I took Chica-tita for a ride tonight. Not a long one, less than 20 miles around the south east part of the valley. Less than an hour I think. Not a fast ride either, mostly third gear stuff. Deliberately choosing roads that I normally donít travel, with unknowns getting top priority. It was just after sun-down, twilight, and the world seemed to be relaxing from its normal hectic work-a-day pace. At least to us it did.
Chica-tita is my R65, a recent acquisition and project in progress. Sheís bit more than half way returned to stock configuration now. Not a show-room restoration mind you, the miles will certainly show on her even when the project is completed. But she will be a gracefully aged example of this fine, but often overlooked model. Not the gussied up LS. Nope, just a plain R65 with a black tank and white & red pin-stripes. No accessories or options either. Along with the few questionable aftermarket bits that were removed in exchange for BMW originals, even the traditional chrome crash bar has come off. What is left is pure BMW. Just a few suspension renewals are all that is left to be done.
After several years riding on serious touring machines, including several R series RTís, K1200GT, Now a K1200LT, etc, I have rediscovered the charm and rewards of riding a simple, light weight, naked motorcycle. No cruise, no windshield or fairing, no sound system or power assisted brakes. No heated seats or grips, no GPS, no XM radio. No side or top cases, no luggage rack either. If it wonít fit in the under-seat cubby hole it wonít be traveling with Chica-tita and me! Not a great deal of power or speed, not the latest & greatest in suspension or handling either . But good enough for the task at hand.
In my convertible helmet, light slip-on boots and plain cowhide gloves I recalled and relived the simple pleasures of riding a simple machine when times were, well . . . . . Simpler! I have become used to wearing ear-plugs on all my rides now. They quieted the clicking of the valve train, and softened the clean air stream noise around my helmet to the point where I could almost imagine I was bicycling.
We slowed and gave a wide space to the joggers and dog-walkers we passed. Talk about a lack of macho and biker image, most didnít even hear us as we chuff-chuffed along. A couple of folks waved to us from their front porches and the highlight of the evening was the older gentleman watering his lawn who asked about the bike when we stopped for a moment. Seems he once had an R60 many years ago, and instantly recognized Chica-tita as one of his own. His eyes lit up while we briefly talked. Maybe he was remembering a similar experience?
It was a nice ride. Nah, it was a great ride. A reminder of why I like motorcycling at its purest. I recommend it to any rider who wants to re-connect with the basics.
It Ďs good for the soul.