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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old Aug 24th, 2010, 9:18 am Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Dublin / Belfast, Dublin / Down, Ireland / Northern Ireland
Posts: 93
Cheery Words Required

Dear all

Allow me to be a bit self-indulgent for a few secs - after burying a friend yesterday when his 600 Gixer was put off the road by a motorist in Scotland last weekend (he'd have been 40 today and was getting married at the end of the year) and having sat through the funeral yesterday with all us bikers thinking exactly the same thing whilst looking at the wooden box at the front of the church, the inevitable conversations began in the pub afterwards, mainly from the wives and ranging from "it's up to him, it's his decision" to "I've told him now after this that it's either me or the bike" - all of the arguments I sat and listened to had merit in their own way.

Anyhow, having ridden every single day (pretty much) for the last 15 years and as I approach my 40th Birthday with 3 young kids and a gorgeous wife (eldest child is 10), and after chucking my K1200GT down the road about a month ago (me not hurt and bike now repaired), I'm afraid I'm giving serious thought and re-assessment to my own position and what to do next - something I'm really grappling with.

I've run through (both in my mind and down the pub with others) all the arguments about if someone gets killed crossing the road then you don't suddenly stop crossing roads, etc. and my personal favourite "at least he died doing something that he loved" - something which I'm always telling my wife to think of if the worst happens to me, but can't seem to shake the blues and the feeling that I should be doing something about it (like selling the bike).

Anyhow, the real purpose of this post is as a result of me sat at my desk in work, totally glazed over, looking at the computer screen and longing for a few inspirational words and anecdotes to lift my mood and help me do the right thing!

Over to you...........!

(and thanks in advance 'cos as sure as eggs are eggs, there'll be plenty of replies to this post - that's just the kind of community this is).
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old Aug 24th, 2010, 9:49 am
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Ramsbottom, , England
Posts: 94
Sorry to hear of your loss, words never seem to be enough, so I don't say any!

With regard to riding and life in general, always do what you want today, tomorrow may be your last.

Not particually nice, but true.

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old Aug 24th, 2010, 9:54 am
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: phoenix, AZ, usa
Posts: 459
I was a big brother for 10 years (long ago), he was 9 when I got him, his dad died on a bike when he was 3.

That kid wanted a dad, bad. I would have taken him on but he had a mom already so I could not help him that way.

It doesn't matter how a kid loses a parent, its the same to them. It is up to the parent to calculate risk.

So, all the time my kids were growing up, I stuck to bicycles and we had a riot the whole time. I took them all over on the bike, later with a baby trailer. I had 15k miles on just one of my mountain bikes But I did commute on it for 5 years also.

When my youngest got to the middle teens I decided to buy another motorbike and I've never looked back.

Almost killed myself last Oct on my LT when I crashed it, just for a data point. It took me until April to be able to physically try riding again and...I haven't looked back, been riding every since (in pain sometimes, but riding!). That was the first time in my life I broke a bone, much less a bunch of them.

I dunno, my thing when the kids were young was to spend the time with them, not off somewhere on a motorbike.

I've put about 260k miles on bikes since I started again in the spring of 2001. I like to ride obviously. And I'm still riding.

it sure is a lot easier to ride at this point knowing I'm worth more dead than alive!!

By the way, I've lost more friends/co-workers due to being overweight than I have in bike crashes, they don't seem to make it past their 40's when their weight causes health problems. just another data point.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old Aug 24th, 2010, 10:08 am
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Location: Chicago, IL, USA
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Originally Posted by ldbikin
So, all the time my kids were growing up, I stuck to bicycles and we had a riot the whole time. I took them all over on the bike, later with a baby trailer. I had 15k miles on just one of my mountain bikes But I did commute on it for 5 years also.

I've put about 260k miles on bikes since I started again in the spring of 2001. I like to ride obviously. And I'm still riding.
You don't do anything halfway do you?

'06 K1200R- in pieces
'73 Honda CB500F- slow but fun.
'77 Yamaha XS 750 triple- kinda
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old Aug 24th, 2010, 10:59 am
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Location: Richmond, VA, USA
Posts: 218

I am very sorry to hear about your loss. There is nothing that can ever take the place of a lost friend or loved one; we are all too special in our own way.

That said, when I start to question some of the more dangerous things I do (motorcycle riding being only one of them) I think of a quote by Goethe “The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety”.

Remember your friend and do what makes you happy. Otherwise you aren’t really living.


"I am a Cafe Racer myself on some days - and it is one of my finest addictions." Hunter S. Thompson
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old Aug 24th, 2010, 11:51 am
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Location: Olympia,WA & Peoria, AZ, , USA
Posts: 440
Sorry to hear about your friend. I have been riding motorcycles on the street since I was 15 and have racked up a bunch of miles over the years. I've had a few incidents and accepted the inherent risks of riding. When my daughter was born many years ago my whole world changed and changed for the better. She was about 2 years old when I sold my bike and decided I would take a break from riding. I haven't regretted that decision once. I replaced riding with other activities, many of which we could do as a family. I've had a lot of great experiences riding but nothing has topped having a child and being engaged in all that goes along with raising a little one. The time will go quickly and they won't be little for long. My little one is now a young woman, lives on her own and rides a sport bike.

'06 GT - Blue
85K on the clock
_'07 GS - Yeller
Another Dopeless Hope Fiend
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old Aug 24th, 2010, 12:56 pm
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Location: West Monroe, La 71291, USA
Posts: 121
I've had several friends killed on bikes, one very close like an extra son who I warned over and over that showing out was taboo after his 2nd son was born. Riding mower, bike, Co car, or U-Haul Rental truck, he had to race anyone who would oblidge him. He finally hit a car broadside wide-open as the car made a left(death) turn! No chance of braking. He was going so fast the person actually did not see him. We buried him and I cried with his mom and dad.
Myself, I've had three wreaks and two drops, the wreaks were all my fault, riding over my head. I am not scared,but I don't try to drag a peg on a rural road, even though it would feel great. Who knows who may be backing out of a drive way, a hunter coming out of the woods slinging gooey mud all over the curve. Or a 10 point buck crossing the road?
I know the dangers, I worked dangerous jobs all my life.
But, I ( me only ) refuse to sit in my house and fret because I'm afraid to go out and play.
You are the only judge of your situation. If you control your hormones, control the urge to drink, and ride on rural roads away from mass transit. You should be fairly safe. Just enjoy the wind and sights, and leave the stunts and speed to the track.
I'm not accusing anyone of stunting, just stating what does cause wreaks. And yes there will always be the driver who can't see, drive, or obey the laws. That's why our eyes should be glancing in all directions at all times, and our fingers covering the hand levers.
My Prayers to all those who have lost friends and family thru riding.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old Aug 24th, 2010, 4:42 pm
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I have had a car pull out in front of me about two years ago. It was truly a miracle that I walked away. How do you deal with the fact that some do and some don't? There is nothing any of us can say that will be of much use to you except maybe to express our condolences. As for the riding, I gave it up when I was much younger and just recently started it up again. It's a calculated risk, isn't it? That part you have to decide for yourself. You try to be careful but how do allow for someone who pulls in front of you and then stops? You can't be ready for everything.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old Aug 25th, 2010, 6:31 am
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Like any dangerous sport, motorcycling comes with risks and every so often an event comes along and you go through a self evaluation. Mostly those risks are down to the stupidity of others if you are a sensible rider.

I've had friends who died in cars and from cancer, so I have to think that there's some kind of lottery involved.

All you can do is reduce the odds and feel happier that what you've done may help. If you don't drive anything or walk in the road it's a no fun existence but, your house could still burn down whilst you sleep.

If you ride regularly, just draw up a check list of things you can do to push the odds a little on your side:

Rider training (or re-training) - Think like chess and work out the other guys stupid move and your response before he makes it.
Well maintained bike.
Be more visible - HID lights and hi-viz jacket.
Good rear view and added high intensity brake stop lights.
Get a very load horn.
Be risk averse when riding, but still have fun.

Wives and families can have an understandably negative view towards motorcycling. Some put family first, leave riding alone and then come back to it later. But there are risks, because those born again 'returners' have lost ground in the driving styles of others and increased road congestion.

There is no right or wrong advice. If you lose some of your own riding confidence due to loss of a friend, then that's not a good state of mind to be riding with and it takes time to become confident with all neurons firing again.

Sometimes, I think driving and riding is becoming more like a video game. There is so much to absorb, process, decision and execute with 100% concentration required, but you can't re-start the game if you or another driver makes a bad decision.

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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old Aug 25th, 2010, 7:44 am
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Location: Denver, CO, USA
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My condolences to you, and your buddy's family.

I feel your pain. 23 years ago, a nice woman argued with the policeman that there was no way she turned in front of my motorcycle and caused me to impact her rear door and trunk. She couldn't have caused the accident because she didn't see me. I crawled away from that one bruised and broken and with a few character marks left on me for good war stories. 15 years ago, my riding buddy experienced the same thing. He didn't make it. I walked away from that and sold my street bikes.

At the same time, I was having kids and riding my dirt bikes, knowing that if I got hurt, I would have nobody to blame but myself. However, I always had that nagging desire to be back on the street. I justified my decision because of my kids, and I stand by that today. As time passed, and my kids got older, (and the table top jumps and triples out at the track started getting bigger and bigger ), my desire to get back on the street outgrew my rationalization to stay off the street. I'm still trying to remember how I went from driving my 911 cabriolet to a Chevy Suburban?!? I love the street. I calculate the risk of me riding, and the RISK of me NOT riding.

Just yesterday, I saw an inattentive Ford pickup truck had plowed into the back of a Honda Civic (which was crammed into the car in front of it) at a red light on a low speed side road. A sheetmetal sandwich. I saw glimpses of me and my KGT as the mustard in that sandwich.

Yet, I stay on the street. Its a passion. One I can't resist and one you won't be able to also. So, if you sell your bike, trust me, you will be back. We will miss you, but you will be back.

Finally, in terms of safety, Voxmagna really hit the nail on the head - "Think like chess and work out the other guys stupid move and your response before he makes it."
Great advice.

Denver Dave
2007 K12GT
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