My Wheels – Chapter 9
Honda 65

Honda 65The Honda 65 occupied, but didn’t really fill, the space between the ultra-popular 50 and the more powerful 90. It just wasn’t as cool as either of those other “groovy little motor bikes” which meant it wasn’t as desirable or pricey. And that, of course, is the reason I could own one. I don’t recall how I came by the Honda or how much I paid but it couldn’t have been much. I didn’t have much. I acquired it at roughly the same time as the Austin-Healey and had it for a short while after the Healey was gone. While my wife drove the car to work, the two-wheeler was my transportation to and from campus.

This was not a vehicle for long distance travel and I don’t believe I ever had the bike out of the Clifton area. It was involved in no big adventures and the only mildly interesting incident I can recall was the one time I laid it down.

I was heading west on Ludlow in a light rain. As I approached Clifton Avenue, the light changed and I tapped the rear brake. The 65 was much closer to a Schwinn than a Harley so a little slide was not a big thing at all. With the bike leaned to the left, I no doubt had visions of a smooth sideways stop at the intersection when the rear wheel reached the manhole cover. The surface of the cover was kept dry by whatever source of heat was below it and the difference in traction between wet pavement and dry steel is significant. The slide stopped and the Honda immediately went from leaning slightly to its left to laying completely flat on its right. The two of us slid together to the curb. At higher speed, the curb might have made a real impression on my un-helmeted head but there was no damage at all that day. I stopped at the feet of two men standing by the street. I’ve always thought they must have been waiting for a bus but I don’t really know that. They didn’t move but merely leaned forward with their umbrellas and asked if I was alright.

At the time, I’m sure intense embarrassment kept me from laughing but the memory of those faces calmly chatting with the kid who had washed up at their feet will always bring on a smile these days.

My Wheels – Chapter 8 — 1957 Austin Healey

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