Disappointment can’t dampen love for vintage motorcycle

The last time motorcycles were mentioned when we met here, it was a couple of weeks ago.

I’m happy to report the vintage Honda saga continues on apace, into the dark, yet exciting, tunnel of uncharted waters and mixed metaphors.

To review: my friend Dave and I had, after much diligent searching, located and purchased a 1966 Honda 90 Trail motorbike on Kijiji.

However, upon closer inspection, involving reducing most of the bike to a pile of pathetic parts, it turned out the little red machine that we were so pumped about was actually a rusted heap of junk that had about as much chance of being a motorcycle again as a wheelbarrow.

And then, just as we were feeling sort of sorry for ourselves, sadly showing a picture of the dead red motorbike to the guys at our monthly coffee and pie meeting, one of our buddies happened to mention that he had not one, but two rare 1970s Honda CT90 motorbikes in his shed.

Incredibly, he also mentioned that he was thinking of selling them “for cheap.”

Oh, and also, they didn’t run. Of course, they didn’t run. And of course they were a pile of junk, I knew, but, you never know, right?

So to make a short story long, soon after coffee and pie, I adventured to Gary’s shed, and when he opened the door, I was gobsmacked.

Not because of the motorbikes – I couldn’t even see any motorbikes because of the wall of urban flotsam and jetsam that was literally stuffed in every centimetre of the big wooden shed.

Everything from snow blowers to several barbecues, a compressor or two (I think), to what looked like the entire tool and metal objects section of Value Village.

You see, Gary is a well-known “Saler” – as in the fact that he haunts garage sales incessantly. Gary has gotten so good at garage sale-ing that he has somehow mastered the space/time continuum, so that he is at every garage sale in the city simultaneously.

No matter where or when you happen upon a garage sale, big or small, Gary is there.

So after what seemed like three days of hauling stuff out of the shed, suddenly, there they were.

Way back in the corner, under a couple of broken lawn chairs and a kitchen sink, sat two Honda motorbikes, minding their own business and maybe, just maybe, waiting to get roaring again.

We had to move a rather humongous old Honda Gold Wing highway motorcycle, which Gary also had under a defective leaf blower and four cardboard boxes of God knows what, but when I could get a good look at the bikes, I almost wet my pants a little bit.

The green/orange one was actually painted with the world’s ugliest “camouflage” design, and Gary explained the entire bike had been “submerged” for some time in the big Red Deer flood of a couple of years ago.

At least that’s what the owner told him at the garage sale where he bought the bike.

But, holy moly, it was the yellow one that caused some heart arrhythmia for a moment or two. I kid you not: it looked (almost) brand new.

It had unbroken signal lights, a perfect vinyl seat, excellent tires and a clean engine that didn’t look like it hadn’t run since Diefenbaker was PM.

I was hooked. “And where did you get the yellow one?” I said breathlessly.

“Guess,” Gary said, but I barely heard him. I was wondering how much cash I could get off my Visa overdraft …

Harley Hay is a Red Deer writer and filmmaker.

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