Friday, August 14, 2020

Cycle of time intrudes on a life of motorcycling

Motorcycle in garage with man on it.
The big red Harley-Davidson was Mike's pride and joy.
"Reality intrudes," a friend wrote me in an email the other day. That sounded ominous.

"Our very nice next-door neighbor Mike is a big, tough guy who does a lot of real work in retirement," my friend wrote.

"As you know, he's built furniture for us and lots of other neighbors. He just finished building a very nice stone wall in his garden. He makes daily trips to Lowes to buy lumber and whatever else he needs to keep up the pace.

"He built very impressive shelving, cabinets and a workbench in his garage to facilitate all this. He parks his truck outside to make room to work but he's always kept his big, red Harley under a cover in the middle of it all. He has been taking it out for rides at least once a week since we moved here. He has nowhere to go, of course, but he's been riding for many years and says he loves it.

"Then a month or so back, Mike fell off a ladder and hurt his right arm. Being a guy, he waited weeks to get the painful and swollen limb X-rayed. It turned out to be broken. This was a classic wake-up call.

"It got him thinking about age and healing. He realized that one tumble of the sort that he'd have bounced back from a few years ago could be life changing. He said he weighed the fun he still has on his bike against that as well as the reality that opportunities to ride will be fewer and farther between.

"So last week he sold his beloved Harley."

I replied that the motorcycle business is cyclical, as generations come and go. Baby Boomers like me fell in love with motorcycles in the 1960s, but we're aging out of riding. Will our generational cycle be the last go-around for motorcycles?

"It's the last go-'round for so much our generation thought would go on and on," my friend came back, somewhat grimly.

"We go, it all goes.

"Mike tells me he had been riding for 50 years. He is perfectly capable of continuing. I was impressed that he didn't wait until it became difficult. He just felt it was time."


  1. "Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you from misfortune." True then, true now. Better to pick your time than have it pick you - kudos to your friend for making a tough call.

  2. We'll put! And a nice looking Harley too. We're not getting any younger, so we better enjoy our bikes while we can. I don't think we are the last generation. See lots of youngsters on 125s around here. Might be riding electrical thingies in the future, but they'll still be riding!

  3. While I get what you're all saying here, I think he got it wrong. If it was me, Ida sold the ladder and kept riding the Harley. Or better still, got a RE or side car for the Harley. From my perspective, ladders are a lot more dangerous than bikes, especially for us old timers.


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