Scary stories from a lovely place
Guest post by Stephen Reid
When myself and Kim started dating most of her friends and relatives were quite suprised when they first saw my car.
In my mind I had really splashed out with this car. It was to be my only real oppurtunity to own a fast car and be young and foolish. So as a 26 year old boy-man I purchased my beloved 200is. The 200 stood for 2 litre engine and the “is”: you guessed it, injected sports. The car was lowered, had heavily tinted windows, large rims and a bodykit. Boy did I have some fun with that car.
As I got older and the car became less practical I let it go to a 20 year old who assured me he was going restore it to its former glory.
I turned my attention back to motorbikes and bought my fathers Yamaha SRX400. Although not the fastest bike in the world, this lumpy single ranked highly for retro coolness. It even has a cult following in Japan, the land of its birth.
One thing my car and motorbike had in common was the juxtaposition of their pleasure enducing performance and their hair-pulling-out unreliability.
I sat in the barber shop the other day and watched a guy trying to kick start a vintage Ducati. His friends on their electric-start new model bikes sat idling patiently as he kicked and swore and kicked some more, fiddled with the choke, checked the fuel lines and kicked some more. I knew the thoughts that were going through his head. “You piece of junk! Why won’t you just start? I should have bought a newer model!” But finally as the old Italian coughed and spluttered into life and he gingerly revved the Classic until it was rumbling nonchalantly, I also knew his thoughts. “What a cool bike I have, I know sometimes you’re tempermental, but I love you”.
I think I loved my bike and car so much for precisely those reasons. Without heartache and frustration a car just remains a hunk of metal that reliably transports you from place to place. But with a bit of non-performance a human-machine relationship is formed that is born out of hardship, and those are the strongest relationships.
My current bike is a steadfast little Yamaha r15, bought new, which always starts and hasn’t given me a dime of trouble. But the connection isn’t there and I’d swap it in a minute for a flat batteried SRX or a leaky 200is.