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Thursday, November 10, 2022

You be the judge: should my husband keep his motorbike in the house? | Relationships

The prosecution: Sandy

Peter loves his bikes; we now have a garage, but he still keeps one in the house

When I first met my husband Peter, he lived in a flat and kept a large, powerful motorbike, a Kawasaki Z1, in the hall. Trying to squeeze past it with shopping was a nightmare. Then there was a smaller vintage bike, called a Gilera, in the living room and another huge bike, a Ducati, in the bedroom. I was surrounded by them.

We recently bought a house together with a beautiful garage and I thought: great, the bikes will be happy and comfortable there. But then a storm approached. Peter began to get agitated and worried that a branch would crash through the roof and damage the bikes. Before I knew it, the Gilera had snuck into the house again. He said it would only be there for a few days. But after the storm passed it was still there and ended up staying for weeks.

A few months later, we got a puppy. It started biting everything – that’s when Peter finally returned the Gilera to the garage.

I think the only reason he did it was to protect it from the puppy, not because I wanted it gone. After it disappeared I felt joy. I thought: I’m not going to trip over it or find bits of it in my kitchen. I often say Peter loves his Gilera more than he loves me. He’s had it since he was 16.

The two bigger bikes stay in the garage, but once the puppy stops biting, Peter wants to bring the Gilera back into the house. But it creates a mess. I’ve had a lot of stains on our carpets and flooring.

One time, Peter hung lights around one of the bikes to make it look like a nice art display, but something happened and he burned a hole in the carpet. We’ve also bought a posh dishwasher – and Peter loves to stick bits of his motorbike into it, which I find alarming.

I’m not against Peter having his bikes – we’ve taken several trips with me on the back, and I go to his vintage motorbike shows. But bikes in the house are a hazard. The Gilera really needs to stay in the garage unless there’s a real emergency. The bigger bikes stay out entirely.

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The defence: Peter

Sandy’s paperweight collection is on display; it’s only fair I can bring in one little motorcycle

Vintage motorbikes are things of beauty, they make the house a better place. It’s also widely accepted that they work better when you store them in dry, warm places so I really feel they should be allowed in the house.

After we bought this house, we learned that a branch from the walnut tree above our garage had once blown off during a gale and crashed through the roof. I really didn’t want that to happen during the storm when the Gilera was in there, so I moved it inside. Sandy wasn’t pleased. She said: “What the heck is this doing in my house?”

The Gilera is the only bike I really want inside. It was built in 1973 and it’s a gorgeous little thing. With the Z1, I do admit that it was difficult to walk past in my old place. I remember one time my bag got caught on a hook and split and the shopping went everywhere. But when you’re careful it’s usually not a problem. I’ve also never put any bike parts in the dishwasher that are greasy or oily. There’s actually a lot more grease from a tray you cook chicken on.

Sandy’s extensive paperweight collection is displayed in our home – it’s only fair that I’m allowed to bring in a precious little motorcycle. People have preconceived ideas of what should be in houses, and they can be unfair. My wife feels that houses are for “nice” things. Her friends agree with her and gang up on me. But in my eyes, motorbikes have the same status as a work of art.

The time I tried to hang lights around the bike was a terrible accident. The lights swung on to the carpet and burned holes in it – but I was attempting to treat the bike as an art display.

It’s not true that I love bikes more than I love Sandy. I have told her: “If it came between the Gilera and you, the Gilera would be gone in an instant.” She’s never asked me to get rid of it, though. I think to compromise I can ask Sandy before I need to move a bike inside the house next time, but I can’t promise there won’t be a next time.

The jury of Guardian readers

Should Peter move his bike out once and for all?

The ridiculousness of Peter’s first sentence says it all. Unless they can build an extension for the bikes, the garage should be adapted to make it suitable. To compromise, Sandy should reduce the number of paperweights on display.
Alison, 61

When Peter lived alone, he was free to store his bikes wherever he wanted. Now that he and Sandy own a home together, there should be some compromise. Sandy’s paperweights aren’t really a comparison; they aren’t obtrusive and haven’t caused damage to the home.
Sam, 33

They clearly love each other, though Sandy has made it clear that she simply doesn’t want the bike in the house (or the dishwasher) for cleanliness and clutter reasons. Perfectly understandable.
Michelle, 50

It’s reasonable that Sandy doesn’t want to feel as if she’s living in a garage when there is one outside. Why not trim that tree branch and turn the garage into a shrine for the Gilera and other bikes to really shine?
Olivia, 33

Sorry Peter, but you’re guilty. I can’t agree with many of the things you said, not least that bikes “make the house a better place”. Why not develop the garage into a garden house, or even build a small cabin that could serve as a place to not just store but display them as well?
Charlie, 44

You be the judge

So now you can be the judge, click on the poll below to tell us: should Peter move his motorbike out once and for all?

We’ll share the results on next week’s You be the judge.

The poll will close at 9AM GMT on 24 February

Last week’s result

We asked if Paolo’s housemate Ray should stop cooking meat in the kitchen as Paolo is now vegetarian.

96% of you said no – Ray is innocent
4% of you said yes – Ray is guilty

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