I Love Motorcycles, She loves Dogs!

 (Hondigity Dog) Globe & Mail


Being an avid motorcyclist, it is not uncommon in social circles for the topic to gravitate towards bikes.  Consequently, group conversations often touch on the subject of motorcycle ownership.  I am always amazed when some guy spills the beans and says: “I’d love to have a motorcycle but my wife won’t let me.”  I usually bite my tongue, but my thought response is always the same, “Man, you obviously married the wrong woman.”  That may sound harsh, but there is definitely some truth in it. 

Many years ago, when my wife Irene and I were dating, I had three motorcycles in my fifth floor apartment.  A beautifully restored 1965 Honda CB160 was parked strategically in my dining room.  My tidy enclosed solarium balcony housed two additional vintage bikes. We are not talking greasy Harley engines in the bathtub here.  The point is, she really knew what she was getting into, and it was highly unlikely, at age 34, that I would change much.

Time has marched on and we have now been happily married for nearly 19 years.  I still own five motorcycles. One of the reasons we are happily married is that we respect and support each other’s interests. One Christmas, she even bought me a rare, Honda CB450 “Black Bomber” motorcycle to restore. I found it in very rough shape and negotiated a purchase price of $250 and she insisted on buying it for me as my gift. That’s when I realized, wow, I married the right girl.  Which brings to mind an old miner’s saying; “Once you strike gold, you stop digging.”

It wasn’t just the bike purchase; she also got her motorcycle license when I was a motorcycle safety instructor.  This was not an easy task for her.  She did not pass right away, nor did she give up.  She persevered and practiced until she was successful.  It was   obvious to me at that moment just how committed she was to our success as a couple.

Obviously there are two sides to this relationship business, and so I also have to be respectful and supportive of her interests.  As a licensed aircraft mechanic my passions all have engines attached to them, motorcycles, cars and aircraft.  Hers are a little more eclectic, gardening, live theatre and animals.  For the record, when I say animals here, I am referring primarily to cats and dogs. 

Here is a good example of how it works.  A few years ago, we traveled on vacation to England.  I took her to tour a few aviation museums, and she took me on a couple of garden tours.  The beauty of this exchange is that she now recognizes the difference between a Rolls Royce Merlin and an Anzani Radial aircraft engine, and I appreciate the difference between a rose and a rhododendron.  She took me to see Shakespeare at Stratford and I took her to Paris (Ontario…for the vintage bike rally!)  We both support each other’s interest and in the process expand our own horizons.

Of course we are married, so this scenario can at times push us each to the very boundary of our limits.  Irene grew up on a farm with lots of cats and dogs running around. Consequently, her need for a dog was intense, but not just any dog.  It had to be a Dachshund; you know the long legless type, the dog world’s version of a “low rider”. This particular breed captured her heart, due to Fritz, a beloved Dachshund from her past. I had always promised her that when I retired she would have another, and sure enough she called my bluff. Little Lola recently entered our lives, much to the surprise of Blue, our slightly used, low mileage cat.  Irene is over the moon with her new baby Dachshund. 

We still attend Woofstock and various Dachshund Rescue picnics in an attempt to keep her “additional” cravings at bay.  Still I know it is only a matter of time before we collect both Honda’s and Dachshunds.  Perhaps, when we are both retired we can set up a joint business venture…Sam’s Vintage Honda’s and Reenie’s Weenies.  Sales slogan:  Get ‘em while they’re hot! 

In any case, I often wonder about those guys with wives that won’t allow them to have a motorcycle.  Do the guys then get to deny their wives some unique passion like tennis or shopping, or is it just a one-way street?  “Ok, honey I won’t get a motorcycle, but no more designer stilettos for you…ok?”  I mean, let’s face it, they can both be extremely dangerous, in the wrong hands! Husbands take note; this kind of brash statement can result in lengthy amounts of couch time and/or serious injury.  So remember always wear a helmet!

I guess the bottom line is, when it comes to relationships, it really boils down to give and take to keep everyone happy.  Currently our little urban jungle consists of one cat and one dog. They seem to get along just fine and so do we. At least for now, all is well, with no additional Dachshunds in our immediate future. Thank goodness, despite my ongoing commitment to relationship compromise, I have never been a big fan of motorcycle sidecars. Especially when one sidecar could potentially carry dozens of Dachshunds!


One thought on “I Love Motorcycles, She loves Dogs!

  1. Hi Sam in a recent show on TV I saw your shop for the first time and also saw a sticker from Dicks Sales and Service which used to be on Kingston Road at Warden in Scarborough. I worked there as a mechanic in 1966 thru 1969 as I was going to school and finished University and went to work for Honda Canada Inc for over 35 years until I retired in 2010 also several of my coworkers also worked for Honda for many years Dicks was quite the place as you may know Dick Arai owner and his brother Tom have passed away. When I was at Honda Tom Faulds was the head of service we got the Honda Rc 166 bike out of the Ontario Science center and started it up at Honda office at Milner Avenue what a SOUND Tom rode it several times at vintage races until Japan Head office asked for it back and it is now in their possession. I did see Mike Hailwood drive it at Mosport in 1967. GREAT MEMORIES

    Ken Otterbein

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