RoadRUNNER Zen Motorcyclist

Not Just Yet

Oct 20, 2013 View Comments by

Not Just YetBig Red’s odometer is ticking close to 70,000 miles and increasingly I find myself considering what will be next. I look at all types of bikes at the dealership and usually fantasize about making a change. The decision will be based in part on the commute I end up having as I am in the midst of a career change but I always end up leaving the dealership having made excuses aplenty as to why no other bike is quite right.

I’ve had the opportunity recently to ride a couple of other motorcycles. My brother Dave let me take his ’94 CB900 for a spin after a recent ride we took together. It was so radically different from my V-Strom that I immediately came very close to riding right off his driveway and into the grass. My inseam is so long I was unable to shift without lifting my entire leg. Eventually I got comfortable enough to zip around the countryside for an hour, but never completely comfortable.

On another occasion I met my friend Henry for a ride and while he was suiting up he suggested I take his beloved F 800 ST for a spin. I’m not sure how many of us would gladly offer our bikes to a friend to try but I’m guessing it’s a small percentage. A brother is a brother and if my brother Dave or I happened to damage the other’s bike we’d get over it like brothers do (frequent and unending applications of shame and ridicule); but I’d find it difficult to handle damaging Henry’s beemer. He’s a trusting, gracious soul but I’d have been mortified. I whipped the F 800 around the parking lot a few times and brought it back. Henry said “no, take it out on a ride, it’s fine,” and so I did and managed to thoroughly enjoy myself, although again, I got comfortable enough but never felt quite at home on it.

After nearly 70,000 miles and over eight years Big Red feels like an old, irreplaceable friend who’s always been there and whom I love the more for all we’ve seen each other through. Our partnership, as all good ones do, gets better, deeper and more fulfilling over time. It’s hard for me to imagine walking out to ride and not seeing that big, beaten and scarred, red and black beast. The patches will make the goodbye harder still to paraphrase Cat Stevens; but for now I can delay making a decision. Maybe I’ll revisit the idea again next year as we approach 80,000. There’s no rush, we have plenty of time.

Tags: , , , , , , Categories: Zen Motorcyclist

About the author

I have been motorcycle commuting since 1998. I created Zen Motorcyclist (formerly Commuting Motorcyclist) in 2011 and work as a motojournalist, software developer, CAD designer and IT/CAD manager in the Surveying and Civil Engineering field.