Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure


Motorcycle TourMagazine

About Whatchathinkin'

Backroads’ fairer half, Shira Kamil, has an interesting perspective on the day-to-day things riders run into which is both extremely well written and informative. She adds a new polish to the editorial team here at Backroads.

Name: Shira Kamil

Current Rides: Honda 919, Suzuki V-Strom 650

Favorite quote:

If it all falls down, falls down, falls down; If they solve my life, if they find me out; Never thought to keep all I have found; I have had my fun, if it all falls down.

- Jimmy Buffett • If It All Falls Down - Floridays

Like Moths to a Flame

I was having a conversation with our southern contingent, Mark Byers, about his mentoring of a young woman he had hired. As he put it, “If her personality was a drink, it would be a Mountain Dew mixed with a Monster Energy and a spritz of vodka. I call her my CEO - Chief Enthusiasm Officer.” It was very exciting to hear of her zeal for motorcycling and that she was already taking the MSF course, with plans are getting a bike as soon as possible. Mark asked her to hold her horses just a bit, as he would be happy to go bike shopping to see what was out there.

On their first foray, she spied a 2014 Versys ABS in Kawi Green which she fell in love with. Hopefully, after some negotiations, she will be its proud new owner and have many long and happy miles on it. We might even meet her at one of our Backroads Rallies one day.

This made me think back to my first bike; well, not really my first, as that was a utilitarian vehicle that I knew would be dropped, banged and mishandled - all unintentionally - in my learning stages. But my first ‘oh my God, I have to have it’ motorcycle which was a Honda CBR F2. I recall seeing one in a dealership, on the road, somewhere and thinking that would be the perfect bike for me. Not too long after I expressed that to Brian, I came home to find one parked in our driveway. It would be the first of many motorcycles with which he would surprise me, and that’s why I keep him around. Oh, and to get the pot or pan that is hanging just out of reach in our kitchen.

So, why do we choose the motorcycles we ride? I’m sure if you ask ten different riders you might get ten different reasons. In the case of Mark’s new riders, she had some parameters such as ABS and price point. Others might look at horsepower, displacement size, height or other features that would make the most sense for their needs. Most beginning riders, especially those of limited inseam, opt for a ride that has a lower saddle. There are those who wouldn’t think of owning anything other than an American made motorcycle. And there are those who would only ride something European. Such a variety of flavors in our motorcycle world, and all are tasty.

But what really draws our attention to a particular model? In my case, I can honestly say that color has much to do with my choice in rides. I am like a hummingbird attracted to the brilliance of the spring blooms. The CBR that came to my garage was bright red and white, and not too long after I had it I put some custom paint on it. The second surprise that arrived, which still resides in our garage, was a neon green Honda 919. This one was lusted after on a trip to the Honda Hoot when it was in Knoxville, TN. The good folks at Honda let me take it for a good long spin and, aside from being drawn to the color, the bike just fit me perfectly. Boom, Brian once again sprung it on me at a local dealership. This one, too, had custom ink applied, as I always thought it looked like a Brazilian tree frog, and I made it so.

Then there was the bright yellow Ducati Monster that I just had to have. This was one of my more impulsive buys and purely a lustful decision. Yes, it fit me well and we enjoyed many happy miles together, but it was not a very practical motorcycle for my purposes. It certainly needed more maintenance - costly maintenance - than my previous rides as well as some adaptation to make it a touring-capable motorcycle. But, damn, was it a bright shiny thing of beauty.

There’s a song by Sunny Jim called ‘As If’ where he loses one thing after another - boat, guitar, girl - and says ‘As if it were the only guitar, as if there wouldn’t be another.’ Perhaps that was my thought when I initially got the Ducati and when I decided to sell it. Lust does strange things to a person.

Of course with age and, maybe, maturity, tastes change and I brought home my BMW F650GS. This was a practical choice, this would carry me far and wide in comfort and would fit most situations I might find myself in. This was a utilitarian ride. Hmphf, it was not bright and shiny. Eventually my head was turned, and my current resident two-wheeler was presented to me - the yellow and black Bee-Strom with the bright gold rims.

So, my question to you, dear reader, what brought you to own the motorcycle that lives with you? I’d love to hear your stories. Please send your emails to: along with an image.