With by 2012 Harley Davidson Switchback in the shop awaiting final determinations on the extent of its damage from hitting a dog and going down three weeks ago, I have gone back to my 2009 Dyna Super Glide for two-wheeled transportation, along with Amy’s three-wheeled Can-Am RS-S Spyder.
The Super Glide’s odometer reads more than 100,00 miles — a milestone it achieved in its first three years of ownership before going down in the Great Cow Encounter on U.S. 221 on Nov. 9, 2012.
Our five-year anniversary of that crash comes up next month and Amy will treat me to a steak dinner with the largest slice of beef the restaurant has on hand so i can eat it and pretend it came from the cow who put me in the hospital in intensive care for nearly a month.
Because of that accident, and a couple of ones that resulted in far less damage to the rider, several folks keep asking “why do you ride?”
The answer is simple: Because I can.
I hope to reach age 70 in December and, weather permitting, will ride to celebrate that day.
It’s hard to explain the appeal of motorcycle riding to someone who doesn’t enjoy riding or lives with fear. Yes, riding a motorcycle can lead to injury or death. So can driving a car or walking across the street or misusing prescription opiate-based drugs.
My maternal granddaddy Walter McPeak used to say “if you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much room.” At a point in my young life, I lived in fear of things. I overcame it with a determination to enjoy what life has to offer. I’ve jumped out of perfectly good airplanes with some silk to help cushion the fall, dived in treacherous waters, driven on the German Autobahn at more than 150 miles per hour and raced cars on sports car tracks in Danville, Mid-America Raceway, Watkins Glen and Daytona, among other tracks.
I don’t consider such activities cheating death but enjoying life. I walk gingerly on bad knees and a bum hip from a helicopter crash in the 1970s and other incidents that cannot be discussed. My left shoulder is “frozen” and arthritis cramps sometimes leave my hands looking deformed.
However, a 75-to-100 mile run on my Harley can relieve the aches and pains and leave a smile on my face.
After my crash on a dark U.S. 221 while returning from photographing a football playoff game near Staunton in 2012, some figured Amy would try to talk me out of betting back on a motorcycle. Not a chance. The only thing she asked is that I avoid riding at night.
Malcolm Forbes rode his motorcycle until his death at age 70 (from a heart attack). Greg Locke, a friend from Detroit who now lives in Meadows of Dan, is in his 70s and still rides. Actor Clint Eastwood does too at 87.
On Wednesday, I rode my Super Glide down to Salem for a new set of tires and an inspection. On Thursday, took Amy’s Can-Am down to Roanoke for an oil change and to have Star City Powersports program a replacement key so we always have a spare.
Weather looks good for this coming weekend. The Floyd County High School football team has a bye this week. Nothing much on the schedule for Saturday or Sunday. I do need to do some yard work and complete trying to re-plow the driveway.
Or I can ride. Decisions, decisions.