You have a little Near Death Experience on a Motorcycle and all the sudden you get all these people telling you that “That they told you so.”  “Motorcycling is Dangerous.” And I need to get off that “Donor Cycle and into a Safe Car.”  Most of these comments come from Good Friends and Loved Ones and people that I know who really care for me… and some people who just what to be jackasses about it.
This all just makes me scratch my head.  Do you guys even know me?  Look, I appreciate the concern and I see where you are coming from… I feel that from you and I thank you for it.  I’d give you a big hug.  But everything I do is considered to be dangerous.   My Career has been in “Doing Dangerous Things” other than doing the Tech stuff I did for awhile it’s all been rather risky.

All day long, I am in a cage.  Doing what is expected of me. Constrained and unable to do or say what I want to do or so.  I have to keep so many opinions to myself, and so many responses to myself, that some days I just feel like I’m going to explode.  I have so many demands and stresses on me.  Bills and Dues that have to be paid.  Kids growing up into adults and their needs.  A wife that has to be cared for.  Family and my Extended Family.  Promises that I’ve made to them and to friends.   I’m not going to abandon them… it’s not that.  It’s the Decompression I get when I swing my leg over my bike.  The whole “Stop to Smell The Roses” thing… On a bike, I don’t have to stop.   I can be Mt. Vesuvius level pissed off and by the time I get home I’m down to Mt. Fuji level.  I’m happier after a ride because for that brief moment in time – I am Free.  Sometimes I just want to keep riding – just keep going.
I love riding… I can’t explain it so that you will understand… Because you don’t ride.  I can’t tell you what Chocolate tastes like either.  Those that do ride, they understand.  My wife understands.  Some of my friends understand.  Imagine taking an Eagle and clipping its wings so it couldn’t fly again… THAT is what you are telling me when you say I should be in a car.  Maybe you are right.  Maybe I should be. It’s supposedly safer.  I’ll give you that.  But that’s not what it’s about.  Being Safe… Safety is an illusion.

Yes, it’s dangerous.  It’s also freedom.  Freedom is always dangerous.


27 thoughts on “Danger”

  1. I took the Rex for a spin last evening, after all the commuters were safely tucked into their homes and off the back roads. It been a long rainy cold spring here in the PNW- the last couple of days has been like a first kiss- warm, cobalt blue skies, just sweet. Did not “go” anywhere in particular, just let the bike carry me down some favorite back roads, down by the lagoon, along the high banks by the shore where the road snakes up and down – hurt my back a few days ago and was itching to get out of the house. The ride was 20 or 30 miles of joy, fresh air and that low sun that leaves a sort of gold light over everything. Kids playing on the salt flats, sunlight filtered through the trees sand splashed across the tarmac , little valleys and farms- just sweet.
    Anybody who has ever been busted up on a bike, has probably asked themselves “is it worth it?” And I know some who said “no”. I gave up riding once. It was 12 years and a divorce before I got a bike again, and it was largely by accident- a client had this old Moto Guzzi cafe racer in his shed, covered in dust… so a trade ensued. I was nervous- for about 15 seconds-and then I asked myself-why, in what moment of insane dark boredom ,did I ever give this up? There are damn few things that can make me feel 16 years old again, and a bike, a country road and a nice day are definitely on the “A” list.

    Your best defense is to be the best rider you can possibly be, both in motorcycle skills, and situational awareness. You are no doubt debriefing yourself pretty intensely, that’s a good thing- there are a lot of variables to ponder- lane position, road conditions, visibility, clues from the other driver-
    Motorcycle Consumer News (most boring title and best MC magazine on the planet) has a good section on hazards every month. And the guru David Hough has a couple of superb riding books “Proficient Motorcycling” 1 and 2. I have learned a lot from them.

    Heal well!.

  2. Some will just never understand the feeling(one I am regrettably forgetting due to lack of a bike). After my last spill, costing me a bike and a a few weeks off work, everyone told me to give it up. That’ll never happen, just being postponed a bit.

  3. Thank you for this post, you have said everything I have ever wanted to tell someone that poo-poo’ed my motorcycle riding. I think I will save this for future reference. BTW, heal quickly, fix the bike, and get back on ASAP. Ride safe.

  4. There’s no such thing as absolute security. Getting out of bed in the morning is risky. Staying in bed is risky, too.

    Some like to imagine that they have security, and don’t want to see something that belies their illusion.

    Adults don’t have security; adults have various risks, and face them, so they can choose between them.

    Riding is a risk. So is driving a car; a friends of ours just brought her two-year-old home from the hospital with a fractured skull and a neck brace, after his father flipped the car a few miles from home. The father has a couple bruises; the kid was in a car seat, and spent several days in the PICU, despite that (fortunately, other than maybe having a stiff neck when it rains, he should be totally fine). If the roof had collapsed by an inch more, the kid would have been a vegetable, or dead.

    A rock can exist. An amoeba can survive. Life is for living. Risk and all.

  5. Man, I love you Ogre, but take some advice. I biked a long time. I personally knew three guys that died riding (normal everyday riding), I personally know at least six guys who are permanently crippled (wheelchair bound, arms in a permanent sling, limped wristed for life), and I must know at least 5 other guys who are not permanently injured, but who suffered serious injury in bike accidents. In avoiding an SUV with an inattentive driver who was on her cell phone, I had to gun my bike onto a sidewalk, where I missed hitting a little kid by inches. I know the thrill of riding, I get it. But we have kids man! Plus we all need this blog to continue. Please think about another hobby.

  6. I do not know a thing about your riding style- but if you like to ride “fast”, it is way, way, safer to do it on the track.

    1. The Ogre doesnt ride near the limits. He is attentive and carefull. What non-bikers (and some bikers) dont seem to understand is that sometimes the fact that the bike can save your life.

      Sure, Ogre met the pavement. A semi was IN HIS LANE. Getting a 2 foot wide 400# bike out of the way MAY have been easier to move than a 6 foot wide 4000# car or truck.

      It doesnt matter what you are in if you make front end contact with an 80,000 object comming at you.

      Ride on.

      1. Exactly. I think if I had been on my older Magna, or in a cage… I’d have not got out if the way as much as I did. A little kiss would have been a head on.

        1. If you are able to- legal wise- , or inclined, I would be interested in what happened-the circumstances around the crash. Perfectly understand if you can’t.

          1. Circumstances – Can’t be quite sure as to just how fast the truck was going, or why exactly it was in my lane.
            2 lane highway. Rather tight blind curve. I was just about to enter the turn, and started to lean in to the curve – leaning left… Truck came around in my lane and I threw it over to the other side, banking hard right. I got clipped and this kicked the rear out from under me and I landed and slid on my left side briefly on pavement and gravel and off the road into dirt and brush.
            Seriously – that’s all I know. It happened in a freaking blink. I went from riding to sliding within a couple seconds. But I understand Stress Perception has a number of strange things – one being called Time Compression. So for me, it felt like about 1 second. I also don’t know how long I was down. But I remember hearing my bike still running… smelling fuel spilling… then I heard the bike choke out. I took my time getting up as I didn’t know how bad I was hurt. I stood up and watched 3 cars drive past. I pulled out my phone and hit dial. The I saw I dialed M, but he didn’t answer… My Sister In Law didn’t answer. My wife was with her. So at this point I just said fuck it, I’m going home. So I managed to pick up my bike. It was dead. I pushed it and got it compression started some how. Rode home… 10 miles or so. On the way home the pain hit me and I almost dumped it again when I pulled up to my house. No one was home so I started to check myself and realized I was hurt pretty good – but lucky as hell.

  7. You know George, I was just messing with you on your last thread. I mean, yeah, I was testing your resolve, but I already knew you had it.

    You ride different “bikes” than I do, but two wheels are what they are. Men our age deserve to get their thrills on the way that makes us feel best.

    That said, bud of mine just went to Baylor Downtown with a broken neck and hip. Fack, that is harsh. Hit by somebody in a car who didn’t see him coming.

    F it all bro, Pain (and Life) is temporary, Glory is forever. Ride on Ogre, just make sure you got your kids took care of if the worst happens.

  8. The time to quit is when you can no longer pickup you bike after a flopsy by your self and/or when your sense of balance has gotten so bad that you fall over at slow speeds while carrying some cold cuts and a loaf of bread. Pain teaches caution and the paranoia you need to survive in any activity.

  9. I didn’t comment on the accident because I figured you were already getting it from all sides but I’ll chime in here and try to support you.
    I’ve been riding since I was a kid on a mini bike. Cal it 45 years or so. I’ve been hit by cars and been on the ground more times than I can remember. Or care to admit. Yes, I have been injured but never life threatening. I even totalled out a brand spanking new police BMW when I augered in at freeway speeds. My life was saved on that occassion by my helmet (cough cough wear your lid kids), a helmet I still have and keep on my trophy shelf. I rode enforcement motorcycles in the PD for more than 10 years.
    Yet I still ride.
    I’ve owned and ridden everything from a home built Tecumsah engined mini to a Kawasaki Concours (best bike I ever owned btw) and everything in between (including a red Superhawk). Heck, I’ve probably crashed most of them in a major or minor way.
    Yet, I still ride.
    It’s a classic case of if you have to ask you will probably never understand. It’s actually very much like gun ownership. Either you get it or you don’t. The problem comes in when the anti’s start talking about something they don’t, can’t, understand.
    I used to get the look and questions every time I went on a code call or was involved in a pursuit. Why do you do that? I also cannot explain it to anyone who has to ask that question but I’ll try.
    My fondest riding memories are when I rode for the City. There is absolutely nothing in the world that can compare to racing to a life and death call where lives are literally riding on my response time, siren singing, radio blaring the dire information, hair on fire, dodging in and out of traffic, avoiding all the mastadon vehicles being driven by the clueless. It’s freeing and exhilerating and life altering.
    My motorcycle is more than a vehicle. It’s a part of who I am. Asking me, or anyone who rides, to give it up for safety’s sake is asking us to become something we aren’t. It’s asking us to become someone else, maybe someone you won’t recognize or even like. It’s asking me to give up my firearms and freedom because they’re dangerous and something bad could and sometimes does happen.
    No. I refuse to give in and take the safe path. Life in a cage is just a slower death. I’ll keep my guns, my motorcycle and my freedom.
    I hope you’re Ok Ogre and I pray for your safety and that of everyone who chooses to ride. That is all anyone can ask of any of us. I’m willing to take the risks I decide are reasonable. All I ask is that those who love and care about me try to understand respect those decisions.
    Sorry for the lengthy comment. This is a passionate subject for me.

  10. You are an incredibly lucky man. You have a Wife that understands, and children that do too. I have been slowly chipping away at my family so that I can get another bike. Its been over six months now and I am missing riding so much it hurts. Even the riding at 36 degrees in the rain I miss. Enjoy, its your life and I count myself as being lucky enough to “get it” about getting on a bike after a wreck.

    I don’t think I would want to be the type of person that does not have the ability to understand what its like to be on 2 wheels.

  11. George (aka Ogre-San) – I am writing to you by your real name because this is a real issue. Regarding riding, you understand, your wife understands – what else do you need to know?

    And, for the record, “EFF” all those “play it safe” comments. I don’t care how many people you know who got hurt, except to wish them a speedy and full recovery. You lost “interest”, so you try to pooch it for those who have not. S T heck U. The idea that a cage is “safe” is an illusion – ask any cop. Hedge your bets, sure, (ATGATT) but don’t fool yourself that you are safer because you choose a different way to move around.

    Ride safe, George.

  12. I question anyone who asks a fellow to give up something he obviously loves (family excepted, they do it for a different reason).

    You clearly understand ATGATT, your ‘safety’ versus mine in my nearly 2 and a half ton SUV is by a percentage I sure as hell would not want to count/bet on. My wife got T-boned by a woman on her phone driving a Land Rover, while driving our Honda Pilot. She had a two week vacation waiting for the bruising and such to go away from the seat belt alone.

    Enjoy your life, whatever way that means to you, and to hell with doom and gloom, life ain’t safe. I will say this, if you stop loving it, it is time to stop doing it; once your heart isn’t in it…

  13. Sounds like your very quick reaction saved your ass. Good job! Plus a good serving of luck, on the more or less unobstructed run-off. Was this one of those curves where the inside rises up so it blocks the view around it? I got bit hard once on one of those-. It sounds likely that the truck was going a bit too fast and just plowed over into your lane. I see that shit with kids around here playing racer boy as well, and blowing into the opposing lane.

  14. You constantly remind me why I can’t wait to read your blog and consider you a friend. Great post. I agree, if I have to explain it, you won’t understand, just respect me and my decisions. My unsolicited advice? Always get back on the horse.

  15. Saying that somebody should get a car instead of a motorcycle is like saying “Don’t buy an evil black Glock, get a bolt action 30.06. Those are more wholesome.” Sure, they’re both guns, but they are not the same tool. They do equally legitimate jobs, but those jobs are different, and the tools for these different jobs are not interchangeable.

    The same holds for cars and bikes. They do different jobs for a man (or lady), and should not be viewed as though they can interchangeably fill the same function, with only varying degree of safety.

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