A couple of weeks ago, I was on about the phenomenon of motorcycle spring fever, and I wondered out loud where a person could get a cheap motorbike.
I soon found out what an epic can of worms, rabbit hole, Pandora’s Box, that can be.
Lately, I seem to have gotten a notion stuck in my tiny brain that I should have a classic motorbike called the Honda 50 Super Cub.
This timeless step-through scooter is, according to the interweb, “the most produced motor vehicle in history,” with more than 100 million bikes sold since its introduction in 1958.
And I think we minions at Central School in junior high had most them.
Thing is, you don’t see them around here anymore, in spite of the fact that they are still made in Japan. Not sure why, but it is nearly impossible to get your (well, my) grubby little hands on one.
Apparently, they are absolutely everywhere else, including the moon. So this particular obsession is only cured by finding a used one, which, I figure, is all that I can afford anyway.
So I broke three piggy banks, scraped up 500 beans and I hit Kijiji and eBay and then hit myself in the head with a hammer.
For $500, I could get a Honda 50 Cub gas tank (“only minor rust”), a set of front forks (“slightly bent”) and a kick stand (“bolts not included”).
It seems I’m not the only nostalgic Cub fan searching for a two-wheeled piece of history.
So I was about to give up and go have a long feeling-sorry-for-myself nap, when out of the blue, my buddy Dave called and opened that Pandora’s Box.
You see, historically speaking, the Honda 50 Cub was generally the first motorbike any of us adventurous kids got to ride. The bike that kickstarted our teenage obsession with motorcycles.
In my case, the blue and white magic machine was my cousin’s and he let me drive it out at the farm. I was 12, and I had never even sat on a motorcycle before.
I crashed it in the gravel at the curve in their long driveway. Oh, and my cousin was on the back teaching me how to drive (and obviously not doing a very good job, har har).
We both left most of our elbows and knees, plus a pint of blood, on that gravel that day. But it wasn’t the bike’s fault (it was my cousin’s fault) and the Cub has always remained a revered classic.
The Cub is never to be confused with its cousin, the Honda 90 Trail, which was the dorkiest motorbike ever made.
It didn’t have the iconic white leg shields and had a clunky chrome carrier behind the driver, where the passenger seat is supposed to be.
It was meant to be ridden in the bush, and that’s where it should have stayed.
Unbelievably, some naive dorks actually rode them to school. We would laugh and point and make them park a half a block away from our 90 Sports and 305 Superhawks.
And if by some miracle, the dork was giving a girl a ride, she would have to sit awkwardly on the metal carrier behind him. And we all knew it must be his sister, on account of a dork with a Trail would certainly never have a girlfriend.
Anyway, Dave phones me and says, “Hey, there’s a Honda 90 Trail for sale in Sherwood Park. I think we can get it for $400.”
And that’s when we went straight down the rabbit hole.
Harley Hay is a Red Deer writer and filmmaker.