I have found myself a little lost of late. I don’t seem to be enjoying the time on my bike as much as I used to. Old age? Perhaps.

 I miss the days when I first started riding some 27 years and several motorcycles ago. Back then a motorcycle shop was a meeting place, bench racing was the pastime and no one bothered you about having a latte. The people selling you the bike or parts knew what they were talking about. While touring a shop a couple hours south of my home I was approached by a teeny bopper spewing out pamphlet style info about some bike that he had never even sat on. Ever notice how you can smell the non-riders as soon as they speak?  I was afraid to step into this place with my grimy track boots, the floor was so clean. I was afraid to touch the bikes, which were all sporting signs bellowing “KEEP OFF!!” I didn’t take the offered latte in case I slopped the stupid thing and caused a meltdown in the staff at this place.

 What the Hell has happened?  I’m going to lament here the long lost Parry Sound Cycle and proprietors Bill Robinson and Paul Bushey. Though Bill and Paul are both involved in other ventures, I miss their cycle shop. When I went in and said “Paul, on my bike there is that thing that moves that doohickey inside the left casing, I need one of those.”  Paul always knew exactly what I was talking about.

 Bill was the type of guy that would bend over backwards to help you…. until you jerked him around and then you weren’t welcome in the shop. Case in point, when I crashed my 750 Honda many moons ago and the forks need to be straightened and rebuilt, Bill had the guys in the back fix them up and then let them sit on a shelf while I recovered and earned enough of my high school, hairnet, name tag job earnings to pay for the repairs. When I finally did pick them up I thanked him for not throwing them in the snow bank. I still remember his reply, “No problem, I knew you’d come through.”

 Bill’s stories of the days when he carried Norton motorcycles were the stuff of legends around here. I’m always surprised at how many people once they find out I am from Parry Sound, ask about Bill and Paul and tell me how they bought their first bike from them or how they broke down and Bill and Paul stayed open late to get them back on the road.

 The mechanics in the back of the shop always had time to fill you in on what they found wrong and things to watch for in the future.  A summer job at the shop had these guys teaching me a lot of stuff and I was the brunt of many jokes. A little advice, if someone tells you to hold a spark plug with the electrode ground off, don’t do it.

 I am fortunate that there are a couple shops in people’s garages that I frequent. Good friend Ian’s shop has a floor somewhere under all the cigarette butts. His big old German Shepherd likes to roll in the swamp out back and lay in his favourite spot in the shop. You can go in there and put your feet up and shoot the poop while Ian works away.

 D’arcy up the hill from me is more often then not at the track with his son Aubrey, an up and coming racer that we need to watch. Often D’arcy will answer a knock at the door after hours and get someone fixed up and rolling again. His shop smells like race fuel and posters of girls with motorcycles line the walls.

 Motorcycles are a state of mind, a part of life, and motorcyclists are defining in them selves and the shop experience is just as much a part of that as riding is. With all due respect to all the shops out there, there are some that need to return to a little more old school way of thinking.

 Maybe a visit to one of these old school places will get me back on track


~ by cdnrider on December 31, 2012.

One Response to “Lost”

  1. Hi, I am trying to find Billy Robinson or any of the Robinson clan. If you have any contact info, I would really appreiate it. We are old family friends. Thanks Ingrid (Maschek) Winters. ingrid.winters@bell.net

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