Memories Motorcycling

Four Hundred and Twenty Six Days…

… in which I talk about my future mode of transportation.

So, it’s not something I ever really talked about before. It never seemed like something that would ever really happen, so it kind of lived in the dark recesses of my mind – covered in cobwebs, dusted over with discarded thoughts, and long forgotten. But due to a series of events and realizations, it was dragged back out into the light and cleaned up a little, and now I can’t stop thinking about it. Part of it is an argument for efficiency, part of it is a longing for adventure, and yes, there’s a bit of jealously in there, too. The matters of how and why are inconsequential, since it has already been decided and a date has been set. In four hundred and twenty six days, I will have a motorcycle.

It was a bit of a shock when I expressed to Heather that I was really thinking about it with any seriousness. She blamed Angela.

You see, Angela had bought a scooter over a year ago, realizing that between rising gas prices, and new parking permits, she would dramatically save on money by migrating from a minivan to a scooter. For her, it was a no-brainer. Instant savings, even with all of the up front costs calculated in. But even Angela riding around, joyfully, on her scooter was not enough to drag the dark desires out of the depths of my mental warehouse. It wasn’t until far more recently when she upgraded from a scooter to a full bore motorcycle. That was when the inkling became noticeable.

I kept my thoughts to myself at first, though, figuring it was just kind of a contact high from her excitement. I told myself it was more of an “I’m happy for her,” than an “I want that, too!” It became kind of a mantra: “I’m happy for her, I don’t need it. I’m happy for her, I don’t need it. I’m happy for her…”

“So, do you want to go for a ride?” She asked.

Suzuki TU250X
The 2012 model in it’s gorgeous grey/green tint.

The first ride was a disappointment, but not in the way that you’d think. It was a disappointment because while it was fun, I wasn’t in control. It was the ultimate tease. I couldn’t see hardly, the wind was gusting in my face, I wasn’t all that comfortable, and I had nothing to hold on to. It was all the excitement of a riding in a rally car from the back seat, with blinders on. You know you’re having a great time, but you’re not truly experiencing it all. It was like a semi-conscious roller coaster ride. It got it’s hooks into me all the same and I started browsing motorcycle sites, looking for something cheap, fun, and efficient. Angela gave glowing recommendations to Suzuki so I started there and found the gorgeous, retro styled, super fuel efficient TU250x. Without looking at any comparable alternatives or even going to see the thing in person, I fell in love with it. It’s like someone had built the motorcycle in my head. In hushed, and non-committal text messages, I expressed my adoration of the machine to Angela who was very excited for me. Did she have an ulterior motive to slowly surround herself with friends converted to the cult of the cycle? Maybe, but like I said, this was a seed planted years ago, and she had simply brought it back into the sun.

Heather still didn’t really know what was churning in my head. She knew that I was talking about motorcycles. She knew that I was looking at them, appreciatively, but I don’t think she ever thought that I was seriously shopping in my head. But as we talked about it more and more, she realized that I was formulating an argument in favor of buying a motorcycle. Finally, after much resistance and avoidance of the subject, she said “Figure out how much we can save if you ride a motorcycle instead of driving your car.” I started making spreadsheets the next day. They reported to me some grim news, however. Being that I ride my bike to work every day and that the only driving I do is to Reaper once a week, it was actually going to cost more to own a motorcycle than not. This was not the report I wanted to deliver to Heather because it was likely going to squash any chances I had of getting it. Heather thrives on practicality, so if I couldn’t prove that it was going to be practical, then it really didn’t merit buying. To my surprise, after some further consideration she finally made an unexpected announcement. She said that since my 40th birthday was coming up next year, it could be my present for that milestone. Sure, it’s a little bit mid-life-crisis-y, but I’ll take it as a win.

Weeks later, Angela learned that, in spite of the local cycle shop having one in stock, I still hadn’t gone out and looked at it in person. I hadn’t visited it and sat upon it. I think, at the time, I was still able to keep my anticipation in check and there was no real reason to go and investigate it up closer. There was no urgent reason to thrust myself into the shark infested waters of a dealership and actually look at the machine. It didn’t matter if it was perfect, or that all the reviews were glowing. It was just an intangible object at the time.

“So, do you want to go for a ride?” She asked.

Ansel is ready to ride!
Ansel is ready to ride!

Angela offered to take me over to Cycle Center of Denton and look at the motorcycle with me. So we went and looked at it, and touched it, and sat upon it. I spent as much time looking at the motorcycle as I did convincing the salesman that “no, I’m not buying it today.” But I definitely walked away that day, knowing that I had made the right choice. It was comfortable to sit on, it was just as gorgeous in person as it was in pictures, and it just felt right. A week or so later I took Heather and Ansel up there to see it as well. I haven’t been back in months for fear that it’s gone, now, but I know when the time comes, if they don’t have it and can’t get their hands on one, I will track one down and bring it home.

Now, from Heather’s point of view, this is all kind of spur of the moment, impulse lusting, but when I sit down and think about it, this has been a long time coming. Angela and I have talked about motorcycles for more than just a couple of years. Ever since she first started contemplating getting a scooter, we talked about it, again, non-noncommittally. Before that, even, my brother and I used to muse about motorcycles, and how fun, yet unlikely they were. But going back even further, I often forget that I did in fact “own” a motorcycle at one time. It was all a joke that got out of hand, but I did own it for a short while.

Right around the time that I was born, my grandfather had bought a motorcycle of sorts to tool around his farmland. Because of the proximity to my birth, however, someone joked that it was bought for me and he was just holding it for me. That when I came of age, it would become mine. Miraculously, that motorcycle hung around until I was old enough, and against any better judgement I’m sure, my grandparents delivered it to me during a birthday visit. I can’t remember which birthday it was, but it was likely 16 or 17.

Honda CT90
It wasn’t much, but it was “mine.”

This little Honda CT90 really wasn’t in the best shape, having been effectively retired several years earlier. It lived for quite some time in abandoned retirement at the back of a garage, under a tarp. Discarded and unmaintained, it whiled away, waiting for someone to crank it up and ride it around, again. Unfortunately, all of that time took it’s toll on the guy and it was not in peak operating condition. I remember only vaguely riding around on it a couple of times. I remember that there was a fuel leak somewhere, and every time I wanted to ride it, I had to pretty much disassemble and reassemble the carburetor. I remember that I didn’t really ride it anywhere, but just kind of tooled around some backwoods trails. I don’t remember how long I had it, or how often I rode it, or what became of it, but I know that some of that time has stuck with me. That’s the spark that was left behind and reignited when Angela bought her motorcycle and took me for a ride.

So It’s been twenty three years since the seen was planted, and it’s only another year until the tree will finally bear fruit. I keep telling myself that it’s only a year, but it seems like every day it’s no closer. We’re using the time to spread out some of the associated costs with buying a motorcycle, which is all well and good, but until then, I’m starting to feel a little silly wearing my motorcycle helmet on the couch.

2 replies on “Four Hundred and Twenty Six Days…”

Awesome! I’m so excited. Admittedly, I keep looking at the Royal Enfields, as well, but for the price break, I think the Suzuki is the clear winner.

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