Yes, I've had a few, and it took over 20 years to get back on a road bike after my worst nightmare 4th of July weekend, in the Arapahoe Canyon, Colorado. I and my college sweetheart, Devi, were taking to the mountains on her brand new Yamaha 250 enduro. While climbing the canyon on our way to Nederland, CO, the bike sputtered, gasping for air, choking on rich fuel, I did a U-turn.....I can remember this like it just happened...., sloooooow motion...a wind GUST thru the canyon, so strong it blew us off-balance just as gravity and more air was encouraging the small 250 to pick-up speed. In a split second, I saw the rock, the size of a VW bug, right in our path, next to the creek raging down the canyon.
I never regained our balance or composure before we hit the rock square and for the next lifetime, we were doing flips in the air with the bike. I heard the glass headlight breaking, the instrument panel shattering and all the while, thinking when the fuck is this going to stop. Gravity finally resumed its job and pulled us back to earth and I landed on my feet, not a scratch to physical body...it was surreal and totally dream like.
I immediately started looking for Devi, and couldn't find her. She landed 75-ft from where we left the highway, her lifeless body contorted between the very large boulders along the creek. It didn't take very long for drivers to stop and help me...the ambulance was called, and 45-minutes later it arrived...no longer a rescue mission. To say my life, as I knew it, would change is an understatement.
Fast forward twenty years to 2001, I'm in the show room at Montgomery Cycle near Hatfield, PA...marriage was in the crapper, lawsuit of the century with my company and all I wanted was to escape my monkey mind...I wanted my present moment, wanted to feel in control, to feel free, to feel freedom, to feel the wind, to be the wind....i wanted to be the wind and blow away.
I spoke to the sales guy and said I had x dollars and wanted to get a new road bike....and that's when the shakes and anticipation started. While the Suzuki Bandit was being serviced, I had two hours of "quiet" time, reflecting on Devi and our last ride together, I thought I had it all together...all was good in my corner, at that moment.
Something happened to me when the bike roared to a stop in the front parking lot. I had my new full face helmet on, fogging over from my heavy breathing. I took a deep breath, grabbed the handlebars and threw my leg over the saddle. That was the moment i snapped and anger surged thru me..."show me what you got ---- *$&#($* 1200 cc rice burner" and I went full throttle in first gear ... in the parking lot.
The rear broke loose and I started doing an uncontrolled donut, when the rear finally bit into the asphalt. The centrifugal force slammed my body, face first, into the asphalt...Bandit 1, owner 0. My first thought was, what the fuck just happened? It was another surreal moment, my knees were knocking, body was throbbing, felt like throwing up, I'm white as a ghost. Meanwhile, the service guys were all over the the bike putting new parts on, and getting me off their property as quickly as possible.
I am grateful - now - for the faceplant that afternoon, otherwise I believe I would be a pile of ash. In that moment, I resolved to live my life differently, to live with gratitude and respect. It was clear, I didn't respect the new motorcycle and it took a few more years to work through the kinks.
Since this drama has passed, i've logged over 30K miles on the bike, up to Canada and down to VA riding the twisty roads of Blue Ridge Parkway, and thru the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. I still use the scarred helmet as a riding reminder and of course, its a great conversation starter at the next rest stop. I made peace with myself, and especially with my friend Devi and now enjoy every moment I am out riding the bike, being the wind with no fear, just down home respect for machine, roads and freaks of nature.
Yes, the jitters and nervous shakes pass and it takes time and effort...
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Yes, when I was 16, in high school I laid my old Harley Davidson down while in a curve going around 80-90 MPH (that's as fast as they went back then). As people will tell you that's when the slow motion starts. I can still remember it like watching a video clip, motorcycle about 30 feet in front of me on its side, I am face down, spread eagle (so I won't roll and brake bones, funny how your brain thinks of thinks like that) watching the bike slide, heading for an oncoming car. Well the bike hits the car and bounces off and passes me going the other direction. Now I am sliding about 1 foot under the stopped car right in the hot anti-freeze. The only person injured was me, anti-freeze burns and asphalt burns and missing skin, no broken bones or cuts. Three years later, after saving up enough money(remember I was a teenager and starting collage money was hard to come by)I was back on a bike. Still ride to this day, no one has ever been hurt but me in any of the accidents I have been in. If someone close to me had gotten hurt I may have done things differently. I just looked at it like I would a really bad trade or my PFG ordeal: Quit or if you love it keep moving forward and pay more attention so it doesn't happen again.
Anybody going to Sturgis in 2014 let me know. We can meet up and ride the black hills during the day, Lots of cool little towns up there.
Been down several times in about 400,000 miles. A green chevy station wagon pulling out, blown front tire, a Harley that totally locked up at 50 mph, and once not alert enough. Never had issues with getting back on and riding. Don't like to ride 2 up tho.
Between skydiving, whitewater rafting, climbing/rappelling, motorcycles are the vice most likely to put you in a hospital. IMHO
Maybe its like taking a loosing trade, forgetting about it and looking for the next one.
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I went down one time in all my years of riding ...
and it was certainly my own fault ... I hate to say it, and I was much younger and more foolish than I am now,
but I decided to go to a local high school football game and it was a bit nippy, so I had several shots
of whisky before climbing on board.
It was just at dusk , coming around a bend, when an on coming car moved out of his lane (2 lane country road)
and moved me off my vector just enough to put me into the freshly dewed evening grass by just a few inches.
- My back end slipped out
and I went down hard then flipping sideways , taking most of the ligaments out of one knee in the process.
I was certainly feeling no pain at the time, so I picked her up , pulled the dirt and grass clods out from the
the forks, crash bars and a half a dozen other places , fired her up and proceeded to the game.
The forks were knocked out of adjustment, so when driving straight, I was looking like I was turning left ...
Made it to the game and as I was walking about ( with my flask firmly engaged) I noticed that when I would
swing my right leg out while walking , the knee area was quite loose , giving me the sensation of my foot
being swung about in a strange manner. I chuckled to myself ...
And then who did I run across ? My wife ... assuming I had gone to the game ...
That was lovely explaining my condition, injuries and grass stains ..
needless to say , she gave me a ride home whether I wanted one or not...
I came back and got the bike the next day and never had a second or nervous thought about getting back on .
My drinking and riding days were over, however.
.... had to get the one great bike story I have out there ..
what a dumb ass ...
"Life On The Edge of SR"
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