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Old 10-06-2011, 03:12 PM   #1
RACER X
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the ripple effect

this was written about about a guy i knew (101lifts2) for the last 10yrs on diff. motorcycle forums, really there's a group of us that have hung out for that time thru 3-4 forum changes, this was the first death in "our" group in a long time.

http://community.motorcycleshows.com...36/151420.html

The Ripple Effect




Iíll never forget the first time I heard about the death of a rider. I was maybe seven or eight years old, too young to realize the gravity of loss, but old enough to know the pain. His name was Anthony and he was 24. He was stationed at George Air Force Base, he had a girlfriend and his entire life ahead of him. He was one of many service members that my parents used to ride with on the weekends. One day, Anthony went for a short ride to the end of the street near his house, and that ride ended badly. He didnít have a helmet on and that choice cost him his life. My mother said he put up a fight for about a week in the hospital and the entire group he rode with waited anxiously outside his room, hoping for recovery, but he succumbed to his injuries instead.


Then, when I was 20 years old, I was working at Cycle Gear in Fullerton, CA. A man came in complaining that we had damaged his rim when we changed his tire. His name was Scottie. He was 21. My first impression of him wasnít a good one. I thought he was a belligerent jerk whose only goal was to make our day miserable over one little scratch. Not too long after that first meeting, though, I was sitting at a Starbucks sipping coffee with friends, among them was Scottie. He was down to earth, friendly, and urged me to wear my leather jacket, even though it was new and uncomfortable. ďIt will break in eventually and it will feel like a second skin,Ē he said. ďBut you shouldnít ride without it.Ē That night I learned that I had the wrong impression of Scottie and he was actually a pretty cool guy.


About a week later, my manager asked me to step outside and thatís when he gave me the news, news Iíd heard before. ďScottie passed away this weekend,Ē he said, ďHe went off the side of the cliff in the canyons.Ē After asking around, nobody knew what Scottie was thinking or why he died. But all I could think was, ď, I just talked to the guy a week ago and he was fine.Ē


Now, ten years later, Iíve received ďthe newsĒ nearly a dozen times through various means, the worst being those intimate phone calls with a sobbing, hysterical voice on the other end. The news was for friends, acquaintances or people I knew by reputation via internet communities and forums.


Thatís the eerie thing about death. Once it becomes familiar, or a regular thing in your life, it feels like itís always there, always looming, but at the same time, it makes you feel connected to anyone who rides. So even when someone dies that you didnít know, you still feel the emptiness because they shared the same passion as you.


Iíve slipped in and out of depression, Iíve had nightmares, all because it felt like I couldnít escape it. I even quit teaching MSF because I couldnít stand the thought of losing another student, or questioning if I had any part in not sufficiently preparing them for the risks of the street. Iíve even been so troubled as to imagine I saw ghosts, but thatís a story for another time.


The fact is these seasonal losses or deaths of riders is an annual tradition, one that is inevitable and consciously accepted as the norm. It disgusts me in some ways because not only do we acknowledge our own peers as ďstatistics,Ē but when a rider dies, the sense of helplessness is overwhelming. I hate knowing that while I was driving to work, listening to the radio, another rider was dying at that exact moment. Iím always finding out afterward and it feels as though there is nothing I could have done to prevent it. I can play the part of the gear police all day, urging other riders to wear their gear all the time, to seek training, to ride responsibly as if people donít see them, but the one most important thing I canít sway is free will.


We will break laws and misbehave on the bikes from time to time. Itís hard not to do when you have a capable machine with what feels like limitless horsepower that the every day rider will try their whole life to master, even though they probably never will.


I sit here and realize that every death, every friend Iíve had that has sustained a life-changing, permanent injury has affected me in some way. Their misfortunes have been stones hurled into my otherwise placid life. The ripples from their impacts have hit me dead in the chest, forcing me further and further into the deep end. I am no longer impartial or naive. I can not claim ignorance, for I am now a veteran of a life style that can, at any time, take my life.


Recently, Bill Kaucky, otherwise known as 101Lifts2 on many Southern California sportbike forums, passed away on Ortega Highway in a three-bike accident. Bill was a veteran like myself and thoroughly familiar with that road, as he regularly carved its paved, slithering traffic-infested veins every weekend. This just proves that none of us are exempt and is indiscriminate.


As motorcyclists, we accept the risk behind our choices. Many of us are fully aware that one day, we may not come home from our ride. Being self aware is one thing, but what about the people who care about you? Have they accepted your decision to live a risky lifestyle? And if they havenít, are you prepared to leave them with a scar when you pass? Because when death becomes familiar to the living, it becomes inescapable like a vacuum pulling pieces of you away until itís your time.


I canít bring my friends back and I canít accept their deaths as normal. I can not move on with the rest of my life and not feel hollow every time I see the words ďrider down.Ē I tie those words to anyone Iíve ever known or didnít know who passed away through similar circumstances. This has also taught me the value of closure. Last February, I finally was able to visit the grave of my friend in Long Island. Saying goodbye to him in person gave me a peace I had not had since he died and may not have had if I wasnít given that opportunity.


If anything, death has taught me to appreciate every single beautiful day I get to enjoy with full mobility of my limbs. I savor every breath of clean oxygen that can only be inhaled at the summit of a perfect mountain road. I revel in that chill that sweeps over my body when a cool breeze dries the sweat underneath my riding suit.


Riding while knowing my plausible destiny so intimately is exhilarating yet sobering. What I hope others will consider after hearing how death has affected me is the impact their loss would leave on others as well as how theyíll be remembered. Because if youíre not completely confident memories of you will be positive ones, you should ride like you have unfinished business.
.
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Old 10-06-2011, 03:22 PM   #2
ELSpurgeO
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Wow this is so true. Sorry for you loss and thanks for posting this.
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Old 10-06-2011, 03:30 PM   #3
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Truly an amazing article, thanks for sharing it with us.

Quote:
So even when someone dies that you didn’t know, you still feel the emptiness because they shared the same passion as you.
Very true, It hurts us all.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:22 PM   #4
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Being self aware is one thing, but what about the people who care about you? Have they accepted your decision to live a risky lifestyle? And if they havenít, are you prepared to leave them with a scar when you pass? Because when death becomes familiar to the living, it becomes inescapable like a vacuum pulling pieces of you away until itís your time.
I don't think this can be said any better.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:31 PM   #5
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:38 PM   #6
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Blessings and thanks...eloquent truth...
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Old 10-06-2011, 10:51 PM   #7
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
So even when someone dies that you didnít know, you still feel the emptiness because they shared the same passion as you.
can i get "irony" for $400, Alex?
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:05 PM   #9
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Man, thanks for sharing. Definitely makes you think and puts things in perspective.

I kinda get you a little more Now.
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Old 10-10-2011, 12:07 PM   #10
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***Thatís the eerie thing about death. Once it becomes familiar, or a regular thing in your life, it feels like itís always there, always looming, but at the same time, it makes you feel connected to anyone who rides. So even when someone dies that you didnít know, you still feel the emptiness because they shared the same passion as you.****



Thats the one thing that really captured my attention here.
Sorry for your loss here Ed. I feel your pain.

J

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