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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…

Give 'em the boot

"When do you get to ride the big bike?" Jenn asked me.

She was referring to the 600cc Honda on which I'll train before being tested on it a few days later.

"Next Saturday," I said. "I have the 'step-up day'  –– the day I train on the 600 –– on the 16th of March, then I do my Module 1 on the 19th."

"Ooh, the test is the day before your birthday," she said. "Exciting. I think you should open one of the presents your parents sent you before that, though."

In the past week or so, two packages have arrived addressed to me from Amazon. Not having ordered anything from Amazon, I reasoned they must be birthday presents. I had Jenn open them and stow them away so as to avoid spoiling the surprise and fun of having presents on one's actual birthday. On her suggestion that I open one of the gifts earlier than planned, the wheels in my head turned and I realised my parents must have gotten me something off my Amazon wish list –– something related to motorcycles.

Indeed, they had sent a pair of Corcoran jump boots, which I had put on my wish list after reading an article on Hell for Leather. Originally designed for paratroopers in the late 1960s, the boots were praised by HfL as an affordable, viable alternative to bespangled racing boots for those wanting to look a little more "everyday" when on a bike.

I think gear is a good idea for a motorcyclist, but I just cannot picture myself dressing up like a comic book character for the sake of getting from A to B. I want stuff that's a little less flash. And these boots seem to fit the bill.

I've not had a chance to ride in them yet, but in simply putting them on and wearing them around the flat I've found them to be considerably more comfortable than I had imagined. More so, even, than the Doc Martens I was using. I also like them because they look badass –– a little shiny at the moment, but that will wear away soon enough.

There's another, less obvious reason to like the boots: they were a gift from my parents. Mom and Dad are supporting the whole motorcycle thing. Which I'd think would help me on this side of the water, helping to further soften my wife's resistance.

I'm looking forward to putting the boots to use.


  1. I now buy steel-toe work boots because my first three crashes ended up with the motorcycle landing on my big toe.

    1. I've always been wary of steel toe. I used to work in a warehouse and the safety films we were made to watch strongly advised against them because, if bent by weight, the metal could end up slicing through the foot.

  2. I think something went wrong with my last comment...

    Anyhow - those are righteous stompy boots! And big stompy boots are one of the best things about motorcycling.

    My personal opinion is that for all their good qualities, when it comes to motorcycling, Doc Martens boots are only slightly better than a pair of Chuck Taylors. Actually, I found my Chucks to be less slippery at stops than the Docs. Of course, the Chucks were uncomfortable after riding approximately two miles. I think the Docs were OK-ish for at least fifteen miles...

    1. Yeah, the Docs were just the best of what I had available. Definitely looking forward to putting these boots to use.


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