Updated: Sep 20, 2019
The first bike wasn't ours. We lived in the country, next door to a friendly farmer who had a couple hundred acres, cattle, mountain sheep, and fowl. Mr. Jerry's wife had died and his sons moved out long before we moved in next door. His boys had left a few toys in the corrugated-metal clad barn. Behind a few barrels, covered in dust was a 1970s Suzuki RV90. My brother Jason took interest in the bike and began learning how to ride on two wheels. It wasn't long before I started riding with him and we'd explore the hunting trails in the surrounding forests. The mind's eye of 6 year old Scott (that's me) remembers the bike being huge. Big fat tires and a banana seat. It was pretty good offroad too. I remember us crossing creeks with ease, except for one time when it was just a little slick with pine straw and sand, so Jason ordered me to help push the bike up the hill, being sprayed with mud as he went up. I also remember our first crash. Mr. Jerry kept a pretty clear pasture, but in the back portion of his property was a managed stand of pine. The stump of a fallen pine had rotted away leaving a large hole in the ground, hidden by knee high grass. We hit the hole at speed and we went flying. Another time, I was sitting on the back of the bike with a lasso roping Mr. Jerry's mountain sheep. In hindsight, this was quit dumb as the ram decided he was having none of that and charged us, knocking us off the bike. We then had to figure out how to remove the lasso from the angry ram. Our cousin Michael cut his teeth on this bike as well... by crashing it into the fence between our house and Mr. Jerry's.
That was the hook that has kept me on two wheels for three decades.
I also had my own little 3-wheeler that I would ride, a little 70cc devil. I only crashed it once on the first day I was learning to ride. A crepe myrtle tree jumped out in front of me, causing me to flip the death machine on top of me. I rode that thing everywhere until I outgrew it by the 4th grade. Its amazing to think back now how my parents would allow me to go off on my own, into the woods, for hours on end. I'd often stay out well after dark. One time I even got the 3-wheeler stuck in some deep mud and had to walk more than an hour home in the dark. Country living was great.