Growing Up A Grease Monkey

posted in: Bike Life | 0

I grew up in a motorcycle family.

Dad ALWAYS had a bike. In the earliest years it was a dirt bike. Sometimes a naked street bike. Sometimes a cruiser. Then back to super sport.

Growing up around bikes means getting greasy. Helping clean the chain with toothbrush and gasoline. Changing the oil. Learning the particulars of a combustion engine. The mechanical difference between a vee twin and inline four, as well as their functional distinction.

Until I was old enough to learn to ride in the fields near our home, I had to be content with riding on the back of Dad’s.

I learned to ride when I was about 12 and had my own bike by the time I was around 14. It was a 1983 Honda XL.


I would ride in the forest and through the dirt hills behind our house in (what was at that time) the semi-rural suburbs of Nashville.

I would ride it to my part time waitressing job at the local Shoney’s.

I would ride it to my high school for the summer session of Driver’s Ed before I had a license for either a car OR a bike.

I have been in love with riding since I was little.

But marrying and moving to Turkey in 1994 cut a twenty year hole into my bike life.

For many years I honestly just forgot about bikes (and many other passions) while busy with the logistics of learning how to manage life in a new country. And once I got that really down pat—about six years in– I began to recall, and then miss, and then reclaim my lost passions one by one. The first was writing. Then extreme sports. Then nutrition and fitness. And at long last, motorcycles.

For me, having a bike again is like reconnecting to a part of me that was on hold. It is one of the last gestures of reclaiming self… the person I intrinsically was before Turkey. Now I feel I am totally me within the context of my new homeland.

It just took a little grease.

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