Valentine’s Day and Motorcycles

by connal on February 15, 2010



Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. 7 years ago, on that day, Anjel and I had our first date.

We had known each other for a just a week or two after meeting in our Level 1 Graphic Design class at CCA. On a Friday, the week before Valentine’s Day, I mentioned to a classmate that I was going dirtbiking the next day. Anjel overheard and said “You ride dirtbikes? I want to go!” Knowing enough not to pass up a opportunity like that I got everything ready and the next week the two of us drove down to Hollister Hills for an afternoon of dirtbiking.

We spent most of the day on a pair of early-70s era Bultaco Sherpa-Ts. I gave Anjel the one that I had just spent the last 6 months lovingly restoring to a practically as-new condition which, thanks to her unfamiliarity with how little engine braking there is on a 2-stroke and how utterly useless the drum brakes are on those bikes, she proceeded to ram into my parked bike while I was waiting for her at near the bottom of a steep hill.

It was our first date and all in all, quite a successful one.


This Valentine’s Day I followed that age old advice: “Show her you care. Buy her a 50-year old Russian motorcycle.” In preparation for the next 3 weeks of traveling through Vietnam we purchased of a pair of Russian Minsk (минск) 2-stroke 125 “dirt bikes.” Before we even headed over to look at the bikes, I told Anjel she had first pick of the bikes and she chose well, picking the best one out of the lineup. A fantastic looking ’63.


I test rode a couple different bikes before settling on one that rolled off the line in ’74. When I first saw it it was blue, but seeing how much I wanted one like Anjel’s, Kevin offered to spray it for me, no charge. So we have matching, rattle-can black Minsks.

They rattle, they shimmy, the brakes are utter garbage, I have a ridiculous amount of play in my steering head and Anjel’s left footpeg is about 10 degrees below horizontal; but they are awesome!

We’re going take one extra day to do some final prep work on them, buy helmets, fit mine with a new set of tires and do a little detail work, and then we’re going to start up the coastal road with the hope of reaching Hanoi in 10 days or so.


I hope everyone else had as successful a Valentine’s Day as we did. If you bought your significant other flowers, candy, jewelery or other such nonsense, nice try, but nothing says “I love you” like a leaky Russian gearbox.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 rick February 16, 2010 at 3:41 am

tried to get in touch with you….don’t know if you got the message about dr. jim in tazmania….i guess you managed some how. thanks for the card, by the way. enjoy the rest of the trip……are you on the down hill side of it by now??? or will you just keep going around and around??? rick


2 js choi February 23, 2010 at 1:59 pm

sorry for being late to wish your good luck.. until your trip is over always be safe…do you remember the old picture that Anjel was dressed up the colorful Korean traditional clothes? lastweek i came to see my mom, i found it on the table 🙂 my mom put in on there so that my family reminds you…from seoul


3 Tzanko February 27, 2010 at 9:30 am

Duuuuude … So Awesome! I will have to try that next year.


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