Goodbye, Old Friend
SHIFTING GEARS, by Buzz Kanter, Publisher
I had no idea what it would lead to when, in 1974 and against my parents’ wishes, I bought my first motorcycle. As a broke college kid, I sold that bike a year later to help pay for a slightly newer and bigger one. That transaction led to buying and selling even more bikes over the years.
The buying and selling stemmed from efforts to upgrade my ride, leading to an obsession with motorcycles in the process. Fast forward to the 1990s. That’s when my motorcycle interests reversed: leading me to classic American bikes from the 1940s and ’50s. I owned, and enjoyed riding, a 1953 Indian Chief, my first Indian. I later bought a beautiful, but barely running, 1946 Chief during the 1996 Daytona Bike Week. I spent a day or two sorting it out at the long-gone Klassix Auto Museum, where we used to host the Indian & Classic American Iron rallies. Fortunately, the ’46 Chief responded well to fine tuning, and my efforts were rewarded with a bike that loved to be ridden.
I’ve owned many classic motorcycles since then. Some I keep for a year or two before selling to make way for different ones. Others I keep and rode for decades. I never know which of these categories a new (well, old) bike will fall into when I purchase it. You see, I easily fall in love with classics, and I think each one is a “forever” bike. Most aren’t. And that’s okay because buying and selling lets me own, ride, and enjoy a wider assortment of motorcycles than if I had never sold any.
I had no idea what amazing experiences I’d have aboard this 69-year-old time machine. They include a ride up the California coast to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Hollister riots with AIM Classics Editor Jim Babchak, the Tomas family from Kiwi Indian, and the wacky pranksters who hang out at The Shop in Ventura, California. I also enjoyed many wonderful rides on that Chief in and around New England (including many bike shows — and plenty of trophies), and I’ll never forget the ride on my Indian from the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa, to Sturgis this summer for the 75th running of the Sturgis Rally. Riding that Chief to Sturgis was fitting, considering the famous rally started out as an Indian motorcycle gathering.
But all good things must come to an end. I’m fortunate enough to own several classic motorcycles, but I can’t ride them all. Not having ridden the ’46 Indian much in the past several years (other than to Sturgis), I knew it was time for someone new to own and enjoy it. So I loaded a full description and photos on eBay along with a very reasonable reserve. I’m half-sad to report it sold quickly. Not for as much as I was hoping for, but a fair and reasonable price. As I walked the new owners — a nice, young couple — around the bike, sharing a few of my experiences and stories with them, I had serious second thoughts. And when I fired the engine up to ride over to their trailer, I had a hard time letting go of the handlebar. But a deal is a deal, and it’s time to let someone else create his own memories with the Chief.
Besides, I’ll always have my memories with this one, plus I still have my 1940 Indian Sport Scout to ride.
BOGOF: Last-Minute Gift Solution
Need a quick and easy solution to your last-minute gift-giving concerns? For the first time ever, American Iron Magazine is offering a BOGOF (Buy One, Give One Free) gift-subscription deal. For every gift subscription you buy for a riding buddy at our regular price, you get a second subscription free. Buy two gift subscriptions and get two more free! And we’ll even send them a card in your name. It doesn’t get much easier (or cheaper) than that for holiday (Harleyday?) shopping. But you have to act now as the offer expires December 31!
Please go to AIMag.com web site to take advantage of this limited-time Buy One, Give One Free gift-subscription deal. But, again, do it now, as this offer is good only through the end of the year.
Ride safe, ride smart, have fun.
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