It was the Ninja 250 that started it all; a gutless brute of a bike. It was one of those cases- a friend of the family had a bike that had been sitting, collecting dust, in a parking garage for 5, 6 years. She was black and purple; a disastrous colour scheme typical of the ’90s. My dad and I picked her up one evening after work, brought her home. We did an oil change, replaced the battery, and, voila!, the brute started, burning a solid white exhaust that screamed “I’m gonna knock you down,” and I was ecstatic. It was the Ninja- engine knocking, chain slapping, gasket leaking Ninja- that bombed me around town that first season; she was, indeed, the grandest of novelties. She got me through my parking lot test (third-time-the-charm) and got me through my road test, and brought me around town, and even came with me to the boonies when I worked at a timber-yard, and once, just once, when we were nearly late for work, I got her up to 165 kilometers an hour on a downhill slope.
And I was laughing.