Hello Ladies -
Thanks for the warm welcome. My name is James Ford (no relation to Henry; I wish for monetary reasons) and yes, I am Tarbinator's other half.
I've been riding off and on since I was a kid who had neighbors with dune buggies and dirtbikes and a motorhome and all that 'fun' stuff that my parents weren't really into. So, to get my fix I would ride my neighbor's kid's (we were friends) Yamaha 80 dirtbike (circa 1975 model year probably---there weren't even 'mono' shocks yet).
I didn't get on a motorcycle much between then and perhaps 1980 or so when we had friends who lived in Bell Canyon (far west edge of San Fernando valley outside of LA). I rode their Honda ATC 110 I believe it was, as well as Yamaha 125 enduro. Later, one of them got a Suzuki GS 450 and I'd ride that when we'd visit. I crashed the enduro and the ATC (never 'badly'---just scuffed limbs here and there) as I continued to learn the nuances of balance and power and stopping and this and that, and I never stopped loving it.
A couple years later, perhaps 10th grade, I used my own saved money and bought a friend's Honda 125 enduro. It had an aftermarket DESERT TANK on it which looked kinda absurd but I didn't care. I was just happy to have my very own dirtbike. That phase didn't last long though, cuz my mom (with live-in boyfriend who was kinda 'weird') was very upset that I bought the bike to begin with. 'Bob', her boyfriend, offered to buy the bike from me and after a bit of haggling and with some hesitation on my part, I sold it to him (it was kinda crappy anyway to be honest). He then gave me the money, and proceeded to take a sledge hammer to it. I was stunned and freaked out and to this day I have no idea why he did that. I think he was part angry that I bought the bike without consulting mommy dearest and part being macho and wanting to impress her by destroying what she feared would destroy me. Whatever---it was awful and violent to watch. I went over to a friends while he continue to bash on it and didn't come back until the next day. I was told he took the enduro to the dump. I didn't speak to him for a long time after that.
So high school came and went, college came and went. In college I still had a 'bit' of riding here and there, borrowing a friend's scooter or motorcycle here and there, but no ownership.
It wouldn't be until 2003 where I finally said 'Ok, I'm in my mid-30's, have a good job, and it's time to buy a newer streetbike for part-time/weekend/fun riding and see how I like it. I didn't want a cruiser and I didn't want a full blown crotch rocket either, so I went the compromise route and went out and financed a brand new Kawasaki ZR-7S AFTER having completed a MSF class locally and obtained a learner's permit (this being in the Boston area at the time). While I liked the ZR for its forgiveness and easy-going nature, allowing me to get acclimated (and confident) riding again, I also found it to be awfully 'heavy' overall, and at the same time found myself thinking that I was a mature, controlled guy who, if he had a true sportbike instead of a sport touring type of bike, wouldn't go out and kill himself on it trying to be 'cool'. So, less than a year after getting it, I traded the ZR in for a slightly used Honda CBR 600F4i after test riding it and FALLING IN LOVE with its feel, nimbleness and, yeah, I admit it, flat out SPEED. Utterly intoxicating. Yet, I always kept myself in check and rode very conservatively overall, knowing how quickly I could injure---or kill---myself if, in my mid-30's with a wife and a home and a good job, I got too cocky or stupid. Fortunately, I didn't (but yeah I admit I 'opened her up' a bit every now and then).
About a year after getting the CBR, I decided to try a startup company and needed dough, so the CBR had to go. I had gotten my 'fix' between the 2 bikes and although I was bummed I knew there would be another bike in my future. The CBR sold quickly.
Fast forward to 2011. I had relocated years prior from Boston to San Rafael, CA mainly for work purposes. My wife and I were 'on the fritz' and splitsville was imminent. What to do, now that TARBINATOR had entered my life and was an avid fan of the mere IDEA of riding? Yup... time to buy ANOTHER bike. I hunted around for a while and couldn't make up my mind although I knew I'd be going pure sportbike this time. One day I went into the local Triumph/Ducati dealer and, almost immediately, I spotted what became 'my' Daytona 675 (2011). I talked to the dealer for a bit, we haggled for a bit, and I left saying 'maybe'. That was just to buy time for some reading/research on the bike since I was overall unfamiliar with Triumphs other than the obvious name/brand recognition. Needless to say, I liked what I read. I went back the next week and bought the Daytona out from under another guy who apparently was going to come in the next day and get it (or at least that's what the dealer told me but who knows; coulda been a tactic---I never trust dealers of cars OR bikes; ha). I've been riding (safely, conservatively---esp now that I'm in my mid FORTIES, where did those THIRTIES go?!) ever since. This bike will NOT be sold as quickly as the others, I can assure you of that.
What kind of rider am I? Pretty conservative overall. I DO like the speed/power/handing that a sportbike provides, but I have an underlying philosophy of "Always, ALWAYS... RESPECT the machine. Don't ever ride beyond your means. You can get into an awful, irreversible amount of trouble VERY quickly, so stay safe and keep the 'racing' for track days."
That's pretty much it. I'm always looking to become a better rider, as we all hopefully are. I'm reading Hough again (2nd time through, having read it back shortly after I completed the MSF class in Mass when I had the ZR7S) and Tarbinator/Lisa got me a great present for Christmas---a 2 day Keigwins novice track school. Lisa's recent completion of the MSF course and my feedback to her as I help her learn to become a safe, efficient rider has also inspired me to become a MSF course instructor/rider-coach so I'll be working on that this Fall...
...I wanna reserve the Summer for some good times/riding with my moto gal.
Have fun out there, and BE SAFE!