I realize that for all practical purposes they are simply inanimate objects. Steel & rubber, fuel and spark, oil & air. Deathtraps, donor cycles, crotch rockets, bobbers & rice burners. Call them what you like, motorcycles are very much living things to me. There are most likely only a handful of readers out there who genuinely understand what motorcycles have meant to me over the course of my life. From that little 5 hp mini bike in 1967 to the screaming two-stroke motocross bikes of my teens to the Ducati’s, Beemers and Triumphs of adulthood, motorcycles have made my world go round. There is no other non-living object, ideal or invention that has done for me what motorcycles have. In reality they have carried me around the country on many solo adventures, creating lasting memories to the soundtrack of my life. In the dark corners of my mind they have known no bounds, setting this shy little boy from Indiana free from his inhibitions and restraints, allowing me to experience a kind of Walter Mittyesque freedom that has traveled from the confines of my imagination to the reality of my life.
I am a husband, a dad, a brother, a grandfather and an uncle. I’m an “engineer” by title and occasionally a coffee roaster by trade, but motorcycles are the very core of my existence. A poser I am not. I don’t need to show off or be seen. I’ve got nothing to prove. I ride for me and me alone. I couldn’t begin to tell you exactly how many I have owned over the past 49 years. Let’s just say “many.” Last year I had 4 bikes sandwiched into our small, one-car garage. I sold one of them and was down to three. Just this past week I let another one go. My Triumph Scrambler is heading to a new home. This will be the first time since 2010 that I have not owned a Triumph motorcycle. I’ve got a pretty healthy investment in Triumph shirts too. Normally I would not wear a shirt proclaiming something I do not own or a concert I did not attend, but I’m going to break that little rule in this case. I’m keeping the shirts!
I’ve had the Scrambler a little over a year and it is quite a lovely bike. Because I have multiple bikes, I didn’t put a lot of miles on it. It is more of a relaxing, kicking around type ride, something I’ve never been all that good at. When I get on a bike I always seem to think it has to be “balls to the walls” all the time. Even when I rode the Scrambler home, my wife was shaking her head, saying I didn’t know how to ride anything slow. Maybe so, but I did love the machine. My good friend Chad at Commonwealth Motorcycles performed some of his mechanical voodoo magic on the bike and turned it into a pretty exciting little ride.
But, alas, like every other bike I’ve owned, this one has a shelf life and it has reached it’s expiration date. The good news is that I am selling it to a good friend who I know will not only take great care of it, but he and his wife will enjoy many fine moments on this bike.
And then there were two. Easy come, easy go. Now I’m down to the Vstrom, my somewhat ugly, utilitarian traveling bike, and my KTM 690 Duke, the rabble-rouser of the garage. I will miss the Scrambler, but now “I’ve got a little space to fill.” You say Goodbye, but I say Hello…to the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT…the 171 hp transcontinental rocket ship that I hope will be coming to a garage near me this fall. I’m just getting started; many adventures await.