My First Ride(s)

By Scot Harden


DOES IT GET ANY BETTER? 
It all starts someplace and for me it was deer hunting trips and a farm on the outskirts of Las Vegas.

I started this series when we first got shutdown during the 2020 Covid-19 crisis. With nothing better to do I started a weekly blog about my life in motorcycling starting with the first mechanized two-wheel vehicles I ever rode. The series grew from there. It’s really hard to find old photos of me but I do have a few so here goes. This is the earliest photo I could find of me on one of my first minibikes. Actually, my second, a Powell Challenger, before that I had a Taco 22. And appropriately it was taken while deer hunting as that is where I got my first taste of motorized two wheel recreation. One of my grandfather's deer hunting friends brought a Tote Gote to camp each year. One year while camped near Jarbidge, NV I talked him in to letting me ride it. That it was it, I was done. I spent the rest of the week begging to ride that thing anytime I could. How many of you even know what a Tote Gote is? In any case I talked my grandparents into buying the Taco 22 when I was 11 years old and then along came the Powell Challenger tone year later. One of my all-time favorite minibikes. A five-horsepower motor that rested on movable platform that allowed you to apply more or less tension to the belt drive giving it a high/low range effect. Not only that it had forks and a rear shock spring (notice I didn't say shock absorber). I rode that up till I got a Honda Trail 70 when I turned 13. Anyone have photos of your first minibike? I would love to see them.

At the end of the day if I had only known then where all this would lead I would have probably enjoyed it even more if that was possible. I was very fortunate in that very early in life I found my passion, the one thing that would give me the most satisfaction and enjoyment. A sport and way of life that would take me around the planet, into some of the biggest motorcycle manufacturer board rooms and races ever held. The Taco 22, Honda MiniTrail 70 and Powell Challenger shown above were escape vehicles, machines that led to dreams and visions of a life far beyond the bounds of the rural farm I grew up on the outskirts of Las Vegas. From 11 years old on I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to do in life. All it took was some formed steel, rubber, an internal combustion engine and gasoline and I was off.

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