When I was 12, my parents bought me a stingray style bicycle. I bought a can of cheap green spray paint; a leopard patterned banana seat, high handlebars, and went to work modifying the bicycle. The finishing touches were handlebar streamers, and playing cards attached with clothe-pins to the frame so they blade slapped the spokes. It sounded a little bit – if I used my imagination – like a motor.
When I was 22, after graduation at UW La Crosse, I toured through India with a music group. Before going to India, my mentor had given me the name of a good friend of his from the time he lived in Long Island, NY; he asked me to stop by and say hello to her if I had a chance and he gave me her address in New Delhi.
One night on that trip, I borrowed a Royal Enfield Motorcycle and drove to where she lived. I didn’t have a motorcycle license and hadn’t ridden a motorcycle before. Of course, its crazy to ride a motorcycle in India, but at 22 I felt invincible, and one night I took the chance. I found where she lived, knocked on the door and told her why I was there. She invited me in for tea and we talked quite a while.
The Royal Enfield motorcycle factory did not start with motorcycles. They first manufactured bicycles, and at one time made bullets for the British Army. But near the turn of the Century, in about 1901, the company began making motorcycles. Its motto is “Built like a gun, goes like a Bullet.”… read more...