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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…

The beginning

If I felt this way toward a girl there would be incrimination; restraining orders would be issued. People would look at me with their best serious faces, speak in their best concerned tones and say: "Chris, you are sick. Very, very sick. You need to get help."

Authority figures and neighbours would stare me down in judgemental disgust. I would find myself uninvited from social gatherings. Acquaintances would slip away, and I would learn who my very truest friends are. They would be the two, maybe three, people who would come and grip my hand and implore me to get over this thing - let this obsession pass.

But what I'm thinking about - what I'm obsessing over, what's filling my thoughts in every single waking moment - are motorcycles.

I want one.

I need one.

Is there a stronger word than "need?" That's what has its claws in me.

Being obsessed with motorcycling is a more socially and legally abiding thing - no one's going to throw me in jail simply for wanting to ride - but my desire is no less crippling. I feel sick with need. Without a motorcycle, as I am now, I feel I am in a rapid state of deterioration.

The illness is physical. I can feel in my arms and chest and shoulders and legs an actual, physical aching for the sense of freedom a motorcycle can provide. But almost certainly most people would say the root of the issue is psychological: I am the victim of some kind of mental disease. And what do we do with mental illness? We treat it with words. We talk it out. We keep a journal.

This, then, is my journal - my motorcycle diary: a tale of the journey from what I am to what I want to be.

Comments

  1. I would like to welcome another motorcycle enthusiast. Do not worry about what others say, RIDE and enjoy it. Motorcycles passion is not a life, you do not need to be ashamed of.
    I'm glad I made ​​another blog run with passion.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That is soooo true hehehe. A real rite of passage. I remember many years ago the looks of supportive trust and love from family and friends when I came out to everyone in college. Then some 30 years later, those same people looked on aghast when I told them I was...a biker. They still haven't recovered, and smile nervously whenever I talk about my bike!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I get head shakes all the time. I did not start riding until I turned 50. It is a phase,it will pass. I tbink of riding when I am not. I sigh when I see a bike and I am in a cage...

    ReplyDelete

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