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Kyle
Moderator

Motorcycle personification and the theory of project debt

We enthusiasts are perfectly aware that our vehicles will not return our love. Yet we ignore their inanimate nature and persist in personifying our beloved mechanical objects. I came to this realization after a conversation with one of our editing staff, a conversation in which he pitied me for acting as if one of my machines felt neglect. 

 

Is he going crazy? Read Kyle's theory over on Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/maintenance-and-tech/motorcycle-personification-and-the-theory-of-proj...

17 REPLIES 17
Tkoepp
Passenger

I own a 1974 Honda CL360, 1963 Ford Unibody truck, and a 1968 Pontiac Firebird convertible that all deserve my attention in some way. I really do feel like you in many ways, but I also look at these cars and bikes as an opportunity to learn from and enjoy the little things. Maybe if only to notice something new or unique about them. The research about them can be just as fun as working on them sometimes.

Krippel
Pit Crew

I only work on one project at a time anyway, it’s too daunting to spread my mental energy out among all of them at once.

They all need my attention, and each will get it in time, they just have to wait their turn.

Kyle
Moderator

You've got more discipline than I do if that's the case!
Krippel
Pit Crew

@Kyle haha! Perhaps... Although, forced discipline has been employed at times. Can’t work on it if you don’t have parts for it...
cyclemikey
Intermediate Driver

Interesting article, Kyle. But i don't think it's really about neglect, or avoidance. It's more about preserving these projects as unrealized potential - that at some point you can cash in some work (the unmet need) for some reward ( a running machine). It's not so much shirking the work as it is stacking it up for future enjoyment.

 

I know something about this, as over the years I've built up a collection of 78 motorcycles, about half on the road and half in various stages of restoration (not to mention a few collector cars). Every year or so a few go, but a few others show up, and the number never seems to go down. I'm lucky to have quite a large shop to work in, but as you'll discover (if you haven't already with your new garage) it's never enough - the 'stuff' and the projects expand to fit the space. 

 

I never know in the morning when I walk into the shop what will catch my fancy and get worked on, and I've probably passed the crossover point where I could ever get it all done in the time I have left. But maybe, just maybe, - that's the point.

 

Thanks for the article. A personal glimpse, and something a little different from nuts and bolts.

Kyle
Moderator

Fascinating twist on the thought @cyclemikey. I can certainly subscribe to that theory too, and you have a bit more experience than I if you've got 78 bikes stashed up! Goodness man.
thetossedtool
Pit Crew

Another fun article, Kyle.  I would ask you to give yourself a little bit of a break.  For me, "playing" in the garage is just that, playing.  If I create timetables, the "Zen-like" relaxation I get goes away.  The only thing I do is prioritize.  For example, I was working on a '51 AJS that some day aspires to be a basket case.  When my running '80 Yamaha XS650 "Hot Rod" had a sticking brake caliper, I took the AJS off my lift and put the Yamaha on it.  When that's all together, I'll put the AJS back.  Nevertheless, I really try not to impose deadlines on anything vintage in the garage.  Deadlines are for work and daily drivers!

ndounias
Pit Crew

You have just described the scourge of being a collector. All collectors know the pleasure of the hunt, and the joy of the aquisition, but with that comes the realities of ownership. Never enough time or money. But as several people here have stated, they do bring with them "potential". Perhaps it will not be seen in the near future, but it is there waitint for us.

Like myself and many others here, I am sure that when you open that garage door it brings a smile to your face! That alone is worth the price of admission!

Olexsy
Pit Crew

Good article. introspection does good. My epiphany came later in life. After pondering the same thing. I had spent a lot of time and money learning to fly and after enjoying it awhile found that in order to fly a plane you had to have somewhere you wanted to go. Then I ran out of places I wanted to go that I had not been already. So I gradually lost interest and do not fly at all now because you have to fly to retain a current license. I have also done that with boats that need constant attention. Definition of  BOAT - Break Out Another Thousand. Traveled all over the interior of the U.S. and Canada exploring the Rivers, Locks and Canals as well as traveling the length of the Atlantic Coast going both ways twice. Now I do not even think about boating. Although there are a lot of great memories. When I was younger maybe your age I had passion for cars and motorcycles. My garage looked a lot like yours even had some of the same cars in it. Of all those vehicles I owned the only one I really miss is my 911S Porsche. Now I have a daily driver that is still in warranty and One only One hobby car a 1981 Mercedes 380SL. It needed some help when I  got it and now it runs, drives and looks good. It has a few flaws that are really not consequential. I have not driven it in 4 months. I find myself looking at Craigslist, Ebay Marketplace and the car on the corner with the sign in the window. The Merc has to find a new friend before I do anything.

JohninNC
Detailer

Yes as another person wrote, give yourself a break.  You are preserving a piece of history.  Think about the same bike rusting away in a leaky wooden termite infested shed... or BEHIND the shed.  I want an old enduro so this was fun to check out.

Kyle
Moderator

Fair point, I am treating it better than some others would. It is hardly neglect in a semi-temperature controlled environment where care is taken to not lean and stack things on it. 

JohninNC
Detailer

HA! I am guilty! My model A has 2 surfboards, 2 boogie boards, balsa glider, boombox, bag of bungees and zip ties, camp chairs and pool noodles on the roof, and some kids toys on the running boards, beach umbrellas leaning on the back, even Crocs on the cowl!  And that's after I removed some stuff!  Still, it's being preserved I figure.

I recently saw 6 cool bicycles from the 70's and 80's totally rusted out, a few streets over, at the curb to be taken away for scrap, ouch!  The shed they were in falling to the ground, termite infested and leaking for many years, roof caving in, the impetus for my reply in the first place.

I dream of a 70's or 80's street legal enduro!  86/87 XL600R would be awesome, or a smaller scale vintage enduro/ dual sport like the subject of your article.

Thanks! 

29 Model A Aug. 2020.JPG

Rick2
Intermediate Driver

I could help you out of your predicament as I have no projects that need  work right now. Just sell me that Honda!

Kyle
Moderator

Oh, that is just mean to offer! I can't let it go, at least not right now. Real tempting to though...
Maestro1
Advanced Driver

Well done, Kyle, and some of us share your pain. I want to say something about motorcycles; I've always wanted one but I have a health issue that forbids possession of one. Until I saw a traffic cop's 3 wheeler in San Francisco. I priced one at a local Harley dealer, went home and had a quiet coronary with bourbon. I still want it. I live on the Left Coast where weather permits frequent usage. I will get there, maybe after my 83rd Birthday and still in the hobby........

One other thing. I have a white board where each car has its own column. What needs to be done is written down first before picking up anything except a light. With a date so my neglect, when present, is immediately shown to me. When the task is performed it always gets paperwork upon completion and then on to the next thing. One thing at a time. Never more. Thanks again for the post.

wentwest
Intermediate Driver

I have very limited work space so I can really only work on one project at a time.  Also, I can't store a non-running project other than the one I'm working on.  Sure, with a bigger rented garage I could do more, or if I owned a truck so I could easily move a non-runner from the garage I do rent away from the house.  But this is my set-up and I'm trying to keep inside the lines.  And I have a Honda Gyro that does run now, not beautiful but solid,  and I can't realistically get it to my house because I live up a very long steep hill.  Admit the truth, you're a collector.  You just are.  Try not to be a nuisance to anyone else and try not to run yourself into bankruptcy.  And don't start buying mid 60's GM convertibles.  

JimH
New Driver

Let me say this, Kyle, you don’t own them...they own you!