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An old acquaintance

Because we do not walk with those proven useless masks, we recognized each other

"You're ... aren't you?" Forty years since the last meeting, there was some doubt. But yes, "It was us."

And apparently at least part of the interest from then had remained, because we met at the undercover Mecca of MZ and Hercules enthusiasts, the unsurpassed Gekra in Dieren. CEO Gerrit Kranenburg looked satisfied underneath his blue cap and said: "If you are going to catch up you will probably want tea".


Maarten turned out not to have to continue working as a freelancer until two weeks after his death. After our shared engine time, he had finished his studies. He had entered the pharma, had a good life and a career and now he was on a lavish pension. He was yet another pensionado who happily concluded that he was so busy now that he could not imagine that he had ever had time to work. And he had also started motorcycling again.

We brought back some memories of which any vest-wearing Modern Motorcyclist would now get flakes between their fingers

The time he smoked pleasantly mistook a VW bus for a kangaroo and decided he wanted to kill that beast. He had been in traction for quite a while. We smuggled whiskey inside during hospital visits. That worked wonders for his night's sleep and blood pressure. The time when a mutual friend with his Suzuki T500 crashed into a Ford Taunus on the back, rolled over the roof, crashed in front of the car and was run over by the same Taunus .. Another girl's girlfriend who set fire to her sweetheart's engine after seeing her boyfriend kiss with another. The time we crossed a field in the Ardennes in the evening and got stuck in loose earth. In the dark we saw further down the church tower of the village we were looking for. We decided it had been a good day and slept on the freshly plowed ground next to our bikes.

The time Mad Fredje - who was also called 'Kratje' because of his drinking on a daily basis and actually had an old, double and very chic name - had started his Norton in his room in the hope that the sound of the idling twin would sing him to sleep. The parts manager of a British brand club that stole money from the club's treasury for its own trade and was therefore beaten up with some regularity. But he remained in office. Because nobody could get cheap parts so well. HDCU was located on the Vrouw Juttestraat, which consisted of students and construction workers. The joke was to get off your driving Liberator and finish your first lager before your engine stopped. We concluded that we survived and that we had calmed down a bit.

Some of those friends back then were a bit dead because of too intensive life. But at least together we knew of the existence of a few others.

After his studies, Maarten gave up motorcycling

In his later life, he had not fallen into the trap of a midlife crisis, so he had not bought a Harley-Davidson or a younger partner. But now that he had won his freedom uninhibited, he had started driving again. At first he had oriented himself broadly. He had come to the conclusion that all that modern high tech didn't affect him. Neither is power above 150 hp and traffic jams to the North Cape. He was satisfied, had nothing to prove to the outside world or to himself and had bought himself an ex Bundeswehr Hercules plus a BMW 65. And now he was with the car in Dieren to score parts for the Hercules BW. Because that 125 cc two-stroke had become his preferred mode of transport for everything within 50 kilometers of his home. And his house was no longer in a Utrecht student and other poverty-sowing neighborhood, but on the endless plains of Groningen where his Lief - you know him from your own. Triumphtime? - also kept some horses.

We decided to continue talking at my home

It was getting late. Maarten called home to stay in Dieren. Because he ate a few bubbles of whiskey. Something that would have never stopped him - or me - forty years ago… well. Wisdom comes with age. But we concluded the evening with the conclusion that we felt sorry for all modern motorcyclists who drink only Spa, consciously eat healthy food, go to the gym, do not smoke and live only by the grace of the pre-programmed group tours.

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