~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Twenty Bikes to Live

Aprilia RS250 in street trim. No longer made, but findable. (nicked the photo from Apriliaforum.com)
I got in a small discussion awhile back with another rider of my approximate age (54). We talked about all the bikes we'd owned and all the bikes we still want to own before the big dirt nap. As we got a little more philosophical about the whole business of aging and riding we found that we'd both developed the same way of counting the advancing calendar pages. We didn't see our remaining years as being 20 more or 25 more years but measured them by how many bikes we thought we could still buy and enjoy. The whole concept fit very nicely in with that old biker adage "You don't stop riding because you get old, you get old because you stopped riding." I believe it.

In 2002 I thought my riding days were finished. I was shaky and fatigued all time, looked terrible, had gained weight, had dark circles under my eyes and was starting to make mistakes when I rode my Kawasaki Concours. No wonder I couldn't get a date. I have always said I'd give up riding when I felt I couldn't handle the bike safely any longer and it appeared that the time had come, albeit twenty or thirty years early. So I sold the Concours, put away my helmet and looked for something else to do. I also wised up and went to see the doctor.

It wasn't long before I got a call from Doc Winter about some recent blood tests. "Doug, I'm sorry to tell you that you have Type 2 diabetes." Huh? "And nearly all your other blood readings are terrible."  Erk...  Visions of insulin and needles danced in my head and I was walloped with a feeling of "diabetes overwhelmous" that hits most everyone when they are first diagnosed with the disease. I won't bore you with details.

Rather than die a really unpleasant death from diabetes, heart disease (along with the fun of blindness and amputation) I did every blessed thing the doc told me to do. It wasn't very long and I was feeling better, the shakes were gone, my eyes brightened, I lost 35lbs, and I felt pretty much like my old self again. Huzzah!! Hmm....what next...? Of course! Time for a new bike!!

The Kaw 1600 was purchased with the thought that it might be my last bike, I'd ride it a bit on the weekends and that was it. It would do me and my old fahrt riding habits until it was time to check out once and for all.  Ha...once a bike nut, always a bike nut. The Aprilia Falco came next, then the Aprilia Caponord. The Kawasaki went home with it's new owner two weeks ago and I'm doing my best to fight off the most incurable mental illness of all, motorcycle fever. The other afternoon I visited my friends at Kelly's Kawasaki in Mesa and wandered through the BMW shop in Chandler to look at the new K1200 Beemer. Nothing lit me up, not even the new 1200/4 Beemer.

According to the actuarial tables I've got about 23 years left to live. At my lifetime average of about one bike per year that's about enough time to own approximately 1/3 of all the bikes I still want to own unless I win the lottery or find a rich woman to marry. My chances are probably better with the Lotto.

So what next if I really have about twenty more bikes to live? Where should I start? I've had a Harley (been there, done that, got the t-shirt...and before it was fashionable), a sport bike or two, a big trailie, enduro bikes (dual sport for you young whippersnappers), a Goldwing, a couple of UJMs, and a gaggle of little bikes.

I'm inclined to be patient and continue to hope that Aprilia will bring the Caponord Rally Raid model to the US. I love my '02 Capo but the newer bike with all the trimming including ABS would be a fine thing to grace my garage.

Other than that, I'm not sure what will satiate this next of 20 possible rounds of moto lust. I do miss my Falco however brief was our affair.  I've never owned a track bike (pavement kind) or done the track day thing that's all the rage now. A KTM 625 SMC on the track perhaps? Hmm... Decisions, decisions.


James Allgood said...

Have you done the sidecar thing yet? My dog has been bugging me to get one of those Urals so she can come on a ride or two.

Doug Klassen said...


I hadn't thought about a sidecar. Someone said the local Ural dealer had some nice used units in stock. I always like the military looking version. My two dogs would think it was cool. Hmm...


Anonymous said...

Hey, nice site.
You sound like a prime candidate for a trackday. At age 48 I took my R100RS out to Willow Springs for a Pridmore CLASS. That led to racing an FZR400. A heady experience. Age nor gender, nor girth are barriers to racing, though 50 year old novices will never be fast. The 50 year old class at WSMC runs some pretty darn fast times.

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