This morning, as usual the alarm rang telling us it was time to get up and go to work, my wife rolled over, yawned, scratched and ….nope that was me, she rolled over, gave me a kiss and then said “ Oh my God, I am married to an old man”. You see today is my birthday and today I am officially old, I am 50!
But I don’t feel old; in all honesty I don’t feel any different compared to when I was 18 on my first bike. In fact I feel a whole lot better than I did a month after my 18th birthday; because that was the night I broke my wrist and got concussion on the way home from an evening with a certain young lady. I remember everything about that night, except the accident, which is a good thing because if I had forgotten the evening with the young lady I would be pissed!
I also remember passing my test and getting my first real big bike, a GPZ550. This is when the Kawasaki Unitrack system was state of the art. Monoshocks and lcd displays were the height of motorcycle chic and the GPZ’s were the bikes to have, even more so when the 900R came out.
Then came the mid 80’s and the time of the 16 inch front wheel. It was meant to make the handling faster and nimbler and it did. This was fine on the Grandprix bikes of the time, on the billiard table tarmac of the track but in real life, on the roads of England, all it meant was quite a few heart stopping tank slappers. My Gpz600r came….and went, in the space of about 6 months, and I count myself lucky not to have slid it up the road in that time.
I remember when bikes were real bikes...for men....blah blah blah!!
And it is not just the bikes; it is the parties and the people as well. Watching a mad welsh lunatic shoving a dart through his cheek, just because he could. Then there is the deranged guy from the lakes district of England, standing in a fire explaining just how long the world record for standing in a fire was. He didn’t beat it but he might have beaten the record for the biggest blister on a foot. Charlie, riding with half a football (soccer) on his head instead of a crash helmet, and us running in front, breaking the speed limit so any police would stop us, not him. Very stupid really seeing as riding with no helmet was the lesser of the two offences…but it made sense at the time. Poor old Charlie, been dead for many years now, and so have others, Edgar from Germany, Rambo before Rambo existed and Derek whose passing was marked by thousands of women regretting they never got the chance to sleep with him, well that is what he told us...before he died!
Then “old” Doug comes to mind, and no it is not an Ironic name. He left us a couple of years ago now, and like them all he is sorely missed. He rode into his eighties, his last bike a street fightered gsxr1100, and he knew how to ride it. Once, a few years before his death, he was stopped for speeding, well over the ton, buy a young police officer. The officer in question told Doug to take his helmet off and on seeing the grizzled, weathered face of the old trawler man, exclaimed “Jesus Christ, you are the oldest hooligan I have ever seen”.
So I am going to take a leaf out of Doug’s book, I will look back at what has been and then look forward at what I am going to be doing next. Life is for the living and 50 isn’t really so old…I have at least another 30 years of irresponsible behavior left in me!
Time for beer, whiskey and fine women!
Stay safe.......and stay young