The Motorcyclists of ENA
As the warm weather has rolled in, so have the motorcyclists. Such is the case at ENA, where 5 motorcyclists have taken up the banner as the resident two-wheelers. Aaron Hurt, Dan Haskell, Jay Power, John Smith, and Kevin Bonds make up this group, and I recently had the chance to ask each of them the following 5 questions:
1. How long have you been riding, and how did you get started?
2. What kind of bike do you ride, and why?
3. What do you like most about riding?
4. Highest and lowest moments?
5. Do you have any recommendations, words of wisdom, cautionary statements, or anything else you’d like to add?
Their answers are as follows:
1) I’ve been riding off and on for quite a few years. I got my first little trail bike, a Honda CT-70, when I was around 9 years old. I rode that little bike all over the backroads around Oklahoma. These were the kind of roads where they just scrape off the top soil and leave a path of red clay and flint rock to drive on. I had a few other bikes in between growing up, but I got rid of them all when I got married and hadn’t had one for nearly 10 years until recently.
2) I’m currently riding a 2007 Suzuki Boulevard S40 (650cc). It’s a smaller custom cruiser type bike … that’s the style I like. The reasoning behind the particular brand/model is simple … it was in my price range and was in great condition.
3) I really enjoy just being out in the open. I love a nice warm day when I can feel the sun on my skin and smell the honeysuckle as I go down the road. You don’t realize how much you miss about your trail in a car. When you’re on a bike you can feel the cool spots in the shade where the road crosses a little creek or stream and the warm spots where the tree canopy parts and the sun warms the air.
4) My highest moment was probably way back when I got my first bike… I don’t really remember how old I was, but I do remember where I was and mostly everything else about the day my dad pulled that old CT-70 out of the back of his pickup truck.
Lowest would definitely be when I got rid of my last bike before this one and hung things up after I got married and right around the time our first little girl was born. My wife told me I could get another bike now that we can afford to up my life insurance policy.
5) When you’re driving your car, remember there might be a much smaller vehicle right beside you with one of us sitting on it without a big metal shell to protect us.
1) I started riding motorcycles when I was around 8 years old and have been riding since… so going on about 22 years now. My Dad bought my brother and me 80cc Honda dirt bikes back in the day, and I have been hooked ever since!
2) I ride a Buell 1125r Superbike, but I have ridden Harleys in the past. A mentor of mine in the Air Force told me “The closest thing I have found to flying a jet has been my sport bike.” While I can’t base THAT on experience, I can say it is an amazing feeling to be weaving through chicanes at a brisk speed!
3) The freedom. The old cliché “Ride to live, live to ride!” is absolutely true. The adrenaline rush is addicting.
4) Highest moment is when I rode the Rocky Mountains with my family. Some of the most amazing scenery and roads I have ever had the pleasure to ride. Lowest moment would be when I went to Sturgis…”You will never find a more retched hive of scum and villainy”… But hey, I still had a blast.
5) Riding my motorcycle is one of the greatest stress relievers in my life… but it does come with some inherent dangers. You have to ride with the mentality that someone is going to take you out. That constant alertness along with the proper riding equipment could help save your life. Ride safe, and have fun!
1) I grew up riding four wheelers (or three wheelers if you remember them), and I raced BMX for a while getting used to riding in the dirt. When I was 12 years old, my parents bought me a blue 50cc moped along with a group of parents in our neighborhood. Like any pack of boys with newfound freedom, we created a gang called the Blue Angels (some more appropriately called us devils) as we all had blue mopeds. We treated those mopeds like dirt bikes and buses hauling friends around on skateboards hanging off the blinkers and hauling through the neighborhood yards finding the fastest way home. It was a great time and cemented my love for all things with two wheels. After that early experience, my Mother swore she would never allow me to own a motorcycle in high school, and I probably owe her my life for it. I did find friends’ bikes to ride, but nothing that I could call my own until I hit college when I picked up a 1200cc Buell Cyclone.
2) I currently have a Honda VTR-1000 sportbike and a Kawasaki KDX200 2 stroke dirtbike. I ride them for the feeling of adrenaline, freedom, and accomplishment. I enjoy pushing myself to my limit on both of them on closed courses, and it usually only takes about 15 mins of riding to set the world back into perspective. On the street, the sportbike is a lot of fun, but you spend a lot of time concentrating on your environment and the “cagers” (our 4 wheeled brethren) who, unknowingly on their cell phones, can tragically end your day with one mistake.
3) On the sportbike, I am convinced there is no better feeling than going through a corner with rider and bike in perfect harmony with a knee on the ground. The road will generously reward that experience with traction beyond your wildest dreams, and it gives you a new found respect for man and machine.
There isn’t much about riding a dirtbike that I don’t like, and of the two, I find myself grinning ear to ear from a dirtbike ride more than riding on the street. Pulling out of a corner on one wheel with a rooster-tail thrown up behind you like a victory flag is an awesome experience.
4) Highest moment for me would have been at the Carolina Motorsport Park on my sportbike when I finally started to “click” with the track. I had been riding all day and not really feeling in sync, but on the last session on the track, all the hard work started to fall into place. I found an instructor pacing in front of me and made it my goal to overtake him. After battling through the straights and corners, on the last lap of the session, I took him on the last corner.
I’ve been fortunate as to not have any serious accidents on my bikes, but there have been days when I’ve parked it after multiple close calls. My lowest times have all been around when friends and family have been injured on bikes.
5) Words of wisdom that have been told to me that I take to heart:
- “Dress for the fall, not the ride”. I wear full leathers with armor or enough gear with armor that, should I go down, my skin won’t be what touches the ground. People always ask me if I’m hot in the summer, to which I reply, “Sweat is easy to wipe off. Skin is pretty hard to put back on”.
- “Look where you want to go.” This is a life mantra for me, but on a motorcycle, it is especially true that if you look at what you are trying to miss, you will inevitably hit it. Look where you want to go, and your mind will do the rest.
1) I’ve been riding off and on since I was 8 or 9. My family had several motorcycles, and I had three brothers who rode. That was mostly trail with a little street riding and just your basic raising of heck. By the time I got old enough to ride on the street, one of my brothers had a wreck and nearly lost a thumb. Yech! Well, my parents sold all the motorcycles, so I didn’t get to ‘inherit’ one, but I got into bicycles and road BMX for a few years. Around 1986 when I turned 20, I purchased my first motorcycle, a ’76 Honda CB750 for $500 bucks out of a man’s barn. I road that bike all over until 1993 when I sold it to my brother. In 2004, I came back to motorcycles with a BMW 1150R.
2) I’m currently riding a Harley Davidson Road King. I’ve loved this bike since Harley introduced it back in ’94 or ’95, and I finally decided to get one. Back in 2004, it was a toss-up between the BMW and the Road King. The Beemer won out, but I think I always regretted that decision. I corrected that mistake this year! There is just something so classic about the look and ride of the Road King that makes me smile even when I’m not riding it. Of course, I smile even more when I am riding it, but that should go without saying.
3) Riding! It’s hard to describe. There is a connection with the world you get when you’re out there on two wheels. Even a one hour ride will feel like a journey. This is also the reason I still ride bicycles.
4) Back in the late 80’s my girlfriend and I took a multiday ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We had very little money, but we had a $500 motorcycle and our freedom. Cliché, but so true! Let’s just say this: it’s a good thing I’m mechanically inclined.
I can’t think of one low moment on a motorcycle. I’ve been fortunate and had no real close calls other than of my own making, but I always had leather and helmet when I hit the ground. Still, I don’t recommend it.
5) Ride like they’re out to get you, and wear protection. And take a safety course. And seriously, get a real helmet!
1) I’ve been riding for about a year and a half, but I grew up riding dirt bikes as a kid. I got my first Sears, pull-start, one-speed mini-bike at about age 6 or 7. My first ride was in a large parking lot, and it lasted for about 15 feet –ending on the right, front quarter-panel of the family car. After that, I stuck to riding dirt till I bought my current bike.
2) 2004 Harley-Davidson Sportster 883XL.
3) If I have to explain it, man…you wouldn’t understand.
4) Highest moments?… Riding. Lowest moments? Not riding.
5) Ride like everyone else is out to kill you…because they are.
In honor of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, we want to remind everyone to be aware that motorcyclists are out there! Look twice. Save a life.
Aaron Hurt is a R&D Engineer.
Dan Haskell is a Customer Support Engineer.
Jay Power is the Director of Engineering.
John Smith is the Senior Software Engineer.
Kevin Bonds is a Technical Administrator.