I took a sabbatical from riding

And I have hesitated a long time to tell you all (as if anyone would be interested, really).
You would think your life will quiet down once you get older….. well, not so. Time passes more quickly, or so it seems, but things have not become more quiet for Nina and me.
When we found a partly renovated house in Italy by chance, back in 2013, our life changed dramatically.

One of the reasons I wanted to settle down in south of France was the riding weather and beautiful nature. As it happened, Italy offered itself first, and had the same attraction….. but much cheaper. So we took the plunge, bought the house in 2014, sold our holiday apartment in France that same year, and our Dutch home in the Spring of 2017.
Shortly after we got back from our first longer stay in Italy in 2014, working on the renovation of the first floor and adding a terrace and patio to the house, my Dad died. We were very busy with him the last two months of his life, and then we had to sell his house and decide what to do with the contents.

Then some jealous idiot set fire to our entirely renovated 1st floor in January 2017, so we were back to the start at that year. Lots of stress, doubts, work and money lost. But we persevered, stayed, integrated in our village, and fixed it all up again.

That fire came a few months after our unfortunate trip to the UNRally in Montana in July 2016 …… unfortunate because I crashed on Larry’s KTM on our first ride out, still in Colorado. It turned out to be a real special visit that way.

Back home it took a while to get my gear replaced.

Then some jealous idiot set fire to our entirely renovated 1st floor in January 2017, so we were back to the start at that year. Lots of stress, doubts, work and money lost.

But we persevered, stayed, integrated in our village, and fixed it all up again.

And I didn’t ride much because of winter (much colder than anticipated), the fire and subsequent troubles, selling our house in The Netherlands in June 2017, and arranging all our stuff to be moved to Italy in July. Oh yes, and sell our two cars.
The movers then took my RT and GS back to Holland so a friend of mine could sell them there. Much easier than trying to import them into Italy.

I also had to close down my two little companies, because that too was too cumbersome to move to Italy, what with all regulations, taxes and additional cost. I wasn’t making much money with them anymore anyway.

By that time (end of Summer 2017) my two main computers also locked up, we finally got some money from the insurance, although much less than the actual damage, were driving around in a little second hand Toyota Yaris, had no larger car and no motorbike, and were starting to arrange restoration of the 1st floor.

Today we are early February 2020, and I haven’t been riding much since End of 2017, when I bought a new 1200GS here in Siena, Italy.

The bike will be 3 years in September this year, and I still only have little over 3000 km’s on it.

I am ashamed, in a way. But should I be, really? I mean, life happens, right?

Apart from all the anxiety, stress, fun, vacations, events and life above, there were (maybe unconsciously) a few other reasons not to ride much.

First of all, lets face it, there was that stupid crash. In hindsight it probably affected me more than I was ready to admit in the beginning. We have a LOT of gravel and potholes here in rural Italy, and I am simply very hesitant about bends in the roads…… especially with Nina on the back.

The something that bugged me from the start….. the brand spanking new GS would sometimes just quit. As if the throttle was closed. It happened doing 100 mph on the highway the very first time, and that was scary.

Italy being what it is, slow, it took me two years to get it finally fixed. Turned out to be the throttle electronics in the handlebar were faulty. I had to Google it myself, and move to another dealer, to get it solved. But living in a remote place it sure stopped me from using the bike much, especially after the first ‘repair’ only worked for 2 months and after that we were stuck again dozens of miles from home.

Then there’s the age thing. When in the US in 2016 I was still ‘only’ 64, not yet on the magical 65, and feeling and thinking like 35….. or so I like to believe.

The latter is still ‘true’, but meanwhile I am closer to 70 than to 60. To some optimistic people that is not an issue, but I suddenly started feeling old and running out of time.

The fact that my toes and hip hurt (and the latter didn’t improve after the crash), and other pains joined in, doesn’t help to ‘hop’ on the big GS. (Maybe it is time for a smaller bike?)

Last but not least, Nina is getting older too, and having trouble with her back and shoulders after 40 years of hard physical work, and she is not getting on the back with that much enthusiasm either anymore. That kind of halted any plans for longer rides.

The reason to write this all down NOW, is that I got the GS started again recently, and went for a ride. It felt good after the first few miles and looking back I was thinking why the heck didn’t I do this before?
Well, see above.

Do I regret things? Not really. I am not one to regret much. One makes decisions, some right, some wrong, but life goes on. Buying the expensive new GS here may have been one of my lesser decisions in life, maybe I should have opted for a smaller GS850 or so. But things are what they are.

So until I am totally locked up in all my joints, too old to think and react, or maybe even worse, I will ride the GS a bit more often again and hopefully shoot you some smartphone pics to go along with it.

Wishing you all many happy and safe miles and possibly a better brain than mine.

Keep on rollin’……

Francois

Leave a Reply