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A little sympatico goes a very long way

  1. Its amazing what having a bike does.

    At my usual volunteer gig the housekeeper is a truly wonderful human being, who had mentioned a few times that he used to ride, has sons who drive drift cars, is very involved in speedway up at Murray Bridge and has lived a life worthy of a good Australian movie. And he has the hardest of times sometimes, his stories frequently make me forget my own woes as he tells me about things that have happened in his week, or his past, and humble me utterly with how they always end with him doing something beautiful to help someone. He never boasts and often offloads his woes, but he always ends with a twinkle and a wink that "you gotta pay it forwards, girl". Anyway tonight he was in a beautiful chirpy mood and excited to be going on holiday, chatting away and laughing, so when he came along about halfway through class with a sparkle in his eyes and a photo album in his hands and said "Got some family photos to show you" I didn't know, but should've, to expect that he would produce pics of the magnificent pitch black Honda he used to ride in the 80s. Damn she was fine! Such envy.
    And for 20 minutes he babbled on about how she was a 600 with a 900 dropped in, how he'd put 6 over forks on her but whenever he got defected he'd put the others back on and take her to the testing centre... How he'd had to build her three times because after the second time he'd lent her to a bloke who got himself killed on Gorge Rd, so at first all he'd got back was a wheel, and they always played by the rule that if you write off another bloke's bike they get your bike, but he couldn't accept the guy's bike, so when he got the rest back he took it to Snowy, who is apparently one of the best engineers in the world, working on the racing team, and Snowy said "tell you what mate, I got some bits you can have..." and built him just about the best bike any man has apparently ever owned. Sprockets and sports bike parts and lots of other tinkering terms that I could only nod and smile blankly at... And how he'd had four different set ups for her, one for legal, one for dirt, one for touring and one for speed, and he'd removed the battery compartment and dropped the seat to make it more comfortable...

    And about the Z9 which he used to take up the Gorge and drop so low that his pillion had to lift her feet off the pegs, and which he never got a ticket on because whenever he saw a cop he'd pass on one wheel so his number plate was pointing down.
    And how Yamaha still invite him to go ride at Malalla...

    Damn, the light in his eyes as he talked. I didn't care whether his stories made sense, or were even technically possible, or likely. I just got the biggest warmth as he flipped the pages showing him dressed as Santa for the kids, on the bike, of the Chihuahua who they used to take to visit people in hospital - on the bike - and of the bike with long forks, the bike with legal forks, the bike in a field... :D

    I could listen to it all day. Old bikers are romantic, sentimental, generous, funny, down-to-earth people, by and large, with wistful hearts. And you can show me yellowed picture after yellowed picture of bikes til the cows come home. One day I might even understand what all the mods do. And have a heap of stories of my own. :)

    About Author

    Erm. Female. Newbie. Read the rest, you'll get to know me.
    Geoff3DMN, ST59, fatbastard and 5 others like this.


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  1. XJ6N
    I've ridden with a group of older riders and the conversations that happen with them on the side of the road or over lunch are as good, if not better, than the riding itself. And to think, you've started building motorcycling experiences and stories of your own to tell in a few decades too!
      JuniperSachs likes this.