Yamaha 80 – Yellow 1970s

I got to ride this bike the first time because of someone else’s misfortune, but I sure enjoyed the hell out of it. Dad only had a few important rules which didn’t make sense then, but as an adult I now understand were the building blocks for becoming a safe and courteous rider. One particular day emphasized this principle. Larry, a little too excited to ride, left camp (without his helmet on) before all the bikes were unloaded and gassed up. Upon his return he was sentenced to stay inside the tent sitting on his helmet for the entire day. This meant the yellow 80 was now “available.” I took advantage of the opportunity, rode that bike as long as I could, only stopping for lunch and dinner. The best part of the day (I now look back at how awful I was) was riding around the tent. Each time I circled I would stick my tongue out at Larry. There were even times when I would stop, rev the two cycle engine and spin out in the gravel peppering him with rocks. I was now in the lead. I’m not sure, but I think I made him cry. I don’t recall why I behaved in such a manner, but dad never stopped me – guess the helmet rule was that important. From that day forward, no one would leave without a helmet. Imagine four young boys running around with ants in our pants and huge glittery half helmets; I think back on how funny we must have looked. Today, I am a stickler with safety and a solid helmet.

During a camping trip in Manning, Utah, I tested the helmet safety rule on the yellow 80. We were riding on large hills and we were going fast. There were a lot of other bigger riders – it seemed to be a little chaotic. People were zooming past each other with no direction or pattern. The first accident resulted in someone being taken away by ambulance. I tried to be careful and look where I was going, but I got distracted for just a moment. I looked backwards (probably looking to see where Larry was) and hit a jump too fast, crashing on the other side. I was not able to catch my breath. Suddenly the whole family was there making sure I was okay. I had only a few scrapes and bruises, but the poor yellow 80 took a huge boulder to the side of the gas tank and left a large permanent dent. A rock had lodged itself in the chain and I couldn’t get moving once I had the nerve to get back on. Eventually, I rode it back to camp and rested. Grandma was there on this particular trip and she kept me company.


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