250cc Honda Rebel
About 22 years ago, in college, I bought a small motorcycle and rode it for a couple years around campus. It was a 250cc Honda Rebel that I named Jake, and I loved it. Vandals got to Jake, though, in the end, and I gave him away. Since then, I’ve wanted to return to riding but I lived in major cities, so it wasn’t a good idea.
A couple years ago, I moved out of the city and into a breathtakingly beautiful area full of trees, water views, bald eagles and, in nice weather, tourists. Also plentiful in nice weather, I began to notice: motorcycles. So this summer, I decided to get back into riding.
I finished my motorcycle training class and got my license endorsement in late July, and once that was handled, I wanted a bike so bad I could hardly breathe. I searched craigslist every day for a bike just like Jake. There were some Rebels showing up in the listings, but they either cost too much or by the time I could get there to see them, they were sold. And I couldn’t wait. So I bought an old Yamaha cheap.
That same day, my neighbor spotted the new bike and congratulated me, and then showed me his bike ( a big, beautiful Triumph) and his wife’s (a Vespa), and then waved his hand at their “training” bike at the back of the garage. It was an old bike they’d bought to practice on, a bike they didn’t have to worry about scratching up, and he offered to let me practice on it.
It was a 250 Honda Rebel. Bloody hell.
Alas, I’d already made my purchase and didn’t need practice, so I set about getting to know my new ride.
She ran fairly well, and I had a lot of fun touring around the country roads for a couple weeks, but then I got her in to see the mechanics and they gave me a list of mechanical issues. The bike was “safe enough”, but if I was going to get any money out of it, I needed to sell it before anything went too wrong.
I asked my neighbor if he’d sell me the Rebel, but he doubted his wife would let it go. And I’d have to sell the Yamaha and then save more up, since the Rebel was more valuable, and the summer was nearly gone anyway.
The Yamaha went on craigslist, and I had a few weeks of buyers appreciating my honesty and saying no-thank-you. She sat in the driveway under a little tarp, sad little thing.
Then last Monday, I had a breakthrough in my professional life that had me feeling very expansive and joyful. Woo hoo!
But then Tuesday, and for three more days, my life turned and contracted. I had several problems and hassles that made me seriously grumpy. Everything was upstream. It was a lousy friggin week.
Friday night, I started coaching myself to let go and surrender, and I asked Spirit for the highest good. Whatever it was. “Bring it on,” like. Anything would be better.
The next morning, I got a call about the Yamaha. I had to coach myself through the process to stay calm and centered, surrender, and trust that the highest good would happen. And, lucky me, the guy—an experienced bike mechanic—bought it.
I held the five hundred-dollar bills in my hand, and the many things I could do with it flashed through my mind. I could fix my car’s windshield. I could fly somewhere for a long weekend visiting friends. I could buy a bagful of fresh, well-fitting new clothes—something I haven’t done for a good while.
But, no. My intention was to buy a newer, safer, mechanically sound bike next spring when the weather turns nice. I put the cash in an envelope and stashed it in my fireproof safe. I went on with my day, which was a good one, and mostly forgot about it.
Sunday morning, that’s today, I was puttering around and cleaning the house when my doorbell rang. It was my neighbor and his wife.
“Hey, you're home! Yeah, she got a new bike, so we’re selling the Rebel,” he said.
I gasped. “How much?”
“Eh, we’re giving it away. Two-fifty.”
I gasped again. “Mine!” I said impulsively, not unlike the seagulls in Finding Nemo.
“Well, you can come ride it and we’ll see,” he said, skeptical I'd want it. "It's a 250, you know."
Silly, silly man.
I got myself together, gathered my gear carefully, and went over there a half-hour later, and then I test-rode the little bike that was almost identical to my beloved Jake (except this one's clearly female), and I “bought” her as rapidly as good manners would allow. I believe the money I have left over will be exactly what I need to transfer the title and buy a decent cover for her. Amazing.
Right away, I took her out for a ride through the fields and farms and got to know/remember how she handles and rides. She isn’t terribly powerful, but that’s just fine. I don’t need her to charge up hills or go 70 mph. She's perfect for the riding that I do in my corner of the world.
And I’d still be out riding her this very minute if a crazy wind-and-rain storm hadn’t chased me home. That’s fine, too. I need to do some baking for the neighbors.
And that’s today's story. I’m almost embarrassed at how magically and gracefully this manifested. I was speechless about it for a while, but, obviously, I got over that. Now, I’m just blessed again.
Crazy, crazy blessed.
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