Adieu Beowulf…

March 28, 2012

Beowulf is gone.


I just helped set him up on a trailer en route to his new life. He’s going to Newfoundland. He’s going to be with family, the man who bought him has two other K75 bikes, so he won’t be alone and the person who is going to ride him is a girl named Danielle. How wild is that?


Beowulf being walked away


Everything went down quite fast.

Last week, I had it taken for the 30 K maintenance which included lubing the splines. When the mechanic opened it up he discovered the splines were seriously damaged. The cost : $3500. I could not justify that for that old of a bike. If I was able to do repairs myself it would be conceivable as it is a great bike with much life left into it.  But those BMW’s are singular machines and you better know what you’re doing if you are going to keep one or have deep pockets, I have neither at this point.


On Sunday night I put an ad online on Kijiji, Craigslist and UsedOttawa. Monday morning I had a dozen emails of interested people.  By Monday night the deal was done. Tuesday afternoon the bike was on a trailer.

I believe that when you sell something, you end up meeting like minded people. If you loved what you sell, you’ll find people with the same sort of affinity, interests, I’ve met some amazing folks via selling things. Fascinating.


So Monday night, this couple showed up. They are friends of the buyer in Newfoundland, they came to vet the bike for him. We went into the garage, I uncovered the bike, started it, they didn’t say much, it was overall a very calm affair, we exchanged motorcycle stories, BMW stories and some world views. The main comment : Nice bike.  They left about a half hour later.


They called me back about 20 minutes later to tell me that Dave in Newfoundland wanted the bike, then I got an email with an offer from Dave which was only $50 lower than the price I had asked. all of this  felt right, from the moment I read the first email. I wanted Beowulf to have a good home. I needed a specific buyer, a BMW enthusiast who was mechanically inclined and knew the K bikes. And there he was.  Perfect match

tightly secured down.


I accepted the offer.  Let it go.  Let things move on.

So today I went in the garage to fuss over this bike one more time, got the saddle bags, put them on the bike, took my stuff out the the tool compartment like my flashlight and the compressed air capsules, I put the seat back in place, moved the bike so it was easy to get out and went upstairs to get the papers ready.


I called ICBC to make sure I had all the right papers, then I called Newfoundland to see what papers I needed, got ’em together and put them in an envelope. I got the keys, put the house keys on another key chain… all sort of ordinary yet symbolic kind of thing. I waited for them to call.
They showed up, he walked the bike to the trailer… I was looking at Beowulf, that beautiful red color, the shapes, the angles, my bike… I did not really feel any powerful emotions, I noticed that lately, I used to explode one way or another, now I keep it in check. Just my stomach tightening and my jokes are a bit too loud.

Goodbye sweet red machine


The buyers asked me if I wanted a photo with Beowulf. I declined. I don’t want to see my face at this moment immortalized on a photo.


So the deal was done, a big piece of metal against a small paper envelope. So life goes on planet Earth.


Onward you go.

Right now I’m sitting in a cafe, I’m feeling slightly dislocated but at the same time I know all is good. There is another ride waiting for me, right around the corner, something that will be more suitable for my size and use. Something fast and sweet. But still, those metal machines are like horses, you develop a relationship, a partnership and to see a partner go after so many adventures has quite an impact.

Adieu my German machine, it took some doing to get used to your ways, then you took me on this wild ride from March to October, from San Dimas to Ottawa, often being my only stability when things became very uncertain.  I could count on you.  Thank you.  Thank you for landing in my life when you did.  Big thanks to the universe, to the forces that made us connect and that are now separating us.  I trust the adventure will continue.


I was walking down Toronto’s downtown streets. It was around 1 AM. I had been to the El Mocambo to catch the band MAK from Montreal, I assumed they would come on late, so I had not hurried to get there, I got off at the wrong bus station, had to walk quite a bit, got there at midnight and they had just finished.

After staying to watch the undescribable Mister Valaire’s set,I decided to walk back to my friend’s apartment where I was staying, instead of taking transit, I needed the fresh air, to move my body and to experience the night.  The day had been so intense and full, this was what I needed.
I had spent all day at one of the fanciest hotels I had ever been in, the Fairmont Royal York in downtown Toronto to catch the songwriter’s summit’s workshops and conferences that was part of the Canadian Music Week from 9 AM to 7PM sitting in slightly too warm rooms, wading through thousands of people and filling my head with more information than I had in a long time.


I got to see the guy who wrote the Gambler (Kenny Rogers) sing the song himself, the guy who wrote “How Will I Know?” (Whitney Houston) play and explain how the song came to be.  And the song “Closing Time” A song I had played over and over when I did cover gigs by myself… that was really cool.


the kings of songwriting in action


Back to my night stroll, as I walked I found myself in the area where the Toronto Art Gallery is located. There was also a school of art and everything was huge and artful. Then to my right… a huge sculpture, rounded shapes, monumental size, I thought of Alberto (my sculpture master) and I thought : “ could it be?”


And it was.

It was a Henry Moore sculpture. There was a bronze plaque on the ground to prove it.

I had only seen them in books, but the forms, the lines, the essence were unmistakable. I walked around and inside it. Wow. What a gift. I felt embraced by it.

I reluctantly left,


I kept walking in this new unknown city. I turned right, down University Street. Toronto is big. It’s the biggest city in Canada. It has history, wealth, stature.   You feel that bigness staring down on you.  A mix of old school and corporate shine.


Suddenly I felt a presence.


I stopped.


It was dark, I had just passed another interesting sculpture that looked like a roman roof supported by human shapes instead of columns. I smelled. Looked around, there was an iron gate, no one around. I looked up and saw them.

They were barely visible against the dark of night but they were so there. Tiny leaves… Spring. Life. There was an essence of vitality so strong that was what stopped me. Very likely they had just come to the world within the last few hours. It felt like an enchantment, right here in the middle of this urban mecca. Fragile, tiny, leaves.


I was so taken. I cannot explain. I live for those moments and there hasn’t been enough of them lately. The magic, the mysterious ways of this earth and the life on it.  Yes I know the photos are too dark but that is how it was.


I was thinking : I can’t forget this moment… I have to write… lets take a photo… I probably won’t see a thing but at least it will remind me of this magical instant where my soul osmosed into nature for a moment. I took photos, could not stop!



I took my first trolley bus ride on the way up


Oh city, big city, you hold the dreams and the defeats in the palm of your cement and glass hands


Reluctantly, again, I left the scene. I walked for another 40 minutes or so and got to my friend’s apartment on the 19th floor of a 35 storey building right by the harbour. Thankful to have been magicked.

March 22, 2012

First I must tell you…  I was going to post Monday.  I had it all ready to go, I was just getting to putting the photos on the post when somehow the whole thing disappeared and I was left with one lone photo.

So here I go again..


Monday morning,


city work day

I got up early, 8 AM and for those who know me this is VERY early. I could hardly focus visually or even walk with full coordination but I did get up and that was good.

Lately, many events in my life point out to a : “Lets..” direction, as lets move on, lets go, and also let go .

One of these “lets” events happened last week. I had sent the bike, yes my Beowulf, for maintenance. I had just enough money for the planned $700 splines lubrication and 30 thousand miles routine maintenance. A couple of hours after he picked up the bike, the mechanic called to let me know there were bad news. I braced myself…   “OK, I thought, I can do $1500…  I’ll find a way…”   Then, the words landed in my ear as such :  The splines were worn out and a seal inside the transmission was leaking. Total for repairs : $3500.   And that is in hopes that nothing else is found to be wrong…

Beowulf at the shop

Three grand.  HOLY SH#$@!  This is way above what I can afford… or much more accurately, want to afford. The question is : “is it worth it?” What if I put that kind of money in there and have, say, a carburetor issue 2 months down the road?  Some other dried out seal?  Gasket?

He said that the problems were mostly caused by the fact that the bike sat around for years. Well, doesn’t that also mean that the integrity of the rest of the bike is questionable ?


open heart surgery

I stood there torn between the very strong desire to close my eyes and say “do it” so it wouldn’t hurt, so I’d keep my baby with me and a sort of indignation like “are you kidding me?!”.

The way this bike came into my life felt like we were going to be partners for a long time coming. “The unofficial record is that these bikes go for 300 thousand miles with minimal maintenance…”  I was seeing ourselves riding in so many, many sunsets…   Now this is a huge setback with more setbacks looming.

I have been emotional with vehicles before and it always, without fail, was a mistake. When they are dying, these metal steeds, there is nothing you can do, metal wears in a terminal way, corrosion is unstoppable and rubber seals and gaskets only live so long and all this combined makes for an irrevocable ending.

I told him I had to think about it. I was quite confused and I was sad.  I could not compute an answer just yet.  He gave me until Monday to answer.

on the right, the offending part

The next morning, (coincidence)  a friend contacted me. He owns a 2003 Suzuki VS 650 S, he has ridden it about 1000 KM per year, has maintained it meticulously and he decided he wasn’t going to keep it and that I could buy it for the cost of the repairs somewhere around $3500.

Hmmmm….  Interesting for sure as I sit there looking at my options with Beowulf  which are :

-Get it fixed.

-Don’t get it fixed and bring it and the parts home to wait until I can afford it.

-Get the bike put back together and take it home and pay $600 of labor for nothing.

In the mean time I emailed many friends who are into bikes and asked for their opinion about the repairs.

I do have a slight feeling that I might, possibly be taken advantage of in this situation or maybe this guy is not giving me one millimeter of a break…  it’s just a feeling…  from my friends comments, this 3 thousand dollars is quite high.  But hey, I do believe that things happen for a reason, and if it is how this comes to be, then the decisions I will take will be the decisions I must make and the rest of it is not my problem.

So Monday came about.  And I had made up my mind :  Put the bike back together, bring it home and try to sell it, when that is done, buy the Suzuki.   I called the mechanic, got an answering machine and left a message.  Done.  Phew…  Wow…

night view with fog

I should get Beowulf back here next week, then it will be about trying to sell it and moving on.

Ottawa sky

Unlocking, unblocking, moving ahead, moving on. Forward motion… how I miss forward motion. This whole winter holed up in an apartment on the 11th floor, watching winter go by.

This unseasonably warm March is good for the soul, 24 degrees Celsius yesterday, 21 today. The snow and ice are almost completely gone, I can dream of new rides, new RPMs and leave the past be.