My brothers-in-law both have shiny, growly Harley Davidsons - Sportsters? Roadsters? Something with a "ster" in it - that they are very proud of. They deck themselves out in Harley helmets, jackets, chaps and belts and go thundering down the road looking quite cool. D has a 20 year old Honda 350. It's covered in dust, has two broken tail lights and was recently diagnosed with a bad case of mouse nest in its innards. When we ride it, we usually wear lumber jackets and work boots.
I think I detect more than a hint of wistfulness in D's eyes when C comes rumbling out of the shop on his way for a tour. D doesn't surf the 'net much, but when he does, it's to scroll through pages of used motorbikes every blessed time. I keep coaxing him to buy a new one, but he won't. I'm not really sure why, but I think it's because he never wants to spend money on himself. Surprise me with a ruby and diamond necklace for Christmas? No problem. Purchase a new grain mixer for his Dad's farm? No biggie. Buy himself a used motorbike to replace the one he's had since forever? Not gonna happen.
While it's tempting to want to buy one for him, I wouldn't know where to begin. My motorbike expertise begins with tooting around on the teeny tiny old '70 at his parents' farm, and ends with me balancing on the back of D's bike until my butt hurts. And C has vowed never to help me, for fear of incurring D's wrath. So what to do?
I've been for a ride on both my brothers' Harleys, and while they're a lot of fun, I still prefer D's beat up old bike. The Harleys are incredibly loud; your head aches after a half hour on the back of one. I don't like the way everyone stares at you when you roar through town either. The passenger seats aren't as comfy as the old squishy one on D's bike. Plus the brothers would never allow their bikes to go for a joyride down the dirty 6th concession, let alone a heart-pounding buzz through a freshly shorn field.
I have so many good memories associated with the Honda: the first time D took me for a spin, through fragrant meadows and down bumpy dirt roads, around his Grandpa's old farm and the Lowry Grain elevators; the time we dumped 'er executing a tight turn and smashed the only remaining tail light; the night he proposed at the Point Clark lighthouse with the ring hidden in the bike's secret compartment. Yeah, I love that old bike! Even if by some miracle I can convince him to get a new one some day, the dusty red Honda will always be my favourite.