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riding my Schwinn, reading books and Motorcycle maga- zines, and dreaming of racing a mini-bike. I rode my Schwinn every day I could. I’d do jumps in the field, on the way to, and from school, and went every- where on my bike. I hung out with anybody who had a mini- bike or motorcycle and went to watch them when they rode. Many Saturdays I would ride my bike to the shops around Orange County. Bob Maynard’s OC Cycle, Pete Maly’s CZ shop in Costa Mesa, Westminster Sportscycle, Herb Friedlander Honda, Rustan’s Yamaha, Cycle Parts, Southland Cycle Center. I’d sit on the bikes, look at the riding gear and read the dirt bike brochures cover to cover. Dumpster Raiding I missed my Dad, I dreamed of racing, I raided the dump- sters for neat stuff behind the Premier Helmet factory and the Top Fuel Drag shops. These were near my house on streets that are now known as Little Saigon in Westminster. I never had a bike light. I never wore a bike helmet. I was never much of a trouble- maker, though my favorite bi- cycle riding area was the shiny concrete exterior hallways of Bolsa Grande High School. When the sprinklers came on at night, and the concrete got slick, I imitated Nation- al Speedway Champion Rick the first boy to ask a girl to dance in Junior High. There were many things that could have happened to me, my brother, and my mom during this tumultuous time, “As a single parent, the brilliant thing my Mom did was to hang out with ‘dirt bike’ people.” Woods, and would see how long I could hold a full-lock slide. The Power of Mom Besides being lucky to have been born when and where I was, I was incredibly lucky to have the mother I did. She rec- ognized early on, that as a kid I was a little different. So she gave me just the right amount of freedom. Other moms cringed at my freedom. I would have ex- ploded if she restricted it too much, ala Langston Hughes in the poem, ‘A Dream Deferred’. I was always on the move and not slowly either. I was daring and confident at anything and everything. I got in a lot of fights, but was coming smack dab when I en- tered adolescence. It could have gone awry at any minute, from bad timing or bad deci- sions. But it didn’t. To that I owe the common denominator of the positive influences and directions I ex- perienced and that denominator was dirt bikes. Dirt bikes were my epiphany. They were my life focus. They were how my single mom devoted her lim- ited leisure time to me and my brother. Hanging with the Right Crowd As a single parent, the most brilliant thing my Mom did was hang out with dirt bike people. You see, they were neat people www.dirtillustrated.com