My brother’s bike

And why it’s a good idea to chain your motorcycle

Paul Thomas Swann
3 min readFeb 8
Image by Stefan Angles from Pixabay

A Kawasaki 900.

It was probably a 1988 or 1989 model.

I don’t remember, but it was a beautiful bike.

Dark blue and way too much power for a teenager to handle. Heck, my Suzuki 650 that I bought four or five years later in Montgomery was way too much for me to handle — but I digress.

I was a teenager — maybe the 11th grade — and I don’t want to brag or anything, but I had a motorcycle license. In its wisdom, the state of Alabama wouldn’t allow me to drive four-wheeled vehicles at 14, but drive the far more dangerous two-wheel type?

That’s just fine.

David was my brother and he spent a lot of time working on the road at construction sites.

The Kawasaki was also his.

I had my own car at the time that I appropriated David’s Kawasaki. It was a 1973 Dodge Gold Duster. It had an imitation snakeskin roof and some type of clear plastic over the seats, which took a little while to get used to. It had a slant-six engine and while I forget the horsepower, it was just a beautiful car — especially for a punk teenager.

I liked my car, but the motorcycle was way cooler. David made the tactical mistake of leaving his motorcycle undefended at mom’s house. So, what’s a little brother to do when the older brother is away?


It was loud. Either it didn’t have mufflers or they were really bad mufflers or they were just designed to be as obnoxious as possible.

I am going for the last.

I hate loud motorcycles, but the cool factor was just too great to pass up.

And, as I said before, this bike was way too much power for me to handle. In the 11th and 12th grades, I would leave school around 11 o’clock or so for trade school in Prichard, which was right beside Vigor High School.

On this day, I took the Kawasaki. As 11 o’clock approached, I sashayed over to where the numerous other bicycles and motorcycles were parked, beside the cafeteria and the track. I climbed aboard the beautiful Japanese creation and cranked it…