A few years ago my husband went the way of a lot of men in their mid-forties. He decided that he wanted to add a bit of excitement and adventure to his life. Quite a few married men think that excitement might come in the form of another woman, thankfully in my case he decided a trike was just what he needed, and I thought it was a pretty cool idea too. But buying a trike is a lot more difficult than buying a bike, you can’t just stroll into a local showroom and have a wander around and pick what you want: no you have to stalk them: it’s like the thrill of the chase!

He joined a couple of trike clubs and almost every time there was a ride on, he would go and check out the trikes and talk to the owners. He found out all the info he could on all the different types of trikes, so when we came to make our choice we’d have all the facts. I just called him, ‘the trike stalker’.

After much stalking we decided which make and model of trike we liked the best. We chose Panther Trikes in Gosford, NSW as our trike builder, and Josef built our Panther Wildcat just how we wanted it, with lots of chrome and extra bits. We also chose to have it custom-painted and the paint had to come all the way from House of Kolor in America.ย  It was built exactly the way we wanted it, and in October 2007 Josef delivered it to our home. We were as proud as new parents could be and christened her DACAT.

Now, nearly two and a half years later, my husband’s head has been turned by a new trike on the market. It is a TourOz trike built in Germany. We went to see it at the Australian distributors a couple of weekends ago. She is lower to the ground than the Panther, which makes her more sporty looking, and she has a gear stick sticking up right in the middle of the fuel tank, like some giant phallic symbol: I didn’t like that. She has more lights on the front than a Christmas tree, six in all: I didn’t like that either, to me it smacked of showing off. But Chris was pretty impressed, he liked the look of the car-like back-end with a small boot; he liked the lowness of her, and most of all he really appreciated the more modern, Ford, water-cooled engine compared to the VDub engine in most Australian trikes, including our own.

Now I know Dacat isn’t perfect anymore, she has a few stone chips from many lovely trips around Queensland and New South Wales, and I know she needs lots of services and that a Ford engine needs less maintenance and would have more engineers around that can work on her if needed. I know all that. But she’s DACAT! We made her; and it might be sentimental of me but I’d like to hold on to her for longer than two and a half years before she’s sold. So much thought went into her, from the colour of the paint and upholstery, to the extra-long pegs for my extra-short legs, everything was tailor-made for us. IF we sell her and get a TourOz, yes we can choose colours, but they are from a limited pallet, the seat upholstery is velcroed on, they are not properly upholstered, and I still don’t like all those headlights. I must admit, I can see the practicality of an engine that requires less service and tinkering. But if I compare the two at this stage selling Dacat would be like selling a part of me, she is unique, and the TourOz is more like, well, not a cheap tart, trikes are not cheap; but definitely more ‘production line’ than I am used to.

I think this TourOz was just a brief fling in my husband’s brain. But I can see that in a few years time, when we want to ride a bit further afield that it will be a good idea to move to a more reliable engine. It is a sad thought, but a practical one. But for now I think Dacat is staying, she’s not perfect but she’s ours and the day she goes will be a very sad day.

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