A Compromise of Love

Story by Emily Roberts// Photos by Dean Foster
July 6 2021

Life is full of sacrifices, carrying the burden of others for the greater good, and ensuring our loved ones are taken care of before ourselves. So this year, when my partner had to leave for work, I had to carry the burden of caring for his motorcycle. His dirtbike had served as his trusty steed for a few years, but with him gone for two months, I made an executive decision to better his life. I sold his dirtbike. Although it was a good bike, my partner’s skills had progressed, and the bike was more suited to a beginner.

He wasn’t surprised I’d do such a thing since, in our relationship, I’m the one who takes care of all the motor ponies in our stable. I fix them when they’re broken, take them out to expel their energy when needed and, of course, I’m always looking to acquire new steeds. But after I got rid of his dirtbike, I quickly realized that getting him a more suitable one might be a bit of a challenge, considering the amplified spring bike market we experienced this year because of Covid.

With his return date getting closer and one bike stall still empty, I scoured the classifieds and called dealerships to buy him a new bike — to no avail. Everything was either sold within hours or so overpriced it wouldn’t be worth the out-of-wallet loss.

But sometimes a bit of determination and patience can pay off. With Erik’s arrival a mere three days away, I found the bike I, umm, he wanted: A 2015 Beta 300RR, sitting in a garage no more than two hours from my house. As fate would have it, the owner had stopped riding and, instead of taking advantage of the obscenely inflated prices of bikes, he listed the Beta at a fair market value.

Knowing that the bike would go quickly, I rushed over to see it. It was laden with farkles of sorts, kept in good shape, and included a second set of studded tires and rims. It was clear the owner had loved the bike, but family life didn’t allow him to ride anymore. After a quick check over and a ten-
minute ride, I decided to purchase the pony for my better half.

I brought it home and placed it next to its new siblings, one of which was my KTM 300XCW. I sat looking at the two. I don’t know whether it was the excitement of bringing home a new-to-me bike, or because I truly liked it more, but I felt my eyes being drawn more and more toward the Beta I had bought for my boyfriend than to my own bike.

The days leading up to Erik’s arrival were filled with anticipation, as I imagined how happily he’d react when he saw this majestic new stallion. When he arrived, I anxiously walked him to the garage and awaited the look of surprised joy that I had been sure would overtake his expression. However, it wasn’t as I’d imagined it. I realized that I had based my expectation of his reaction on my own excitement about the bike —similar to how a parent might feel when they purchase their child their first bike, only to find out that they think riding is only “kind of fun.”

After Erik took a few rides, the bike’s excellent performance was clear, and I saw his riding skills and confidence grow with each twist of the wrist. But there was a trade-off. I loved the bike and, maybe because it was new to me, or because I hadn’t gotten to ride it before Erik did, I was jealous. I did it for love, but could my love of bikes outweigh my love of another human? I had taken on the burden of caring for the bikes, and now I felt the pain of not having them all to myself.

Of course, the smile on Erik’s face, as well as his newfound self-assurance, quickly subdued those emotions. Seeing him ride around, quickly gaining the confidence to pop over logs, solidified the choice I had made.

People sometimes laugh when I say I bought my boyfriend a bike, but I don’t think of it as a man or woman thing. It’s more of an unconditional love thing. I have unconditional love for motorcycles and for my partner, so I make sure we can enjoy the sport together. I’m sure anyone else would do the same in my situation. I’m now patiently waiting for him to leave for work again so that I can take out my new dirt pony and run it, just to be sure it is the bike that I —I mean, he — wanted.

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