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…

What I am

No Fat Chicks.
In my last post I described this blog as "a tale of the journey from what I am to what I want to be." There are so many things I want to write about, but I'll do my best to keep it all under control. One of the ways I plan to do that is by imposing a 500-word limit to my posts.

We're talking about an obsession here, and you bet your sweet tushy I can go on and on and on and on and on (and on) about motorcycles. I could easily and happily sit here churning out novel-length tomes on motorcycling, motorcycles and so on. But who - apart from me - would want to read it? Part of the reasoning behind a public forum like a blog is to share the experience. Perhaps someone else will find comfort in knowing there is a person just as sick for motorcycles as they are. Perhaps others will be able to offer advice or commiseration. To make it more palatable for them - for you - I will try to rein in my longwinded nature. 500 words or less. And no more than one post per day. I promise.

(Yeah, we'll see how long I hold to that promise...)

So, anyhoo. On to the question of what I am. Or, rather, who I am. My name is Chris Cope. I live in Penarth, Wales - a small village sharing a border with Cardiff, at the very bottom of a sticky-out bit of western Britain. I'm originally from the United States, though, and the longer I live here (6.5 years, so far), the more happy I am to let people know I'm from there. Homesickness has that effect; it crystallises in the mind all that is special to you about the place you left.

The place in the United States I'm pining for tends to change depending on my mood. I was born in Texas but came of age in Minnesota. I miss both places, but more often than not Minnesota - and specifically the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis and Saint Paul - comes out ahead.

I went to high school in Bloomington, Minnesota - a suburb on Minneapolis' southern border and home to the Mall of America. I graduated in the same class as USC head coach Lane Kiffin. Or, well, I would have. I wasn't the most academic of teenage boys and ended up having to spend six months in an intensive catch-up programme after all my friends had graduated and moved on to college. It wasn't my finest hour. But I tell you about it because it's an experience that set the scene, creating the conditions that would ignite the very first spark in my motorcycle obsession.

The story of that spark, though, will have to come later. I've reached my 500-word limit.

Comments

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…