Monday, June 25, 2012

Wow, I Thought He Was Dead!

While organizing and agonizing for another "buy-fly-ride home" motorcycle adventure that starts tomorrow at 04:00, I thought I'd dust off this blog as a way to keep my kin and kindred BMW riders apprised of my progress.

I was, as our Brit friends say, gobsmacked (what a great expression!) to see that it's been over two years since I last posted. Where the heck has the time gone?

I love riding and I enjoy writing yet I've not written a word about motorcycling in a long time. I've never stopped riding and, although I'm riding less than I used to, I still enjoy it as much as I always have. But I've not written a word about it.

I suppose the scramble to make ends meet in this ongoing recession/economic crisis/slowdown/whatever has left little energy for enthusing over a keyboard. My kidney disease is progressing as it inevitably does, leaving me tired sooner, with little energy at the end of the day. But still, it's been over two years! Wow.

So here's the short version: Felina, my lovely R1150RT that was my original muse in the blogosphere is now living in northern BC. Sadly, her 610 lb mass just got to be too much for me to wrestle with at the end of a riding day. Her replacement is "Dixie", an incredibly beautiful 2003 BMW R1150RS that I bought in Asheville NC last June and rode 5000 miles home. Dixie is lighter and quicker than Felina, covers ground almost as well and keeps me as warm and dry as I need to be in the cold rain. We've covered 13,000 miles in our first year together and this season hasn't even started yet.

Dixie, my 2003 R1150RS. I love this bike.

Over this past year I've restored a 1991 BMW K1, "Darth Vader". Our relationship was rocky from the start: a misrepresented eBay ad, a horrid wet, cold and stormy ride home, months of undoing wiring and mechanical messes inflicted by well-intentioned but unskilled previous owners and hundreds of hours of mechanical and cosmetic restoration. In the end, I had a stunning piece of motorcycling history that was pure magic to ride. But I'd so tired of his company that his recent departure into the hands of a local collector was a relief. Very odd to feel this way, a first in over 40 years.

Darth Vader. May the Force be with you.

And tomorrow at 04:00 I'm off to Minneapolis to meet my new friend, a 1973 BMW R75/5 that I won in a charity auction last week. There was no planning, no months-long search for the perfect classic bike, this just kind of happened. An email from a fellow rider, a wander over to the auction site, a few bids and I'm on a plane tomorrow morning. This looks like a good reason to me:

My new best friend.
I know almost nothing about this bike, other than that it supposedly "starts right up and runs good". I've spoken to the man who has owned it for the past 37 years, storing it in his garage under a bed sheet when he wasn't riding it. I know it's been unridden for at least five years and last saw the inside of a shop in 1990(!). It's got just 22,000 miles on it and was the 17th-to-last of its kind ever produced, leaving the BMW factory on July 28, 1973, the day production of the /5 series ended.

This isn't a Grand Adventure but it'll certainly be an adventure! As the airhead flies, it's 1800 miles from Minneapolis to Vancouver. Knowing the odd way these old bikes handle, I wouldn't be surprised if I didn't end up riding half that again. (For those unfamiliar with BMW flat twins, the torque reaction of those engines tends to turn the bikes onto every passing back road. It's part of their charm.)

Hopefully, this won't turn out like The Chicken Yard Toaster purchase a few years ago. But, heck, even if it does, it'll be fun! Bookmark this blog and be my riding partner over the next week or so!