Glenn Turple of Alberta, Canada, was only eighteen when he bought his
first motorbike, a 1926 Harley Davidson – even in 1946 it was a bargain at only
$25 but he never even rode it; he fixed it then went away on a summer job and
when he came back his brother Rex had broken it again!
But this was the beginning of one man’s love affair with the motorbike
and it wasn’t long before he made them his living, opening small parts and
servicing business – Olds Motorcycle Sales – in a shed on the family farm.
Although motorcycles in those days didn’t all have odometers, Glenn started keeping a careful eye on
his mileage and soon was averaging over 25,000 a year on his various bikes with
trips to places as far away as Los Angeles
After only seven years trading off the farm, the brothers moved into
town, converting a house in Red Deer, on the highway between Calgary and
Edmonton. They used the old kitchen of the house as a workshop and the business
was soon doing well enough to keep them both occupied full time. Glenn always
rode British bikes – Ariel, Triumph and BSA – until he bought his first Honda
in 1966 and has never looked back. When the Gold Wing entered his life in 1975,
Glenn’s mileage per year (and per bike) absolutely soared. The Gold Wing was
designed as a touring bike and Glenn does love to tour – his 1984 Gold Wing
took him over 215,000 miles.
When Glenn first started riding, insurance was not as sophisticated as
it is now and not everyone carried it. Nowadays, insurance is mandatory of
course and everyone who uses the public highway must carry it.
With big bikes like Gold Wings people tend to worry that motorcycle insurance
might be too costly, but of course it is not just the price and engine size of
the bike that determines the cost, but the riding record of the owner, their
age and experience. Luckily all this can
be done online and there are many sites that offer Express Insurance, the bike insurer and GoCompare to name a few. There
won't be many motorcyclists in the world who can claim a total mileage like
Glenn’s, but what the bike is used for is also a deciding factor on the price
of the motorcycle insurance and also any exclusions or excesses on the policy.
Use as a commuter vehicle will bring a different quote from use as a
leisure bike; accurate form filling is essential, as in all kinds of motor
Glenn estimates that he passed the million mile mark back in October
2013, although he has had to do a certain amount of maths to convert kilometres
to miles. Since his motorcycle wanderlust really kicked in with the purchase of
his first Honda Gold Wing, he has visited every state in the US and every
province and territory in Canada.
His business is still in operation although now in much bigger premises
and run by his family. Glenn is 85 now and still on his motorcycle – he says
that as long as the temperature is above -10°C and the roads have been cleared
of snow, he’s happy to ride anywhere. Now there speaks a true Canadian!
One of his never-miss dates in the year is the Calgary Motorcycle Show
so it’s just as well he doesn't mind the weather. The show takes place in
January every year and January on the Prairies could challenge the keenest
motorcyclist. Glenn and his Gold Wing will hopefully be making the journey for
a good long time yet.
Labels: History, Insurance, Ironbutt/LD, News, Vintage