Dodging the RoadkillClarksville, Tn — One of the many things I absolutely LOVE about this journey I’m on is the people I meet.  From the very first trip I took, to the ride I had with friends this weekend, I hear the most amazing stories of their motorcycle journey.

I’ve been struck by the number of “former” bikers who quit riding for a variety of reasons.  Some of them are due to illness, surgery, or age.  One of the most common themes though, are bikers I meet who quit riding after they had an accident.

I’ve had brothers show me their scars, or describe in intimate detail the injuries they suffered that drove them away from their motorcycle.  

Let me say this first of all, I completely respect those decisions and have no argument.  If you feel that your accident was a sign you should stop riding, I respect that.  If you feel that after your incident it’s time to sell the bike, I respect that.  I’m glad you walked away from whatever happened and lived to tell the tale.

Let me also say, I’ve NEVER been involved in an accident.  I’ve been riding three years and so far, so good.  The only incident I’ve had was on a trip to the Arkansas Ozarks where I slid off into a muddy ditch and laid my bike down.  No harm, no foul.  No damage, no injury.  It was clearly my “WTF” moment.

I took it in stride as a sign from God that “hey, you’re getting a little too cocky on that thing, and I need to slow you down a bit.”

Well, it worked.  My senses were peaked, my attention span was on point and I became a better rider.  I know I’ve been lucky, but I also believe that you create your own luck, so there’s that. 

Hank Motorcycle

Hank and his bike

This week on my Facebook page, I posed that question about “would an accident cause you to stop riding?”  I was honored at the willingness many of you had to share your story, but I was surprised at some of the responses I got. 

Here are just a few comments I received:

David said, “it’s like riding a horse.  If you go down you just get back up again and keep riding.”

Rob said,  “Four wrecks in thirty years. I haven’t wised up yet. Broken ribs, broken thumb, concussion. Maybe I’m done crashing.”

Kevin said, “broke pelvis in 2004. It still hurts but I still ride”

Mario shared his experience, “Got cut off and went down…they tell me I was out for a few minutes… first question I asked …how was the bike? Got home and told the then wife….her first question was when was I selling the bike… Well the bike is still with me not the wife.”

Mike shared his experience, “I went down hard in 85! Spent many months in the hospital and rehab. 6 months after rehab dr cleared me and i was back on a bike!”

Rocky said, “Head on collision with ford expedition or curb. I chose curb,bike flew one way I flew the other. Got up ran after the guy who was fleeing the scene looked over saw my bike on the ground ran over picked it up rode it home ended up in the hospital. Minor scrapes and bruises and a swollen arm for about 2 weeks. Still RIDING
Live to ride…ride to live”

And the one that touched me the most was from Richard;  Wife and I hit a deer June 1 2016. She had 2 brain bleeds, 8 broken ribs, 3 partially amputated toes. I escaped with a concussion, broken clavicle, and a ton of road rash. Luckily we were on a 900 lb bike, and we both were wearing helmets. The trauma doc at U of L said if she hadn’t had one on she would have died. We both started on dirt bikes in out early years and have ridden close to 50 years each, both of us have taken our share of “spills” thru the years. She is done, and when I look back on it, I very may well be too.

You can visit my Facebook page to read all of the comments, but I have MAD respect for all of you who have been injured on your bike and continue to ride.

I don’t know how I would react.  I love riding my motorcycle so much, I can’t imagine not riding if I could, after a fall. 

We all know and accept the dangers of being a biker.  We battle the elements, the heat, the cold, the wind plus the cagers, the trucks, texting and driving and on and on.  We know how dangerous it is, but we also don’t live our lives in fear, so we ride.  We’re passionate about it.  It’s a lifestyle and in many cases, it’s our life!  

You’re in pain, but you can’t stop riding.  That’s what this does to us.  We fall in love with this hobby, this journey, this obsession, whatever you want to call it, and unless you drag me away from my motorcycle, or put me in a body bag, I will ALWAYS BE A BIKER!  AND I WILL RIDE!

I loved all of you for sharing your most personal experiences with me.  This is one brotherhood where we can all come clean about our journey and not be judged for it.  We’re all brothers and sisters here and what we learn, we pass along.

I don’t have any conclusions to draw from this story, other than being a biker is a passion.  The passion for riding and not letting anything get in the way.  

Riding a motorcycle is the single greatest thing I’ve ever done for myself.  I never imagined that at this stage of my life, that I would own such a beautiful black “steed” and be traveling the country looking for adventure.  ON A MOTORCYCLE!  It’s GLORIOUS!

I’ve also accepted the fact that the odds are, I will be involved in an accident of some sort.  I can only hope and pray it’s not too serious, but if I can ride, I WILL ride!

Ride on my brothers and sisters, but if you decide your time is up, then I love and respect you for that.  You’ll have a lifetime of memories and a lifetime of friends and brothers who love you.