZ750 and ordered a color-matched Windjammer fairing for it. We were going to tour the USA! Alas, my friend's parents convinced him that a bright yellow 280Z was much better than a motorcycle and my touring plans got left high and dry. At the time I didn't think I would want to do it alone. So I canceled the fairing, sold the bike a year later, and the long, bikeless hiatus began.

Fast-forward to 2009 where my friends had been badgering me to get a motorcycle again since a few of them had bought one. Well, it's not like it was a hard sell. I had been considering a cruiser when one of my friends bought a Suzuki V-Strom. With twice the horsepower of a similar sized cruiser, upright seating position, and very good reviews on performance and affordability, I decided that was to be the bike I buy and started saving up money to get one. In October of 2009 found a nice used one and picked it up for $5000. Starting the next year I took a week long (or more) trip on the Suzuki with other friends each year. You can see those by clicking the Bike Trips menu above.

During those years I picked up a busted Honda XL250R as a project bike and rebuilt it over two years. I rode it a bit and that kind of rekindled the dirtbike bug that had lain dormant for many years. But the Honda wasn't the bike I wanted, so I sold it shortly after rebuilding it. In 2015 I took the V-Strom, suitably "dirted up" to Death Valley with my brother and eight other guys. We had a great time, but my bike is just too heavy to really enjoy that type of riding, so that led me to my most recent purchase. A 2008 Yamaha WR250R, arguably the best dualsport in its class.

Click on the links to the left to read more about each bike and my opinions of them. They don't really carry any weight, but I figure it's my website, I can say what I want.


Current Motorcycles

Triumph Tiger 1050

Yamaha WR250R


Tom Clark
I'm Chief Technical Overlord for Behind The Gavel, living in Spokane, Washington. I also do a little development work on the side. And I love riding my bike all over the country with my friends.

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