YouMotorcycle’s been a little quiet lately, but my personal life has been bubbling with activity. I’m house shopping in Toronto market, and as if that wasn’t hellish enough, I’m looking not only looking for a house to call a home, I’m looking for a house fit for motorcycling.
There is so much to look for when it comes to real estate. People have different needs and wants. Location, location, location is key. Is it a good neighbourhood? Are there schools/restaurants/parks/amenities near? What is transportation like as far as roads, high ways, and public transit are concerned? What will the resale value be? Does the property have rental potential? What kind of condition is the house in? How new is the roof and the major appliances? What is the house made of? Has this area been prone to environmental accidents?
The list of questions to ask when buying a home is endless. The list of questions to ask when buying a house fit for motorcycling is a handful of questions longer.
Two years ago I wrote a post called Five Years of Motorcycling. In it I mentioned that I was twenty three years old when I purchased my first property, a small condominium. My condo was wonderful to me. It was called The Treehouse and was always sunny, bright, and the perfect temperature with a 72 sq ft balcony just over a small parkette. Young women seemed to love it. I had my head both on my shoulders and up my ass, but I like to think thatI deserved it. I make sacrifices and work almost 60 hours a week to afford a certain lifestyle at my age. I don’t have cable tv, and I don’t know what the latest James Bond actor’s name is, nor do I care for either.
I’m a motorcyclist, a biker, a rider, call me what you want. I’m the guy who gets off on getting on whatever kind of motorcycle he can. I keep it real. Farkles don’t make a good motorcycle, and ensuite washrooms and wainscoting don’t make a house a home. I’m tired of trying to fit a passion into a small space so I’ve spent the past 6 weeks in search of a home that has room for my passion.
I almost had it.
I found a house with a two car garage and a kitchen walk out, almost at ground level. We examined the garage made of concrete block and stylish stonework at the front. This would fit my bikes and a wide range of tools. I was satisfied. We entered the house. As my mother carefully observed the kitchen cabinetry and tested the sink and drain, I visually measured the sliding door that opened up to the back yard. It was wide enough I could ride a motorcycle right in to my kitchen should I ever need to do some work over the freezing cold Canadian winter.
The basement had a washer and a dryer that seemed to be in good shape, but again my attention drifted away. This time the wash tub caught my eye. It was easily big enough for carburetor cleaning. In fact, the tub was large enough for just about any part of my motorcycle.
None of this was news to me. I had been in the house before. We had negotiated and reached a deal on the price and today was simply a matter of having an inspector look through the house. Fortunately the inspector made some discoveries about the house which led me to believe that it was a deal that was just too good to be true and I withdrew the offer.
Here are a list of the things I keep my eyes open for, as a motorcyclist, on my mission to find a house fit for motorcycling:
- Garage: Preferably a two car garage, I considered a large shed, but power tools, compressors, and battery chargers all require electricity, so a proper garage is preferable.
- Wash Tub: Living in a small condo means I have only two sinks. One is porcelain, and the other is where I wash my dishes. Guess how dirty my porcelain gets when I wash my hands after working on the motorcycle for a few hours.
- Security: The place I nearly bought not only had a driveway that was narrow enough to be blocked by a car, trapping a motorcycle even if someone were to break into the garage, it also had a metal gate which could be locked.
- Walk-Out: A walk-out is a ride-in as far as motorcycles are concerned. Perfect for those over-the-winter projects when even the garage is too cold to work in.
- Distance to Neighbors: I’ll never forget my mother calling me, measuring tape in hand, to ask me what the width of my widest motorcycle was. You can often get a great price on a property in the city that doesn’t have it’s own parking, and just because a car can’t fit does not mean a motorcycle can’t.
What do you think?
What do you love or hate about your home as a motorcyclist? What’s really working for you and your motorcycle, and what will you look to improve in the future or at your next property?
Please let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Thanks!
Click the pic to see a bit of the house I bought
Peter Eagan, Cycle World, wrote a similar article when he moved from California to Wisconsin. When he and his wife met with a real estate agent Eagan said something like, “We’re looking for a five car with some kind of dwelling attached. The garage has to have 220 service, running water and heat. It has to have high ceilings and heavy rafters to accommodate a hoist and be strong enough to lift an E-Type Jaguar.” I don’t remember the exact quotes but you get the message. When my wife and I moved to upstate New York it was my wife, not me who told the agent, “A two car garage with some kind of dwelling attached.” She understood.
A garage door that can be INSULATED is a must.
I love the fact that I can walk from my laundry room (with large cleaning tub) directly out to our two-car garage, which, remarkably, has actually had ONE car in it on a couple of occasions! When my wife used to commute to Toronto on a daily basis I committed to squeezing her vehicle into one of the two stalls, mostly so I didn’t have to scrape it off on those frosty February mornings.
Nowdays, the garage is back to “normal”: two bikes, hang glider, workbench, lawn mower, snowblower, pressure washer, beer fridge, freezer, etc, etc. How could any sane person ever expect to put TWO cars in a two-car garage?