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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…

Love for Cleveland CycleWerks

If I were still in the United States and in the position I'm in now of wanting to get back into motorcycling*, I think one of the bikes - if not the bike - I'd have my eye on at the moment would be a Misfit from Cleveland CycleWerks. OK, technically the bike's name is Tha Misfit, but that's just silly. Who's going to say: "I ride a Tha Misfit."? The word "misfit" is questionable enough, as far as I'm concerned. It brings to mind thoughts of Spike from Degrassi Junior High.

But just because I don't like the name doesn't mean I don't want one. I really like the look of the bike and I love the philosophy behind it. The other day I watched this piece about CCW and felt kind of inspired by what Scott Colosimo and his company are trying to do, which is provide cool, affordable motorcycles. That's something no one else seems to be willing to try in the United States - a fact that was part of the reason I never bought a bike when I lived there.

Yes, CCW bikes are built in China and with a good number of Chinese parts, which the company is upfront about. The China aspect seems to be a sticking point for some people and I can't help sensing a bit of racism/xenophobia in their criticism. As I said in my last post, the motorcycling community is like any other in that it has its accepted truths - things people "know" to be true simply because they are oft repeated. The poor quality of Chinese products seems to be one of those accepted truths.

iPhones are also made in China, my friends. As is just about everything else you own. A Chinese product is good or bad not because of where it is made but because of the steps taken to assure its quality. What I get from CCW is a strong desire to provide a quality product

"It's all about finding the right partners, people who understand quality," Colosimo said in an interview a few years ago. "Our manufacturing partners build under ISO standards and know how to trace a defect back to its source. We are extremely serious about producing high quality, extremely affordable bikes and strive every day for improvements."

"The U.S. was built on people dreaming," says Colosimo in the video I linked to.

And I think that's what makes the bikes American. The spirit of having an idea and making it happen by working really hard is American, and that seems to run through what CCW does. Plus, they design cool-looking bikes that aren't trying to be something they're not.

I just wish these things were sold in the UK.

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*OK, let's be honest. Just because I have a motorcycle endorsement on my Minnesota license doesn't mean I'm wanting to "get back into" motorcycling. I'm wanting to start.

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