Letter Of The Month

50 Years Later…

In the 1966 photo, Sandy and I are on a 1958 BSA I bought in 1965 while in the Army in North Carolina. Fifty years later, Sandy and I are on my 2003 Honda Sabre. Both photos are from the driveway of the same house (porch has been added) in Woodland, Calif. In 1966, it belonged to my parents but is now our home. We sold the BSA to help cover the medical costs of our first child. I had gone back to school, and we had no medical insurance. 

I started out on a Cushman Eagle at age 15, which was passed on to Peter, my younger brother. We both wonder why we ever sold it. In today’s dollars, the $150 we got for it seems like we gave it away.  Having a young family, buying a house and with limited funds, I was without a motorcycle from 1967 to 1976, but since then have always had at least one running bike in our garage.

The BSA was not the only thing I brought back to California. I met Sandy from Central New York through her brother, Bob Eaves, one of my best friends in the 82nd. On Wednesdays in the spring, summer and fall, you can usually see Bob on his Harley-Davidson and his veteran buddies riding on the roads of Central New York.

Jerry and Sandy Delp | Woodland, Calif.

Spreading The Moto-Love

I read with interest Rob Dingman’s column on Travis Pastrana (“Motorcyclist Of The Year: Travis Pastrana,” January). Travis’s feat of duplicating Evel Knievel’s jumps is nothing short of amazing. Rob shared the excitement generated by the daring of both Knievel and Pastrana to draw attention motorcycling.

The word that stuck with me in that column was “ambassador.” I was not only reminded of my own beginnings and love affair with motorcycles but of the ambassadors who inspired it. 

Over the years, I have been involved with observed trials and road racing with CCS and the Christian Sportbike Association. Whether it was a road trip to Newfoundland or a weekend at the track or just a weekend ride with buddies, it was the people who drew me in and kept me there. There is something special about motorcycle people—it is a passion for something they love, and the willingness to share that with someone else. 

When I look back at the last 50 years and reflect on those who encouraged me, they all had two things in common: a smile and patience for a new guy. Most of us will never do anything to wow the world and draw the attention that Travis managed to achieve, but each of us has the ability to be an ambassador.

Something as simple as a smile to the kid who looks at your bike and has his or her own visions of freedom. Inviting the new guy to go for a ride with you, or helping them with their bike, will do more to promote motorcycling and the lifestyle better than any other thing I can think of, and it is something all of us can do. 

Bob Brown | Montour Falls, N.Y.

Word Play

I read with interest “Year-Round E15 Sales Edge Closer” (January issue), but I did a double and triple take on the proposed label of “Unleaded 88” for year-round E15. Why would any company use that label instead of something more understandable?

The AMA stated that the majority of consumers shop by price, and I guess this E15 will probably be less expensive.

My thought on using “Unleaded 88” as a label is that many vehicles and small engines, have a label somewhere near the fuel tank stating to use a fuel with an octane rating of 87 or above. Gee—“Unleaded 88” must be a point higher than 87 and therefore OK for everything, right?

What could go wrong? 

Ted Pasche | AMA Life Member

Thanks for the point, Ted. Engines not designed to run on a blend of 15 percent ethanol can be seriously damaged by “Unleaded 88” (E15).