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


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