News editor wants to sell his bike

... two dirtbikes is one too many ...

from Don Norris

Wanna buy a motorcycle?

It's used. It's a 2005 Suzuki DR200, an on/off road single cylinder four-stroke with a top speed of about 63mph -- I wouldn't hold it at that speed, but in case you're racing a Mazorrati or BMW, it'll beat 'em all the way through first gear. There are, by the way, five forward gears (no reverse).

It is the same bike I was riding down Route 62 (a country road, connecting the 'burbs to real life) when some old fella pulled out of driveway without looking. The guy in white Honda ahead of me swerved radically to the left, almost tipping over -- but the maneuver was good enough to avoid the old guy's red Toyota.

But not me. A bike won't cut-and-swerve like a four-wheel vehicle, not at a mere 35mph. I had to put it down -- for the old fellow was driving north in the southbound lane. Down I went, sliding into the front end of the Toyota. I was thrown up onto the hood, backwards, so that my helmet crashed into his windshield. I was knocked cold, out with a mild concussion.

I woke up to some lady's shouting in my ear, "Sir, WAKE UP! WAKE UP!" I lay there for a few more minutes, checking the toes, the legs, my arms, to see how much was broken. Nothing, nothing but a concussion. Meanwhile fire engines arrived, an ambulance came, two squad cars were visible, and there was a huge traffic jam on Route 62. And the old guy in the Toyota sat there, unmoving, his hands still on the steering wheel.

The accident was in 2009, but it took several years to wheedle a suitable sum out of the old guy's insurance company. When the check finally arrived, I found a brand new DR200 at my dealer in New Hampshire -- whereas the first bike was blue, this one was black. First thing I did was apply a bunch of Marine Corps stickers on it. Dress it up.

I left the blue bike in storage for several years. Nothing was seriously wrong with it except the forks were bent about 12 degrees to the left. I rode the machine home from the accident, so it ran okay, except I had to steer towards the right all the time.

The new bike, a left-over 2009 model, was EXACTLY the spittin' image of the blue bike. Nothing had changed in four years -- except the color, that was changed every model year. The new one is black, the old one blue. Appropriate, eh?

I recently decided to pay attention to the blue bike -- my daughter up in New Hampshire had indicated that she wanted it -- so I took it to a nearby, reputable dealer, and told them to fix it, make it like new. They did that, but rather than replacing the front forks, they used a lot of muscle power to get back most of the 12 degrees variation. They rebuilt the carb, put in a new battery, changed the oil, shined it up, called and said it was ready.  All fixed. Classy.

So now I have two on-off road bikes, exactly alike, one's blue, one's black. At this point both have the same mileage -- roughly 3200 miles. The problem is, my daughter doesn't need another bike (she bought a very fast road bike), and I certainly don't need, at age 84, two motorcycles. The good point is that they get some 80 to 100 miles per gallon of gas. Just don't take 'em out on the highways. They are back-road bikes.

So that's what life at 84 has come to. If you're interested in the blue bike, call Don Norris. It's a dependable, easy to ride, fun bike. I'm in the phone book. In Melrose.

September 5, 2014

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