Yesterday was a big day for me. After some fiddling around on the carb of my 1964 Sears Cheyenne (a 60cc Puch), and some one-way passes down the backyard, I mustered up the courage to take my little motorcycle on the road.

Yes, the one with pavement and cars and signs!

This was an entirely new experience for me. Despite growing up around them (my father customized Harleys for a living) I had only admired a select few European bikes from afar. I had never ridden or even sat on a motorcycle until this point.

I walked it to the end of the driveway, nudged it into first, and away I went. Both feet are on the pegs now! This is the real deal! The cloud of smoke behind me is tremendous, and it’s time to shift up. I go into 2nd...or is that 3rd? I think it’s 3rd.

Here comes a turn. I approach it going what I believed to be about 97mph (in retrospect, probably 12mph). Consciously, I understand how counter-steering works and the physics behind it. Push and lean. But the adrenaline and overall newness of the experience jumbled this knowledge to nothing more than “AAAAAAAAHH SLOW DOWN!” so that’s exactly what I did with judicious use of the front brake.

That road lead to a cul-de-sac, so I turned myself around and headed home, this time successfully finding 2nd and deeming the 4HP Puch to be the fastest machine ever made. I puttered up my driveway, and as the adrenaline wore off I felt every gearhead’s favorite feeling: the accomplishment of a successful maiden voyage on a vehicle brought back to life.

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