What on Earth is the appeal of old motorcycles (or any other machinery, for that matter…) of any kind? They would seem to have a generally poor reputation for being overweight, over-loud, unreliable and costly to buy and maintain, even if some of them are a ‘good investment’ and so relegated to only being of interest to ‘collectors’!
Is it the meaty, grunting, growling or ‘woofling’ sound of the exhaust and the rattle of chains, gears and reciprocating parts that appeal? Is it the basic, functional or powerful and purposeful looks with all those exposed pipes, knobs and levers, the appeal of whirring, rotating and sliding mechanical parts that you can magically SEE working? Skinny tyres that give no clue about the sometimes truly amazing handling characteristics?? Maybe it’s the solidness of a frame with brazed-on, cast lugs, the ‘clunk’ of the gearbox, the slung-low weight and the predictable power-delivery? The somehow archaic elegance of a forced (and very comfortable!) upright sitting-position on a sprung cycle-saddle as you cruise down the road studiously ‘ignoring’ the disbelieving stares as you shuffle by!? For each and every one of us there is a special something that does it for us, and whatever it might be is in the end unimportant, as it all leads down the same road! all I can say is, that there seems to quite a few of us out there, all with a different ‘story’, all with a similar passion and all with the same glint in their eye as they share their tale…
I also quite like the fact that an older bike can always do with being worked on. Oh, I don’t mean need working on (though that, of course, can happen), no, I mean can be used as an excuse to go and work on! There is always something that can be fiddled with without doing any serious damage*, and in the absence of meditation to calm the spirit, the old hack in ‘the shed’ can even satisfy your spiritual needs at times! This is when sitting down looking at it with a cup of coffee (or beer or whatever) in your hands, can lose you in your thoughts and transport you to …well, wherever that takes you…until you are rudely awakened by the cold or the wife/boyfriend/dog/hunger/dropping the glass or any other reality that shakes you out of your needed/long deserved daydream.
*Even if ‘someone’ is watching, or follows you out there, ‘they’ soon get the message that you are engrossed in something ‘important’ that they don’t understand and will eventually go away and leave you alone. Alternatively, you could just share the moment together, away from the madding crowd!