I sold my motorcycle today.
Let her go for a song. As I knew I would.
She was old. She wasn’t pretty. I joked that we had that in common. I’ve tried umpteen times in the last few years to sell her, and then two days after I’d post the ad I‘d remove it.
The End of an Era
It wasn’t about the bike… it was about the end of an era.
I ended my marriage 18 years ago. I took a couple of years to heal and then started redesigning my life. The bike was part of the redesign – people would ask if I was having a mid-life crisis and I’d laugh and say “No crisis here!”
I can’t even remember why I decided to take motorcycle lessons and get my license. I don’t have a clue why I said Yes! to buying that heavy old beast from my friend… well, except that he loved her but he loved his new wife more so he quit riding… and we were good enough friends that he knew I’d love her too.
Which I did.
The Adventures Began
So the adventures began! Nervous tootles around the neighbourhood as I got used to the weight. Daytime rides where I knew there’d be minimal traffic. Longer rides as my confidence grew. The highway. Rides after dark. Finally, the big road trips.
Such road trips they were! I started joking that if you wanted a storm to move in, put Agnes on the bike on a road trip!! Torrential rainfall, crosswinds that could topple a bus, even hail storms on a highway with no shoulders (that was August – how crazy is that!).
Despite the white knuckles, despite the singing old songs in my helmet as loud as I could, despite the concentration on not acknowledging the missing barriers along the cliff edge… it was adventure after adventure and my bike became my reliable, never faltering, good friend.
Life Moves On
Life moves on, however, and a series of life events (aka choices) kept me off my bike for a few years. Each Spring I’d start her up, I’d contemplate putting plates on her, then I’d come to my senses and be fiscally responsible. With that fiscal responsibility came some guilt that the bike was sitting unridden for yet another year.
That’s when I started trying to sell her. Sort of. When the heart is involved, price tags are not easily settled on.
I’ll fast forward now to my latest incarnation. I’m older and wiser… and the owner of unreliable knees. Logic told me motorcycle riding was not the best activity to pursue with knees that stiffen up after 15 minutes in the same position. Falling over with a 500+ lb. bike between your legs is not fun!! (yes, did it once!)
I Braced Myself
When I placed my myriad ads on the internet, I braced myself for the onslaught of disparaging comments that always seem to come when people want more for less. A Facebook page for old bikes started sending love within two minutes of my ad going up – those folks could see through the scrapes and bruises and recognize my old friend for the classic she was. The other sales page was not quite so generous but a PM came through fairly quickly showing interest without any negative asides so I sent him my phone number. Within a few minutes a woman called and she sounded really anxious to find out more.
Long story short, they were at my house within the hour. Ana was 40-ish, had been in an accident a number of years ago that totalled her bike and she hadn’t ridden since. But it was now time. Her partner was a Harley-guy who couldn’t see many redeeming qualities in my Honda… but that’s a whole other subject – Ana was a Honda-gal! After climbing on and over and under my bike, he backed her out onto the street and roared off. Well, I use that word ‘roar’ generously. She gave a few putt-putts as she cleared her lungs after a winter of dormancy, and then she sang!
With tears collecting in my eyes, I beamed with the pride of a mother whose child has just aced a difficult piano recital. Ana looked at me, and with tears collecting in her eyes, did that ‘thing’ that is the little girl in all of us: hands clenched tightly together against her chest, huge excitement in her eyes, she bounced up and down. Our eyes met, and I knew I was done for. She didn’t even know my baby, but she loved her. When her partner returned, he did his wheeler-dealer thing, but it didn’t matter – Ana loved her and that was what mattered to me. Which brings us full-circle to the “song” I mentioned at the beginning.
Back in the house, I texted my daughters that another era in their mother’s life had ended. My girls are not big on sympathy unless it’s necessary, perhaps they just know their mother… but within 10 minutes they had created a whole new hilarious scenario with me on a Vespa, racing about town with daughter #1 sitting side-saddle behind me and daughter #2 screaming along in my side-car. I think the husbands were taking care of the grandchildren, I’m not sure.
Time of Life
It’s a curious time of life, do you agree? We get a little older and need to relinquish parts of our lives. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s bloody hard. Life does go on, however, and today I’m appreciative of the daughters who love me enough to remind me I’m still fun and help me find a new channel to live that part of me!
(Speaking of love… I need to ad a postscript here: that Harley guy swallowed his Harley ego and rode the old Honda a full hour, on the highway, in broad daylight, where anybody might see him, home for the woman he loved. Can I get an Aaww?)
What about you? Have you “had to” give up a fun or important thing in your life since you turned 50… 60… 70? I’d love to hear your story!
You’re a great storyteller Agnes. I could see these events unfold and totally relate, even though I’ve never owned a motorcycle. Our lives evolve. We let some things go. We embrace new things. Your daughters sound like gems. I look forward to hearing more stories from you and getting to know you better. Happy Monday!
Thanks for stopping by, Christie! and thank you for your kind words. I have to agree about my daughters!! 🙂 Happy Monday to you too!
I so sympathize with you! I learned to ride at age 55 when my now late husband was diagnosed with cancer. I toured the US as a widow on my Harley in 2005. I sold it when I sold everything at age 60 to become a full-time RVer. Fate had a surprise in store for me. At age 62, I remarried another full-time RVer who also rode. He had a Harley trike. A year or so later, we bought me a smaller Harley and I was back on two wheels. In 2013, the fall before we moved to Ecuador for… Read more »
What a lovely story, Donna, thank you for sharing that. I understand the twinge… I have to stop and look whenever I hear the motor roar too. I so appreciate the ease with which younger or stronger folk manuevre their bikes, and remember that was me… once upon a time…
I’ve just turned 60 and have begun the process of throwing out the things I don’t need. I can understand your anguish at getting rid of something that has meant so much to you…. There is a hunk of metal ( a 40 year old Fiat) sitting in my garage, sharing space with my new Hyundai . I’d love to get rid of the FIAT but it is my husband’s pride and joy….. I won’t grieve for sure when that hunk of metal is out!
Oh, dear… I hate to admite I understand your husband… I do also have a 52 year old car that is my summer driver… I can’t imagine getting rid of her!! Baby steps perhaps! Thanks for stopping by, I look forward to visiting you at your site!
Husband and I use to ride, we started with a Honda, then a Harley and then another Harley. We never did long trips though we talked about it. We did weekends at the lake and short runs on back roads but for some reason, my hips started to bother me after 15 or 20 min. We had turned 61 and the pain was more than the fun so we sold the bike. It is funny we were just laughing and talking about our biking years last week.
Great observation: “the pain was more than the fun”. I was never “happy” on the long road trips but the destinations were always worth it so I kept it up. And there is certainly a camaraderie amongst bike folk.
What a fantastic story Agnes! My husband got his motorbike licence in his 40’s and I’ve been happy to be his pillion passenger – even when we came off the bike on a busy road – not fun! I always admire women who are adventurous enough to ride alone – I’m still thinking a pink Vesper may be my retirement present to myself for tootling around the neighbourhood! Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM xx
Leanne | http://www.crestingthehill.com.au
Haha, perhaps we can form a Vespa gang, Leanne! or at least create a line of lovely Italian dresses for riding in! (not that I ever wear a dress anymore!) Glad your coming off ended well, enjoy the next ride for me!!
It would have been very hard to let go of your bike and all it represents, Agnes. What will your next adventure be?
Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
Never fear, I have a new adventure in the works, and will share when I can go public!! Thanks for stopping by, Sue!