Moto-tractor reveries

Classic BimmerGENEVA, SWITZERLAND – With the weather a continual melancholy grey, I find myself walking past my tarped motorcycle for days on end and singing Richard Thompson’s “1952 Vincent Black Lightning“.

BSA workhorseLike many bikers I know, I am uncharacteristically superstitious of talking smack about my current ride or coveting other bikes (they tend to get sudden “hiccups” when they think they’re being traded up – or down).

My 90’s street bike is a great all around performer (toss salt over shoulder) but the reality is 100 horses in Geneva is about as useful as, well, an ashtray on a motorbike.

More and more I find myself shamelessly ogling older “workhorses”; bikes that climb the tachometer methodically and feel like a trusted hand tool under the pegs. I dream of bikes made for three up, that you can strap a hay bale on top of, or hot wire on a cold wintry road when the ignition key has mysteriously vanished.

Favourite exes include a 1978 GS 1000, another ’78, CB 750 Supersport and a 76 KZ1000 police edition with foot boards and a heel-toe shifter.

What I would give to feel again the torpid roll of pistons through sticky cold oil when I kick over my bike in the morning…Until then I’ll keep singing to myself, and sneaking glances at motorcycle tractors of old.