I met the most fabulous woman.

A stylish lady from a trendy,

up-and-coming part of the city.

Parking there was awful.

Riding in from the ‘burbs

meant city traffic.

A nightmare on my Ducati with clip-ons.

Furthermore, I did not trust parking there.

What’s a gentleman to do?

[Mike Lawless]
A ‘city bike’ was required.

Something shaft-drive, water-cooled, with an upright riding position.

And undesirable – so no one would steal it.

I saw it on Craigslist:

2004 Honda Shadow 750 Aero

Low mileage, new white walls, minor damage from being dropped

Wife said must go!

A scruffy black-and-burgundy Honda Davidson with bent handlebars.

Nobody would steal that.

We chatted as I looked over the bike.

He’d stopped at a friend’s place to show off the new white walls.

Had a few beers and low-sided onto some guy’s lawn

Earning a DUI

His wife said, ‘Either sell the bike or quit your drinking.’

His bad decisions were my good fortune.

[Mike Lawless]
I got a feel for the Shadow on the ride home.

Not only did have it a vintage look, it felt vintage too.

The Honda is a study in just enough.

The 750cc V-twin engine does not dominate,

but glides the steel-fendered beast at a sensible pace.

While the engine has decent torque, there’s no raw power,

and no use in breaking formation; you’re not outrunning anyone.

But, it’s a pleasant and smooth platform to watch the scenery.

The Shadow feels nicely balanced,

changing direction from side to side effortlessly,

enhanced by the wide handlebars.

A sportbiker might find the brakes sketchy,

but they are adequate,  if using both properly.

And it oozed Honda build quality.

[Mike Lawless]
On the ride home I stopped to buy a rattle can of satin black;

prepped and painted the bike in my driveway as she cooled off,

ditching the sissy bar and gingerbread as I went.

I couldn’t relate to burgundy and gloss black.

I kept the exhaust stock on the now logo-less machine, my invisibility cloak.

I’m not a brand or a lifestyle,

Just a man on a motorcycle gliding quietly past.

[Mike Lawless]
Life changes like seasons.

Being an outlaw was overrated;

On the run and trusting no one is a lonely life,

There’s no rest living with your finger on the trigger.

Riding the Shadow brought memories of simpler times.

Before drugs and alcohol, before ‘going fast’ was everything.

When the pleasure of being on the road was enough,

With the possibilities of what’s around the bend.

The Honda achieved mission success.

Riding back and forth to the city was a pleasure.

I wake up at 3 AM pressed against her, skin against skin,

and don’t want to leave, but I gotta get home, shower, and be at my job by 7 AM.

I blearily put on yesterday’s clothes,

The smell of her perfume and sex in the air,

And close her door softly,

Pushing the bike down the street before firing it up.

[Mike Lawless]
I love gliding through empty city streets in the small hours.

The summer air like warm velvet.

These are the times worth remembering.

I rode the bulletproof Shadow everywhere.

From city streets to the gravel roads up in coal country.

Even the chance of weather didn’t stop me,

The Shadow’s big fenders kept the rain off.

The engine’s even disposition even helped in slippery conditions.

So many adventures…as my Ducati gathered dust in the garage.


Michael Lawless [@electric_horseman], our ‘Poet of Packed Earth’, is the Flat Track Editor for TheVintagent.com, and has his own blog: Electric Horseman. Read all his work for The Vintagent here.
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