The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle
Reader Clark Stewart with his lovely collection of vintage motorcycles. Photo courtesy Clark Stewart
I enjoyed your editorial (Black Side Down, July/August 2017) in which you note a relationship between mechanical skills and artistic endeavor. This is pretty germane to my own experience. I am a retired art professor from the University of Tennessee living in Knoxville, Tennessee. For the past 40 or so years I have been into old bikes, managing over that time to keep 15 or so on the road. These have included Bultaco Metrallas, Norton Commandos, a Norton Atlas, a BSA, a Benelli, a Yamaha RD350, an Enfield and a BMW R65LS.
Most of the maintenance and repairs I’ve been able to manage myself, only a few times needing professional services. I’ve found that an eye and feel for sequential and visual relationships have been key to both my art and wrenching. For the most part “what looks good is good” and vice versa holds pretty true. Conceiving a process of orderly steps is key to both endeavors. I’m fortunate to live in motorcycle paradise adjacent to the Smoky Mountains and beautiful and lightly traveled country roads, and am a member of a great group, the Time Warp Vintage Motorcycle Club. I’ve enjoyed your magazine since issue one and look forward to forthcoming ones. Attached is a shot of the current bikes. — Clark Stewart/via email
We admire your fine row of classic rides (especially that Fastback!) along with your thoughtful approach of orderly steps. Ride, and wrench, well. — Ed.