Sunday, March 27, 2011

Moto Middle Age

I received an email from an old friend a few weeks ago. It was addressed to all of his riding buddies and it listed all but one of his motorcycles as being for sale. We'd caught up over lunch the week prior so this wasn't a total surprise but somehow, seeing the bikes and prices listed made the whole situation much more "real."
Seems that after almost 40 years of riding, my friend Stan's health is forcing him to give up riding. For a hard core, dyed in the wool rider in his fifties, that's got to be a tough pill to swallow. He's keeping one bike, a Triumph Sprint, just in case but it's looking more and more like he'll be stuck in four wheels.

I've known Stan since the late 80's and he was the rider you couldn't help but envy. He always had an enviable assortment of two wheeled toys and did crazy stuff like traveling long distances!!! by motorcycle. When we met, I'd recently purchased my first motorcycle, an '82 CB750F and Stan was a good influence...encouraging use of proper gear, rider training and all that other un-sexy stuff that keeps a new rider alive. He was also kind enough to tolerate my slow ass self when I tagged along on day rides.
The objective observer might find it hard to feel sorry for Stan, heck he's owned dozens of bikes, ridden all over the US and Europe with a two wheeled vacation of some sort nearly every year, wife on pillion or solo. Still, it's hard not to be bummed for a friend losing the ability to enjoy his true passion. I'm keeping him in my thoughts, hoping he'll find a way to ride again in the future.

It's a good reminder to do the things you want to do, while you are able to.

I've noticed a lot of my friends seem to be in transition of late. Some have discovered the joy of off road riding after years of asphalt only motorcycling. Others are dipping a toe into that thing called adulthood; serious relationships, responsibilities and that's affecting their ability to ride like they want to. Heck, even my daughter is taking the step from dirt riding to street, a prospect that simultaneously makes me proud and scares the heck out of me. Taking the whole tableau in, I find myself unconsciously slotting myself into some sort of rider's timeline. If I'm lucky, I've hit moto middle age. I have the money to afford a selection of bikes that I can't help but smile about, I have the time to ride and I'm still young enough to enjoy riding hard.  I'm finally getting to do the stuff I'd dreamed about and I make it a point to remain thankful.

It all started right here for me

Who knows when or how it will end but here's to making the most of it in the meantime.

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