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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Resolutions For The New Year

I'd like to say that I missed yesterday's post because I was out of sorts from partying all night long. However, those days are long in the rear view mirror. I celebrated the New Year with the people of Rio de Janeiro and went to bed.

It seems that every year I make the same resolutions: More riding, Less weight! Yesterday I spent some time considering what was obstructing these goals. The weight thing is no secret, a fondness for eating and an aversion to exercise.

Riding is another matter. I certainly love motorcycles and I love getting on one and riding it. But over the last many years that love has been tarnished. It's obviously not because I don't have enough of them. They're in the basement, the garage, the shed, and even in the living room. And it's not because I don't have one for every inclination; sport, sport touring, dirt, dual sport, race, and trail.

As I walked through the woods yesterday pondering the new year I came to the conclusion that somewhere along the way there was a subtle shift that I hadn't noticed. At some point the bikes began to own me rather than me owning them. I had become servant to their always dead batteries and ever clogging carburetors. I couldn't just slap on a helmet and go for a ride, I had to push a couple out of the way to get to the one I wanted. I had to plan ahead to hook up a charger to make sure the battery was ready. Then it there was putting Techron in the fuel tank and the first 20 miles of riding while the crap in the carbs washed out and they started acting properly.

My first motorcycle was a humble Honda C110. 50cc of raw power and amazing handling for a 17 year old boy. What is most amazing is that I didn't kill myself with it. But it was the magic carpet that liberated me from an oppressive father and sent me out into a world that knew no bounds. I used to sneak out of my bedroom window at night and ride for hours through the back roads of the East Bay area. Sure I bent push rods by the dozen when I floated the valves trying to get the last bit of speed out of it but it was my bike and I loved it. One bike, one boy, hundreds of adventures.

I have no desire to buy another and relive my youth. The kernel of truth to be learned was that I had one bike and it took me everywhere. It was always ready to go because it was always going.

Now I have all the bikes I want but it's not making me happy. Do I really need 5 dirt bikes? Or 4 sport bikes? Or ...? I remember a long time ago a friend who had 7 Harleys and a Gold Wing. He told me that he needed 7 Harleys so that at least one was running at any given time. The Gold Wing was to go for parts for the Harleys. I now know what he meant.

So my New Year's resolution is to make choices about what to keep and what to sell. And for some, what to put into stasis. I'll never sell my CL72, it's been in the family for the last 35 years. Will I ever ride it again? Doubtful. So I'll go through the engine, clean the carbs, get it repainted and then drain everything and put it on display. Same with the CB77 and the MR175. The vintage race bikes are already on display. The Transalp, the VF1000R, and the R100RS will be riders.

The rest of the bikes will be at VMD with price tags on them. Some of them have been old friends but it's time to go. My time this year will be spent building the Land Speed Record bike for Bonneville in August. I'm sure the SL350K2 will understand.