Skip to main content

What it's Like to Crash a Motorcycle

“Damn it. John Burns thinks I’m a dick.”
That was one of the predominant thoughts going through my head as I slid down a Florida highway at 60 mph back in March.
It’s weird how the mind works. Time slows in a crash. Every tiny image burns into memory, so your brain can replay it over and over and over at night for the next who knows how many weeks.
In the moments before I crashed, I was riding the Harley-Davidson Street Rod along County Road 34 in central Florida. I’m not sure which county. The accident report simply records it as “County Code 61,” but the internet can’t agree on which county that is. Maybe I was in Indian River County; maybe I was in Suwannee County; maybe I was in Flagler County; I don’t know. I guess it doesn’t matter; I was somewhere. The road passing through that somewhere was long and straight – not the sort of place where one usually crashes – and the weather was perfect.

“My God, I am so happy,” I was thinking. “I am so incredibly lucky to be here – to live t…

Crazy things I do: Play dress up

Even the embodiment of evil knows
it's important to wear a helmet.
Apparently, I should never have been accepted into the motorcycle-theme Google+ community of which I am a member, since I am not yet a motorcycle rider. I don't own a bike; I have never owned a bike. But I desperately want to change that situation, and perhaps that was good enough for the moderators.

I haven't got a motorcycle but I have got a whole lot of crazy. If you've been following this blog over the last month that will have become pretty clear. I think about motorcycles in every waking moment, then I go to sleep and dream about them. And that's a sort of thought process that can manifest itself in some pretty odd ways. Perhaps the most ridiculous effect motorcycling has had on my behaviour is that it has reverted me to my childhood self. So intense is my love for and fascination of motorcycles and motorcycling that sometimes – and, oh Lord, am I embarrassed to admit this – I find myself playing dress up.

When I was a boy, my grandmother made a Superman costume for me, which I wore until I grew too big and it ripped. Thereafter, I spent several years running around pretending to be professional wrestler Kerry Von Erich (it's OK if you've never heard of him – seemingly no one has; which has come as a great shock to me in adulthood because as a child growing up in Houston, Texas, he seemed to me the most important man in the world). But that's the sort of thing children do: they put on costumes and pretend to be something or someone they wish they were. Eventually we get older and grow out of that sort of thing, right?

Wrong.

My obsession with motorcycling is so over the top that I have been known to put on my jeans, Doc Marten boots, leather jacket and snow gloves, and sit there with my eyes closed making motorcycle noises. No, not blatting Harley noises, but the tuned and steady whine of a Triumph cruiser. I open and close my left hand for the clutch, timing it with the roll of the imaginary throttle in my right. I ease into curves, trying to make sure I am fluid in my movement. I imagine potential obstacles and skillfully maneuver past them. From time to time, I'll spot another motorcyclist on this imaginary journey and offer that all-important wave to a fellow rider.

(I am still uncertain as to which is the better wave: the two-fingered gun-style wave, or a loose open hand? Which is cooler?)

I sometimes worry my wife will walk in and catch me doing this. It would probably be less awkward if she were to instead catch me looking at porn.

Comments

  1. Chris this is perfect!! Don't quit doing that.

    If you've read the book or seen the movie "The Secret" this is a behavior they highly suggest. In fact, in the movie, they show a guy doing just this very thing, only pretending he's driving a sports car of his choice.

    On Christmas Eve 2008 I had a near-death experience. (I don't know why they call it near-death, because I was DEAD for 2 1/2 minutes!) After that I saw "The Secret" and I changed my life. I wanted a Mercedes so much that I would sit at my desk in my private sewing room (so my family couldn't see me) and I would envision that steering wheel before me. I did just what you do, and within 2 years, I was driving a Mercedes. The shock was I never saw it coming. My then-husband's truck fell apart and he decided he wanted my SUV. He found a cheap Mercedes and bought it for me, all on a whim.

    Things happen if you see them. Since I got my bike and injured myself on Day 1, I would sit on her, crutches close by, and see us on mountain roads, open highways, etc. Today I actually rode that bike, just the way I had imagined.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Ride review: Harley-Davidson XL 883 L (aka Sportster SuperLow)

Yes, as a matter of fact, it is like riding a tractor.
That's the criticism so consistently levied against Harley-Davidson motorcycles: that there is something agrarian to the experience. And I can now say from personal experience that all those critics are right. But I can also say those critics are leaving out a key piece of information, which is this:
TRACTORS ARE FUCKING AWESOME!!!
It's a tractor that hurtles forward with roller-coaster intensity, a tractor that goes really fast, a tractor that makes you feel like Brock Lesnar in a children's ball pit. A tractor from the Land of Bad-Ass, with which you can sow the seeds of awesomeness.
But let me back up a bit...
A few days ago, I decided to take the day off, solely for the purpose of getting a chance to ride around and finally make use of the free breakfast coupon sent to me by Thunder Road. As I was gearing up, I suddenly decided that since I was already heading west, I might as well push a few miles further and che…

Ride review: Yamaha XV950 / Star Bolt

Imitation, Charles Caleb Colton famously noted, is the sincerest form of flattery. If that's true, the flattery the Harley-Davidson Iron 883 receives from Yamaha's XV950 is enough to make one blush. Put the two bikes side by side, and the inspiration for the latter is undeniable. Yamaha claims its bike has a "new neo retro Japanese look," but that's clearly just nonsense –– lorem ipsom that was used instead of "totally looks like a Harley-Davidson Iron 883."
Certainly the XV950 –– known as the Star Bolt in the United States –– isn't the first example of a Japanese OEM adhering faithfully to the styling cues of America's best-known motorcycle manufacturer. The orthodox members of the Church of Jesus Harley Latter-day Davidson write these bikes off as "wannabes," and tend to be pretty dismissive of anyone who would dare consider purchasing one. But I'm going to commit blasphemy here and tell you that the XV950 is unquestionably the …

Ride review: Triumph Bonneville

"OK," I said. "I want one." "Well, you know, maybe you should ask your wife first." "She loves Triumphs," I said. "Still, Chris. You should give it a think. Go home, discuss it with your wife, give yourself a chance to think clearly. After all, this is one of Triumph's most popular models; there's plenty of stock available."
The voice of reason in that conversation was Drew, the salesman at Bevan Motorcycles. He was doing his best to talk some sense into me after my test ride of the 2014 Triumph Bonneville. I was wild-eyed and yammering like a teenage boy who has touched boobies for the first time. This, my friends, is what the Bonneville does to you. It is an instantly rideable, instantly enjoyable, instantly lovable motorcycle that surprises you in just how good a simple motorcycle can be.

The Bonneville, of course, is a storied machine that's been around in one form or another for 55 years. It is a classic. Partially b…