Should we give up the motorcycle?

Should we give up the motorcycle?

110 on the highway, 80 elsewhere, radars, Léas and blues in ambush…

Go beyond the lowest common denominator

110 km/h on the motorway, 80 elsewhere, speed cameras everywhere, Léa and bruises in ambush… do I have to give up the motorbike?

Should we give up the motorcycle?  (c) photo: Nathan Cowley
Should we give up the motorcycle? (c) photo: Nathan Cowley

I don’t give a damn about the two-euro-a-litre super: my bikes have always been a luxury; if I wanted to make econocroques I would go to work by bike. But still: my salary has not kept up with inflation at the pump. Neither is yours, I imagine.

A few weeks ago, I got hit in a car by a ‘section’ radar at 70. A deserted tunnel without risk, of course. Bah. But it sucks to drop money under a false pretense. It hadn’t happened to me for a long time, well… More than ten years, in fact.

I don’t know if I pay more attention to it than before, but I have the impression that the concentration per linear kilometer of super assholes and super morons has clearly increased in recent years. Or else it’s me who drives more slowly and therefore I get picked up more frequently by bad guys who obviously have too many points on their license or the insurance of having a bonus life (thank you Brahma). Before, I had the fear of hurting myself on my motorbike alone, now it’s doubled by the fear of having me zigouled by an odious character convinced of being within his rights, or an asshole in need of social recognition in his car “look mom: gray willy”.

I must also take into account the more pernicious phenomenon of overly efficient motorcycles, on the handlebars of which it is easy to ride above my pumps while being bored. You have to jump from a PC32 to a ‘modern’ CB 500 (PC63) to notice it: on a simple go-around in three to 4,000 laps, the carbureted version is much more fun, notwithstanding the ten horsepower of difference. Should we shun everything that came out after – say – 2005?

We discussed it a bit with my darling dealer: in the long run, we end up losing enthusiasm. We have already traveled all the roads around thirty or forty times. Like old dogs, we prefer to stay dry and warm, in the kennel, rather than jumping into the saddle at the slightest half-day free. We always ride, yes, but more rarely, after having calculated our momentum. We also appreciate bikers who know how to talk about something other than bikes; it’s nice to talk about motorcycles… but it’s nice to go beyond the lowest common denominator.

Finally (and it’s more delicate because I can’t help it), this new generation of bikers leaves me doubtful. They talk about things that don’t interest me; I have references that don’t mean anything to them. The kids of some buddies more or less politely shun us, preferring their own company.

Thus, I find it hard to rub shoulders with ‘young’ bikers: slow down, kid; there is life below 9,000 rpm. You have nothing to prove to anyone and especially not by driving like a callus. (Well you do well as you want, huh? At worst, you’ll wait for me three minutes once I arrive at my destination, the time to roll a cigarette… ah, no, it’s true, in yours there are batteries).

Perhaps they can’t stand the hint of condescension or paternalism that despite us emerges from our remarks. However, I try to be careful not to play the old complainers. Me too, at twenty, I had forged certainties that were both solid and stupid (which took me another twenty years to demolish), but I didn’t like being pointed out to me.

Is all this hardly encouraging? Not necessarily. Enthusiasm is also a matter of mount. In the pile, there must be a bike that matches my updated priority list. A 390 with a top case, a CRF with a windshield, a GSX in A2 because that’s good enough to keep up with the ‘full’ friends.

Especially since once again I am convinced that we are on borrowed time. Will there still be motorcycles in fifteen years? In twenty years? Really ? ‘Normal’ motorcycles, I mean, with an internal combustion engine and no electronic bridle à la bite-moi’l way mandatory temperature check before getting in the saddle sometimes…

Gradually, mediocre cowards took power everywhere. They came to replace the optimistic maboules of the 60s and 70s who found it normal to do Paris-Hendaye at 6 in a Deuche to go on vacation and described as ‘correct’ the drum brakes of the Kawa H2 (the Real one, the one with a engine).

I tell myself that it may be time for me to choose my Last motorcycle, the one with which to wait for the end of the world (or bans on driving under a bogus pretext). The exercise amuses me: like the First motorcycle, the Last has a very special meaning. On what kind of brelon would I like to finish my career – even if it means changing my mind and deciding that this was rather the penultimate?

I think I would like a fun and original bike, like a Vultus or a Meteor. Or a big old ZRX/XJR way.

Am I getting ready to play the role of the little old man who appears out of nowhere on an unlikely bike?

Hum… My conclusion has nothing to do with the title. Thanks for pointing that out to me. Finally, as this Kronik is already too long…

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