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How A Rat Bike Captured My Heart

Updated on March 6, 2013

My Encounter With a Troubled Beast

I once had a motorcycle that never seemed to act the same way two days in a row. I saw it in a ad. it was too late in the season but I was bored. So I bought it over the phone and took a train to another country to fetch it.

It was a aging xtz660, which is a single cylinder bike. It had done proud service to several owners before me and on closer inspection I decided that this was a genuine rat bike with soft, swaying suspension and lots of paint on it. Anyway, I had traveled far to get it, so no turning back.

The thing with having only one old semi-loose cylinder is that it either fires up, or simply refuses. And once you get it going it may play nice and flex some muscle. At other times it may decide it is wheezing cough day and you just cross your fingers and hope it will sputter and putter around the next bend.

This old bike had temper, not always in a good way. But it captured my heart big time.

Images belong to our family

Robin and David ( the nephews ) both had shiny new BMW motorcycles. Here is a pic of my bike all packed and ready on the first morning of a trip. David is eyeing my bike with a bit of amused skepticism. The Rat did ok though and we managed to do everything the proud Bayerische Motoren Werke beasts did.

bike repair shop
bike repair shop

Sometimes It Got Sick and Hurt

Having a old vehicle isn't always easy. Rat bikes need a lot of geriatric care. Since a old bike is pretty cheap to buy (unless it is a exhibition piece... which disqualifies it as a rat...) you want to do most of the servicing yourself.

Sometimes you may need to consult with a specialist though. here we are at the mechanic to see what all the swaying was about. In the end, the cure would have been a cash hungry endeavor so we opted to ride on and hope for the best.

My rat had personality problems and would act nice bike one day, and bad bike the next. It came to be something you expected and had it been otherwise it would have been a pretty boring steed.

One thing it always played out was the ignition timing. It would fire up and rev just fine but the next time you started it.. it was all sputter and embarrassing blurps that sounded a lot like breaking wind. On those days, it even smelled bad from poor combustion. Next day - it would be cooperative and even enthusiastic as we slid out from gravel curves.

Not knowing how the rat would behave was half the fun!

If you are getting a old bike, be prepared to get your hands dirty, specially when out riding - that's when all the stuff breaks.

When hitting the trails, make sure you have a bunch of screws, nuts and bolts and even some pieces of bendable metal packed away. This is after a fall me and the rat decided to do. We lost the brake lever as a result. Lucky me.. I had a reserve with me!

Your best friend is always a roll of duct tape!

Best Duct Tape for Field Repairs

Gorilla 6003001 Tough & Wide  Duct Tape, 2.88-Inch x 30-Yards
Gorilla 6003001 Tough & Wide Duct Tape, 2.88-Inch x 30-Yards

Heavy duty duct tape is something everyone should have handy at home, when camping and touring. If you only take one single repair thing on your motorcycle trips - duct tape should be it.

 

Rust and Vintage Go Hand in hand

metal rat friendship
metal rat friendship

Some machines just go on working year after year. We stopped to say hello to this rusty old car which was still going strong. If you ever decide to get a vintage vehicle, prepare yourself for rust. The rat had it too. It is one of those things you have to accept.

If you can't stand seeing rust, spray some paint on it and try to ignore the creaking sounds...

Making New Friends

ride bike on gotland
ride bike on gotland

I always wondered why dogs seemed to like my bike. Even dogs that would bark or be intimidated by other bikes would approach mine and hang around. As I was going through tour pics I realized the musky smell of sheep must have stuck to it.

This is a pic from my Gotland trip. Lots and lots of sheep there and the rat probably squished thousands of sheep dung during that ride.

Maybe this is where the multiple personality disorder thing started too... I mean a bike is sort of a iron horse, but mine was a rat... that smelled like sheep.. and farted like a cow sometimes... There is no denying this beast had character!

My Favorite Off-road Motorcycle Boots

Alpinestars Scout WP Boots - 10/Black
Alpinestars Scout WP Boots - 10/Black

I never liked motocross boots because they always felt like too much protection and were (for me) impossible to wear for any longer duration. So I started my year with the XTZ660 with a pair of extra rugged touring boots I had used with my other bike. Mud and gravel killed those boots after a month or two. Just as well, because they lacked enough protection.

When I got the Alpine Scout my riding experience changed. These boots are as comfortable as a pair of sturdy touring boots while offering heavy duty protection. And they are waterproof.

I've gone through a lot of full body armor in my years in different saddles and out of all that protective gear, these boots get my top rating.

 

The Metal Rat Video Shoot - Gravel touring in Sweden

See what hunting BMW's looks like. Here is a video with a bit from the ride with the nephews. We had a GoPro camera which you normally attach to something but I wanted to be able to pan and shoot freely... so I ended up shooting handheld with a compact camera while chasing the German Beasts :)

One handed video shooting tip. A old bike will probably have a old worn-out loose gearbox. The bonus is that you can switch gears without clutch if you rev and drop. Takes a while to get the hang of it but it works on lower gears. Now you can shoot videos on the fly with your left hand :)

I think it turned out pretty well but the tunes I made for it are mixed with cheapo headphones and didn't turn out that well.

Who cares.. we (me, the rat, and the nephews) had fun! That's what counts.

The riding starts after about 30 seconds. Sorry about the heavy base in my mix. The real chase starts at 2.50, that was a bit hairy one handed on the loose gravel hehe

Motorcycle Rain Gear

As you can probably tell, the northern climate often includes rain. The trick to enjoying every ride no mater what the weather turns out to be is to have the right gear with you for every eventuality. Anyone going on longer motorcycle rides ought to bring along some form of mc rain suit.

Lovely Memories of a Quirky Beast

motorcycle trips with rat bike
motorcycle trips with rat bike

The rat was a good companion.

My Hike Through The Frozen Woods
Have you ever taken a hike through a forest during winter? It is a very different experience from a summer walk. One of the first things you notice is the la...

Exploring Gotland | Motorcycle Ride Report
Gotland is a large island about 190 kilometers south-east of Stockholm in the Baltic Sea. Gotland is a region where huge numbers of historic artifacts have b...

A Cheap Way to Pimp a Rat Bike

bike saddle change
bike saddle change

I don't know exactly what or where it happened but one day, something started to dissolve the seat. I would take a ride and it just didn't feel the same. Turns out the seat surface material was dissolving and acting as a adhesive on my bike suit. It was like being glued to the saddle - something that you do not want when riding terrain - you need to be able to move and slide a bit over the saddle.

The repair budget for this bike was essentially zero, so I rummaged around the house and came up with a outdoor table cloth made of vinyl or something. Done deal!

I simply cut out enough material and draped it over the dissolving seat which now acted as welcome glue between the two. Staples and more duct tape held it all together under the seat.

I think it turned out pretty nice! That's a cool rat.

Good All-round Dual Sport Tires

Continental Twinduro TKC80-Dual Sport Front Tire - 90/90-21 02471440000
Continental Twinduro TKC80-Dual Sport Front Tire - 90/90-21 02471440000

The tires I used most are the Continental TKC-80 as seen on the pic of my bike above (pretty worn down there). The TKC-80 is specifically made for heavy dual sport bikes. Put these on anything over 400cc and you are set to ride wherever you want.

They perform admirably on all terrain except mud, and are somewhat slippery on wet grass. Sand, gravel, rock, forest trails and everything else they shine. Surprisingly good performance for long rides on tarmac too.

The heavier the bike, the better match they are. BMW delivers many of the heavy terrain bikes with TKC-80 factory mounted.

 

Got a rat too? Let's hear about it!

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    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      No! But I love your rat. What a fun read and your seat repair just gave me an idea on how to repair an old bicycle seat. Thanks!

    • jemacb profile image

      jemacb 4 years ago

      Good question....what did happen to the bike? Haha. nice lens.

    • kindoak profile image
      Author

      kindoak 4 years ago

      @MaureenCee: I sold it to a young guy with rasta dreads heh. I have seen it around town so the rat still lives!

    • MaureenCee profile image

      MaureenCee 4 years ago

      So, what happened to the bike? A great story lens and most enjoyable BUT... what happened to the bike??

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

      I loved this lens first time I saw it and just wanted to stop back by and say congratulations on your front page placement.

    • profile image

      fifinn 4 years ago

      Very enjoyable when the bike has become a part of our lives.

    • craigsmithilm profile image

      craigsmithilm 4 years ago

      What a bike!! My bike has a character of its own and is especially grumpy after being abandoned and ignored all winter. The roads you went on really look great and the country side beautiful. Almost had a lump in my throat! Great share from another biker.

    • kindoak profile image
      Author

      kindoak 4 years ago

      @wleon63: I just did a quick fix and wrapped the new material over the whole seat. I would guess the dissolving continues underneath :D

    • wleon63 profile image

      wleon63 4 years ago

      I can understand completely, your passion for this bike. It shines through your article. I do not ride bikes myself, but I do appreciate them - as you obviously do yours. How did you manage to get the seat of your bike sorted out? You put that it was dissolving. Did you have to buy a new seat or change the material on the seat? Anyway, great article..

    • profile image

      Paula7928 4 years ago

      The picture of the motorcyle with the sheep is hilarious!

    • chocochipchip profile image

      chocochipchip 4 years ago

      Great story!! Love your rat bike!!!

    • birthday-wishes profile image

      birthday-wishes 4 years ago

      Great lens! I love that bike.

    • NoYouAreNot profile image

      NoYouAreNot 4 years ago

      No, I don't ride a bike. But I extremely enjoy bike trips -- the longer, the better.

    • profile image

      Bartukas 4 years ago

      Nice lens thanks for sharing

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 4 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      I just cannot resist a good motorbike Lens! I am heading off on a road trip this weekend for a couple of weeks on my Suzuki V-Strom. Hopefully the bike and I make it in one piece. I am hoping not to need any duct tape!

    • MusicMadness LM profile image

      MusicMadness LM 4 years ago

      Nice bike. Been thinking of getting one myself these days. Kind of like the Kawasaki Vulcan, for no other reason, then I saw a really cool one at the park last summer,and took a few pictures of it.

    • Fridayonmymind LM profile image

      Fridayonmymind LM 4 years ago

      Haha! I was thhinking of rat as in the rodent and realised I was on the wrong track. Entertaining lens, thank you.

    • itravel2004 lm profile image

      itravel2004 lm 4 years ago

      Hi Kindoak, your bike's lens really impressive and full of information. Well done!!!

    • oldthemushy profile image

      oldthemushy 4 years ago

      Three R's for YOUR bike!

      Recyclable - Reliable - Renewable :D

    • profile image

      tgray143 4 years ago

      This lens has me wanting to get a bike. I have a lot of places here in Tenessee to go bike riding. Just wish I had the money to get a bike. Guess I need to set a budget and start saving for one:) Thanks for a fun lens to read.

    • profile image

      tgray143 4 years ago

      This lens has me wanting to get a bike. I have a lot of places here in Tenessee to go bike riding. Just wish I had the money to get a bike. Guess I need to set a budget and start saving for one:) Thanks for a fun lens to read.

    • geoffhoff profile image

      geoffhoff 4 years ago

      Sometimes, the old geezers are the most fun! Thanks for sharing your rat. It made me pine for the open road. (Not sure I have quite as much adventurous spirit as you, though, I think I'd need one that didn't need quite as much attention!)

    • hovirag profile image

      hovirag 4 years ago

      I was always afraid of motorbikes - I still remember being terrified when I first sat on a moving one as a child...

      I like your writing style - so much fun!

    • myoyster1957 profile image

      myoyster1957 4 years ago

      Just read your lens for a second time, love it, makes me laugh, smile and feel good. Guess I need to get me a Rat!

    • kindoak profile image
      Author

      kindoak 4 years ago

      @Tom Maybrier: Hi Tom, you can always start by renting a bike. The trick is to go off the main roads. I prefer dirtroads but even a daytrip on some curvy asphalt roads is great fun!

    • street2linen profile image

      street2linen 4 years ago

      Beautiful bike and lense!

    • kindoak profile image
      Author

      kindoak 4 years ago

      @MissMalaprop: The V-strom is a big but awesome dual sport bike. Most people use it to commute but put some knobbies on it and it will take you through the dirt roads of Death Valley in style.

    • Tom Maybrier profile image

      Tom Maybrier 4 years ago

      I want a motorcycle so badly - this looks like so much fun. Great lens!

    • profile image

      MissMalaprop 4 years ago

      I don't know what makes it a "rat", but my boyfriend has a Suzuki V-strom bike that we loved to ride. He used it as a commuter bike for a few years but then got busy with film work and hasn't used it much recently, since it's hard to haul much camera equipment on! But I just came back from western Ireland with my mom & sis, and driving around the Ring of Kerry and Dingle really make me want to go back one day with him and do a motorcycle trip through that area! He & I did a motorcycle tour of 1,600+ miles of California and Nevada in 2006 and it was one of the most amazing trips of my life!

    • profile image

      aNomadsDream 4 years ago

      You make me miss my bike :( Looks like you had a lot of fun :)

    • profile image

      NewUsedCarsSacramento 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing the fun experience, it was very enjoyable to read.

    • TheLoneWriter LM profile image

      TheLoneWriter LM 4 years ago

      Very cool! I haven't ever really been into bikes, but I'm reconsidering that after reading your lens. :)

    • profile image

      KitchenMagik 4 years ago

      Bikes are not my thing, but what a fun lens - thanks for sharing!

    • PurplePansy LM profile image

      PurplePansy LM 4 years ago

      You have lots of great photos and such a fun story telling style about your bike. I have to admit motorcycles scare me, especially one that needs constant repairs. But it sounds like you are quite the MacGyver and you make it work for you.

    • profile image

      Khaleeka 4 years ago

      Thanks for the great read! While I'm not a bike person, I truly enjoyed reading about your rat. Blessings!

    • LadyCharlie profile image

      LadyCharlie 4 years ago

      I got a grin from your lens. I personally know a Rat bike or two. Keep enjoying those adventures. Which I personally feel about every trip we take. Great lens! Blessed

    • MJ Martin profile image

      MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 4 years ago from Washington State

      you have some interesting adventures with that bike

    • JimMcD profile image

      JimMcD 4 years ago

      Some of the prettiest bikes have low mileage and look good in the garage

      But some of the BEST bikes have a zillion miles rode and are held together with duct tape,string,and just about anything else.

      Great lens, thanks

    • profile image

      pualintan 4 years ago

      Very Nice! These are great photos! Thanks.

    • kindoak profile image
      Author

      kindoak 4 years ago

      @joseph-sottile-16: I agree. The trick to getting the most of it is to detour off the standard way and try some unknown paths. Same applies to trekking, bicycling and now that I think of it, everything in life.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      You guys on bikes are nuts but ya just gotta love this lens.

    • Gmill LM profile image

      Gmill LM 4 years ago

      Very Nice!!!

    • suepogson profile image

      suepogson 4 years ago

      Lovely, funny lens and great photos. Thanks for making me smile!

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 4 years ago from Perth UK

      Such a great lens. Love your bike! I had a love affair with a BSA year ago - rode it all the way to The Orkney Islands, Scotland from London. Sweet memories!

    • Sweetbunny LM profile image

      Sweetbunny LM 4 years ago

      Love the "making new friends' photo, made me laugh out loud early this morning! Thanks!

    • Means2gain profile image

      Means2gain 4 years ago

      Great Informal and Enjoyable lens plus I love motorbikes too, I currently ride a Honda Vfr 800 Fi Pre-Vtech which i must say has been the best bike i've rode yet out of all the others i've had .

    • Missy Zane profile image

      Missy Zane 4 years ago

      Love this lens. I really enjoyed the writing and the great photos.

    • bluewren56 lm profile image

      bluewren56 lm 4 years ago

      My husband had a bike for many, many years, then decided he was getting too old for a motor bike. He decided to sell it, however it wasn't long before he bought another one.... he just couldn't do without one. Enjoyed your lens.

    • eccles1 profile image

      eccles1 4 years ago

      I only ride a walker now days,but your lens makes me want a Cool Rat ! great pictures and story,this grandmother now gets it too! thanks for sharing.

    • missBorokwa profile image

      missBorokwa 4 years ago

      nice story thanks for sharing. I know a few people who are crazy about their bikes and I always wondered why but after reading about your rat bike i get it :) sounds like a great adventure.

    • giftsandgadgets profile image

      giftsandgadgets 4 years ago

      Cool Lens!

    • profile image

      The-Quirky-Banana 4 years ago

      Great Lens! Nice personal story: Looks like you had the awesomest time with this bike!

    • Miratex profile image

      Miratex 4 years ago

      Very nice.

    • Willicious LM profile image

      Willicious LM 4 years ago

      Love the seat cover ;)

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      Really cute personal story: blessed.

    • joseph-sottile-16 profile image

      joseph-sottile-16 4 years ago

      I like the "Making Friends" photo. Cycling yields a very glad-to-be-alive feeling.

    • profile image

      gemjane 4 years ago

      What an interesting lens to read! Love the sheep picture! This is well-done--thanks for sharing. I wouldn't be caught dead on a bike, but I enjoyed reading about your fun hobby!

    • profile image

      Ray701 4 years ago

      very good one of the best I've seen a long time keep up the good work. Once like this shows me where I've got a lot of work to do thank you.

    • Jeri Baker profile image

      Jeri Baker 4 years ago

      I love the duct tape comment...it really can be your best friend.

    • CrazyHomemaker profile image

      CrazyHomemaker 4 years ago

      Really nice travelogue. I enjoyed reading about your Rat even though I'm not a bike enthusiast. Cool!!!

    • LifeAhead profile image

      LifeAhead 4 years ago

      Great story and nicely presented! I can see why Bonnie linked to your lens as a good example to follow. I wouldn't have wanted to be on the back of your bike during that one-handed ride (excellent video too.)

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 4 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Enjoyed learning all about your rat and the photos are great!

    • RBTI profile image

      RBTI 4 years ago

      Yep, I arrived here because this lens was used as an example in one of our quests. I too can see why. Great story. Great lens!

    • Blkeeslar profile image

      Billie Keeslar 4 years ago from Mississippi

      Great Lens, I can see why this is being used as an example of how a Lens should be. What a great story!

    • RuthieDenise profile image

      RuthieDenise 4 years ago

      These are great photos!

    • pauly99 lm profile image

      pauly99 lm 4 years ago

      A very nice read. Hope you are able to enjoy your rat for many years to come.

    • profile image

      DanielBica 4 years ago

      Great lens. Good information

    • JudyJMick profile image

      JudyJMick 4 years ago

      I loved reading this! My hubby and I used to ride all the time, but had to sell our bike because of his 4 (that's right) knee replacements. I miss it - but love reading about other's adventures! Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      miaponzo 4 years ago

      VERY cute biking story! Thanks so much for sharing it with us!!! And here is some Squid Angel Dust to make your rat happy!!!

    • Loretta L profile image

      Loretta Livingstone 4 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

      I don't know much about bikes, but I love your lens. Your passion for bikes shines through. I love the pics too. A real quality lens.

    • profile image

      RetireAt57 4 years ago

      Great lens. Good information

    • Scullyvan profile image

      Scullyvan 4 years ago

      I don't, but this lens makes me wish I did! Thanks for sharing the terrific memories with us.

    • profile image

      Milehigh5000 4 years ago

      Great page! This type of content is what Squidoo is for!

    • profile image

      MichaelDubrovnik 4 years ago

      What a journey! Have fun and be safe.

    • profile image

      flashkid 4 years ago

      Really nice writeup. I prefer a bike to a car anyday.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      I'm not a fan of motorcycles, but you caught my interest here. Fun page.

    • Chris-H LM profile image

      Chris-H LM 4 years ago

      Great story mate! I really enjoyed reading about your experiences with your rat bike. Loved the photos too. We have Bike Week and Biketoberfest where I live so twice a year I get to see tens of thousands of really fancy bikes. People sure seem to love their motorcycles!

    • Yvette Munro profile image

      Yvette Munro 4 years ago

      What an awesome lens. Informative and such fun.

    • kindoak profile image
      Author

      kindoak 4 years ago

      @BLemley: Thanks for the story!

    • kindoak profile image
      Author

      kindoak 4 years ago

      @donaldwilson: You should try one. Used dual sports can be had for cheap. Sitting straight in the saddle is also a new experience for many. I went from a sleek street Fazer 1000cc to a old dual sport. On many roads I actually rode faster on the dual sport :)

    • profile image

      LadyDuck 4 years ago

      This surely is a great lens. Congratulation!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Nice lens man

    • KittySmith profile image

      KittySmith 4 years ago

      I love your lens. I have a rat bike, unfortunately, I am hoping she finds someone new to love her, because I have my heart set on a shiny road cruiser...

    • donaldwilson profile image

      Don Wilson 4 years ago from Yakima, WA

      My Kawasaki is designed to only play on the street. I've often thought that a dual sport would be fun to have, though.

    • lewisgirl profile image

      lewisgirl 4 years ago

      Great lens! I am going to pass it on to my motorcycle geek husband!

    • BLemley profile image

      Beverly Lemley 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      I'm not particularly proud of it, but I was a passenger on a '69 Electroglide to Daytona Beach (4th of July ~ talk about HOT!) from NC, in 1982, I think it was. I almost fell off several times, and by the time we got into GA, the headlight was dead, and we were pulled over and off the road. I spent the night on the curb at a gas station, falling off of that several times. In the morning, a very nice man in a big van spotted our woes, and helped us out. To this day, I don't know where we went, in particular, I think in Savannah. My brother-in-law had to come pick us up and the poor bike got thrown in a trailer, half hanging out. Everybody was exhausted and lucky to have made it back to NC. That was my last "thrill" on a bike ~ I will leave the biking to those that can handle the thrill of it all! Great lens ~ enjoyed the reminders of a past youth, and SquidAngel blessed! B : )

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 4 years ago from New York

      This is a fabulous lens with great photos! Years ago a really good friend of mine had a Harley shovel head rat bike. It looked like hell but ran great. Yup, even had duck tape on it. He never did fix it up to look good and took quite a bit of ribbing from the rest of us. Good ol' days. *Squid Angel Blessed*

    • tedwritesstuff24 profile image

      TedWritesStuff 4 years ago

      Had a Honda CB400 that played good rat bad rat on a daily basis..It was killed by a foolish car driver. I happily escaped with just a broken toe!

    • profile image

      teach 4 years ago

      Yep, an old Triumph Tiger Cub 250...leaky, smelly, hard to start...but fun still after all these years...when it decides to run!:>)

    • PBJasen profile image

      PBJasen 4 years ago

      Duct Tape FTV!!!! :) great photos!

    • profile image

      wiyadase 4 years ago

      rat bike? hahaha it was so nice ;)

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 4 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      I have two pet rats named Egg and Fizzbang - so had to come see what rat bikes are all about :D

    • DivaChick LM profile image

      DivaChick LM 4 years ago

      Nice lens thank you :-D good information about rat bikes..

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      My bike's not a rat, but I wouldn't mind owning one. Makes for true adventure and one need not worry so much about dings or scratches. Love your inventiveness with regard to quick fixes. You would be an awesome riding buddy. Ride on!

    • profile image

      CatJGB 4 years ago

      Great story!I had a bike back in the day.....not a rat though. And yep, duct tape can fix anything.

    • FunScavengerHunts profile image

      Brett 4 years ago from Asia

      Often the headaches of owning a 'rat' turn into the best stories lol. Sharing this socially ...

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Truly amazing lens. I really enjoyed reading your story. Thank you for sharing it with us

    • BowWowBear profile image

      BowWowBear 4 years ago

      Great and loving lens! I rode a Honda PC800 which wound up getting laid over. I bought back the salvage and it ,may turn into a rat bike too. Thanks for sharing!

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 4 years ago from California

      I am pretty sure I won't ever own a rat bike, but I sure enjoyed reading how much you love yours! I would love to ride down those roads in your pictures :)

    • rattie lm profile image

      rattie lm 4 years ago

      Well-loved indeed. These old friends always end up costing us a fortune.