How did you begin riding motorcycles?
We all have different stories. Every one of us has integrated motorcycles into our lives at different times. Big Dog riders come from a wide variety of backgrounds. We share a strong and dedicated passion for riding and for our bikes. This is my story of how Big Dog became part of my life.
Big Dog riders: Send stories and images about the beginning of your experience riding motorcycles. Or tell us how Big Dog came into your life. I would love to add your well-written accounts with good images to this blog post or dedicate another post to your story.
This post is being written by Mike, the Big Dog marketing guy, about my personal experience.
I was born in the early 80s. It was a period where motorcycles were a large part of pop culture.
Dad had an old Triumph in the garage that never ran until he sold it when I was 3 or 4. That’s the only time I saw it fire up.
I thought motorcycles were super cool. They always caught my attention. At the same time, they were unreachable. Bicycles weren’t.
I received a Roadmaster with 20″ wheels for my 4th birthday. That bike was WAY too big for me, but it didn’t stop me from riding, crashing with training wheels, and promptly learning to ride without them.
There is a single movie that has influenced my entire life starting before age 5. That movie was called “Rad!” Here’s a trailer for the movie:
I bet I watched that movie over a hundred times throughout my youth.
By the age of 7, I was riding my bike a few blocks to school and back on my own.
Every angled curb, bump, or small drop-off was a chance to catch a few inches of air.
Between riding bikes as a child, seeing Dad’s Triumph, and watching “Rad!” repeatedly, it wasn’t long before I was interested in motocross and street bikes.
When I was seven or eight-years-old, I requested a subscription to Motorcyclist magazine for Christmas.
I still remember the pictures of the 1992 Honda CBR 900. I cut the pages out and hung them all over my wall.
Of course, I was too young to do anything but dream about motorcycles, but a lot of dreaming I did.
The closest thing to a motorcycle I got my hands on was an old Yamaha moped at the grandparents’ farm. It wasn’t much, but that thing spent a lot of time in the air over the years… Between bicycles and the grandparents’ moped, I was hooked. I would later realize that handlebars are destined to be a part of my life for the rest of it.
Years passed, I stayed interested in BMX and bicycles. Then at age 15, one of my best buddies bought a Honda ATC 200X 3-wheeler. If you remember, these ATCs had a 200cc air cooled 4-stroke single-cylinder engine. They also had a traditional clutch, shifter, and brake setup. Everything a kid needed for learning to start, stop, and shift on any motorcycle.
It wasn’t very long after my first time riding that I put signs up for lawn mowing, roto-tilling, and started my first part-time job at Dairy Queen.
After several months of work and saving, I had put together something like half of the $1,500 price tag and bought a beat up used Yamaha Blaster with parent’s matching funds… I’m sure Mom wasn’t totally on board, but I’m so grateful for their support during this phase and many others in life.
These ATVs utilized a tried-and-true 200cc air cooled 2-stroke single-cylinder engine. Also with traditional motorcycle shifting and brake controls. My Blaster was the same ugly purple/pink color scheme as the following picture:
Regardless of the ugly color scheme and missing front bumper, It was one of the possessions I felt the most pride for in life. I had dreamt for years about having a motorized bike of some type. Finally, with family support, I made it a reality.
Less than two-years after I bought my Blaster, I worked and saved for the next upgrade. It was a highly-modified Yamaha Banshee… I broke both legs at the local motocross track on that quad.
Finally, the Summer before my Senior year of high school, I purchased a Yamaha YZF 600R, which was an entry-level 4-cylinder sport bike, followed by a clapped-out GSXR 750, a TL1000R that I began learning to stunt on and finally a 1992 Honda CBR 900rr Stunt Bike, complete with rear hand-brake, 72-tooth sprocket, and 12-o-clock bar… I eventually owned the bike I fell in love with as a grade school child.
This is the period I crossed paths with Matt and Nick Moore, the brothers who would later connect me to Big Dog Motorcycles.
As I graduated college and everyone followed their own path in life, I kept in distant contact with a hand full of friends from school, including the Moore brothers.
Fast forward from 2006 to 2016. I sold my stunt bike after college graduation, enjoyed many life adventures, but hadn’t owned a bike in a decade.
I was living in Breckenridge, Colorado working tipped jobs that allowed me to snowboard before work every day.
Of course, I was recovering from a broken ankle when I get a random call from my college buddy Matt Moore. He had been working at Big Dog prior to the 2011 shut down. Apparently he, a group of investors and ex employees decided to purchase the company and bring the brand back to life.
So, I’m just hanging out on the couch, resting and recovering when my phone rings, I see it’s Matt and decide to answer.
After a minute of catching up, he tells me he’s heading to Daytona Bike Week and wants fly me out to capture footage of the event.
Of course I said yes, even though it cost my job at the time. I didn’t care, the price was worth the reward.
A week or so later, I arrived at the Daytona Beach International airport.
Matt picked me up in the Big Dog Motorcycles dually with a big red enclosed trailer behind… It was a cool sight to see, my college buddy pulling up in his new (preowned) Big Dog company truck and trailer.
After a few stops to connect with industry contacts, we parked the trailer in a hardware store parking lot, where I learned one of the bikes needed some finishing tweaks. After a few hours of tinkering with the new Limited Edition Mastiff, Matt and I took turns cruising it to the beach and back, then hit the hotel and caught some much needed rest.
The following day is when the pace of activities really picked up.
The brand new Big Dog Mastiff that Matt finished dialing in was the bike I rode. It was literally brand-new right out of production.
We met with a group of Big Dog riders, enjoyed a great ride, and somehow made the time to shoot some riding footage by the beach before heading to the Broken Spoke Saloon.
This was my first experience with a big V-twin. As I became comfortable, I really enjoyed the ride. The comfort, the style, the sound, the torque. I was loving all of it.
When we arrived at the Broken Spoke, Matt informed me that the Mastiff I had been riding was about to be the star of the show… Imagine if anything had happened to that bike before the reveal. This is probably why he didn’t tell me before the event.
I had no idea I was breaking in the bike that was the purpose of the entire trip.
Remember, I hadn’t owned a bike in a decade. I was riding a brand new, big ass Big Dog Mastiff with an S&S 124 CI engine. Fortunately I used to be pretty okay at riding… Without my past experience, it would have been a lot of bike to handle.
Everything went off without a hitch, the Mastiff made a great showing, the crowd loved it. The trip was a success, we traveled home safe, and the bike sold to a lucky new owner.
Since the trip to Daytona, I have been fortunate enough to ride all over the country with Big Dog. I’ve had exposure to brand new bikes and preowned bikes. I’ve ridden a lot, but I’m still looking for the bike that calls my name. Fortunately, my job at Big Dog will keep me on a bike until the day I find one to call my own.
My adventures with Big Dog Motorcycles are part of a story that is still being written. I am grateful every day to be a part of that story, and to be the man who shares it with the rest of the world.
We have over 50-videos on the Big Dog Motorcycles Youtube, so don’t miss out on any part of the story.
I will leave you with one last video of our 2022 Big Dog Motorcycles K9 with newly redesigned high-capacity fuel tank. I’m proud of this video and we are all proud of the 2022 bikes!
If your ride one of our bikes, treat it right and only use OEM Big Dog Motorcycles parts.
Remember to send me your well written stories with pictures and include your website or social media so I can add the link!
Article and videos by Mike Gamache. See below photos for additional credits.