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In loving Memory Of Zen - My First Bike Love

Blog Date 30 October 2023

By Sharon Parker

Sharon, 10 years ago, sat on Zen the 125 in the showroom with a big smile
She sits and she fits

You know how it is, we always have a special place in our hearts for firsts. First love, first pet, first motorbike... That first love just consumes us and as such we struggle to let go, when and if the time comes to do so. 

Zen was my first motorbike love. For the long term readers you will know I took my CBT on him. He terrified me and thrilled me in equal measures at first. He took my dropping him and bouncing him off wheelie bins. He took me on the most amazing adventures, to that first frightening trip to Hawes, to the much more confident rider that rode him around The Netherlands. We rode together through sunshine and floods and even snow.

Sharon with the 125 and L plates, nervous and ready for a rideout
Nervously ready for one of the very first trips
Sharon on the RKS outside a cafe in Blackpool
10 years! 

This bike, this so called made of cheese rubbish Chinese Keeway RKS 125, proved his critics wrong. He was made of sterner stuff, he just kept going and going and going. Over 25,000 miles of adventures we shared. 

Alas over the last few years the impressive 8,000 miles a year average dwindled away, to the extent he spent most of his time on trickle charge in the shed rather than out on the road where he belongs. I was keeping him purely for sentimental reasons and not for a practical purpose. As such as an amazing ride that he was the new kid on the block, my Kawasaki Z250SL, became too often my bike of choice.

So after another MOT that showed he had barely moved I came to the painful decision it was time to sell Zen. To let him be what he was meant to be - someone's number 1, someone's fun. 

I know not everyone will understand, it's just a lump of inanimate metal to some folks. But I give my bikes names, imbue them with a personality and as such you end up feeling a sense of guilt when it's time to say goodbye. I wanted to know that he was going to a good home but no-one I know wanted a 2013 Chinese Keeway with 25k on the clock. Therefore I was left with the choice of advertising the bike and selling privately myself or selling to a dealer. 

I was reluctant to sell privately. I did not want any tyre kickers or someone checking out any other bikes I own they might want to steal. I just didn't feel comfortable so a dealer it was. Ren has a friend who deals in second hand bikes so it was decided to take him there and see what he was priced at. Riding him there I has such guilt. Had I not promised if ever the time came to part a happy new home would be secured? Traitor I am, surely, off to a dealer with a future fate unknown.

Ren's dealer friend supplied us with tea and we chatted about this and that. Then down to business. He offers £600 for Zen, it was a fair price. Back in 2013 Zen cost me £1500, he has been more than worth that £900 for 10 years of the most amazing smiles and miles. 

Sharon in high vis at a lady rider's event with the keeway painted
A now confident and experienced Sharon and Zen.

The dealer tells his girlfriend to come and look at Zen, he thinks she'd like to see the paintwork on the tank. His partner is enamoured  with Zen. She's been hoping to learn to ride herself but everything has felt too big and too heavy, just wrong. She asks if she can sit on Zen, she sits and fits and in that moment Zen has found his new owner. The dealer got no deal, Zen was swiped away by his girlfriend, she was even willing to outbid her own boyfriend for him.

No, for guilt's sake I was more than happy to take the £600 and be happy in the knowledge that Zen has found someone else to feel good on him. I do hope she learns to ride on Zen, I hope they have many smile miles together.

For me the space in the shed where he used to rest hurts my heart. He was my first bike, he was truly loved, Zen will never be forgotten. Well... as long as I am alive and have enough brain cells connected for me to remember who I am myself that is.

The empty tin shed space where zen was parked
How terribly terribly sad!

Goodbye Zen. Thank you for everything. You opened up a while new world to me Zen. A world I still enjoy today thanks to that day, so long ago when I myself did sit and fit. 

Zen looking smart with batty on the seat in the countryside
Bye Zen, and thanks for all the memories.

Share your tragic tale or your first two wheeled love - click here.

Reader's Comments

ROD¹ said :-
Hi Sharon,
A time to buy, a time to ride, and a time to say goodbye.
I have to agree about the Chinese thing. I have just sold my Lexmoto after three years and 12,500 miles and it has held up fine and never missed a beat.
When you stop riding a bike it is time to sell it. I understand the emotions of selling a bike. When I sold a bike I had owned for 19 years I cried!
03/11/2023 10:24:01 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Give'em a name, why not. You've got to call it some'at.
Cry when they go, meh. Unless you're lowballed. Even Ed would cry then.
We move on in life, we have to, the alternative is much more crappie'r.

03/11/2023 11:27:16 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
A beautiful tale. I have to say that I've never really had an emotional attachment to a bike - probably a good job given the number I've had stolen (around eight at the latest count). And even those I've painstakenly stripped to the last rusty nut and bolt and carefully rebuilt have not tugged at the heartstrings to a great extent. The Norton Commando I owned for 25 years and which took me to Greece, Spain, France and to the northern reaches of Scotland went to a Norwegian chap and I didn't have a moment's regret.

Having said that I stil have the Norton I restored about 6 years ago even though I'm doing very few miles on it these days. But it's always willing to fire up and thunder off along the lanes.
03/11/2023 15:02:34 UTC
Bogger said :-
Sharon, you could always buy it back.

03/11/2023 20:39:36 UTC
Sharon said :-
Rod - Good words. Yes there is a time to say goodbye. Thanks for sharing and thanks for admitting some tears shed on your own behalf. A fellow sentimental fool :-)

Upt- thanks for the affirmation that naming ones bike is normal :-)

Ian - 8 bikes stolen yikes. Like you said just a well you never got overly attached you would have been in therapy for a long time if you was. Still 8 bikes stolen that's a kicker by any ones standards. Glad you now seem to be able to retain your bikes and the Norton is safe and ready to be fired up as required.

Bogger - Buy it back what really. Ha no as Rod said there is a time to say goodbye and sad as I was it was that time.
05/11/2023 21:33:47 UTC
Henrik said :-
I got a little of that sentimental side also

And the older sibling "to keep, and never let go"

I am actually not sure about if I like those sides of my self :-)
06/11/2023 21:53:51 UTC
Glyn said :-
I enjoyed your tale and understood some of your emotions whilst reading it because you wrote it so well. I've sold quite a few bikes in the last two years and have to admit it's partly because I feel somewhat sad that they're just sat there not being used. This, in my view, is sacrilege. So I think I also seem to form an emotional attachment for their well being. I've always felt the new owners are nice people and will look after any bike that has held my attention by way of a rebuild or repair. However, when they're gone, they're not only gone from my garage but also my memory.
07/11/2023 09:16:19 UTC
Sam said :-
Sharon I can empathise with you because some 7 years ago I finally had to admit that my lovely Honda 550/4 had become too heavy for me.Since I had no intention of stopping biking I looked around for something more suited to my advancing years and since also I had been following your experiences with Zen I went to look at Keeways and as I posted at the time bought a RK125. THANK YOU! Sharon, ZHK's given me a huge amount of fun over the 8000 miles so far with not a momwets trouble-so much for Chinese poor quality. It did pull at the heartstrings a bit to see the Honda go-25 years and25000 miles and it never failed to get me home! Like you there's a happy ending......
It went from the Midlands to the South Coast from where the new owner sent me a photo of it at a local bike meet parked next to a Brough Superior! Thanks again Sharon and safe biking.

08/11/2023 16:23:41 UTC

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