One of my favorite things, come the warmer weather, is to spend time at home watching Mother Nature renew itself. Once the ground has warmed sufficiently and the sun has turned the corner to longer days, the planting begins. While we always try to keep our bird feeders out during the winter and for as long as we can before Buddy Bear is sighted, the hummingbird feeders make their emergence sometime in May. Then the wait is on to see who catches a glimpse of one first.
Once they start buzzing about, my morning ritual is pretty well set. Up at dawn to the prodding of Spenser T. Cat for his breakfast then make my way to the coffeepot, which Brian has thoughtfully set up the night before. With steaming cup in hand, I’ll sit in the backyard with feeders on either side, and watch these amaze, and quite vicious, creatures battle back and forth for a seat. It doesn’t seem to matter that there are multiple feeders, the battles rage on.
The Ruby-throated hummingbird is really the only hummingbird species to habitat in New Jersey. Their migration is a long one for such tiny wings, beginning as far south as Central America and coming over the Gulf of Mexico or through Texas and the coast. The male will arrive first, find a mate and get their nest in order. Once that’s done, they spend most of their time replenishing their strength with nectar and the occasional insect snatched in midair or plucked from a spider web.
I marvel at the stamina and resilience of these mighty fliers, which led my thought pattern to the machines that currently reside in our garage. Considered by some riders to be on the more diminutive side of CCs, the Honda CB500X has been living with us for a few weeks now. My most recent ride was out to see the waterfalls after the latest bout of downpours we’ve had in this area. Why did I opt for the 500 Honda rather than my 650 V-Strom? Well, first the bike was here for us to ride and write, but more so, I knew we would be hitting some paths that probably would be on the rugged side, and the less weight the better. When we got to Mountain Road, which leads to Buttermilk Falls, I knew I had made the right choice. Dodging holes, riding through puddles and navigating this unmaintained ‘road’ was super easy, barely an inconvenience on the ‘little’ Honda. Brian, on Honda’s CB1000R, was trying mightily not to bomb through these obstacles. Shows you that size does matter.
Alongside the CB500X now sit another wonder of small machinery, the Honda Grom. Since we first rode these little 125, I was enamored. The 2023 model puts out more power, is fuel-injected and has an extra gear. To bring it even more into the ‘big boys’ category, it also has a digital dash with rev-counter and gear position indicator and a bright LED headlight. Rob, keeper of the Honda fleet on the East Coast, rode this beast to us from New Paltz, NY and did it in great time. He reported that he had an absolute hoot. I have no doubt. As I am writing this on a Friday night, Brian just pulled around the back to the office upon the Grom, having taken it out to do some errands. The smile on his face was infectious.
What is so alluring about these smaller bikes? They are handleable for everyone, they draw looks from riders and non-riders alike, and they are just plain fun. On a past Bike Night at Jumboland, our local gathering, there were a few small bikes in attendance. One was a Honda Super Cub with a Yoshimura exhaust, ridden by a not-so-little dude. As you can see in the photo, he, too, had a big grin on his face.
Embrace those little things in life, be it hummingbirds, puppies and kittens, sliders or small cc motorcycles. They will reduce your stress, bring you joy and a smile to your face. Just look at these two…