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Old 11-01-2014, 12:55 PM   #1
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When to let it go, and when to perservere

I was just involved in an accident in June. I somehow, left the road with my 1150 GSA that I planned on giving my son when he came of age, because I loved the bike more than any other machine I have owned. And I have owned a lot. My family have been in the car business since 1958, and I have been in the business myself since 1991. I was told by my father, right after high school, that "If you bring a bike to this house, you best find you another place to live"

Me being the rebel that I was at the time, it just made me bolder, and so I went further. I bought a Ninja 750R, year 1987. I will never forget the rush and the feeling of freedom that it gave me. I pulled the bike in the garage, and didnt say a word about it. I worked hard, and saved my money, and I take care of my shit to the point, that it borders on the extreme. My father didn't talk to me for almost a month, but in the end he relented and understood that I wasn't a reckless shithead, and he let me be.

Fast forward, I'm 42 years old and a father of 3. In June of this year, I was involved in a pretty horrible accident.(the first of any motorcycle wrecks I have encountered) I don't know how it happened to this day. I jumped the 1150 about 165 feet, and landed on the back of my neck breaking two of my number 5 and 7 vertebra in two in my neck, broke my sternum from top to bottom, ripped my left eyelid off, which they re attached, and shoved a 4x4 mailbox post through my right leg, torn my groin muscle, and torn my left rotator cuff to the point that only surgery will repair it,

I vowed to myself, that if I was able to hold a bike again I would buy one, and this time has come., and I bought one here online from a fellow inmate, and had it shipped to me from quite a distance away. My problem is, I have always had my wife to ride with me, and we enjoyed it a great deal. Now though my wife wants nothing to do with it. Doesn't want me to ride my kids anymore, and I feel guilty for even buying it. Its been a quite hard thing to reconcile within myself to see if I'm just being selfish, or am I just trying to prove to myself that I am not washed up yet. In a lot of ways, I cant imagine not having a street or dirt bike in my life. I started on dirt when I was 4, and went to street when I was 17, and haven't went a time without one until this accident.

I would just like to hear some advice, and to how to deal with this friction, and if anyone out there has had the same experience. I would love to post pics of the accident , but for some reason, this site seems to be the most difficult in the world to post pics on. (just figured it out)

On another note, I don't ride like I used to,(scrapping pegs on a GSA, sliding into corners) like I did. I've always been safe, and tried to show a good example of this hobby that I love so dearly. I'm just at a point that I don't know if I should just hang it up, but really I don't think I can.

The pic that I attached, is the one the local paper took when they thought I wouldn't make it. That is the way the bike landed, and I was leaned up against it, but was out for almost 3 hours

I recently attended 2 funeral for friends of mine who had accidents on motorcycles, and they both died of broken necks. Neither one looked like they had a scratch on them. It has been hard to process for me, why I lived and why good men that were friends of mine died, and neither one of them had near as bad of an accident as I did. Am I crazy for feeling guilty of my own survival? Should I feel that way? I have never been a real religious person, although I was always raised that way, but something in me has changed. When I take off now whether on a commute to work or a 150-200 mile ride, I get a sense of apprehension that I have never experienced before. A sense of vulnerability that was absent before. Maybe it is a good thing, or maybe its time to let it go. I'm just not sure.

Thanks in advance
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NorthGa screwed with this post 11-01-2014 at 01:05 PM
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Old 11-01-2014, 04:04 PM   #2
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Your wife fears that your children will lose their father and/or their mother. She also fears losing you and spendingnthenrest of her life without you. I say listen to her. Or you could be macho and go your own way.....its your call. Who's more important ?
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Old 11-01-2014, 04:36 PM   #3
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I say leave out the religious aspect. There's no way you can explain or justify your survival in the face of all the good, selfless people who die every day and throughout time. There is no god that prevents rain on your parade while allowing far worse on people far better than you or me. You now recognize your mortality and value your fragile life that much more.

Your equation has to do with a current turmoil in your life and those you love. Their, her concern has weight and it rests on your scale. Right now that concern may be excessive but it's important and valid. Anyone who says their fulfillment and expression of self is dependent on one, single activity or interest hasn't explored their potential and alternatives. All that said, riding may still be core to who you are and if so, you and your SO know who you are and eventually will be comfortable with riding as a part of your life. Meanwhile, you don't have to deny your, or her concerns.
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Old 11-01-2014, 05:50 PM   #4
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With age - experience, and experiences become wisdom. If you truly love the sport don't deny yourself. You don't have to change who you are, your SO will see that in time, so will you. Ride smarter, it does not eliminate the risk but it lessens it to acceptable levels.
I recently tore up my left foot pretty bad jumping a log I could have easily gone around. My lesson at 47 years of age, im not as strong, nimble, flexable as i remember.. I will have to take a less dangerous path. but if it keeps me doing what I love then its an acceptable compromise. 7 weeks to think it over, and repair the machine. I may upgrade, or down, to a machine more suited to riding- with less jumping ability.

Follow your heart. those that love you will support your decision either way. Good luck.. I hope to see you lumbering along on some twisty backroad. Ill be the older guy going the easier route.
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Old 11-01-2014, 06:32 PM   #5
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You are damn lucky with that accident not to be dead.
I can see the wife's concern as she is worried about you.
It's natural to reflect and be apprehensive after something that serious, these issues are only something you can decide after some serious thought..

Nothing wrong with stepping away for awhile and easing back into it...
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by rodnok1 View Post
Nothing wrong with stepping away for awhile and easing back into it...
Or giving up street for a bit...

up your life insurance...
Katherine, in words - F650GSa - CBR250R (sold) - Super Sherpa - Nine Days in the Alps - More Alps: Finding GS Land
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Old 11-02-2014, 02:52 AM   #7
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I've had a similar such experience where I had a lowside at 5-10 mph and broke my left leg(tib/fib fracture). My mother and brother were already in discussion about selling my bike while we were in the ER.

I pointed out that:
-I wasn't racing down the streets at 60 mph(and had the GPS data to prove it).
-I rode down a twisty road prior to getting my full gear(which was on order), stupid me.
-It's actually a miracle in and of itself that a low speed crash could break anything.

So aside from choosing the scenic route, I wasn't doing a whole lot of stupid. I also ride in ATGATT every time my butt is on the seat.

Other people will never see it your way 100% of the time, but it's not entirely impossible to make your case that sitting on a motorcycle isn't an automatic death sentence. However, I would suggest giving up the idea of taking the kids along for a ride. Even on a sidecar, it's not going to sell as well as a few tons of crushable steel and seatbelts.
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:35 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by NorthGa View Post
When I take off now whether on a commute to work or a 150-200 mile ride, I get a sense of apprehension that I have never experienced before. A sense of vulnerability that was absent before. Maybe it is a good thing, or maybe its time to let it go. I'm just not sure.

Thanks in advance
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Hi Clint,

I was faced with exactly the same thing after my first accident 20 yeas ago. Reading you post sounds like it was taken right out of my own head, the same exact questions I would have posted had this forum been here back then... Here is how I dealt with it:

I love riding, do not want to give it up, but I am VERY aware of how dangerous it can be. My answer it to limit my risk. I don't ride in the city, ever !!! To many other people can take you out through no fault of your own... No riding to work, or to get somewhere, that is a lot of risk for a ride that is usually not great anyways... I keep my rides to country roads, dirt trails, places that are worth riding, and where the risk is much lower.

I ride very carefully, slower than I used to. That 10 % of extra speed does not make the ride that much better, but it sure does increase the chances of a crash many times over. It takes a lot of self control, and constant telling myself, I would rather be riding slower, than in a hospital...

I NEVER NEVER NEVER ride with my wife on the bike. As much as I would like to bring her along, it is not worth the risk to her. Riding as a passenger sucks anyways, it is a lot of risk for very little enjoyment for her. You must truly love motorcycles and riding for it to be worth the risk, it is just unreal selfish to put your family to that kind of risk for something they just don't have to do. Don't pressure her into getting on... Sit down and talk to her, and tell her about the dangers, and instruct her to NEVER let you talk her into getting on with your should you have a moment of weakness and want her to ride with you.

Personally, I have to ride, I freaking love it !!! I don't want to grow old and regret not having done things out of fear. But I am also very logical, and honest about reality. It is freaking dangerous, so I do my best to find the perfect balance, that will allow me to keep riding, but not let it ruin my life. If you end up bedridden, unable to do anything, the ride was definitely not worth it. Change your riding, don't ride in traffic, no more riding to work, do whatever it takes to avoid traffic, a risk that you can not control..


JettPilot screwed with this post 11-02-2014 at 06:40 AM
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:16 AM   #9
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Damn that looked rough. . Only you can decide wether to keep riding,and to your credit you're back in the saddle .

I can't say having not been in your shoes, but death can come from any direction, in any vehicle, at any time. You are who you are. Minimize the risks, and I guess you aren't grinding off the pegs anymore.

I've been lucky, t-boned a minivan reported here, but I could've been run over just as easily. All I can say is slow down,watch your six and always give yourself a way out, it's worked for me (mostly) for the last 35 years.

Ride on!
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Old 11-02-2014, 11:37 AM   #10
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Listen to the ones that love you, not to strangers on the internet... of course I'm a stranger, what do I know?
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Old 11-02-2014, 02:44 PM   #11
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I would say that 99.5% of the risk is in your hands to do with what you will.
I have been riding almost 40years on the street without an accident/crash.
Plenty of crashing in the dirt, some very serious ones that almost killed me, not even a close call on the street.
When , where, how and what you ride has a lot to do with the risk.
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Old 11-02-2014, 05:13 PM   #12
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Survivors guilt is quite normal. My answer to why ultimately was why not.

Not surprising your passion has diminished. Minor is it surprising that you don't want to push it as hard right now. Fine.

Perhaps the bike you bought isn't such a good fit for you now. Perhaps something smaller, or simply different.

Your wife's concerns are understandable and to be expected. Stand your ground if you want to pay the price, give up the bike if you don't want to pay that price, and pay the price of not having a bike. A convertible two seater car does a nice job of giving you some wind around your head and sunlight on your face.
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:01 PM   #13
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I cannot say anything either way because just last Saturday, and I also posted here under 'GMC Yukon vs. 200cc Chinese bike' or something to that effect, I was involved in a far lesser crash. You can read the details there, but short story was a woman changed lanes during a left turn (where there are two lanes turning left controlled by a green/red turn arrow) tapping into me and forcing me to crash into and over the curb and sidewalk. Big abrasion on right arm, broken right clavicle, right hip injured, and bruised ribs on, you guessed it, my right side. Cannot ride right now even if I wanted to.

Jettpilot made sense with the exception, at least in my case, of commuting to work. I only commute on my bike--16 miles each way. I leave Yuma, AZ and head south to my employer, the AZ Dept of Corrections where I work as a teacher. The vast majority of my ride is on 2 lane rural roads. My bike is a cheap Chinese 200cc enduro, which I have become a kind of de facto experiment for the distributor to see how many miles and how reliable these are. Since late May--3100 miles of commuting.

Last Saturday I went to a teachers' conference clear opposite of where I normally commute to (I only ride Monday to Friday). Usually, on the weekend, my bike is parked, and I do daddy/husband stuff). Last Saturday, I needed to get to the conference (I should also mention we only have one car and one bike). So, I was riding on a day I normally would never ride, through Yuma (not a megapolis, but busy enough roads), and two blocks from home.

Again, not as life changing as your accident, but still makes me rethink how vulnerable we all are. Mine was a slow-speed crash, but could have been worse if the woman had also run me over rather than forcing me off the road. Will I get back on a bike, at least to commute on? Cannot answer that! Do I want to get back on a bike? My mind is definitely leaning to a ¨yes.¨

The world is a dangerous place, and there is the argument of how you can be hurt on your front door step, but certain activities have the propensity to exaggerate injuries, such as my accident. If I was in a car, it would have been fairly minor. The fact that such as minor accident could cause such pain and broken things--definitely makes me rethink all of this!!
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:12 PM   #14
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Everyone has a story and everyone gets shaped by their own unique experiences and develops their own priorities. The answer to your question has to come from within yourself.

In 1984 I had a motorcycle accident that landed me in the hospital for a couple of months followed by a long recovery. It gave me a much different perspective on life. I stopped riding except for a quick spin on a borrowed bike or two for 20 years.

I sometimes wonder if I made the right decision to give up it up for a time. However I did a lot of things I enjoyed doing during that time off, most importantly, raising my daughter. Since I started riding again 10 years ago I've seen people get hurt riding and know a few that have died. Also know a few that died of cancer and my wife died of congestive heart failure three years ago at the age of 49.

There's a lot of ways to die. Riding a motorcycle is only one of them. For some there is nothing more important than being on two wheels, for others it's an optional past-time. Pretty sure if I give up riding again I'll find something else to do.
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:29 PM   #15
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Helluva first post!
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