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Old 04-19-2006, 06:34 AM   #1
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Weekend deaths

really got me thinking about an article I read earlier this month. How many crashed but lived this weekend? How many have had second thoughts about riding again after hearing about all the accidents this weekend?? Here is the read....sorry , its kinda long

I worry more about damage to my bike than I do about hurting myself," I said. Paul looked at me with a quizzical expression. "Really?" he asked. "Why would that be?"
I shrugged. "I don't know. I guess I just figure that riding with the right gear will mostly protect me. But modern bikes, with their plastic fairings and such, always seem to take a pretty rough hit when they go down. And having my bike out of commission while parts are ordered and repairs get made really sucks, you know?"
Paul nodded without saying anything, a thoughtful look in his eyes.
It's a week before the Daytona 200-the real start of spring, if you ask me-and I'm in Maryland getting my bike shod with new tires. I'm hanging around the shop while the service guys in back do their work, shooting the breeze with Paul Milhalka, lead salesman, friend and supremely accomplished rider. With experience counted in decades, over half a million street miles under his belt, and thousands of track miles, Paul is as good as they come. There isn't much in the motorcycling pantheon that he hasn't seen or heard. Even in his mid-60s, Paul can still give most anyone a run for his money. He's forgotten more about motorcycling than most of us will ever know.
I'm not sure he buys my argument about the wisdom of worrying more about one's bike than one's body.
A couple hours later, having traversed the 70-odd miles from the dealership, I'm only a few miles from home. Still only midafternoon, I decide that a little detour is in order -a couple of the local country roads are calling. I'm slightly chilled from the long ride back on the freeway, but I'm not thinking about that. I'm thinking about how glad I am that March is finally here. It's been a long, cold winter.
Wending my way out along Georgetown and then down Blantyre, roads now thankfully clear of the salt smears that were here just a few weeks ago, I'm daydreaming, thinking about the race in eight days and wishing I could be in Florida to see it. But no matter. It's hard not to be happy at the start of a new riding season. Those intermittent rides during the winter months are not nearly enough.
Past the last couple of horse farms, approaching the little cluster of houses at Bethel, I'm in that mindless zone you sometimes get lulled into. After riding nearly 200 miles today, I'm only a mile from home. I haven't seen another vehicle on the road in the last 10 minutes.
It materializes like an apparition, out of nowhere. A sudden looming shape rising in front of me, almost as if by magic. I'm surprised, astonished at the sudden appearance, jerked out of my reverie. Then I'm back, focused again, hard on the brakes, swiftly calculating lines and time and distance; flashing through my list of options. It only takes the space of a heartbeat to realize there aren't any. My last thought, in the final ticking microseconds, is the irony of my words to Paul, just a couple hours earlier.
Son of a .I live near a rolling dervish of a road. It's only six miles from end to end, but those six miles snake across the landscape in a turning, twisting roller coaster of a ride. It's long been one of my favorites. And as I turn down this little jewel on this cloudy morning in May, I'm relieved to finally be out riding again.
The last couple of months have been hard. My crash back in March, which totaled my bike and left me with a broken wrist, suddenly changed the whole complexion of my riding season. I'm still waiting for the slow-turning wheels of the insurance bureaucracy to cut me a check so I can replace my bike. In the meantime, I'm fortunate to have this ancient old Yamaha to ride.
Except...except that this doesn't feel fun at all. The first turn is blind-, they're all blind on this road-and approaching it I suddenly have the feeling that there's another SUV, a twin to that one back in March, just around the corner, waiting to get me. I try and dismiss the notion, telling myself how ridiculous it is. But the feeling sits there in my chest, leaden and unmoving.
There's something on this road trying to kill me.
Crashing. Sometime, somewhere, it happens to all of us. If it hasn't happened to you yet, it will. And if you've already gone down -well, you will again if you stay in the game long enough. That's just the way it is. Which is a big part of the reason why so many of us work so hard at getting good, at improving our skills and refining our judgment so that those little escapades are as far apart as possible. It's also why we wear the gear that we do-to hopefully moderate the effects when that unfortunate day arrives. Eventually, though, despite all our best efforts, that day does arrive. Then there's only the afterward.
The aftereffects of a crash may be subtle -to the point that we may not even be aware that they exist-but they're almost always there. They oftentimes have a profound effect on our psyche and on our future enjoyment of the sport, introducing fear and caution where once there was nothing but joy and abandon. They can make fast riders slow. They take what once was a delight and turn it into an exercise in overcoming fear. And they are one of the biggest reasons people leave the sport.
It starts, in the beginning, with denial. Like coming down with cancer, or being one of the unfortunate passengers on an airliner falling from the sky, the thought that we might actually crash on today's ride is an abstraction that we refuse to accept. Sure, we recognize intellectually that it could happen-that's why we wear the gear, after all-but in our heart of hearts we don't really believe it. Crashing is one of those things that always happens to someone else.

Part two is next>>>>>>VVVVVVVV
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Old 04-19-2006, 06:36 AM   #2
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part two

Up to a point, that sense of denial is healthy. It's what allows us to climb aboard our bike and go charging off with our buddies on Sunday, to go flying into that corner on our favorite road, and to load up the trailer as we head off for yet another track day. We'd have a tough time doing those things if, in doing so, we truly believed we were going to crash.
But it also sets us up for a fall-a big-time reality check when it does happen. We're then suddenly faced with some serious head games. That road that once brought us such pleasure now seems filled with demons out to get us. And instead of the joy that we once experienced on every ride, we now have an edgy fear pressing on our nerves, a scalloped, uncertain path through all those corners instead of the smooth lines we used to scribe, an involuntary hitch on the bars every time a car comes around the bend. What do we do then?
The good news is that there is an answer. The bad news is that, as with most things involving our psyche, it's not necessarily simple or quick. There's no magic bullet to instantly make things better. How long or difficult the recovery process might be depends a lot on the particular circumstances of a given crash.
There's something of a continuum to where we end up emotionally-the starting point for our recovery-following a get-off. That point seems to vary according to several factors.
The first of those is physical injury. Which makes sense. The more severely we're injured, the more likely we are to come away with serious reservations about this thing we've chosen to do-the worst extreme, of course, being a truly close call with death or very serious injury. Those can be tough to come back from. Conversely, being injured very lightly, or not at all, will typically leave us with far fewer demons to slay.
The involvement with another vehicle is another negative factor-maybe because of all the things we have to deal with out there on the street, we intuitively know that other vehicles pose the single greatest threat to us. Most serious motorcycle crashes involve a four-wheeled vehicle. So having them involved in your incident can bring lots of mental baggage to the party. Single-vehicle crashes, as bad as they might be, at least don't leave that issue to contend with.
A long layoff can also make things worse. Whether caused by a bike needing repairs, an injury that prevents one from riding- like my broken wrist-or simply because a rider chooses not to ride for a while, the longer one goes without getting back out there seems to make it harder when one eventually does. It's as if every day of the layoff allows one's subconscious to conjure ever more ghosts, to add ever more excuses.
The environment also makes a difference. Two of my three racetrack crashes were high-speed, violent affairs-enough to total my motorcycles. Yet in both cases I walked away with no physical ailments that a few ibuprofen tablets wouldn't fix-and little in the way of mental baggage to work through. Conversely, and not a little ironically, both of my street crashes happened at far lower speeds-yet left me with lots of emotional issues to overcome. Just one more reason to save the really extreme stuff for the track. It's a safer environment in more ways than one. Ever notice those racers who crash hard in practice on Saturday, then go out and win their race on Sunday? Chances are a street crash would have you not riding at all the next day.
And ambiguity. We all tend to dislike uncertainty. Especially with a risk-laden activity like motorcycling, we want to feel that those risk factors are known and controllable. So understanding the cause of a crash-especially if it was a mistake that we can correct-goes a long way toward assuaging how we feel about it. Having that left as an open question leads to the inevitable feeling that it's out of our control -and could happen again.
OK, so understanding that these are some of the factors affecting how we react to a crash, what's the answer? How do we get past those ghosts and demons? How do we make it fun again?
You have to ride. Simple as that. You have to ride as soon as you possibly can, and as often as you can. If you commute, keep on commuting. If you were planning on going on an overnighter, keep those plans. If you've made a habit of getting out on Sunday mornings, well then, get out this Sunday morning. If in your riding you usually run a spirited sporting pace, you might want to back your speed down a couple clicks-that's fine-but whatever else you do, get out there and spin some miles. They may not seem like a lot of fun at first-they may, in fact, seem haunted and anything but fun-but they'll get better sooner than you think. The one constant I've observed in all of this is that perseverance will always bring one back. Riders who are determined not to let this thing beat them inevitably gain back their confidence, skill and smoothness. It all does, indeed, become fun again. Those who walk away-well, they just gave up too soon.
Which leads me to my last thought. Those who have been riding a long time are far more likely to bounce back from a bad crash than those who are relatively new to the sport. I think that's because by the time we have to start using multiple hands to count our years on the road, motorcycling has become too important to us, part of how we actually define ourselves as human beings-and most of us would do most anything to get that back. Some of us cannot imagine not doing this.
Keep on riding, forever. Not a bad prescription for what ails us.
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Old 04-19-2006, 06:47 AM   #3
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Sorry about the long posts. I thought about editing it, too much good stuff in it though. I wrecked in January (lowspeed lowside) and it made me think that there could be a chance of one day suiting up and going out and not coming back in. I love this sport to outright walk away. The deaths of our rider bretheren this weekend had me thinking about that last ride happening again. But it wont stop me from making it!!Damm right I wont stop!! I am wondering if any one else is feeling this too???
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Old 04-19-2006, 06:52 AM   #4
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Lock it and make it a sticky.... good read.

Every day is a dance with death on a bike, you either live another day or don't worry about anything anymore. Trackdays are good for real world practice because you can learn how a bike can handle in certain situations and improve your skills. These skills can be transferred to street riding for those "Oh " situations. Obviously on spirited runs the same can be learned but the risks are much greater. My thing is that I don't want to hurt anyone else, if it's just me i'm OK with that but do not want to affect anyone elses life in a negative way, goes for everything that I do...

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Old 04-19-2006, 07:04 AM   #5
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Very good read...............
Good Job!
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Old 04-19-2006, 07:20 AM   #6
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I've dealt with these things daily for more years than I can tell you. Everything from bike deaths to people that died when they slipped and fell in the bathroom. There are no guarantees in life, you can ride like a squid and live to tell about it or you can be as careful as you can and get cut off by some soccer mom talking on her cell phone.

Live your life as if each day were your last and ride as if you're going to live to be 100. We each have our own passions, some people like collecting stamps and we love riding bikes. If you don't live life to the fullest you're wasting away awaiting death as we all are.

It is tragic what happened this weekend, it's always tragic when we lose anyone that rides.

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Old 04-19-2006, 10:32 AM   #7
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If I could have gotten back on a bike after my crash, I would have. If I had just broken my legs, I would be riding on Sundays or racing again. I would do everything I could to get back on a bike. It just becomes part of who you are. Motorcycling is just too much of a part of me to throw away. I have lost riding buddies, I have seen severe crashes up close and I would still ride. If I lost a best friend, I would ride in his honor.

,
I have been looking at cars trying to find something I can get a wheelchair in and have fun in just so I can go drive it and keep up with my riding family in the TSBA. In the past when my bike was down waiting for parts, I took my G35 Coupe out to run with them before my accident and no one could keep up in the twisties. That is how much I miss riding. Don't give up your passion for anything. Motorcycling is about the friendship just as much as the riding itself.
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Old 04-19-2006, 11:20 AM   #8
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Old 04-19-2006, 03:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdmpastx
If I could have gotten back on a bike after my crash, I would have. If I had just broken my legs, I would be riding on Sundays or racing again. I would do everything I could to get back on a bike. It just becomes part of who you are. Motorcycling is just too much of a part of me to throw away. I have lost riding buddies, I have seen severe crashes up close and I would still ride. If I lost a best friend, I would ride in his honor.

,
I have been looking at cars trying to find something I can get a wheelchair in and have fun in just so I can go drive it and keep up with my riding family in the TSBA. In the past when my bike was down waiting for parts, I took my G35 Coupe out to run with them before my accident and no one could keep up in the twisties. That is how much I miss riding. Don't give up your passion for anything. Motorcycling is about the friendship just as much as the riding itself.
By any chance would you be intersted in high speed moto/sidecar racing?
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Old 04-19-2006, 05:49 PM   #10
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Why, you need a monkey?...lol

Not really, I have ridden a sidecar before. It was fun but it isn't the same as leaning a bike.
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Old 04-19-2006, 06:09 PM   #11
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Old 04-19-2006, 06:58 PM   #12
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Just my opinion, but anyone who decides to buy a bike-espesially a SS bike should have already accepted the fact that they are "going to go down and most likely get seriously hurt or even killed" before they purchase the bike. Like they say-"there are two kinds of riders, those who have been down and those who are going to go down." Of course you can increase your chances by how you ride, where you ride, how often you ride, and riding outside your ability, but in my opinion, if you never go down then you aren't riding the bike like it was built to be riden, or you are just extremely LUCKY! This is just my opinion so don't hate on me too bad. Ride Safe and always wear you gear.
R.I.P to all down'd riders!
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Old 04-19-2006, 08:08 PM   #13
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I wouldn"t trade riding for anything. I will continue to ride as safe as I can and wear all the hot, sweaty gear. It is the exchange I make with my self to try to make riding safer for me but in the end all cars are out to get me and I accept that.
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Old 04-19-2006, 08:28 PM   #14
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Old 04-19-2006, 11:35 PM   #15
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I thank you all for your input. I think that most of us ride for the simple fact that its what we love to do. Nothing else makes me feel alive. And your right, Witchdoctor 575, i treat all cagers as if they are out to get me cause in the end they are. And if I go down and cant ride anymore, I would still be around cause I love the sport.
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Old 04-20-2006, 08:51 AM   #16
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Quote:
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And if I go down and cant ride anymore, I would still be around cause I love the sport.
And Hence the reason why I am still here...
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Old 04-20-2006, 10:18 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdmpastx
And Hence the reason why I am still here...
what happened to you?? I dont know . Did you crash on your bike. street or track?? Just curious.. I crashed on the street by the park near my house on a 90* curve at 30 mph and no traffic. me and bike slid off into a ditch. luckily just got knee rash( Had on gear) but scared the chit outta me. picked up bike and rode the last 1/2 mile to my house cause I knew I shouldnt have wrecked but I didnt see the oil patch till i was leaned over and front wheel went right into it and slid away. Had to push my 460 + bike outta a 6 ft ditch and that was a mother****er. Any ways you in a wheel chair? how old are you? whats the recovery look like?
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Old 04-20-2006, 10:28 AM   #18
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Old 04-20-2006, 11:39 AM   #19
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Thanks^ . And incredible story bdmpastx. I see where you speak from experience. Good luck , dude.
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