When selling a bike is like losing a family member

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I don’t think I’ll ever get used to seeing someone load my pride and joy into their van. You might have just shoved a fist full of dollars into your sky rocket but it’ll be scant redemption. And if seeing it disappearing down the street doesn’t put a knot in your stomach, then it probably wasn’t the right bike for you in the first place. For many of us though, selling a bike is like losing a family member. Like someone chopping your arm off. And it doesn’t get any better.

A couple of years ago, I had to sell a race bike that I’d had for about six years. I’d raced it in BSB, all over Europe, the Isle of man TT, you name it. I really, really, really didn’t want to sell it. But if I wanted to carry on racing, I simply had to get rid. I was desperate for the space and I needed the money; if I wasn’t, I would have kept it. I know six years doesn’t sound like a long time to own a bike, but when you have done so much with it, and shared so many memories, it feels like a lifetime. During that six years, I’d spent more time riding and working on that bike than I’d spent with any other person, which is probably why I felt so close to it. I was close to it.

I genuinely felt like I could have written a book about my time with that bike. I’m glad I didn’t because it probably would have been the most boring book in the world to most people. But it wouldn’t have been to me.

Because when you’ve had a bike for a while, it’s more than just a bike. It becomes part of your life. Part of you. All those peculiar quirks and idiosyncrasies that only you know about will never be appreciated by anyone else. All the time you’ve spent working on the bike, working out what makes it tick, doesn’t mean anything anymore. You’ve got to start again. You’re going to have to learn a new bike. All those special little tools you’ve made are now useless. Selling a bike really is crap.

And what often makes it worse is not knowing where it’s going. What are they going to do with your lovely bike. It’s unlikely they’ll look after it as well as you did; or that’s what it feels like anyway. What if they completely abuse it? What if they leave it outside to rust? Will they smash it to smithereens the first time they ride it? Well it’s not your problem now. They can, and will, do with it whatever they want. But that doesn’t make it hurt any less.

And the more you think about it, the more you’ll regret getting rid of it. If only you could find a way to keep it. Even though the notion of keeping every bike you’ve ever owned is completely ludicrous, you’ll still be desperate to. Desperate not to see the back of yet another beloved bike.

But unfortunately, it’s got to be done. The bike’s got to go to make room for a new one, so let’s not dwell on it. Let’s remember all the good times. In fact, fuck it, let’s remember all the bad ones too; they’ll make just as good a story (if not better).

And let’s hope the new bike will provide just as many beautiful memories. As long as you are getting a new bike, that is. If you’re not getting a new bike, you need to give your head a bang. I don’t care if you’ve got a wedding to pay for, tell her she can shove it up her arse.

Selling a bike never gets any easier, and I’m not going to pretend it does. But with a few coping mechanisms in place, we can all get through the difficult times. Focus on the positives. You can get through this.


8 Responses

  1. Had to sell my old 94’ cbr600 to buy a car. Nearly hurt as much as the other half leaving me about the same time. It was a shitter, but it was my shitter.
    The bike was sound though.

  2. Great read Boothy! The Mrs and I are getting married this year and she tried convincing me to sell the bike to help fund the event. We compromised and I sold my bike… to buy a newer, more expensive one!

  3. I can guarantee the first 10 bikes I sold definitely went to better homes and this article would have made no sense to me at all, but now I’m older and wiser I look after my bikes and finally appreciate what you’re talking about!

  4. I had to sell Jolene my Street Triple to pay for our living room wooden floor. Man how I miss that bike. Luckily I have managed to convince the wife the need to buy a new bike. The thing is, I still miss that bike a lot.

  5. I miss that bruiser too Boothy it was hell of a bike and still can’t really believe we got it round the TT

  6. I’ll be honest, it hurts more when you’ve got the neighbour’s cctv showing four men loading your bike into a van when it wasn’t actually for sale…

  7. Boothy, that really helped me to stop thinking about selling one of my two bikes, touching and funny article. good work

  8. They’re for keeps because they were a calculated correct decision and cannot see anyone riding off on mine, as they’re my family.
    They don’t stand there and insult you, argue or decide they’re having a hangover!

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