I've been riding motorcycles since 1993 when I picked up a used 1981 Yamaha XS-650 when I was in college in New Mexico. It was a great bike to learn on and I actually rode it from there to Houston in one day. I kept it until the cost of repairs was simply too high.
After selling the Yamaha I was bikeless for a few months, but then in September of 1997 I picked up a new 1997 Harley Davidson 883 Sportster from Barnett's Harley Davidson in El Paso. It is no longer an 883 because in May of 2006, with the help of a friend, converted it to 1212cc with 10.5:1 compression pistons. The bike has been tuned at Piper Performance and here are the results of the dyno runs and the air/fuel ratio.
Since then I've put over 50,000 miles on it riding all over the country to go sightseeing and for some get-togethers with a few of the internet based Harley communities such as rec.motorcycles.harley and www.sportster.org.
In June of 2008 I picked up a 2004 BMW R1150RT because, while I love the Sportster, it’s not really a touring bike. I’m really enjoying the BMW so far, it’s a heck of a machine, and once my comfort level is up I’m going to be hitting the road for parts west.
I belong to a few motorcycle related organizations, including the Harley Owners Group, the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America, the BMW Riders Association, and The American Motorcyclist Association. I would strongly suggest that you join the AMA, regardless of the type of motorcycle that you ride. They do a lot of good work for all riders.