Only Teardrops Fall

I didn’t sleep last night. I tossed, turned and was tormented by my thoughts. I thought of all the places we have been together. All the thrills we experienced and the good times we shared. I thought of how well she treated me and how hard I pushed her…and now she is gone. Just talking about her makes my eyes moisten. I miss her, even if I did not pay her much attention lately. Just knowing she was there. Just seeing her felt good. There is now an empty space…in my garage.

Yesterday I sold my beloved Triumph Street Triple R. I have owned this bike since it was brand new, over 5 years now. It was a gift from my wife when I turned 50. Of the dozens and dozens of motorcycles that I have owned in my lifetime (maybe as many as 50…I’ve lost count), no bike ever meant more to me or felt better in my hands than my Street Triple. I loved it not only because it fit me so well and that it’s wonderful three cylinder engine was music to my ears, but also because it reminded me of just how wonderful my lovely wife is and how fortunate I am to have such a great life partner.

You are likely asking, “Why did you sell it?” Well, it wasn’t because I had to. I chose to. I did so for two reasons. The first one is simple: it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to ride this bike without experiencing severe pain. I spent 26 years of my factory career plugging wires, driving screws, lifting, bending, pushing, pulling and generally abusing the joints in my body, over and over again and these days my body is is reminding me of the abuse.

The Street Triple is a small bike, even for a small guy like me. And I’m not the kind of guy who is content to ride around the block or down to the local Starbucks. I want to go places. I travelled on the Street Triple many times, logging lots of 500+ mile days on it. But lately, anything over 150 miles and I couldn’t wait to get off. As much as it pained me to accept, I realized I had come to a place where I could no longer enjoy riding this bike.

The second reason I chose to sell it is because of who I am. I am a rider. I am not a collector. I don’t buy bikes to polish. I don’t buy bikes to look at; I buy bikes to ride. I ride them all. I ride them far. I don’t worry about what they were built for or what the target audience is; I ride them the way I want, which is usually fast and far.

Over the 5 years I have owned this bike there has never been another person take it for a ride. It was not an easy task for me to hand off the Triple to a new owner yesterday. I told him what the bike had meant to me. I told him I hoped he would enjoy it as much as I have. I took it for one last ride…then I let it go. You can say its just a machine if you want to. Just some cold, hard steel. But you’d be wrong. You are obviously not a rider if you feel that way; not the kind of rider I am. Riding is everything to me. It defines my life and as I approach retirement age, God willing, it will define the rest of my life even more than it has up to now.

My bikes are my family. They are my companions. They set me free. They take me to places I’ve never been. Experience things I’ve never experienced. Make me the person I always dreamed of being. They transport me out of my daily rut into a world with no responsibilities other than to my own desires. I meet new people, step out of my cocoon and become one of those sojourners who is “experiencing life.”

So, today, I’m grieving just a little bit. I said goodbye to an old friend. I’m not the least bit embarrassed to admit I shed a tear or two. And now…well, now I’ve got a void to fill.IMG_0923

Later,

Shep

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