My Dad Sold Our First Honda


Fifty years ago my father, Russell Hayden, decided to sell Honda motorcycles from his welding shop at the corner of Lincoln and Drake. That’s where Kirby Risk is currently.

The history write-up at tells the story:

Our roots lie beyond 1965, back in the 1920s, in the building where Clyde Hayden, Kurt’s grandfather, started Hayden Welding after trying his hand at homesteading in North Dakota. That building’s long gone. It once stood in the lot where Walgreens is now.

Hayden Welding didn’t remain at that location for long, but moved to the corner of Williams and Orchard, where the parking lot across from Campbell & Fetter Bank is now. Clyde rented the space until he bought a building from George Campbell, the great-grandfather of our parts manager, Karen Richards. His first rental payments were $25 a month.

Clyde & Russell Hayden

Clyde & Russell Hayden

Clyde’s son Russell returned from WWII and bought the business in 1948 at the age of 21. It cost him $8500. He changed the name to Hayden and Son Welding. For nearly 20 years, he welded, repaired radiators, and worked on lawnmowers at that location.

In the late ‘50s, Russell began selling and servicing Homelite chainsaws, adding McCulloch a few years later. The McCulloch rep, Dick Strater, first introduced Russell to motorcycles. Dick and Russell were good friends and often spent many hours solving the world problems after hour at the local American Legion. Russell bought a Bridgestone, liked it, and decided he wanted to sell them. Strater, though, knew the business. “If you are serious about selling motorcycles,” he told Russell, “sell Hondas.”

Dad listened. He called Honda and became a dealer February 18, 1965.

The first year agreement with Honda recommended we sell only “small’ displacement bikes—50cc and 90cc bikes. A year later, we added 150cc and 305cc bikes. That’s all Honda made at the time.

Back in those days, I was in fifth grade. I occasionally had to push the broom around after school and try to keep the welding shop clean. After Dad started selling Hondas, my job as janitor became much more interesting.

The first bike Dad sold was a CA200 Trail 90. More information on that story next time.

Welcome to our 50th Year!


Old Hayden Honda BuildingOK, here we go again with this blogging thing. This time, it’s not about my crazy riding; it’s about my crazy memories.

On Feb 18, 1965, my father Russell Hayden signed the contract to become a Honda dealer. That means we have been selling Honda motorcycles for 50 years. That’s quite a milestone! Over the next several months I will blog about the history of Hayden Honda. Well, the stuff that I remember, at least.

Click here to see pictures from the last 50 years and read about our history.

We will be adding more pictures. You might also “like” our Facebook page so you can see the pictures, old ads, and other interesting historic information we’ll post regularly this year.

In our showroom we have a display of old bikes, including the first bike Dad ever sold. Stop in and check them out. Later this spring, we’ll have a photo contest, so start looking for your old pictures of you and your first bike.

It should be an exciting year!

The staff at Hayden Honda receive a plaque from Honda for their 50 years!

The staff at Hayden Honda receive a plaque from Honda for their 50 years!

Gas Prices Going Up


photo (6)Gas prices are spiking right now, so it’s a good time to talk about my fuel savings during my year-long ride! I logged 3242 miles back and forth to work over the last 12 months. I probably had more miles than that, but I only logged the mileage and fuel usage for bikes I rode far enough to need the gas tank filled up, which was usually after 100 miles or more. Bikes that I only rode a couple days are not counted in mileage or fuel usage. Most of these bike I rode during the summer fun-riding months.

The main three bikes I rode during the “off” season were a VF750 Magna with lots of wind protection, a Helix w/sidecar, and a CRF230 w/studded tires. The VF750 was the worst for fuel economy, getting only about 35mpg. The best was a Metropolitan 50cc scooter, which got over 110 mpg! It has a top speed of only 35mph, but it’s great city transportation and gets huge fuel savings. The PCX150 scooter got 89mpg and will run 60+mph all day long. The CB500 got 80mpg. It was one of my favorite rides. Overall, I averaged 55mpg for the year.

The vehicle I would have driven if not on my motorcycle is a Chevy Suburban two-wheel drive. It gets only 13mpg. My wife drives a Honda Element that gets, at best, 25mpg.

The average price per gallon for the year was $3.60, with a low of $3.23 and a high of $4.23.  I purchased 59 gallons of gas for a total of $212.

By driving motorcycles instead of my usual vehicle, I saved just over $.20 per mile driven. That’s a yearly savings of $673 compared to the Suburban, and $242 compared to the Element. And that’s just driving six miles to work.

More than that, it was fun in the spring, summer, and fall, and an adventure during the winter! I had a great year! It’s just an extra bonus to save the money.


Time for my Birthday Bash!


Well, there are only a couple more days until the end of my year of riding to work every day! I started my adventure April 12, 2013. That’s my birthday. I’ll be 60 this Saturday. (I hate to admit that.)

We’re having a big “Crazy Kurt Birthday Bash” this Saturday at Hayden Honda. If you ride your bike to Hayden Honda this Saturday we’ll give you a free door prize. Plus, we’ll register you to win a free DVD of the new movie Why You Ride. It’s a great movie!

This year has definitely been an adventure. I had gotten out of the riding habit. It was much easier to hop in the car. I’m glad I decided to do my year-long ride. It would have been nice if it hadn’t been the coldest/snowiest winter in the last several decades, but that’s what made it an adventure.

Not only did I start riding again, I got the experience of riding many different Honda models. This allowed me to be much more knowledgeable about these units when talking to customers.

Most of all, it was fun!

I plan to keep riding this spring and summer. Maybe not every day, but as much as I can. What I look forward to is not having to ride my bike to or from work and then taking the truck to pick up or deliver stuff that I’m unable to carry on the bike. There were some days I would take something home in the truck then have to drive back to work and ride my bike home, sometimes in the rain. Now I can just stay home and not worry about making sure get my bike home.

Oh, by the way, this week I started wearing my summer helmet. Today was the first day in over four months I wore my summer gloves. Yesterday, I even rode without gloves! Spring is here!

I’ll post a couple more blogs about my fuel savings and the weather data I collected over the past year. It’s just going to take a while to compile the data.

Make sure you stop in this Saturday and say hi!


Finally…Spring riding weather!


Look Mom! Normal shoes!

Look Mom! Normal shoes!

Wow! Spring might actually be coming! Tuesday was the first time in four months I’ve worn tennis shoes. Yeah, I know they aren’t as safe as boots, but that’s the way I roll. Also, when I arrived at work I only took off my helmet and one jacket. I usually take off one jacket, a heated vest, First Gear pants, a balaclava, and a scarf. I even had one less layer on under my shirt.

This is really nice. Riding is now almost fun, not a challenge of getting dressed warmly enough and/or surviving bad roads. I’m looking forward to riding in nice weather, to being able to go around corners at a normal speed and not worrying about ice, snow, gravel, or my studs. I’m also looking forward to test driving some of Honda’s new models coming out this spring. I just have to wait until the salt is off the roads and the weather is normal. If that ever happens. I’m getting tired of the studded CRF230 and the sidecar-ed Helix. They worked great for the winter months, but hopefully that’s soon over.

I have less than 10 days left to complete my year of driving motorcycles to work. My year will be over on April 12th! We’re planning a big Crazy Kurt’s Birthday Bash for Saturday the 12th. Stop in, enjoy some birthday cake, and say hi to a crazy person! We’ll also be giving away some door prizes to people who ride their bikes in.

Of course, it’ll probably snow that day.

Hope to see you on the 12th!

Epic Fail!


IMG_1731Yesterday morning’s ride was an Epic Fail! Let me explain. I’ve been riding my CRF230 with studded tires since December. It rides better on bad roads, but it’s more stressful than riding my wife’s Helix with sidecar. The Helix can’t fall over.

When the nice weather arrived, I got out the Helix. It was fun to ride. The first day I took the highway to work and rode over 55 mph. That’s faster than I’ve ridden in over two months. It was like summertime.

That lasted two days. Then came another forecast of snow. I had to decide—stay on the Helix or go back to the CRF230. Comfort and stability, or traction and stress. I chose comfort and stability. I thought since it’s been warm, the snow wouldn’t stick to the roads when it first started to snow.

I was wrong. By the time I started for work, we had 3-4 inches of snow, and the first inch had turned to ice. I barely got the Helix down my driveway. Then I attempted the snow-covered icy roads. I had absolutely no traction. The first half mile is downhill, but I barely made it to the top of the first hill. Down that hill I went, then I lost all traction. I couldn’t even get to the next uphill before I came to a standstill. I was screwed. I couldn’t get up the next hill and there was no way I could get back to our driveway.

Luckily, my wife was driving our Honda Element behind me. I decided to have her try to push me. The bumper lined up just right to the Helix’s. She pushed me up the next hill and every other slight incline! Of the six miles I travel to get to work, she probably had to push me half of the way. At one time, we had four to six cars behind us. It was very embarrassing. To cap it all off, my wife had to push me across part of Hayden Honda’s parking lot. Epic Fail!

Obviously, I rode the CRF230 home, even though the roads were now 98% snow free and dry.  There was only one 20 yard section of snow. Oh!  But wait! We’re expecting below zero temperature tonight.

AARRGG! Hate that groundhog!

What’s next? Frogs from the sky?!


photoI’ve been riding since April 12th, 2013. I have less than two months to go. Whoever thought this winter would be so…so…outrageously wintery!  We’re only three inches shy of the snowiest winter on record for the Fort Wayne area, and this January was the snowiest month on record, with over 30 inches of snowfall. So far, this winter has been the 5th coldest ever. The average temperature has been 20.2 degrees, which is 7 degrees below normal. I’ve ridden 15 days in below zero temperatures. The lowest was -16 degrees!

After this week, I thought I was past the subzero temperatures. Then I looked at the weather prediction for next week—possible single digits days and maybe even negatives again! Great.

I’ve enjoyed the above freezing temperatures we’ve had the last couple days. The first day was very weird. It was a Saturday afternoon. It was both sunny and warm! Definitely not what I was used to. I could even ride at almost normal speeds and didn’t have to watch out for snowy areas on the road. It was definitely an improvement.

Yesterday I rode home at 6:30 pm. It was still light out and I could see a blue ski! Spring is coming, I think. In Indiana, you know spring is close when you have a major snow storm, eight inches overnight, roads are drifted shut and they call off school, then later the same day, it’s above freezing and the snow has all but melted off most the roads.

The days are getting longer. Spring is coming. I hope.

Thursday morning, though, was even more bizarre! The road was covered with deep water puddles, slushy ice, and glare ice. It was hard to see the difference between them with my rain-splattered face shield. It was raining hard with two to three feet of snow alongside the road. Then there was lightning and thunder! It was not your normal day’s motorcycle ride. My two rainiest rides have been in January and today.

I’m expecting to see frogs fall from the sky soon.

Have you ever ridden an ATV to work? I have!


February 4

I’m writing this at night while it’s snowing hard. The experts are predicting 5-9 inches of snow in the next 12 hours.

I’m way past wanting more snow. The groundhog just saw his shadow! The little varmit should be shot, thrown in a compost pile, and burned! It seems he could see his shadow at midnight during a solar eclipse! I’m done with this snow and cold.

Sorry. I had to get that rant out.

I’ve ordered more tire studs because mine are getting pretty worn down, but they didn’t come in today! I’m not looking forward to riding in 6+ inches of fresh snow on top of ice. It gets very tiring having my feet out for six miles of riding. I may ride my TRX420 into work tomorrow instead. It’s a little harder to fall over on a four-wheeler.

If we have 6+ inches in the morning, the roads will be pretty bad and schools will be closed. It will be pretty easy to get into work on the ATV because the roads will be unplowed and empty. Coming home might be a problem, though, if they get the roads cleaned up in the afternoon. Probably two miles of the trip is legal, but not the rest. Plus, I’ll have to go 1-2 miles on the berm of SR 3. Kinda iffy.

I have to try it once, at least. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here's what I rode to work!

Here’s what I rode to work!

February 6

OK, we got lots of snow. I’d guess 8+ inches. I did ride my TRX into work. It has a plow on it, and even with the blade up, I was pushing snow while riding on the county rode. I had to stand up to not have snow blowing in my eyes the whole way! The ride on SR 3 wasn’t too bad. I got behind a couple cars and stayed right behind them doing about 35mph.

We weren’t busy at work (only crazy people were out) so we closed at 5pm. I got on SR 3 again. I had no cars behind me and rode 45+ mph right down the middle of the road. It was very strange, riding an ATV with a plow down a state highway. Luckily, I didn’t see any police cars.

Looks like we are going to have to deal with this winter weather ALL winter!


More cold riding


I just rode home in -2 degree weather. That’s warm compared to the -14 this morning. Tomorrow it should be up to -1 or maybe even 0. Wow! It’s been exciting. Actually, once you experience a big negative number while riding, everything else is just routine. You know it can be done. You just have to prepare for it.

Preparation includes: Regular winter dress (First Gear pants, three layers on the upper body, heated vest, winter jacket, helmet, and balaclava) plus long underwear on the legs, long-sleeve shirt, snow boots, heated vest turned to high, and warm gloves. After I put everything on, I move around inside for a couple minutes to build up heat within all the layers. I even put my gloves on and clench my hands for awhile to get circulation going and to build up heat inside the gloves. I don’t even feel like I’m outside for about a mile!

Something else I’ve figured out is not to go faster than 20mph. Under 20-25mph, I don’t seem to get nearly as cold as when I go over 20mph. The wind chill factor is much more prevalent over 25mph.

A trick I learned just today is how to grip the handlebars so my hands/fingers don’t get as cold. Instead of gripping the handlebars with all my fingers, I try to keep my fingers straighter, keeping my fingers in the center of my gloves’ finger holes. Not pushing hard on the gloves’ insulation helps keep the blood flowing and leaves an area for warm air. This morning, at -15 degrees, my fingers didn’t get cold at all until I had to stop and remove my gloves to wipe the frost from my face shield. During the ride I had to clean the shield with my fingers three times!

My face shield fogging up and freezing over is my biggest issue in subzero temperature. It’s really a pain. Riding in bad road conditions and not being able to see properly do not go together. The only way to stop it is to buy a heated shield you plug into the battery. Or you can do what I do now—stop, take my glove off, and wipe the shield with my fingers until the frost melts. It usually comes back quickly because the moisture is still there.

I added another 25+ studs in my front tire. I think that really helped during the last big snowfall. My current ones have really worn down. I’m going to have to order another pack of 250 to install because this weather isn’t going away any time soon.

Once again I’d like to apologize for causing all this cold weather. I expect a wet spring also.

A Man on a Mission


2014-01-24 15.11.15During the long winter months, most people’s instinct is to stay inside, keep warm, and hibernate until spring. But not Hayden Honda owner Kurt Hayden. He’s out on his motorcycle in sub-zero conditions.

Is he crazy? Probably. But it’s part of his year-long mission to ride his motorcycle to work every day until his 60th birthday.

“It’s a challenge,” Hayden says. It’s one he took before, the year before his 50th birthday, but this winter’s been especially brutal.

“It’s so cold because I decided to ride this year,” he jokes. “I’m single-handedly stopping global warming.”

He’s figured out how to keep warm, though, even on the coldest days. He wears three layers on his upper body, a heated vest, a jacket, riding pants, a snowmobile helmet, and a balaclava with neckerchief. Oh, and a good pair of gloves. That’s vital.

The cold, though, is not his main concern any longer. “It’s not about the temperature,” Hayden claims. “It’s about the road conditions.”

He’s currently riding a Honda CRF230M with studded tires to help with the snow. He’s fine on ice with 120 studs per tire, but the snow’s a different story.

“In deep or loose snow, [my tires] have nothing to dig into,” he writes on his blog, “That causes the front wheel to slide sideways and causes me to stress out. I don’t bounce anymore, I just go crunch!” Luckily, he hasn’t actually dropped his bike yet.

While the CRF230M gets him down the snowy roads, he’s ridden nine different motorcycles and scooters since he started last April.

“It’s a great way to test new products,” he says. “I have more personal experience to share with my customers.”

Before he settled into his winter gear, his go-to rides for inclement weather were a used 750 Magna and his wife’s Helix scooter with sidecar. The Magna’s windshield offers good wind protection and the Helix’s sidecar gives great stability in slippery weather.

Not every day is a trial, of course. One of Kurt’s favorite rides was after the Noble County Community Fair last July. On the way home it struck him how beautiful the ride was.

On another sunny day he was riding a 49cc Honda Metropolitan. The slow pace through town and down country roads was particularly relaxing.

“It’s not just about proving it can be done,” Hayden says about his challenge. “Riding my bike every day makes daily life interesting.”

It also makes him appreciate the little things, like storage space. “It’s tough to conveniently do errands or take items home on most bikes,” he admits.

His journey ends April 12, but there’s sure to be plenty of snow, rain, fog, and brilliant spring sun before then.

“I may be crazy,” he says, “but I really enjoy it.”

You can keep up with Kurt’s adventures at or on Hayden Honda’s Facebook page ( You can also sign up for email updates at