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Biker Dude (2010)
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Much as in the automotive industry, there is a thriving business in used parts for motorcycles. I heard about a motorcycle dismantler a few mile south of Vancouver who was said to specialize in Ducati, and I made the journey is the hope of finding some Diana parts to fortify my Monza. Indeed they had the parts. From my point of view they had a lot of parts, but from their point of view they would prefer far fewer, in fact none at all would be best. The Japanese were clearly dominating the market, and the Ducati occupied only a quirky little corner, not really worth the trouble. I went back for my pick-up truck, and for $200 I owned enough parts to eventually resurrect 5 not quite complete motorcycles. More important to myself, of course, I was able to upgrade my Monza to closely resemble the Diana I was dreaming of.

At this point in my life an opportunity came to move a thousand miles, and I chose to take it. The “Diana” went to a friend and I made a couple of trip in a car with such things as would fit inside it. Motorcycles went onto the back burner for a few years, punctuated by 2 newbie style experiences that made me think I was better off without them.

On Thanksgiving day, great planner that I may not be, I realized that being responsible for the mashed potato component of dinner, I‘d do well to get my hands on some potatoes. I borrowed m room-mate’s new Honda 550 and headed for he market. Entering an intersection at the same time as a transit bus coming the other way with his left turn signal on, I made made sure he saw me by making eye contact with the driver. To my surprise he made the turn anyway and I struck him right behind his front passenger door. I was braking hard and slid broadside into him catching my leg between the bike and the bus at perhaps 15 mph. Enough to bend the frame totaling bike, and tear cartilage under my kneecap, but not enough to cause me to miss dinner. I asked the driver why he turned in front of me, and he answered “I thought you could stop”. An American would have sued.

Several years later I acquired a street legal BSA Victor 441 Rickman Metisse with that had just been rebuilt entirely by a friend who had became interested in Transcendental Meditation, and disinterested in material possessions. The price was absurdly low at first, but I paid more in the long run. The second day I had it, opening day of the San Francisco Bay sailing season, I went for a ride out to Tiburon to see if there might be festivities there. I had been out on the bay in my Laser sailboat and had come in because the day was clouding up. Riding out Tiburon Blvd. I realized that the day seemed very sunny, so I looked all around to see if there were any clouds at all. Well, the may have been a particularly dark one immediately above me because when I looked up I found the that the Mercedes in front of me had stopped to turn left into his driveway. I nearly missed, but did not. I caught his rain gutter rail with the tip of my left elbow shattering it and moving it up to my shoulder. I did not drop the bike, but neither did I make it to dinner.

I sold that beautiful machine and gave up motorcycles as something better suited to youth, quicker reflexes, and sharper attention. A triumph of wisdom over passion. Wisdom is said to increase with age, a kind of booby prize according to some, but then how am I to explain my present situation 30 years later?

standards, there are more developed versions of these bikes in the show rooms, but remember you heard it here; I am cheap.

I am not sure “cheap” is exactly it. Related, perhaps, but I just can’t stand the feeling that I am throwing money away. I find it so much easier to part with my money when I have a sense that I could recover it again in a pinch. While it is difficult perhaps to think of motorcycles as investment vehicles, I‘d rather see them like that that as expenses, and there’s very little likelihood of recovering more that about two thirds of the price of a brand new motor vehicle. Perhaps “prudent” in the better word, though it seems a little stiff to me.

The V50 led to a 1975 850T, the same V twin shaft drive configuration but with enough power to break 100 mph and therefore capable of sustained 80 mph freeway cruising. Actually, this machine had been modified quite a bit, including barrels and cylinders from it’s big brother with 1000 cc’s, as well as suspension and exhaust upgrades from Koni and Bub.

The 850T led me to purchase a Moto Guzzi V11 Sport Ballabio made in 2004. I owned all three Guzzi’s concurrently! This is because the winter comes up suddenly somehow, and the market for motorcycles disappears with he good weather. Those who need their money for more practical considerations are forces to sell their toys in a buyers market, and I am such a buyer. Then, come the springtime, I am a seller. Not a great business plan as it is a long cycle (no pun intended), but for a hobby it has worked out quite nicely for me. Including all hard costs, but none of my “hobby” labor, I am substantially ahead in my game. In fact, I have no capital whatsoever tied up in the motorcycles I have at the time of writing, the profit for three years of turnover has paid for them entirely! But I am ahead of myself.