Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mods and Rockers

I don't drive a car. Never have. I don't think I ever will. I'd like to, but the notion scares me a bit. I'm a nervous enough passenger; Evan knows how I'd manage behind the wheel...
I do, however, own two motor bikes. One is a 1979 Honda, the other a 1963 Vespa.

photo taken in 1982
I bought the Honda back in 1984 when I moved into a very dodgy block of flats in Brooklyn Park. The denizens were desperados; many were up to no good. Each night, as I tried to sleep amid the cacophony of breaking glass, yelling and burnouts, I worried about my cherished ex-postie 1977 Vespa 150 Super. I'd owned the bike for three years and nurtured her back to health after a crash one Friday night on Seaview Road. Adorned with mirrors, chrome and aerials, the Vespa was a perfect target for vandals as she sat under the shared carport. Scooters weren't part of normal culture. I feared the worst.

photo taken in 2013
After a month or two of living at the new place, it was with a heavy heart that I decided that it was best for both me and the Vespa if we went our separate ways. I sold the Super on consignment at Sharp's Motor Cycles in the city and asked the affable owner, Bert Sharp, to see if he could source me a motor bike. He came up trumps with a near-mint 1979 Honda CB 250T.
I rode the new bike home at about 30 kmh; it was a whole different concept to riding the Vespa. I wondered what the Dickens I had let myself in for. Gradually, though, we became friends and everyday companions.
The Honda stayed with me, through times of constant use and times of absolute neglect, and it is to her credit that she is still here.

photo taken in 2013
A few years back I decided that the time was right to rekindle my love affair with scooters and, after getting lucky through some friends of friends, I managed to pick up a 1963 Vespa 150 GL. It looked pretty rough around the edges, resplendent in hand-painted purple and grey livery, but it was in pretty good condition overall. Many months, and many dollars later, the restoration was complete and the GL looked just as she would have when rolling off the production line back in '63.

They don't get a lot of use but they do get a lot of love. A quick ride around the local area is about the best we manage these days. None of us are getting any younger. The arrangement seems to suit us all, and I expect our relationship to endure.

Just don't ask me to choose.

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