Swan Song

By the time you read this rant, I will be rapidly approaching my 60th birthday. It’s hard for me to believe, really, that I have been “In The Wind” for more than forty-eight years! As found here in past editions, lots of time stands between my humble beginnings in New York to where life has led me today. Also well commented on, that span has seen some thirty-three motorcycles come and mostly go, which is also a pretty amazing in and of itself. All that being the case, it now seems a strong possibility that number will grow, and with it, the 'kind' of machine I might someday find myself on ....continue here

Bike of the Month

Egli GS1100

Modern, and not so modern motorcycling owes much to the production special. Engineered to a level beyond the grasp (or need) of the satisfied owner, the special build advanced ideas and ideals to focus on a very specific task. Yet, speed without composure wastes the effort by bringing the machine back within the confines of mass-produced compromise. That's the trick, as they say, and no one pulled it off better than Fritz Egli...read more


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Swan Song

While most of VMOL’s articles focus on vintage motorcycles, this piece will deal with a sensitive subject, the ultimate reality of what every rider will someday face if they live long enough; The Swan Song.  What I mean by this is the realization that comes one day, when a rider admits he or she can no longer manage and safely effectively operate a motorcycle.   

At that point, some people might just hang up their helmet and say: “That’s enough. I am on borrowed time and I'm giving up.”  Well, that’s one option, but for the last few years, I have be saying to my fellow riders that riding is living, and when you think about it, those three simple words ring loud and clear. I can think of very few experiences in life that are more soul cleansing than a long, overnight  ride on the open highway to a far off destination. I for one, do not plan on retiring to the couch with the TV remote in hand, mouth-breathing, drooling, and left to wither on the vine and eventually die.  No thank you.

It’s no secret that the motorcycle riding population is aging, and that is clearly evident from recent three-wheeled vehicles seen on the streets.  For example, the very popular Can-Am Spyder, the Harley Trike, the T-Rex, the new three-wheeled Morgan, any of the Honda Goldwing conversions, etc.  Lehman, Champion and similar conversion manufacturers provide these kits for virtually all large touring bikes these days. Let’s also not forget about the kit cars, like the JZR (top, left) utilizing Moto Guzzi or other V-twin engines as their power plant.  There are many others offering such kits for the mechanically inclined.

Then, there is the whole sidecar craze.  These days, the modern sidecar is not as popular in the USA as they are in Europe, but I can tell you, when set-up properly these can be a lot of fun.  If you ever want to experience the sidecar scene first hand, attend the annual Griffin Park Side Car Rally just outside of LA. You will see some of the best and creative side rigs out there today.  It is well worth seeing and it is always FREE to spectators. There is even a weekend class hosted by the United Sidecar Association, (USCA: www.http://sidecar.com/)  I took this a few years back and it was a lot of fun. By the way, one “drives” a sidecar rig, and it is totally different than any two-wheel experience so any extra training is always a good thing, in this author’s opinion.  

The proper set-up of any sidecar rig is also imperative to one’s safety and well being, and it is highly recommended that one’s rig is set-up by a very experienced side car technician. Properly rigged a sidecar can literally handle like a slot car, but if not the setup can literally become a death trap. I am always fascinated and drawn to three-wheeled vehicles because I do believe the day will come in the not so near future, when I will have to make a decision to keep moving in order to stay “In The Wind.”  

Many articles have been written also about keep fit physically, to prolong one’s two wheel experience.  This is common sense and activities like hiking, walking, running, swimming, cycling, will keep one mentally alert and keep the blood flowing to enjoy this great pastime as long as possible.

As for me? Well, for my 60th birthday (and as you read this) I'll be in Portland with my wife on a rented BMW R1200RT to tour the Pacific Northwest with some friends to celebrate the fact that I have survived more than half a century on this planet. If riding is living, I'll be living it up! As for what direction I will choose when that day eventually comes I'm not really sure, but you can bet your motorcycle that I will NOT be sitting on the couch watching other people live their lives!

In closing and as always, ride safe and I hope to see you down the road. JJ Cerilli