Global Skywatch

Ted’s essays

Bitterroot Beemer Biker

00j0j_7l3L7M2xEYg_600x450I can hardly believe I did it.

My resistance to powerful motorcycle lust weakened sufficiently to put me back on two wheels after a 39-year hiatus.

Precious few activities even come close to the physical poetry, artistry, ballet of driving a nice bike. I do have a weakness for sweeping the curves with excessive libertarian joy in darn-near anything I drive, but way-moreso on bikes.

I haven’t been able to justify ownership, nor allow myself the temptation to enjoy a sport-bike or sport-touring-bike in the way they were designed to be loved.

This gem to the right broke all that down yesterday.

A 2002 BMW R1150RS for $2,500 was in the price range of bikes I’d been daydreaming of for a decade or more. But at less than half of what I would expect to pay for a bike of this quality, my frugal side took my resistance out behind the woodshed and beat the sauce out of it.
Sparrow harp
Surprising me even more, Missy didn’t even require a sales pitch. I do, however, now owe her a “Sparrow Harp” – a reduced-size autoharp that she’s been wanting.

What the heck, she’s gunna need something to occupy her time as I make numerous errands to various stores for A 16-penny nail, A carrot, A post-card, and so on. Maximizing the utility of each trip is no longer a priority. I heard a rumor that Salmon, Idaho 70 kinky miles over the mountain from here has good jelly doughnuts. Just as in a well-lived life, The Journey Is The Point.

This Beemer scratches another itch that is particularly powerful in me: My love for the mechanical precision of fine engines, gearboxes and suspensions and operating them well. The make, model, year that followed me home like a grocery-store puppy was a fortuitous find. This particular combination is held in high esteem even among the BMW specialists.

The exhaust note is JUST enough to bring the ears in on the fun, without droning heavily on them over time. The sweet feeling of smooth acceleration and light, quick gearchanges are lovely high art … mmmmmmm-snik-mmmmmmm-snik-mmmmmmm-snik-mmmmmmm-snik … 6 gears in gorgeous rapid succession with a quick, light hydraulic clutch put me into whatever cruising speed I want quickly and effortlessly.

And brakes. Wow BRAKES! I’ve never had such things. My bike riding is way too rusty to really appreciate them yet, but smooth and nothing short of amazing in shedding speed. I will need to be darn sure nobody is close behind me when I drop anchor on this master of deceleration. They are ABS, front and rear, but I have come nowhere near needing that help.

Oh, and as a welcome back to bikes gift, I got to ride through hail and rain on the way home. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Knowing the ABS was my guardian angel preventing rookie-level skids was a bit of a comfort.

All that at 45 to 55 lovely miles for every gallon of premium non-ethanol gasoline (my favorite flavor of pulse elevating juice).

So here I am in the beautiful Bitterroot where bikes of all nature roll through in great quantity from May through October. I can quit watching them sadly as in The Girl from Ipanima.

Now I can smile inside, drop my left hand off the grip in the now universal motorcycle pilot wave as we pass on the highway.
It’s a biker thing.
The rest don’t need to understand.
We do.