i submit stories for the vintage japanese motorcycle club - circulation of about 5k for the magazine

could do with help, comment and advice on this item please, there are two cartoons to go with it.

it is about retirement:-



too old to grow up




We spend about 20 years becoming educated, roughly 40 years working and, if we are lucky, another 20 years recovering from the first two. Retirement is what we have been working towards: a time to slow down and take it easy. On one hand there is no more daily grind, Sunday evening blues or grim Mondays, but on the other hand there is less money and reduced social contact. It's a mixed bag.


Now then, the important bit, does it affect one's biking? Well, that depends on your inclination to get out there and ride despite any budget constraints, there is greater scope in choosing those periods when the roads are less congested. You no longer have to pack a lot into a short period, instead you can meander at a steady pace, cogitate and take in the view without the pressing need to be back at your desk the next day.


However, dare I say, I use my bikes less in retirement perhaps home is too comfortable and the imperative to obliterate work related thoughts with a bike trip has now dissipated. Unfortunately, a kind of inertia has set in, there's something in the adage that the less you do, the less you want to do. I fully intend to get out there and do some big trips but somehow I'm just not getting round to it.


There is another adage, this one is specifically about retirement, how did I ever have the time to go to work? Well, it's true but not quite in the way that you might think, the fact is, retirement is a string of duties, decorate this, repair that, take the dog out, go shopping, fix that blocked drain etc. I have about 36 items outstanding, perhaps I should add, 'get out and give the bike a decent run' to the list. Mostly there doesn't seem time to do anything more than fettle the bikes or even glance at them wistfully when searching for white spirit or something similar.


Being at home during the week is quite pleasant, different to the bustle of the weekend that I was previously used to, the close is transformed to a lovely and peaceful mid week venue. Really it's an ideal opportunity to tinker with bikes and conduct test rides without attracting undue attention. Other tasks permitting, one can also go for little journeys, potter about visiting local bike dealers and workshops while taking care not to become a nuisance of course.


I'll have to modify my rides as long distance is something that I'd now rather tackle in stages as, despite the saddle having been rebuilt, my poor old butt seems to have become thinner. I prefer to avoid night rides as my eyesight can't cope with modern powerful headlights, I admit to being increasingly nervous of today's traffic and my bike seems heavier than ever although still just within my ability to manoeuvre about on a slope.


The bikers fear is that one will become too decrepit to enjoy motorcycling or, more likely, find that our reactions deteriorate to the extent that we are reluctant to risk riding. There are examples of men in their eighties trundling about on an ancient machine but I expect that you, like me, have seen motorbike advertisements where the owner is packing up, selling his gloves, helmet and boots as well as his former pride and job due to dodgy knees, a sore foot or a bad back.


A love of motorbikes is in the blood, we would feel deprived without them and it makes for a good day dream even if you don't actually implement that huge journey somewhere beyond the horizon. Even though one is picking up a state pension, got a bus pass and winter fuel allowance it doesn't mean that you can no longer ride and, after all, with a helmet on, nobody knows what age you are.


Recently I was asked if I wanted to sell one of my bikes, I gave it some thought but realised that I'd miss them even if they aren't getting a lot of use. I'm sure you understand, it is simply nice to own them and the possibility of a ride out come a sunny day is reason enough to hang on to them. Apart from that there is the sheer convenience of travelling about without having to concern myself with parking issues. Not only that, there is always the possibility of filtering should a log jam occur and the opportunity to chat to other bikers.


This is the final phase of the three part nature of our existence and this may be my last chance before being obliged to 'unlock the wealth in my home' and settle in a 'quality community for seniors where you will be monitored by highly trained, dedicated and professional staff'. That's it then!: no more prevarication, find the road maps, charge the battery, check the tyres and somewhere new to explore.