Motorcycles and Me

It is with my deepest regrets that I am announcing that I may well be on my way to being done with motorcycles.

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My Rooster and I, we have been a part of the biker community for Eleven years now.

This statement, although broad, is also so very, very sad to me.  I love motorcycles, I love riding on (the back of ) them.  I love the culture, the loyalty, the camaraderie, and I love the fashion (it looks good on me).

You see, in the past year and a half (basically two riding seasons), there have been so many accidents.  I call them accidents because it was never the bike’s fault.  They were accidents because they were all either irresponsible kids (racing up both lanes of a country road, being impatient and jumping out to the left, playing with cell phones), or ragey adult men, in cars and trucks.

I know that there are flighty adult women too.  Just last weekend, a lady took the  corner too fast in Fossil, Oregon.  She wasn’t drunk, they tested her by breathalyzer, then multiple times by blood.   She even lived nearby, just one town over, so she’d driven that road lots of times.  This lady, she went around a blind corner, too fast, and her car slid sideways, over the line, HEAD-ON, into a group of 40 bikers.  This is a deal breaker for me.  Really?  40 bikes in a row, AND if you read the real report, a cop car was following them, his car, with dash cam, was following the group of bikes on purpose, escorting them to the rally, after a friendly (albeit lost bikers) exchange in town!   Super friendly-like, that’s why emergency responders were able to save as many as they did.

Those bikers were headed to the Oregon Spring Opener, three miles up the road.  They mostly came from Washington, probably some from Portland, and even a few from Spokane.  They made it to within two miles of the rally that way.  Two died on scene.  I heard they were both decapitated, but I don’t know that for sure.  Additionally, there were two field amputations.  That must have been gnarly.

That rally was one of our three options last weekend.  To be fair and truthful, we would never have been there during the accident.  11 pm Saturday night?  No way.  But still, we had other friends there and I was pushing to go there.

Five others were airlifted from the scene, which is a big deal, because Fossil is very rural.  There were countless other minor injuries and 21 totaled bikes.  They had to bring in a crane to deal with the wreckage.  The highway was closed for nine hours.  All true facts.

The closest big city that I know nearby is The Dalles, which is arguably not a city and also not big.  I heard the air assist took the injured to Bend, Oregon.  The nearest trauma center.

The thing is with bikes, the more the better.  No one is going to mess with a mass of 5, 10, 15, 25, 40 bikes.  They are riding in formation, not going super fast, it’s like a gigantic truck.  Or so you would think, and behave

But what happens if a kid is on the road, maybe 17, barely driving, forces his way into that group because he wants to make the exit?

I will tell you.  Maybe six weeks ago this happened on a ride, for charity, or maybe a memorial, it doesn’t matter.  A 17 year old kid, pulled into the middle of a pack of bikes, to get to the 72nd Street Exit in Tacoma.  What happened was that all those bikes behind that slammed on their brakes, and bike brakes don’t stop as fast as car brakes, and there was a small baby pile up.

Right this very moment, I have a girlfriend who is using a walker for a few more weeks until her broken knee and pulled tendons heal, not to mention her ribs.  Sheesh.

There is always a need to point out Rollin Gray, he is and always will be one of my favorite bikers.  He was headed home from his girlfriends house (he was in his early 50’s), and within six blocks of home, on a rural-ish road, he turned left, cruising, and was struck (again) head on by one of the two teens drag racing.  He died, two days later.  He suffered.  He was just trying to go home.

Bikes are not that dangerous if a rider knows what they are doing.  I claim no responsibility for my statements in regards to crotch rockets.  The cars are dangerous.  We have kids driving that have no respect or proper training for the roads.  By the way, what the fuck are two kids, 15 and 18, doing racing cars up the road at 11 pm on a Tuesday, where are your parents?

Also, PUT YOUR GODDAMN CELL PHONE DOWN!!!!!  You cannot pay complete attention to the road when your head is in the phone.  Things will wait!  Please, please, put the phone down.  People’s lives are at stake, not just bikers, there are a lot of auto accidents cause by people looking at their phones.  I see it all the time when I’m driving the car, when I’m riding in the truck and on the bike.  Are you kidding me?

So…… I have my own bike, kind of two by all accounts.  I am terrified of riding my bike.  It’s fun and I want to, but where are the roads with no cars?  I cannot trust anybody when I’m riding, least of all myself.  I need to pay attention to the very fact that I am driving a motorized bicycle down the road.  I’m new-ish, I’ve had my endorsement for a while, but it’s super rare that I ride my own bike.  I cannot watch you look at your phone.  I have to switch gears, watch the road, find the blinkers, keep up to speed………..  I may very well (most probably) give up that dream, but we’ll see.

Given all that, the perfect argument for staying away from motorcycles forever, I will be back on the road, because it’s your time when it’s your time.  The Lord God will bless us and keep us until the moment is right.

It doesn’t mean I’m not scared as much as I’m excited.

Has anybody else gotten more fearful and careful as you’ve gotten older? It sucks.

I get that because of this post some of you are going to worry more (trust me I worry and prevent as much as I can), and some of you will be happy that I say I’m going to stop.  The thing is, I’m not going to stop, I’m just going to be ever more vigilant and ever more naggy.

My Rooster is going to call me Mom even more, a term I hate from him, but that when I behave that way, I mean to core of my being.

It’s going to be just fine, until it’s not.  🙂   It’s obvious now that I’ve talked myself out of giving them up.  It’s just too great to see the scenery in the open air, to feel the sun and wind.  It’s even exhilarating to jump up and down at the gas station because your hips and knees are so painful, because you’ve been on the bike for 300 miles.

I will never give it up.  The ride is worth the risk, damn it, I have talked myself back into it.  (Thanks for reading).

Crap, what a load of worry I have just exploded.  I apologize.  It will be ok.

There are no photos in this post because you have all seen bike pictures of us, and I am not posting bike wreck photos.

Stop Worrying.

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