18 November 2012

I do it cuz I love it!

A couple of weekends ago, I took an ambulance ride to the hospital and spent the night in the ER, radiology, and finally the ICU. This had nothing to do with motorbiking. In fact, my bike was in the shop and I had just been relaxing and kicking back on a Friday evening. It took me a little more than a week to recover the incredible amount of strength I seemed to have lost in one night, but I'm doing really well now.

The reason I am bringing any of this up is due to the conversation I had, before being released from the hospital, with the ICU doctor (who, I feel I need to state, appeared to be all of 24 years old). When talking about things to avoid for a while, I asked if I should avoid riding my motorbike once I got my strength back, if I needed to wait a bit.

The doctor turned to look at me and inform me that I should avoid riding my motorcycle, not for any reasons concerning what brought me to the hospital that weekend, but because he would hate to see me end up in their trauma ward. He said I should see the motorcycle accidents that come in.

The young man then proceeded to lecture me on the dangers of riding a motorcycle, and how if I was going to do it I should always wear a helmet, blah, blah, blah. I write that last bit because I pretty well stopped listening to him. Although I understand that he meant well, I was completely put off by his attitude and his need to tell me how to participate in a sport that he clearly had no experience in.

For the record, I always wear a helmet, and I don't ride with anyone who won't. I pretty typically wear riding specific boots, jackets, and pants that are armored. I try to avoid riding like an asshole, and I ride very defensively. All that said, it is still a dangerous sport, but something that I love, love, love. Unless one has done it, it is almost impossible to understand: I know I didn't until I started seriously riding.

I had a low speed get-off about halfway up that road you see behind me. With all my gear on, all I had to show for it was one bruise on my left hip.
I also like skydiving, but I chose not to bring that up with the doc. After listening to the first lecture, I wasn't interested in anymore. What am I supposed to do? Sit around, kicking back and relaxing, and wait for my blood pressure and heart rate to tank again? Is that safer? Maybe. Will I be happy doing that? Not even remotely.

If you ride, you know how I feel. If you don't, please try to understand. When you meet a new rider, don't tell them about the motorcycle wreck you heard about, or how you think it is crazy or dangerous. In my extremely short time riding, I seem to have heard all of this numerous times. It doesn't make me a better rider, it just makes me cranky. We as riders know there are risks involved. I hope that as someone who knows and loves me, or someone who knows and loves other riders, you will remember that this is what makes us happy and what we consider living.

See that smile! (Waiting about 20 mins for a ferry in the Yukon. My helmet is sitting on my instrument panel in front of me!)

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