In 1989 this lovely lady was born! Not the bike, the lady! It’s my daughter Hannah and she has been wonderful, joyful, and amazing her whole life. Prior to her being born I had ridden motorcycles for years. A Kawasaki here, Honda there, until 1978 when I came upon a BMW R60/5! Wow, it was a beautiful bike. I struggled to come up with $1800 to purchase her, but did so. We worked well together for 11 years, through many girlfriends and many trips. For my own safety, I won’t list the girlfriend’s names, just the states: Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin . In 1989, my then wife, who had enjoyed many a ride on the back, suggested that a dad-to-be really shouldn’t be riding a motorcycle. And, that we could better use the money to fix up the baby’s room. Unfortunately, it all made sense to me and in a short while the bike was sold and Hannah was born. No question that it was a good trade off, though overall maintenance on the BMW over the years would have been far less costly. Hannah was born in 1989 and it wasn’t until all the kids were grown and away, in 2012, that I bought another motorcycle. This one was Big Red: 2004 Harley Road King Classic; unequivocally, (I whisper so the BMW won’t hear) the best motorcycle I have ever ridden. A brief comparison. The BMW weighed 463 pounds and the Harley weighs 731 pounds. The engine on the BMW was 600cc whereas the Harley, before the Screaming Eagle upgrades, was 1400 cc, an engine more than twice as powerful. But despite the Harley’s prodigious ability, awesome sound, feel and dependability, I still had a hankering for those halcyon days of riding and the bike that got away, the BMW. So I was thrilled a short while ago to find on EBAY a BMW R60/5 from the old days. With luck and last minute bidding, I got it: a 1973 BMW R60/5! That’s her in the picture. Not the girl the other one.
So what can I say? Okay, okay, it was absolutely a good deal years ago to swap the early BMW for Hannah. I know that. The Harley has been an incredible workhorse, recently taking me across America and back. Easily the most powerful, comfortable and beautiful bike I’ve ever owned. The 1973 BMW is 40 years old, has a kick starter (and an electric starter), starts immediately, but smokes heavily (only just for a moment when it starts) out of the right exhaust. Sometimes it leaks gas onto my boot. It’s slower, but because it’s so balanced (flat twin opposed cylinders) it’s incredibly nimble through all the twists and turns. The Harley is like a flexible tank. The BMW is smooth, quiet, fun and maneuvers more like a bicycle.
But hey, it’s not a competition! I rode the Harley the 55 miles up to Dalton today and back. It cruised easily on the interstate at somewhere near the legal speed. That’s what she’s for: grinding up the big miles on the big roads. Tonight I took the BMW into town, slalomed easily on roads around the levee, over the river, and did an easy u-turn on Broad street so I could get to hear the timeless jazz at 333. All so smooth.
Now I need to call Hannah and make sure she knows I love her.