Back in the saddle again

053014intosunsetClose friends know that I resumed riding a motorcycle recently after an 18-month sabbatical because of recovery and rehab from a near-fatal accident in 2012.

My decision to climb back into the saddle brought strong reactions both pro and con from friends and others.  Some say it’s nice to see me doing something I obviously love and enjoy  Other say I’m nuts.

The doctor who cleared me to ride three weeks ago said “if you’re insane enough to get back on one of those things there is no physical reason why you cannot.”

I told him my insanity has never been doubted.  He smiled and shook his head.

Wednesday marked a milestone.  The crash on November 9, 2012, came while returning, on my bike, from photographing a playoff game of the Floyd County High School football team for The Floyd Press.  Riding on a dark stretch of U.S. 221 south of Cave Spring late on a Friday night, I swerved to miss one cow in the road but did not see an all-black steer in the darkness until too late to swerve or stop.

On Wednesday, an assignment sent me to Kiwanis Field in Salem to shoot a baseball team playoff game between the Buffaloes and the James River Knights.

By coincidence, Roanoke Valley Harley Davidson installed new auxiliary driving lights on my bike that afternoon so, after picking it up, I rode it to the baseball game to shoot the photos and headed home afterwards.

I felt the game, scheduled to start at 4 p.m., should be over well before darkness set in.  But lightning in the area delayed the start of the match and a collection of long innings meant riding back to Floyd at dusk with light fading under heavy clouds.

Any problems on the ride home?  Not really.  No animals in the road.  No cows.  I did ride into a rain shower as I passed Kings Store and Stonewall roads on U.S. 221 but pulled into the garage safe and sound a short time later.

It felt good.  History did not repeat itself.  With luck, the history that will repeat itself is the one where my first and only serious accident on a motorcycle came 49 years after I learned to ride.

Hopefully, I can ride another half century before another one occurs.  As friends know, motorcycling is a major part of my life.  My parents rode and met because of a mutual love of riding.

Later this year, I will take an urn with my mother’s remains to Florida to rest in peace with my dad, who died in an industrial accident in 1949.  On that ride, the Harley, mom and I will follow the route she took in 1946 when she rode, by herself, from Meadows of Dan to Tampa to meet her future in-laws.

Mom’s trip home was originally scheduled for the third week of November of 2012 but my accident delayed it.

No more delays.  Mom is going home.

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2 thoughts on “Back in the saddle again”

  1. Having spent most of my adulthood working in the health care field I can’t share your fascination with motorcycles, but I’m glad to hear that you’re back up and at it … Be careful out there, you’re still about the last thing I want to scrape off my windshield!

  2. The old adage “If I have to explain, you won’t understand” really applies. People who don’t ride, just don’t get it. Maya Angelou wrote that she “knows why the caged bird sings.” Well, bikers know why dogs ride with their head out the window! Welcome back, Doug. I hope to see you on the road. I won’t be hard to miss. I’ll be the one wearing a Harley t-shirt, blue jeans, and riding boots.

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