Thursday, June 6, 2013

Another one gone...

The past weekend brought a rather odd and sad experience when I learned that a fellow Brit bike enthusiast had passed away.  The sad part is obvious of course, a man with a family and friends that loved him is no longer with us.  The odd part was that I didn't really know him, we only met once when I bought some parts from him.

Back in March, while cruising an online classified site I contacted a seller who had several interesting items for sale.  There was a Triumph wheel, an interesting headlight, some forks and tools, etc.  I didn't need all of it, but figured I would ask what he wanted for everything.  The seller responded with a very reasonable figure and arrangements were made for me to come down that weekend.  It was a pleasant weekend, no snow on the ground and quite sunny and warm for winter.  These types of deals and finds never seem to be in the city, only in the outer reaches.  Luckily for me I enjoy the chase, the adventure and the unknown.  On occasion I can even say that the journey itself was the sweetest part of the day. However, I digress.   I arrived at the house early in the afternoon and the seller met me at the door and shook my hand.  As he took me around, gathering up the pieces I had purchased, he revealed a cornucopia of old Brit Bikes and parts.  There was a gorgeous Tiger Cub, a beautiful BSA Goldstar, numerous twins and singles.  I sensed that he wasn't a well man and he mentioned health issues in passing.  I was asked what I did with the parts and I was honest about it;  I use them, sell them, trade them.  Truth is, I just love being around them.  Something I said must have struck a chord as he asked me what I was into.  I mentioned Triumph first, Matchless and BSA.  The Triumph stuff was off limits, but the Matchless gear was up for grabs.  I said I was interested and the seller stated it would be worth my while and to bring a bigger vehicle next time! That was fine with me, I told him to figure out what he wanted to sell, come up with a price and I would return at his convenience.  The call never came.  I casually sent an email to him, to see how he was doing and to let him know I was still interested.   The return email came from his widow who stated that he had passed in April after a brief battle with cancer.  It was mentioned that her son was handling all the items and that she remembered my visit.  I let her know that she could pass my details to her son, that if he was ready or when he could contact me.  

From the moment I responded to her I felt a strange sense of melancholy.  I couldn't put my finger on it, still can't.  I think it might have been that the man's passion was true to the very end.  On reflection, he must have been in tremendous discomfort when I came to visit.  Despite this devastating situation, he took the time to show me his work, his bikes, the collection that no doubt took a lifetime to build.  I wandered out to my garage and looked around, the shelves of items that were treasures to me, the stories that went with them.  Would they mean the same to someone else?  Would they be appreciated should something happen to me?  Will they live on for another generation to appreciate?  Perhaps I saw a future, more learned version of myself in him.  In the end, we can never own anything beautiful, merely be the curators until the next set of hands arrive for it.  I will share a picture I took of this gentleman's Cub that was taken with his permission.  It isn't much of a tribute, but it's all I have and I think it should be shared.

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