Posts Tagged ‘Honda 50’

New Take On An Old Issue

Thursday, July 20th, 2017
Honda 50 Cub

This was the big, bad “motorcycle” I was dying for at age 15.

I’ve talked numerous times about how, when I was 14 I announced that I would save my money and on turning 15 buy a motorcycle. And that day came and I had the money and only then did my mother say, “No you won’t, you’ll never own a motorcycle as long as you live in my house.” I was crushed, and not a little bit angry. Why had she waited a year to say that?

We were visiting Mom last week and she was talking about something her parents did when she was 13 that she considered extremely unfair and which she still resents. I didn’t say anything but was thinking about that Honda 50 Cub I had had in mind. One thing led to another and I was asked if my parents had done anything that still bugs me.

“I really did want that motorcycle at 15,” I replied.

That sunk in a moment and then Mom said something she has never said before. In past discussions she has always come back to saying she was sorry I felt that way but she stands by her decision. She just didn’t think I had any business with a motorcycle at that age.

This time she said she had spoken about it with my brothers and they had assured her that yes, I had made my desire and intentions known, and yes, I really, really wanted it. You see, after all these years she doesn’t even remember any of this; she only knows about it because I have stated that this was the case.

But in speaking with my brothers it seems that maybe they gave her some information she never had before, and certainly never bothered to obtain way, way back then. The “motorcycle” I wanted, and had saved my money for, was a little 50cc bike that was essentially a scooter. Not some big, hulking 350cc bike or anything like that. A little tiddler. That’s what a 15-year-old could legally ride in Nebraska back then.

And then she said it: “For the life of me I can’t imagine why I wouldn’t let you get a moped.” OK, she’s not a motorcycle person, and neither are my brothers, so they are not clear on the distinction between a moped and a scooter. But there it was. Is it really true that all those years ago she actually might have let me get the Honda 50 if she had understood what it was I really wanted? Can you say “I wish I could turn back the clock”?

Can’t be done. But I can’t help but think about all the what-ifs . . .

Biker Quote for Today

Diagnosis: knees in the breeze disease.

Honda Hits A Milestone With The Bike I Craved

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

One of the big events in motorcycling recently has to do with one of the smallest bikes. Honda recently announced that it has sold more than 50 million of its 49 cc Super Cub bikes. This bike was introduced in 1958 and is still in production.

For me, the bike has meaning because it was the first bike I ever dreamed of owning. Back in the early 1960s I was living in Nebraska and in those days you could ride a motorcycle at the age of 15. I believe it was in 1963 that Honda came out with the advertising campaign that said “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.” I still remember the brochure, with the shiny red and cream-colored bikes on a white seamless backdrop and young, happy people riding without helmets, without eye-protection–you know, the way it was back then. Up to then the biker image had been defined by Marlon Brando, James Dean, and the excessive partying that went on at Hollister, CA, and was then over-inflated by the media. Honda set out to turn that image around, showing that everyday, clean-cut folks rode bikes, too.

As I turned 14 I desperately wanted a bike, and the “Honda 50,” which was the only name I ever knew it by–none of this “Cub” business–was the least expensive and therefore most accessible bike around. It cost $300 new at the time. I had a paper route and I announced that over the next year I was going to save my money and when I was 15 I was going to buy a Honda 50. I saved scrupulously and by the time my 15th birthday rolled around I had $300 in the bank and I was ready. I announced my intentions and then, to my horror, my mother finally spoke.

“You’ll never own a motorcycle as long as you live in my house,” was what she said.

“But, but, but . . .” I protested, “I’ve been saying for the last year that I was going to get this bike when I turned 15 and I’ve saved my money. You never objected before!”

True enough, but the fact was that she would not budge. And all my dreams came crashing down. Years went by and I got sidetracked away from bikes so that even after I was no longer living in her house I didn’t get one. Finally, though, I did. And the way I did it at least balanced the scales a bit.

I was unemployed at the time. My reserves were running low and I didn’t know how I was going to make the mortgage payment. I finally decided I needed to ask my parents for a loan. They were happy to oblige but then I decided to take some of the loaned cash and buy a bike, instead of using it for the purposes stated when I borrowed it. So I paid $900 for a 10-year old Honda CB750 Custom with 19,500 miles on it. It wasn’t until years later that I told them where I got the money to buy that bike.

I still have that bike and I ride it plenty. Back in 1999 I also bought a new Kawasaki Concours so I split my time between the two. But it was that Honda 50, the Super Cub if you will, that I once craved more than anything in the world. And at 50 million sold, there must be a lot of other people out there who have found it appealing as well. Congratulations Honda.