Monday, May 23, 2011

Putting a Price on Sentimental Value

This weekend provided me a rare break in the weather and my schedule; I got a few excellent rides in. I didn’t even pretend to train.  I ride at Pontiac Lakes every so often but I think yesterday was the first time I rode there at well below my lactate threshold.  I never noticed what a pretty trail it is.

I intended to spend the weekend emptying out the house in anticipation of moving to Canton. I looked at some storage units in that area, $187 a month, much more expensive than the storage units here in Brighton. This changed my calculations for what I keep and what I pitch. I will likely live in an apartment for a year. I’m not sure the sum total of everything I own is worth the $2,244 it will cost me to store it for 12 months.

I started with the shed because I figured this would be the easiest place to start purging. It is full of things that are useful when you own a house: generator, mower, wheelbarrow, jack stands, ladders, etc. As I looked at the stuff in the shed, I realized it was more than just tools. My dad made the sawhorses for me. The shovels were from my Grandpa. Everything had a story and witness marks that meant something to me. My heart raced as I considered scrapping or craiglisting the stuff in the shed.

In the back of the shed was my 1982 Yamaha RD350LC. Wow. What do I do with this? It is much more than just a motorcycle. I bought it new, back in the olden days before Suzuki came out with the GSXR, when people were road racing GS550s. The RD350LC was a wonderful 2-stroke production race bike: light, fast, and could wheelie easier than my RM250. Best of all, it wasn’t legal in America, just the challenge for a smug teenager who though he was smarter than he was. I went to Canada to buy it. The US Customs agent tried to prevent me from bringing it across the border but I tied him up in the same bureaucracy that the government created to prevent people like me from importing bikes like that. I was happy to debate hydrocarbon parts per million and DOT standards with him. He finally granted me a onetime exemption from Federal emission and safety standards just to get me out of his office. Then I had to get a Michigan title and plate. The girl at the Secretary of State thought she could send me away empty handed. I am nothing if not persistent. I got a title and plate. I think I made her cry in the process.

I really like this motorcycle. But it isn’t worth $2,244. How do you put a price on sentimental value?

I was thinking about this as I took out the trash.  I noticed Cindy threw out her wedding dress.  It cost more than my motorcycle.      


  1. Ouch - on many levels...

    That RD is probably worth more then you think. Especially if still able to register it now. Do a little eBay searching.

    I owned two RD350s years ago. A stock '73 and modified '75. Would be cool as hell to own your RD.

  2. Great posting. I love the Yamaha bike on the picture. Yamaha company is my favorite company in the class of bike companies.

  3. ouch indeed. ouch. brought back my pain of realizing my ex took our beagle of 3 years to the Humane Society soon after I left despite the fact I asked him to contact me immediately if he didn't want her any longer... I sobbed and sobbed as I called the Society and pleaded with the girl to tell me who they gave her to. I still look for her when in yards around northern Michigan. yep. 10 years later. Life can be such a freak'n pain.

  4. Sometimes I reread my posts and, in a certain light, they seem really bitter. That's not how I meant it to come across. Ali, I feel bad about your Beagle. I'm ok with giving away my stuff. Dan, I knew you would appreciate the RD pic.