Friday, September 01, 2006

Ahumado's Motorcycles, Part One - Childhood

I started doing this post about the motorcycles I've owned or significantly ridden over the years but it was getting pretty wordy so I decided to break it into multiple posts. Here's the first.

This history begins sometime in the late 60s.

I had a go-cart and then a minibike when I was in grade school. By the time I was nine or ten, I could routinely pull the heads on the little 1.5HP Briggs&Stratton powering my go-cart, remove and clean the carbs, keep the chain oiled, and all that stuff. I pretty much drove the wheels off that go-cart. I still have a little scar on my arm where I burned myself on the muffler while lifting it one time. My dad and I made it from a kit. It was pretty simple - a sheet of plywood, angle iron sides, axles attached with u-bolts. The plywood was painted blue. With a brush. I think we had a dog house the same color. I haven't been able to find any pics of what that thing looked like. Probably because the liability issues with something like that are pretty fierce. No roll bars, no chain guard, very questionable brakes. Didn't look like anything you can buy today.

Later on, I had a mini-bike for a couple more years after the go-cart was finally beaten to death. It was pretty cool even if it was a bit primitive. It looked kindof like this one:

Mine had a tubular frame, painted red. Tires you actually put air in (no suspension though). And an ungovernored 3.5HP Tecumseh! I don't beleive it had a chain guard either but I might be wrong about that. I had a lot of fun on this thing although I know my parents hated for me to drive it around the neighborhood streets. We didn't use (or think of) helmets in those days. I also had it off-road way more than it was ever designed for. We had it to a welder guy several times to get the frame stuck back together. I don't remember what finally happened to it. I'm pretty sure it had was gone (or in one of the piles of parts in the garage) by the time I got into high school, which would have been in '71.

I've taken informal polls over the years, and it seems like the kids who had go-carts or mini-bikes like these tended to go into technical fields - engineering, electronics, computers, mechanics and the like. There's a world on education involved in having to learn how to keep these things running. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on that, especially if you, or someone you knew had one of these at an early age.

Next - The Little Hondas

What's wrong with this picture?

Over on LouMinatti, Lou has a post about a bunch of angry people here in Houston that want the city to quit providing free money and housing benefits to the Katrina people. I can understand their anger. Lou wonders:
Have these "stop the welfare" people considered karmic retribution? I don't believe in superstitious mumbo-jumbo either. But they should keep in mind that should a storm similar to Hurricane Carla hit Houston today, we'd see an equal number of Houston refugees on the road who have no homes to go back to. What would these "stop the welfare" people say when a couple hundred thousand Houston-Clear-Lake-Texas City-Galveston residents are driving around southeast Texas with no homes and no jobs?
I posted the following comment:
If I lost my home and job here in a hurricane and had to move to a different city, I'll pretty much gaurantee[sic] you I won't be asking for free money a year later. Wasn't raised that way. I guess I'm just mean.
The Katrina evacuees in question are all pissed off up in arms that their FEMA aid is about to end and are demanding more. This, I am bothered about and I was going to write an eloquent post on the subject but I found someone else who's already said it way better than I ever could. Here's a quote:
What shocked many of us was not the hurricane itself, nor the response of the federal government--outrage against the Bush administration was cultivated later. What shocked us first was the response of the people of New Orleans themselves: the immediate looting, the collapse of the city government as demoralized local police walked off the job in the middle of an emergency, and the thousands of people wallowing in squalor while demanding that someone else come to help them.
Go on over to RealClearPolitics and read all of what Robert Tracinski has to say on "The Unlearned Lesson of Katrina".