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Travels with Guido

Too many bikes?

(from the Travels with Guido series MT #252, Dec 2011, updated June 2020)

by Guy 'Guido' Allen

Trying the Tiger Moth decoy. This is what happens when you run out of excuses and diversion tactics.

My lovely daughters have many virtues. They’re bright, good company, and mostly ‘get’ the passion their paternal figure (that’s me) has for assorted transports of delight. They understand there’s a mix of engineering, culture and sheer visceral joy to be appreciated.

One drives a Benz, the other co-pilots a DC3, and both have motorcycle licences. They even on occasion engage in the thrill of hammering the right pedal of the family V-eight Kingswood.

However I detect there is a limit. Witness the discussion the other day: Ms M junior spots muggins as he watches a motorcycle ride past. In a voice dripping with sarcasm, she opines, “You can’t buy them all, you know.”

My response – “I see no evidence of that” – leaves her flummoxed and worried. Eyebrows knit.

Last issue’s Motorcycle Trader magazine cover theme – “Our 47 bikes” – added fuel to the domestic fire. You see I'm a columnist for the mag, and am therefore a partner in this latest crime.

So, when I reveal the recent purchase of Klaus the Clown Fish (the BMW K1), there is trouble. One daughter asks, “Where are you going to put it?” She knows damn well I have no idea, but wants to see me squirm.

“We’ll extend the shed!” I suggest brightly. The response, “You already have a car and a bike sitting outside, and we don’t have enough land,” seems a touch brutal.

Ms A junior is a little more direct. “I’ll freeze your bank accounts and put you in a home.”

Now seems as good a time as any to object and have a serious rant. Along the lines of, it’s my goddamn money and I’ll do what I sodding like with it – then stalk off to find a decent bottle of fighting red. Which kind of supports their point: there he goes, not content with buying every bike on the planet, he has to drink all the claret, too.

Up till recently, my understanding was that when you made a completely indefensible decision it just had to get past your spouse. But, since our kids are staying at home until they can afford the ludicrous price of real estate – which could take decades – you now have two generations to deal with.

Increasingly, I’m finding myself arguing the case for the latest folly with both the lower house of parliament and the senate. Which, I suppose, makes the tax department, or my accountant, the governor general.

I’ve tried some diversionary tactics. When given a hard time over the flotilla of motorcycles and cars scattered around the not-so-expansive grounds of Chateau Guido, I have suggested there’s a bright side. That is, I also fly light aircraft but have so far nobly resisted the temptation to collect them. And, let’s face it, your average Tiger Moth collection takes up a hell of a lot more room.

As a stalling tactic, it’s getting mixed results. When I say mixed, we’re talking a mix of death stares – there’s clearly no glimmer of sympathy. Yet. But I’m still hopeful.

Like other staffers, I was both pleased and terrified when Editor Snag went with the “Our 47 bikes” headline on the cover of last issue. The ramifications on the home front have been significant, but not catastrophic.

Since then I’ve bought Klaus, and fellow writer Blackadder has gained a T500 for his collection. Not to be left out, Spannerman bought an engine. So I guess that makes 49.5 staff bikes.

But, Snag, mate, if it’s all the same to you, while hitting the magic half-century (which is only a matter of time) is cause for celebration, I’d be happy if you concentrate on something else for that edition. Otherwise, I’m going to have to buy a goddamn Tiger Moth…



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