I’m a second generation motorcycle rider. Growing up my dad always had a motorcycle; at one point he even had 4. Mom and I would take turns riding with him most weekends running errands, visiting family, and sometimes just going out for ice cream. We joined a local motorcycle club when I was 12, so our rides became more frequent. In the organization, we were Chapter Z or by those who knew us, the Zaniacs. We would ride out to other chapter meetings, go on poker runs to raise money for local charities, ride in parades… It was an amazing feeling to belong to this amazing group of people who loved riding just as much as we did.
In school I would tell my peers that I rode motorcycles with my dad and most of the time I heard a, “Yeah right…” It wasn’t until dad picked me up on his Goldwing from band rehearsal that people took me seriously. Word spread like wildfire that I not only rode a motorcycle, but that I was in a full-fledged motorcycle gang. I for sure didn’t say ‘gang’ when I spoke about my club, but you know how kids are…
My status as a motorcycling bad ass grew tenfold when members of my chapter showed up for a presentation my school was putting on for September 11th. The school board invited members of the community to join my school on the front lawn to listen to a guest speaker who was a prisoner of war talk about how sucky 9/11 was and how awesome America is (but in much more eloquent manor).
Patriotism and motorcycles are synonymous (in case you didn’t know), so when there was an invite to this event, dozens of motorcyclist of all types came to show their support and appreciation. When you’re on the verge of teenagdom, any motorcycle is cool, but when there is a sea of chrome and leather pulling up beside you, you become just plain giddy–actually that’s at any age I believe.
So when members from my chapter showed up and spotted me in the crowd, they all invited me over for hugs and high fives. I of course had to ask permission from my teacher if I could go say hi to my buddies, but she was just as shocked as my classmates and agreed. The greeting was brief and there were only about a dozen riders from my particular chapter there, but by association, according to my schoolmates, I knew every single one of them which made me the coolest chick in the 7th grade.
Last fall I convinced Fella to get our motorcycle licenses together and within a couple weeks we purchased our own bikes and formed our own little riding club. Around the same time we got Bonnie and Clyde, dad’s bike broken down. It was an older motorcycle and dad had put thousands of miles on it, so it wan’t unexpected, but it still sucked. It wasn’t long after that he decided to buy another bike. I mean, he had to so that we could grow our club from 2 to 3, ’cause that’s when you know you have something real.
Our club name has yet to be determined…
Last weekend mom came to visit. Her, Fella and I were hanging out Sunday afternoon when my brother called. I answer the phone, he asked if mom was near by, I confirmed, then he said:
“He’s okay, but dad was in a motorcycle accident.”
My response: “Is he okay!?”
According to my brother this is what happened: Dad was out riding, on his way home trying to beat the rain that was moving in. He was on a back road with lots of twists and turns, within 5 miles of home. He entered a curve going no more than 30mph when his front wheel slipped out from under him. He fell off the bike and ended up in a ditch while the bike flipped a handful of time and landed in the opposite ditch.
A stranger stopped to check on dad and dad called my bro. My brother came to get dad, but instead of going to the hospital like a normal person, dad insisted that he was taken home to get the truck and trailer to load his mangled motorcycle; my brother obliged. They finally got to the hospital where dad got x-rays of his presumed broken pinky and possibly broken elbow. Fortunately nothing is broken; his pinky was sprained and the docs think he dislocated his shoulder, but worked it back into place while loading the bike onto the trailer… dumby head! So luckily no broken bones, but he has serious road rash down most of his arm and is in a lot of pain.
After talking to some friends and colleagues about my dad’s accident, their questions have been the same: “Doesn’t that make you scared of riding your motorcycle now?” and my answer is no.
When you start riding motorcycles, just like all dangerous activities, you assume the risks involved. You know there is a possibility of falling, but if you’re safe and take proper measures to protect yourself with adequate gear and don’t drive like a moron, then chances are you have nothing to worry about and you’ll have a great time. If anything, I’ve learned a lot from my dad’s accident.
- Always wear a jacket. I think that because my dad is such a seasoned rider, he became too
comfortableconfident in his abilities. Because of this he would often ride in just a t-shirt which is why he got such bad road rash.
- Even if it starts raining just a little, be overly cautious. When rain hits the pavement, it mixes with the oil that’s already there making for a very slick roadway, particularly for motorcycles. If there is no safe place to pull off, take it slow.
- Don’t be a dumby–go to the hospital after an accident.
I mean, I feel like that last one is just a given, but adrenaline makes you do some stupid stuff…