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I was 16 when I saw the motorcycle that I wanted to own one day; a Yamaha XT 500. It was published in a small book called: choose your motorcycle 1979. My other favourites were; Husqvarna 390 CR, Jawa 500/894 Speedway, Munch 1300 TTS, Ossa 350 Super Pioneer, and Yamaha SR 500. 12 years later I bought my bike that is still with me. I have this defect, I get attached to ‘things’. Like the Japanese who think ‘things’ can posses a soul. Though it maybe different with me. I know these are dead things, but still, I have soul for them.

It was in a rough condition, I worked on it for several years, rode it hard, had to switch engines twice, because of a contaminated oil reservoir. And rode it hard, just the same. It is a bike to ride hard. It is the perfect bike. It has a great durability; it was used in the first Paris-Dakar. And it won.

I ride it on the highway, freeway, small roads, in the mountains, and in the city. It has a perfect look, it has perfect power for its weight. But it isn’t fast, it is quick and agile, but you can’t go 200. And that’s perfectly fine, because I don’t want to go 200.

It was in pieces for 10 years, occupying the attic. Until one afternoon in 2004 I was drinking a beer at Brewery The Molen in Amsterdam. A guy came thumping in on a XT500 with a duffel-bag strapped to the back of the bike. It was a rough but well-cared for motorcycle. It looked só good. Then and there I decided to put together again my XT. With a lot of help from a friend mechanic, it was back on the road a year later. And then we had to go on a trip. Me and my buddy Wytze, who had similar issues, but in his case it was a Honda XR500, his first a twin shock. A very nice bike. So first we went to the Achterhoek in the east of Holland. Nice folks and great dirt tracks. Then we went to the Ardennes. After that we went to the Alps. And then; The Pyrenees! We were addicted. I knew the Pyrenees from earlier visits, and I really liked the dry, rough, look. These are no Alps. Very steep, high and jagged, young and hysterical. Pyrenees are quiet, trusting their own inherent wisdom and understated beauty. And they are very accessible. Perfect to go about with your soulful mate and motorcycle. Or mates! Recently we went with 7! XT500 to the Pyrenees. What more can you wish for. With seven mates in the high country.

Look at the photo’s, they will tell the rest of the story.

We thank Frank Hielckert of Uncomplicated for his beautiful pictures.  

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