Friday, November 10, 2023

Ride retro bikes before it's too late

Crowd of vintage motorcycles in a room.
RetroTours offers tours on vintage motorcycles. 

 What will happen to my old Royal Enfield Bullet when I'm gone? 

I'm not going away anytime soon. I hope. But I've reached the age that this is not a completely idle consideration. 

RetroTours founder Joel Samick has thought about it. That's because he has a business plan that centers on motorcycles more than 20 years old. 

Riders who book with RetroTours get to sample Joel's collection of time honored vintage motorcycles on tours of the back roads of Pennsylvania and nearby states. 

Some of these bikes have a special history. Joel calls them "widow bikes." They're motorcycles that come to the Cycle Resurrections side of his business after the owner/rider has passed on. 

Joel recently shared the story of some of these motorcycles in his RetroTours Fall newsletter.

(His philosophical ramblings about vintage motorcycles and the people who love them are always worth reading. I never miss reading one of his newsletters, even though I've never toured with him.)

One recent widow bike, a 1975 Norton Commando, won't be joining the RetroTours fleet. Instead, Joel was hired to "pickle" it for the owner's family, who will store it as a memento in his memory.

He's restoring a 1971 Triumph 650 for a widow who intends to ride it herself.

On the other hand, Joel purchased a BMW R60 from a widow who wanted the sad reminder gone from the garage; that one will join RetroTours.

"Honestly, I don't go looking for these bikes, they just seem to find me," he wrote in the newsletter.

"These situations illustrate the strong emotional attachment that riders and their families develop towards riding and towards old motorcycles. What is it that evokes such a strong connection? While I cannot speak for others, I do know how riding makes me feel, and I suppose I can understand how children who grow up with a father or mother who rides can make the machine a symbol of their love."

So what will happen someday to the 20-30 motorcycles in his own garage?

"Guess what? I really don’t care," he writes.

"I just want to keep riding them as long as I can, and I would be delighted if you would join me for a ride. These examples illustrate a point: don’t wait until it’s too late!"

RetroTours is based in  Kennett Square, Pa. If you want to see what they're up to, here's a link to a list of the tours Joel did in 2023.

He'll also do custom tours to fit your wishes. Phone number is 610-608-7430.

I have no connection to Joel or RetroTours. But I do recommend his newsletter.

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