The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle
George Paley and his 1975 BMW R90/6.
Bike: 1975 BMW R90/6
Owner: George Paley
Hometown: Lawrence, Kan.
Occupation: Property management and consulting
Current rides: 2002 BMW R1150GS, 1983 BMW R80ST, 1983 Yamaha Virago 920 Midnight Special, 1982 Yamaha XJ1100
Motorcycles are an enduring feature in the Paley family. In 1938, George’s father took his first ride, courtesy of a 1916 Henderson Four, before moving on to a 1936 Indian Chief. His brother, Will, bought a BMW R69S when he was just 16 and is now president of the New England chapter of the AMCA.
George’s first bike was a 350 Jawa, which he fondly remembers riding from his home in Sharon, Conn., to the races in Laconia, N.H. “All the way home, somebody was stopping and helping me get it going again,” George recalls. The Jawa was replaced with a new Honda 305 Scrambler, followed by a Honda SL350 and a Suzuki 550. Then came college, work and family, and George took a hiatus from riding.
Ten years ago, however, the road started calling again, and George attended the 1998 opening of the Guggenheim exhibit, “The Art of the Motorcycle.” “That was a huge inspiration to me,” George says. “I realized that motorcycling’s just something that’s in my blood.” That led to George’s re-immersion in motorcycling, evidenced by the five bikes and a growing hoard of mopeds currently clogging his garage.
George’s affinity for BMWs is obvious: “It’s a throwback to my high school days, when I belonged to a motorcycle club called the NY-CONN Riders. The guy that sponsored the club was a doctor, and he rode a BMW R69S. I’ve been a BMW fan since 1965 when my brother bought his,” George says. If he had his way, George would have a BMW R90S, maybe a Seventies Moto Guzzi, perhaps a Laverda … the list goes on. “I guess I like old bikes,” George says. Don’t we all.