2-stroke pleasure

From left to right: me, my uncle and my dad with our MZ's (1970)

It must be in my genes.. When I was born my father dreamed of owning a bike. As he didn't have the money (it's 1949 and times are tough) he and his friend (my uncle) decided to take a second job and save up some money.

After many months they bought their first bike: an RT125 DKW. Even though it was old and "did have it's problems" they loved it. One weekend my parents would ride the bike, the next weekend my uncle and aunt would have a go.

The surprising thing to me is that they never had any quarrels over the bike.

In the end they had enough money to own "one bike each", so their ways split a little. Uncle bought a Jawa 250, the first of many, and dad bought a 250 DKW.

Many bikes were to follow, several MZ's (on one of which he rode to Moscow in 1967) , a BMW R50 and yes.. a BMW R26 as well. He took me with him to moto crosses many times, and we enjoyed it both. Even by the time he was 70 he would take my or my brother's bike for a spin now and then! He was a great guy. (Died at the age of 84 some years ago).

Then there was another uncle, owning an Ariel 500, and the numerous friends of my father's. I was very enthousiastic about these people and their bikes and of course wanted one when I got my license at 18. I bought my father's 1965 MZ (the one he visited Moscow with) but apparently had different demands on the bike. It used to seize more than I had to go to the toilet.

My friend Kees more or less ordered me to switch to a Japanese bike, so I bought a 250 Yamaha. Troubles didn't disappear though. Little holes in the pistons made me renew them a lot!

I joined a motorcycle club (MC Rotterdam Zuid) and started to make many annual miles. To be able to do that I had to buy a new bike... an MZ ETZ/250! (See photo on top). After 60000 miles (and zero (0) problems!) I traded that one in for a new superbike: a Suzuki T500 (it was 1971 mind you!). A whole new world of motorcycling opened itself to me: what speed, what acceleration, what POWER!! (47bhp).


And who's the girl?

In front of the Eiffeltower, 1971

Unfortunately I wasted it after 10000 miles, so I bought a new one, which took me on a four month trip thru Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Turkey. I also did some track riding with it (Zandvoort) and boy, this was great! I traded in the T500 for the best bike of the early 70ies: the famous Honda CB750. On that bike I acquired a racing license and had some great fun on the tracks (Assen and Zandvoort). Until this day I remember and thus enjoy the 6-hour's race on Zandvoort in which I teamed up with friend Wim who was kind enough to put his Yamaha 750 at risk. Though we had the slowest bike of the 46 entries, we were in 10th spot after 1 hour's racing. This was big-time fun!


Plate #1, is this serious?

Racing at Zandvoort, 1973

Then I met my wife to be and at the same time ruined the Honda engine (broken chain crashed the engine, my fault). I decided to buy another T500 Suzuki and even though it took us to Greece and France on holidays, I never got used to it again.

After that came a period of family tragedy; there was no time for biking any more so my brother took the Suzuki apart for me and I put it away in the attic.

It became 1985, things had settled a bit, and I decided to rebuild the T500. When finished, I traded it in for a new BMW R80RT, which I picked up in 1986. I wasn't overwhelmed by it's performance but needed a reliable commuting bike. Then I wasn't overwhelmed by it's reliability: it needed a major rebuild after only 6000 km due to a factory error! But, I admit, as time went by, I got used to the bike, and well, I was only using it for commuting.

Then several things happened that turned me into a happy biker again... My friend Dook bought himself a bike for the first time in his life and seemed very happy with that; I got invited by another friend, Hans, to join him and others on a short motorcycle vacation which I enjoyed much more than I had expected. Then I "met" some really nice virtual persons on the Compuserve Ride forum. (Later I met many of them in reality, and they turned out to be just as nice as in the virtual world!).

Still from a video

Out with the Ride forum people. Watch the red R80! The grey guy on the right is Hans. Italy 1997

After that miles started to pick up: I had several short holiday trips with Hans and/or Dook, did some track riding again, started to live again...

In 1995 I bought a second bike, a 1961 BMW R27 (more or less in memory of my father) which I rode for 13 years and sold in 2008. In january 1998 I finally, after more than 11 years, traded in the R80 (the "RT" bit had gone in a crash in which I lost the fairing; not bad that wind thru my hair!) for another great bike: the Honda VFR800FI. I had great fun with it, but finally sold it in 2009, shortly before my retirement.

So today I just have a Transalp XL650V to travel and explore unpaved roads. It surely has proven to be a tough little bike with the Morocco, Norway and Turkey trips as highlights.