Beyond a Tank of Gas

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Officially I’m not old. Let’s get this out there right now. Although what little hair I have is quite gray, I’m really not that old. So why do I ride an “old man’s” bike? Well it has so much more to do with being wiser, not older. You see when you ride a lot of miles, you quickly find out it’s not about looking cool but rather feeling comfortable.

There surely was a time when cool was important to me. In fact cool was only something a weird guy like me could hope to be at some point in my life. I know I wowed friends with my sense of humor, but at no time did I hear anyone say to me “you’re cool.” Funny yes, but never cool. But I digress.

Why is the bike I ride considered an old man’s bike anyway? Big seat, cruise control, stereo, CB radio, plenty of wind protection (to keep my flowing locks free from tangles) and storage – lots of storage. Oh, and a trailer hitch. Now I know what you’re thinking; a young man wouldn’t need these things. He would set off on a ride with little or no suspension, a flannel shirt, Chuck Taylors on his feet, and his Ray Bans acting as his windshield. Trust me, he isn’t riding far. Oh, I know he’s cool and the envy of some, but that’s only cool for a tank of gas or so. I’ve seen everything within a tank of gas from where I live. In fact you have to pass the same old scenery just to get anywhere. It’s beyond the 5 gallons of gas or so that I long for. Hell, I would rather be 5 tanks of gas away from anywhere on my motorcycle.

It’s beyond the 5 gallons of gas or so that I long for.

It takes at least a couple of fill-ups to see the unfamiliar landscape we desire and for those of us “old bastards” who like to travel on our motorcycles, we’re just getting warmed up. I’m not trying to take away anything from being young and adventurous. Living on a shoestring, willing to sacrifice your comfort for the sake of it all and to set off completely unprepared for whatever mother nature throws at you is a choice, and who am I to argue? Just because I can’t leave the house without lip balm might tell you something about me. I was young once and that’s all I’m going to say about that. With youth comes learning and with age comes learned. I’ve learned the hard way to not set off on a ride without a pair of gloves if there is any chance the temperature could drop along the way. And I’ve learned my ass needs a soft seat for any ride longer than 20 minutes.

So I don’t want to hear my motorcycle referred to as an “old man’s” bike anymore. It is more of a “dues paid” motorcycle.

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16 thoughts on “Beyond a Tank of Gas

  1. That’s not really an old man’s bike, Jeff. A Goldwing in truly and old guy’s bike!

    I tried to buy one once. The Honda dealer carded me and refused to sell me one unless I was over 60 with proof of retirement.

    Good stuff, brother…

  2. I used to ride an Ultra Classic, but I found I needed something that handled better, but could still ride on long tours. So, I sold it and used the money for a Honda ST1300. Maybe I haven’t fully paid my dues!

    • I struggle with what to ride every time I trade motorcycles. I just rode an 06 ST1300 this past week and it was a great ride. I rode a V-Strom 1000 in Vegas last October and really liked it… I need to own a half dozen or so!

  3. I was in Greensboro, NC for a day this weekend and missing my bike on an early spring day. As I watched all the bikes go by … no gear, no saddle bags … I thought how they were just out for a short putt around town.
    How funny that your post was about that!
    Although I have to admit, I was jealous. I’d have been happy to be on my bike even for a few.

    • We have had great weather here in the Midwest and people having been riding almost daily. It feels good to get out knowing the sun is shining and the temps are manageable. Ride safe!

  4. In Sept ’13, i bought my first bike, ( a 2008 Suzuki Boulevard C109rt) that only had 5500 miles on it. Some have commented that it was an old mans bike, but ya know what? Its mine, and i dont care. Here we are, 18 months and 15k miles later, and I’ll be riding this beast long after youve trashed your crotch rocket. Just sayin. ( and I was 41 when I bought it)

  5. I have been riding these big hogs since I was 14 years old, I am now 60….my dad had a 1967 electra glide and said if I could start it, I could ride it….took 3 kicks and have been on one ever since!

  6. I agree fully. We don’t own but rent. Started out small but realized that “the old man’s bike” is the only way to go. Between what the wife brings and my stuff you need all that storage for four or five days. And comfort, I need that big seat for my fat ass, radio, and a windshield, who could do without these? Great article!

  7. I’m with you brother. I’m a young 57 and I have a ’14 Ultra Limited and I love it. I live in NY and rode it to Sturgis. It rained almost the whole way , I was thankful for that fairing. Going back this year and I wouldn’t ride anything else.

  8. It’s only an old man’s bike lf it’s ridden like an old man’s bike.

    Thats not to say you should be carving up the hills or splitting lanes everywhere. Just that you should ride that you’re comfortable on. I’m approaching the half centrury and tour on a Suzuki Bandit its also my daily rider.

    Why?

    Because i choose to. Not because I want to fit some demographic.

    Great post. Ride safe.

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