Villager Titia told me during a dog walk that her son had bought a motorcycle. A Moto Guzzi. With a man under the rivers. And that man had many more motorcycles. Sheds full. But he looked more like a collector than a dealer. Whether I liked to know. Because then she would give me the address.
You are too far ...
The bike turned out to be a V50, a great choice for a novice motorcyclist. The collector turned out to be an extremely amiable man and I made an appointment. When I passed a long blank wall my TomTom - which then had a relaxed Antillean accent, which of course is no longer allowed - told me to turn around. I turned around. And my Antillean TomTom reported: “You are too far a friend. Turn around. And have a sweet ”.
I turned, stopped and called. Out the door in the blank wall came a compact man in overalls with quite a few flying hours. He looked awake from his eyes. We shook hands. And I was allowed in. There I found a kind of successful cross between Disneyland and Efteling for enthusiasts and classic motorcycles. There were many classic Italians, many Japanese classics and some 'irregular' from countries such as England. Plus a whole bunch of road racers, sub-top players and happy drivers from the national competition field from a while ago. The happy collector and his brothers were also infected with the racing virus.
And they turned out to be of the custodial kind. The motorcycles in the halls, the old pigsties, ranged from 'top condition' to “Ah, that's very sad the way he stands there”. The host said that the approach was that at least most motorcycles that were still in the challenging project phase had to be put in order, and that he intended to bring the display of his collection to a museum level.
On the walls, on the floor and on an impressive number of shelves there was a collection of parts that many enthusiasts would have murdered on my first visit. Moto Guzzi blocks, a set of open megaphones including curves for Benelli six-cylinders, tanks from Hondaatjes from the sixties. It turned out that a whole batch of racing tubs were made within a family context and each of those tubs alone had its own story.
The entire collection of motorcycles was collected, largely in twilight, a kind of 'unsorted'. How anyone other than the collector could ever find their way through the collection of parts will remain a secret forever. Fortunately, a few construction lamps gave light and a view of the motorcycles.
Moto Guzzi V7
After that first visit I told some friends about the collection. Because the essence was that by selling machines that he had duplicate or that he found less interesting, he would perfect his final collection. Some of my follow-up visits were emotionally sent. The collection contained two Moto Guzzi V7s. And what I thought was the nicest of the two, the owner thought was the ugliest. He held on to his asking price, an approach that you would rather expect from a Groningen resident. But quite a lot of money does not have to be 'too expensive' and we shook hands.
He would check my purchase completely and call when he did. When he called, a comrade and I headed south from the east. My purchase was already waiting outside by the blank wall that my Antillean had been so confused about.
It was not yet the time when everyone was talking about 'patina', but I, Guzzi, was almost hung up on it. Too often beauty is linked to 'young' and 'new'. But here was a motorcycle that showed clearly and proudly that neither was he. I gave money. He asked if I should not take a test drive first. I did not have to because you can sometimes rely on people and motorbikes. And I never regretted it when adopting my Guzzi. While the V7 continued to make miles and reap compliments, the contact became less. Because too often seeing so many things that you also want makes you restless.
Through the fanfare - after all, the motorcycle world is small - I heard about the progress of making the collection presentation worthy, but that there were health problems. He, together with his family, still managed to display his motorcycle collection in a respectable way in a representative renovated hall. But then it was his time to ride the celestial circuits. And so we have to survive here without an inspired and unique person.
In the meantime, the bikes in the museum hall are waiting for better times. And that is being worked on with all due respect. And I'm trying to find out if Titia's son still has that V50. And I think there are still so many collections in barns. Because dreaming away is free.