I was that kid, too.
I always had a "thing" for motorcycles. I always wanted one, like since I was probably two or three. My favorite toys were a blue and yellow plastic motorcycle police officer (probably on Harley), and later, when my brothers and I had Matchbox cars, we had a motorcycle trailer with a little Matchbox motorcycle that fit in it. I'd play with the motorcycle, and leave the trailer hitched to the back of the green Mercury station wagon. I'd zoom all over the sofa on my Matchbox Honda.
When I was about seven, my parents traded a freezer for a Motobecane moped that my dad used to commute around the small college town in which we lived. I spent many hours just sitting on the bike, imagining myself cruising backroads and generally feeling free.
Anyone who had a motorcycle was automatically cool.
On Washington ferries, motorcycles always get on first and get off first. Many of my motorcyclist friends own bikes primarily because they commute by ferry and it cuts several hours a week off their commute time to be able to zip right on and off the boat.
When I was in my early teens, we took one of our many trips up to the San Juan islands via ferry. Up at the front of the boat there was an old, black BMW. From what I remember about it, it must have been a /2 or a /3. All I *really* remember was the soup-can tail light, the Denfeld seats, and that it was BLACK. Very black. With very cool white pinstripes. A groovy couple owned the bike and they were on their way to a weekend of putting around the islands.
I desperately wanted to do that.
As soon as I could ride legally, I had a bike. Okay, first I had a moped because that was all I could afford and all my mother would permit me to own. Actually, I took possession of the Motobecane we had gotten for the freezer, as my brother was no longer riding it. I later got a Honda Hobbit that did much better going up and down hills. I had a couple of other Hondas into my college years. But what I really wanted was an old black BMW.
While I was in college, I worked as a motorcycle courier in Washington, D.C. How cool! I get to ride a motorcycle all day and actually *get paid* for it! And I got to see the pasty white underbelly of the U.S. government at the same time. I regularly picked up and delivered stuff to the White House. I knew the back corridors of the Capitol building like the back of my hand. But mostly, I was zipping from one end of town to the other.
I had a CB200T. It was a great bike for the city. Small, nimble, got great mileage, bulletproof, and able to get on the freeway for those occasional trips to Arlington or even Dulles Airport.
One day I was at the Local Honsuzamasaki shop which also carried Beemers. I was chatting with the guy at the parts counter. I mentioned that what I really, really, really wanted was an old black BMW. He told me to get on Route 7 and head west. About 50 miles outside of D.C., past Leesburg, there is a wide spot in the road called Purcellville. And there is one and only one gas station there. And sitting in front of that gas station, there is a black BMW with "4 Sale" written in grease pencil on the windshield. He said it had been there for a very long time, so the price was probably pretty negotiable.
That weekend, I got on my CB200T and rode out to Purcellville. I found the bike. I went into the gas station and asked who owned it. The guy at the cash register said it belonged to his mechanic. I asked to speak to the mechanic. The guy at the cash register said, "no. Can you come back tomorrow? He's up to his elbows in a transmission right now, and I don't want to interrupt him."
I told him I had just ridden all the way from D.C. to see the bike, I knew it had been sitting there for a long time, and wouldn't he really like to see it gone? The guy must have figured that this was his one and only chance to see the bike go bye-bye and he went into the garage. Some time later, the mechanic came out. He started the bike (with the kick starter) and we chewed on the price. I got him down a couple hundred bucks to just about the entire balance in my checking account.
I talked my housemate into driving me out there the next day to pick up the bike. What I neglected to do was to bring any cash, and it was clear when I got ready to ride off that the tank was nearly empty. And the guy I just bought it from who worked at a gas station wouldn't fill it up. I had to bum a few bucks off my housemate to get enough gas to make it back home.
The bike had the big tank, a Windjammer fairing, a no-name K&Q seat (very comfy!), a no-name rack, and very cool black Craven fiberglass saddlebags. It was missing the sidecovers (if it had any to begin with).
From what I could tell, I was the fifth owner. A previous owner, perhaps even the original owner was a priest in upstate New York. I don't remember how many miles it had when I bought it. I think it had 165,000 when I sold it.
Within a day of selling it, I started kicking myself. About six months later, someone in my building at work had a 1977 R75/7 for sale. It is in my garage today, along side my "new" LT.
I guess I'm still that kid.