RAGS REPORTS 122
by Frank "RAGS" Rago
I figured that this month I would introduce myself and tell you a little bit about me and my history with motorcycles. This way you will have a little insight on where I am coming from and hopefully why I think like I do.
My first “real” motorcycle was a Yamaha 80 that was purchased from the dealer in Mt. Holly, New Jersey. This was my first of many dirt bikes until I reached the legal NJ driving age to ride my first street bike. This dirt bike riding is where I met the originator and owner of this awesome magazine. Dirt bikes were not only fun but also used as a mode of transportation. In those days you could ride the railroad tracks for 50 to 75 miles and meet other riders in places like Dulties, Beverly Dunes, Delanco dump, The Apple Orchard, just to name a few spots ranging from Palmyra to Burlington Township.
Although we were not allowed to ride our dirt bikes on the local streets, it was not uncommon to just blow down the street doing a wheelie while evading the local authorities. Many times the riding areas would be visited by these authorities and....well I won’t incriminate myself or others. Just know that it was fun.
I survived my dirt bike years to evolve into a street biker, with a little help from my friends. Well actually it was a lot of help from my neighbor Jimmy. Jimmy had a Harley Lowrider and his brother Marty had a Harley Sportster. I would help them polish their bikes and would dream of far off rides when I heard their bikes start up and take off down the road. When it was time for me to take my NJ motorcycle written and riding test, Jimmy volunteered to load my BSA up in his customized van and drive me to Berlin for testing. He just showed minor irritation when we realized that like most BSA’s, it had leaked a little oil on his newly installed rug.
Once I passed my motorcycle test I was off and riding. I rode the BSA to school my sophomore and senior years. I found myself parking with the Harleys at the St. Joe’s annual carnival and reaping the benefits of having the local girls wanting rides. I found myself blowing down the road with the likes of Marty and Raymond at all hours of the night. I think that is where I grew fond of riding at night, late night early morning when no one was on Route 130. When not riding I was hanging around Puff’s garage picking his brain about all his motorcycles and how to repair them.
Once out of school I sold the BSA back to the gent I bought it from (Scott), and picked up a Honda Bobber that looked like a Sportster and was just as loud. I rode the Honda until I joined the USMC where I continued to ride up and down the Southern California coast and mountains on a Honda CB 900C. I rode off and on, on a variety of bikes for many years. When I moved to Georgia, I just never got my license and something always got in the way of owning and riding, until, I married my wife Caren.
Every spring I would get that “motorcycle urge” and right after we got married, I was getting ready to purchase a Harley Lowrider. As luck would have it, I found myself in the hospital getting my eye flushed out right next to a guy who had laid down his bike and was having rocks removed from his body. Caren lost interest at that point.
Fast forward to 2004, I sold my Jeep and purchased a Honda XL600R for the Georgia trails. Not being satisfied, I started refurbishing vintage dirt bikes and started on that CB 900 chopper that I always wanted. In 2009 the children’s comments and pleading led me to sell off all 6 bikes and I found myself back to getting those spring bike urges.
In 2012 while on Face Book I posted a picture of me working on the BSA on the Old Bike Barn (OBB) site. I then posted pics of my previous motorcycles and the owner of OBB (Bear) emailed me and told me that I needed to get back in the wind. The spark was lit and I started my search for my get back on the road bike. Would it be a Harley, a Triumph, a BSA or a Honda? I was open for anything; it just needed to get its hooks into me.
I was very close, too close to buying this Harley Sportster and was ready to buy it when I asked the salesman if he had any old Honda’s anywhere. He asked one of the older mechanics and they remembered that they had an old Honda CB 750 in the back. I looked at it with two flat tires, dead battery, covered in dirt, aluminum all faded, and not even hearing it run told them I would take it.
I picked the bike up a week later with brand new tires, new battery, buffed and polished, and running like a dream. It definitely got its hooks in me.
Now you know a little bit about me and my motorcycle history.