MAKIN' HISTORY PAGE ...07-11-19
Joel Calhoun's Classic Silver Star MZ ...
What a beauty! Joel has contributed an article for the upcoming Thumper News, our club quarterly magazine. I had occasion to read it again as I added it to the issue earlier today ... a great article about a little seen Thumper and a too well known civil situation that takes a unique twist. I loved it and you will too ... don't miss TN#136, mailing in early August. - #000
THE FSSNOC HISTORY PAGE:
I hated HISTORY ... in school, but love it now. Go figure?
It all started late in 1985, this idea of a club for Four-Stroke Single Cylinder Motorcycle Owners.
I was riding a brand new factory-fresh Honda XL600R ... a red, white, and blue 600cc Single with an advertised dry weight of 295 pounds. It sported 17" gold rims on both ends shod with fat (for the day) sticky Metzler street tires, Magura clip-on stubby handlebars installed upside down, and a sporty low-mount front fender off a Honda Interceptor ... a "Motard" by today's definition and I was years ahead of the "Motard Movement" of modern times.
Friends told me I ruined a perfectly good dirt bike, I contended that I had created a sub-300 pound street/road bike with a 600cc Single Cylinder ("Thumper") motor.
William Least Heat-Moon, author of BLUE HIGHWAYS, begins that particular book with a statement that said, "Beware of thoughts that come in the night." ... The idea of a Thumper Club came to me in that very fashion. I remember the dream well, and that it came to me in that half-awake, half-asleep time in the early morning hours when all thoughts make sense and there are no impossibilities.
It was while in this euphoric mood mode that I decided to assimilate a nationwide coalition of motorcyclists who shared that same strange, almost unexplainable fancy for the Four-Stroke Single Cylinder Motorcycle. Not content with that basic decision, I continued on to make the major decision of committing $5,000 (yet to be earned!) and/or three years of my time to this project. Now, at this point, I'm tossing and turning, unable to go back to sleep, yet not really willing to wake-up, probably fearing that my inspiration wouldn't endure the harsh reality of daylight! Finally I decide to proceed, but with the theory that I'd evaluate my progress at the point where either the three years or the 5,000 bucks ran out, whichever happened first. With that truce in mind, I happily drifted off into a deep sleep, awakening in the morning refreshed.
My feet had hardly hit the floor before I had a plan of action. The club would be called the FOUR-STROKE SINGLES NATIONAL OWNERS CLUB, the now-familiar "FSSNOC" acronym (pronounced Fizz-Knock or the letters F - S - S - N - O - C) was an almost instant by-product of the lengthy title.
Our first member, a definite mile-marker in any club's history, wasn't to happen until April of the next year, 1986. I had related my dreams and plans to a fellow worker at the Honda-Yamaha motorcycle shop where we both worked. His reaction was something like, "Uhhhh, yeah, that's really cool. Well, I better get back to work ..." and he walked away. Not what I wanted to see and hear! Later that same day, he approached me with his folded fist extended, knuckles-up, and, grinning, said, "Go for it! Count me in. I'll be member number one, here's my twenty bucks!" WELCOME TO THE CLUB, FSSNOC #001...
Incidentally, that is how I came to be known as FSSNOC #000, or "Triple Zip" as a fellow member later labeled me.
After that rather heady moment of getting the first member, our club grew at an amazingly slow rate. The $5000 went at an alarming rate. I remember spending $680 for an ad in three issues of CYCLE magazine and realizing only two memberships. That was a heart-breaker! I quickly learned to beg for cheaper rates in those publications that would listen and react with compassion.
May 15, 1986 ... a RED LETTER date! We received an application for membership from Washington state, he became our first Out-Of-State member. I was ecstatic! He remains an enthusiastic member to this day.
January 1, 1987 ... After our first year in "business", we had signed on 103 Thumper enthusiasts! In July of that first year, we had introduced the "FSSNOC", our club newsletter. Issue #1 was a 10 page, 8 x 11 inch leaflet featuring an XT250 Yamaha on the cover. I remember pricking my fingers repeatedly with those metal staples that held these simple publications together ... ahhhh, good stuff! (Back Issues are available to club-members at 4 issues for $20, post paid by the club.)
In the Summer of 1987, our newsletter was renamed THUMPER NEWS to more closely reflect our purpose and its content. In 1988, we started the C A M List, meaning Contact Another Member. This was a list of members who wanted to be available to other members for social and service purposes.
THUMPER NEWS has grown from that ten page leaflet to a magazine style publication suitable for your personal library or coffee table. Page count is usually 24 to 32 pages featuring want ads, trip stories, road tests, event schedules, all put together in a warm vintage style ... and thankfully, no more nasty staples!
Rallies and Events ... started in 1986 and continue as we speak, see the Events Section of this website. To date FSSNOC has hosted events, now called "ThumperCafes" throughout the continental USA, in addition to a gathering in Tok, Alaska in 2001 and two tours of Old Mexico in '91 & '92.
Since those tentative days in 1986, we've enjoyed serving thousands of thumper enthusiasts, many of which remain in the club today ... may we add you to our list of members?
I hope you've enjoyed this mini-version of the early years of FSSNOC growth and activity. The important thing to remember is ... we wouldn't be here today without the support and contributions of those early members, many who are still active participants in the club to this day. Let me use this opportunity to express our heartfelt THANKS to all those members who have supported our club through the years. Little did I know that the "thought that came in the night" would have such an impact on my life and on the lives of our members. In light of that, my comment would be...
"Listen to ... and Live Your Dreams!" Keep On Thumpin', ...Jack Robinson, FSSNOC #000 - Director
....this concludes our Club History Page. Please visit our other pages....