I must look ridiculous. A big guy (109 kilograms the last time I checked) on a 200cc motorcycle with a topbox that dominates the motorcycle and assures anyone looking on that, yes, this is indeed a not so big motorcycle, and yes, that rider is indeed a giant. Ridiculous. And sometimes I wear a pretty big backpack. I have never seen such monstrosities on a motorcycle here in Thailand before – even the local dealer took some convincing that such thing exist.
Even my eight-year old hates it, and told me so today. Why? ‘Have you seen yourself?’ he said. But the motorcycle does the trick of bringing me from home to work and vice versa.
Last year I made a life-changing decision. I committed myself to making motorcycling as affordable as possible. OK, perhaps not a life-changing decision, but a motorcycle-changing decision. And that commitment led me to a Chinese made 200cc. Gone was my beloved three-cylinder English marvel that was constantly reminding me to ‘go my own way,’ and in its place a diminutive motorcycle constantly reminding me that I had indeed gone my own way.
Or lost my way. I almost didn’t make the switch. What would my friends think? Could I find a salesman who wasn’t going to look at me as if I’d lost my mind? Twenty years’ riding experience and 29 kilograms of luggage, minus the luggage. But I found an understanding salesman, and I was sold, if not exactly thrilled. But the thrills cam; down went my insurance premiums, down went my maintenance costs, down went my fuel costs, and to my surprise, up came the fun factor. Also the commute to work didn’t take longer…
In this process I made a discovery. Motorcycles, for me, had become too much. Too much money for insurance. And too much power, at least in my hands. Motorcycles in general have become too much. Some motorcycles have too much noise. Others too much weight and bulk. Or too much chrome necessitating too much time in cleaning. One wonders how some motorcyclists manage to get their motorcycle to the local gathering place with hardly a bug splattered on them. I’ve wondered if they wash their motorcycles with insect repellent chemicals.
Perhaps having invested so much time in keeping their motorcycle in showroom condition, they would rather just show them than ride them. Which brings me to my next though; too much image.
Today I enjoyed many kilometers of joy on a motorcycle that I can easily afford. To miss out on that simply because I didn’t want to spend enough for something bigger would be foolishness of the highest order.
Story by email form Graham