Moonlit Rail ™
Motorcycling Under the Moonlight
When most of my peers in high school turned 16 years old, they flocked like autonomous lemmings to the local "registry of motor vehicles" to obtain the permit to learn how to drive an automobile. "Lemmings", I thought to myself, "is that the best you can do?"
I opted to bypass this conformism and do something "greener" (to abuse today's "buzzword") by embarking on many years of purchasing a monthly unlimited-ridership pass for the local mass-transportation system. Of course, the public transportation didn't always go where I wanted it to go. So, I bought a "moped" — not just any moped, but the fastest commercially-available moped I could find locally for sale — a Peugeot TSM U3.
I rode my Peugeot seemingly "everywhere" in and around the city. It also made a very handy and economical vehicle for commuting to work, which in 1982 was located in Waltham MA at what was then known as ITM. In December of that year, while on the way to work, I would be hit from behind by an automobile going too fast for the black-ice road conditions of that morning. The resultant crushing of the lower spine would permanently reduce the functionality of certain nerves. But equally painfully, it would critically damage the TSM U3.
I put my Peugeot TSM U3 back together again as best possible (the rear fender was badly crumpled), and continued to ride it for two more years, amassing more than 4,700 miles before it was displaced by my next motorized two-wheeled vehicle, a 1982 Honda CB750F "Super Sport". Though rarely ridden, I kept the Peugeot for many years before making the dubious decision to scrap it, curb-side. I wrote about that decision with much emotional passion; it is the first story to be included here, in this collection.
The Silver 1982 CB750F was cantankerous, its ignition wiring cutting out nearly completely in any sort of precipitation, despite the usual treatments of dielectric grease and silicone sprays. Still, it served me well for 37,000 miles, meeting its fate in the fall of 1990 when a delivery van ran a stop sign. Shortly thereafter, I replaced it with a used, orange and black CB750F from 1979, which took me down and back to the 50th running of the Daytona 200 motorcycle race in 1991. I sold that second CB750F when I bought my next motorcycle, a Suzuki RF900RR, in 1994.
In 1989, I started to get seriously interested in motorcycle racing. My original CB750F was not particularly up for the challenge; it was too old and too heavy for the circuitous "technical" local race track then known as Bryar Motorsport Park. I bought a 1989 Honda NT650 and started racing it in the local LRRS/CCS racing club under plate number 274. Despite the racing, the NT650 was always kept "street-legal" when not on the track; as of this writing, that motorcycle is still my "daily ride".
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