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.