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“The man who wants to learn must first read, and then travel to correct what he has learned.”
Once upon a time …
In 2003, I was on the roads of Africa for a 16 months journey. I suffered a lot at the beginning. But how wonderful it was, journey made of meetings, adventures and joy ! Browsing those sand or laterite tracks, sleeping at night fall anywhere, waking up with the brighting sun with monkeys shouting around, all these memories and other things remain and made it worth living. But after 55 000 km it was time to get back home, that was heart breaking I must say.
I have been stored at the bottom of a garage, left alone for a more beautiful and younger motorbike. Everytime the door opened, I was secretly hoping to be taken outside. Even an hour ride would have sufficed. Just the pleasure of unjam my wheels turning my rocker, polish up my valves. But no, it was always the other who was going out. He had definitely forgotten me. “He” is my owner. Friends say he is a little crazy. It is true that he was no doubt. A mad passionate, crazy in love, a real mad. But he had changed in the past few years losing his madness. Leading a quite safe sedentary life.
One morning he hopped on my rival and went away. But at night, they did not return as usual. Jealous, I madly imagined they both were on the road again browsing other lands and tracks without purpose. I almost hated him for letting me alone in the dark garage.
A few days later, the door opened again. But it was not him, just strangers bringing back the other, that I hated so much, twisted fork and broken headlight. Before they leave, I heard ominous words such as “accident”, “hospital”, “operation” but the door closed back without further explanation.
The following days and weeks were similar. My rival was only a broken bike like a wreckage and we both waited eternally in the dark.
After a long wait the door finally opened again. It was him, on a wheelchair indeed, but it was him in flesh and blood. He was alive! Even though, he did not look at me. He had come back for her. He spent a long time to assess the damage. I heard a phone conversation. I understood that it was about insurance. He was going to repair her. And I was rusting, alone in my corner.
His recovery was long. My rival was repaired before he could walk normally again.
One morning he opened the garage. For the first time in over 10 years, I felt embarrassed but decided courageously to ask him:
– “When are we going back on the road again?”
He looked back at me speechless.
– “I am rusting here alone since more than 10 years without any ride, it is boring” I said
He looked bored. He spluttered, objected he was injured, hip, wrist, knee and fractured pelvis. He talked about his age, 53, weight he has gained over the years (at least 20 kg), the pleasure of leading a quiet and peaceful life.
He talked for a while and I listened.
Then he stepped to the door as if he wanted to flee.
In a final desperation, I asked him
– “So what?”
The door closed back letting me alone to my boredom.
A few days later, the door opened again. I thought he was back for the other which upset me. But no, it was me he came for. It was not easy because of my weight but he hauled me on a trailer and we headed South of France.
I did not know what he had planned so I was wondering if he had finally decided to sell me or to leave me at old bikes wreckage.
A couple of hours later we reached a small village in the Southwest. A man came out of a house. Not very tall with greying hair, I immediately recognized him, Jean CASTERA, the man who had trained me ready for the great African journey more than 10 years ago.
I figured out that we are preparing for another trip!!!
Oh yes, let me introduce myself: I am a BMW R100 GS 1991, and my owner is a faulty model of 1962. He is called “the Hobo Lover”. God knows why