Author Topic: Thinking about hanging it up...  (Read 3361 times)

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Offline gilbysan

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Re: Thinking about hanging it up...
« Reply #50 on: July 13, 2018, 02:51:24 pm »
Coggers,
My little circle of riding friends lost one of our family members.  Brad Knowles.  Brad are the same age (63).  I met Brad through his Son, Justin, who was introduced to me by my Son, Zach.  Justin painted my bike a few months back.  Justin, family and friends take an annual pilgrimage from SEA to Laguna Seca for the races.  Zach who rides a '16 C14 and me on my '12 were planning to ride down there with them this year but I ended up riding by myself down to LA to meet my other Son Nathan and his family to do the Dizzyland thing.  Zach had other work to do, so Justin, and his partner Nancy rode their Busa's (yes she has her own white and pink Busa.), Brad on his C14, Elisio on his ZX14 with a chase truck to hold tires, gear, etc.
Brad's death.  Brad was in the middle of the group out of view, talking on the iComm to Justin in CA on Hwy 1, slow section of curvy road.  Justin heard a beep indicating that his dad went off comm, perhaps he thought to listen to music.  When Nancy caught up with Justin they realized that something had happened to Brad. They backtracked to find that he had run off road after a curve, fell down a steep and long embankment, hit a tree and was killed. The rest does not need to be covered here except to say that it was clearly a difficult and traumatic event for all involved.
I very much appreciated the fact that Justin and his dad rode together, as do Zach and me.  My dad and I learned to ride together in the dirt down in El Paso when he was still active in the ARMY.  I in turn taught my boys to ride in the dirt in NM, and they picked it up from there.  As a father you can sometimes wonder if you did the right thing by sharing the riding experience with your kids mainly due to the potential for injury or death.  But really, I don't think there would be any stopping someone who experiences riding of any kind and decides it strikes a particular cord in them.  Nothing could stop me from riding once I tried it as a kid so many years ago, same for my boys.  Just like there are Ford people and Chevy people, (or Dodge) there are those of us who ride and those that do not and there is not much that can bridge the chasm.

There is inherent risk in riding which I believe is part of the reason we all ride.  Bug hits, bird strikes, rocks, equipment failure, other drivers, road hazards; you name it, people who don't ride can't imagine why we put ourselves at so much evident (to them) risk.  We work to eliminate as many variables as possible that cause failures or potential risk and get out there and feel the road and wind, or rain and snow, whatever.  The most memorable rides are not the ones where everything went perfectly rather, those that presented some challenges to be overcome, albeit not life threatening.  And of course, it is about the connections we have with other riders.  What a wonderful community of people from all walks of life!

All deaths, in this case Brads death bring into sharp focus the frailty of our lives in a big way.  As someone else on this string said, and I paraphrase, "We just never know when our time will come."  If we are lucky, I believe we will be doing something we loved to do at the time death comes for us.  I feel for Justin that he had to see his father go out like this, and at the same time thankful that he was there.  I know if it were the other way around Brad would have wanted to be there for Justin.  There is general agreement that Brad died doing something he loved and did for decades; his family close by.  We all feel our mortality when a fellow rider dies, particularly when it happens to someone we know well.  It does not often keep us from getting back on our bikes; for me it reaffirms my commitment to enjoy my sport for as long as possible, as well as possible, and ensure that positive measures have been taken to ensure my and others readiness to ride are always complied with.  We have Divers, Pilots, and other highly technical people on this forum who ride and I know that they always use checklists before entering the water or taking to the skies.  Checklists are a great thing here as well, please use them even if they are mental.  For riders they are not all that long, mainly make sure you are mentally ready to ride.

Apologize for the longish posting, I guess I had to get some of this off my chest and into words.
There is a memorial planned for Brad in August, so for those that are interested in riding to pay your respects for Brad and his life, drop me PM and will get you the info when it is firmed up.
Be safe out there and have fun!
Gilbysan





 
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Offline ron203

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Re: Thinking about hanging it up...
« Reply #51 on: July 13, 2018, 05:21:42 pm »
I'm so sorry to hear about your friend and my heart goes out to you and his family.
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Offline NYbiomed

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Re: Thinking about hanging it up.
« Reply #52 on: July 13, 2018, 05:43:05 pm »
Same, sorry for the loss....death is really hard to wrap our heads around, I don’t think we’re “wired” to fully grasp it on an intimate level, I believe this is why religion tries so hard to explain it in a meaningful way...through nice, peaceful stories. Truthfully, when it happens to me, I prefer it to be binary- nearly full recovery is preferred of course or my omega, not somewhere in between.
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Offline freebird6

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Re: Thinking about hanging it up...
« Reply #53 on: July 13, 2018, 10:02:26 pm »
Sorry to hear about your experiences.

It is natural that you have those thoughts. When my kids were young I gave up flying and put off the bike time till they were old enough that I did not worry about them if I was in an accident.

Accident happened and I end up on a Lifeflight copter and  in a coma 9 days but survived thanks to ATGATT and many many Prayers. I did not think twice about getting back on and 13 surgeries and 3 years later I have put 35K miles on the new bike.

If you love your kid and the current state of the roads create fear then the responsible thing may be to get to college age before you take it up again. You can see guys like KZ and others gave it up and came back. Whatever you do, do what is right for you. Just like riding your own ride...you got to love your own life.

I am going to keep riding as long as I can....my wife OTOH is going to have me sell her bike and spend time baking while I ride. Accident spooked her.

Good luck.

Offline antibus

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Re: Thinking about hanging it up...
« Reply #54 on: July 13, 2018, 11:53:32 pm »
Saint_Arc,

You ask a good question almost all of us have. Other people's experiences, decisions and opinions are interesting, however in the end everyone has to make their own decision. Live well.
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Offline ZXtasy

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Re: Thinking about hanging it up...
« Reply #55 on: July 14, 2018, 01:17:21 am »
Sorry for your loss Gilby san. We all take a turn...
2013 ZG-1400, 2005 ZX-10R (Nekkid), 2012 TW-200, 1999 TW-200....and more to come.

Offline Bowyerv

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Re: Thinking about hanging it up...
« Reply #56 on: July 14, 2018, 01:42:55 am »
What a thoughtful and moving discussion. This is why forums should exist and I'm glad they do. I don't need to know the politics of anyone on this site, or what they do or did for money. I don't need to know where they live or what music they like. There is a shared humanity in this thread, that connects us all, despite our superficial differences....

Salish14, my thoughts (and feelings) exactly.  Very well said.

Mike, thanks for your post and thank you everyone for your REAL responses.  I feel privileged to share in this community :beerchug:.

I am 61 and have been riding for 40 years. There was a period about 20 years ago when I hung up my boots.  No reason except that it just didn't feel right to be on a bike. So I stopped. I felt too uncomfortable riding ...  Sounds dumb, I know, but its as if the Holy Spirit wasn't going to be pillion anymore.  And if He wasn't going to be there, neither was I.

I am glad that "season" only lasted 2-3 years.  ;)

I T-boned a bull (oh the pun!) on a dark country road two years ago. Wrote off my ZRX12. Lying still on my back in the gutter, waiting for someone to find me, I was struggling to breathe and not convinced I would be able to. My jaw felt like it had been hit with a sledge hammer (full face hat still on my head.) My back felt like a formless lump of pain. My mind was surprisingly clear.  I didn't know if I was going to die, live, or live disabled.   At no time did I feel I was in the wrong place.  I was convinced then, as I am now, that when the Lord wants me Home, I am going to go - whether its by bike, bus, mugging or sleep.




Offline Ronnie

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Re: Thinking about hanging it up...
« Reply #57 on: July 16, 2018, 12:02:44 pm »
I rode dirt bikes as a kid and teenager, then started riding sportbikes when I was 18 or 19.  How I didn't kill myself back then I'll never know(I'm pretty sure I have a really fast guardian angel).  When I was 24 my first daughter was born and I sold my bike.  About eight years ago once both of my daughters were in high school, I upped my life insurance and bought a 2007 Anniversary edition Honda Interceptor.  I had been fighting the bug for years and could wait no more.  I traded the VFR on the Connie about four years ago....I'm 47 now.  Last year on my way home from work, I watched a guy on a Harley get rear ended by a pickup and trailer.  This was in the lane right beside of me about 10 ft away.  I watched the whole thing happen as if it was in slow motion.  It was a distracted driver.  I got out and assisted until help arrived.  Once the ambulance left with him I started back home, but a few miles down the road I had to pull off and regain my composure.  It was very emotional for me and hit too close to home.  He and myself rode our bikes to work every day and always met each other in the morning and evening heading in opposite directions.  We always waved even though he was on a Harley and me on my Connie.  I kept check on him daily thru his girlfriend.  He almost died, stayed in ICU for weeks and went to rehab facility for weeks after that.  I didn't ride for a week after seeing his accident.  But like others have said here, you can die doing anything(or nothing).  I've seen plenty of car accidents and I never once thought about not driving a car again.  So after a week it was back in the saddle, although even more diligent than usual.  To quote Robert Duvall in my favorite movie, Second Hand Lion...... "What do you want us to die of, old age?"
P.S. For what it's worth, I've since seen the gentleman at the gas station and he's got another Harley and is back to riding again. :-)
Ronnie

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Offline ZXtasy

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Re: Thinking about hanging it up...
« Reply #58 on: July 16, 2018, 03:00:48 pm »
Some good thought provoking stories in this thread.
2013 ZG-1400, 2005 ZX-10R (Nekkid), 2012 TW-200, 1999 TW-200....and more to come.

Offline Daboo

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Re: Thinking about hanging it up...
« Reply #59 on: July 16, 2018, 03:41:30 pm »
...I was convinced then, as I am now, that when the Lord wants me Home, I am going to go - whether its by bike, bus, mugging or sleep.
I feel the same way.  I've ridden too many miles and had too few of incidents when others have had many.  I don't attribute that to skill...just that God still has a need for me.  When He's done with me here...I'm gone.  It takes a lot of worry off my mind.

I just came back from a trip to the Canadian Rockies.  I was talking to the owner of a "resort" one morning before we left, and he said I still have many more years of riding ahead of me.  I told him I'm not so sure; I'm not taking it for granted.  I said you could lose your sense of balance one day, and no longer be able to ride.  One day you're fine; -- the next day you're not.  Or you could get into an accident, and lose your confidence.  It wouldn't have to be a major accident, just one that mentally prevents you from riding again.

As I was riding along after that conversation, I thought about that more.  Logically, I "know" that I can ride a several hundred pound piece of machinery on two patches of rubber about the size of my hand prints around a corner while leaning over to the point where I must surely fall.  But we don't think that.  We simply head into the corner faster than the cautionary speed recommendation is...and relish every moment of the experience.  And then look forward to the next corner after that.

I think when we lose that mental confidence, we lose the joy of riding.  And then it is time to buy a Miata.

Chris
« Last Edit: July 16, 2018, 03:52:39 pm by Daboo »
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Offline gilbysan

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Re: Thinking about hanging it up...
« Reply #60 on: July 16, 2018, 03:56:12 pm »
All,
Thanks for the thoughts and experiences about our shared passion. It can be stated in no other way than passion because that is a required ingredient to go out each time and strap on the motor and ride.Those without passion just don't ride.  Like many of us I started riding a mini bike, you know, lawnmower engine, flat seat, one gear, all that.  Learned in the desert in El Paso around and on the Military Res.  Believe it or not me and my best buddy used to ride at a place we called "Tank Hill" which is where the 3d ACR practiced with their M60s and it was perfect for small dirt bikes to practice jumps, up and down hills, etc.  We used to goad the tankers to chase us around the area. It was great fun back then but now I can only imagine what would have happened if one of them had caught us and Frisbee'd us there in the desert...
When I moved to the PNW in '00, I brought up a Suzuki RF900 and was riding it having fun.  Crossing the I90 bridge which we call the floating bridge, I think because once when new it did not float so well...I went out on a nice Sunday morning and coming across from W to E opened it up on the bridge deck, no traffic early in the AM so it was clear. When I got up to I think about 150 my brain said to itself, "you are not riding any more responsibly in your 40s than you did in your teens and you now have a family, mortgage, career...so I told the wife I was going to hang it up for a while.  I told her that I would get back on someday, and I think I heard her mutter sotto voce, "over my dead body."  Fortunately it did not come to that.
Kids are grown and on their own so to speak, house paid for, retired.  After 18 years up here and then 62 in 2017 I realized that something was missing in my life. That is, the joy of the feel of the wind and road and the feel and sound of a well running bike motor, and of cutting a curve just so. So I remounted.  I don't regret it for a moment and ride everywhere I possibly can all the time.
The roads up here are rough in places, the drivers are like drivers everywhere; busy going where they need to go without regard to others, especially bikers. That is par for the course. The best we can do is prepare ourselves for the inevitable auto driver who does not realize or care that they are inside a 2 to 4 ton metal box that can do horrible harm to others if/when they are negligent. Conversely, we as riders must be sensitive to the fact that non-riders do not like riders that ride like their hair is on fire. Rightfully so, just like we don't auto drivers that act irresponsibly on the public roads. Now, for those that read the last couple sentences and say well I like to ride fast on certain curvy or nice roads and it is my prerogative to do so. I say, of course it is and I know that we all pick the best times and places to ride the way we really like.    As the late great George Carlin said, "Have you noticed that everyone that drives slower than you is an idiot, and everyone that drives faster than you is a maniac?"It is part of the human condition to always judge others who are different to also be defective somehow.
Finally, I am just happy to live in a country that supports our passion and does much to accommodate it in so many ways. 

Brad is gone, Long Live Brad and the many great riders who have gone before us!

Safe Riding!
Gilbysan
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Offline sfsokc

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Re: Thinking about hanging it up...
« Reply #61 on: July 19, 2018, 08:35:19 pm »
Wow, lot of great thoughts, experiences, and advice in this thread!  Probably one of the best and most philosophical threads I've ever seen on the forum....

It seems all these decisions either come down to 1) accepting the "random risk", or in other words, the freakish accident that MIGHT happen (like Steve Irwin and the sting ray), or 2) calculating your personal risk profile and doing everything you can to mitigate this risk.

As an engineer by training and techie type in general, I tend to adhere to #2 above.  Having read multiple books on motorcycling safety, I also wear all the gear, Hi-Vis jacket, and now a "Hit Air" inflatable airbag vest.  I figure anything I can do to lower the risk profile, the better.  I agree with others regarding distracted drivers, which was the only issue I've ever experienced (lady was rolling AND turning in a parking lot while looking DOWN at her cell phone and hit me head-on).  Luckily that was about 5mph....

In any case, does anyone know if there have been any new motorcycle safety analyses in the past few years??  The "Hurt Study" which was quite good, came out a LONG time ago!  I would like to know, if motorcycling is way more dangerous than many other activities, then exactly HOW MUCH more dangerous is it?  If I can see real world numbers put to something, then I can more accurately gauge my risk profile.  Which at least makes me FEEL better once I've made the decision to ride....  :-)

Offline Brian

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Re: Thinking about hanging it up...
« Reply #62 on: July 31, 2018, 06:43:22 pm »
Sorry for your loss.  I feel the same way as many here, life is short.  Get busy living or get busy dying, if I had kids though, the bike would be gone.  I never thought about life insurance until I started riding 10 years ago, just a thought, some sort of something for those I leave behind, cheap term with benefits if I lose an arm or leg too.  And no, I don't sell insurance, lol.  Risk management

Offline Daboo

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Re: Thinking about hanging it up...
« Reply #63 on: July 31, 2018, 08:28:18 pm »
...It seems all these decisions either come down to 1) accepting the "random risk", or in other words, the freakish accident that MIGHT happen (like Steve Irwin and the sting ray), or 2) calculating your personal risk profile and doing everything you can to mitigate this risk.

As an engineer by training and techie type in general, I tend to adhere to #2 above.  Having read multiple books on motorcycling safety, I also wear all the gear, Hi-Vis jacket, and now a "Hit Air" inflatable airbag vest.  I figure anything I can do to lower the risk profile, the better.  I agree with others regarding distracted drivers, which was the only issue I've ever experienced (lady was rolling AND turning in a parking lot while looking DOWN at her cell phone and hit me head-on).  Luckily that was about 5mph....

In any case, does anyone know if there have been any new motorcycle safety analyses in the past few years??  The "Hurt Study" which was quite good, came out a LONG time ago!  I would like to know, if motorcycling is way more dangerous than many other activities, then exactly HOW MUCH more dangerous is it?  If I can see real world numbers put to something, then I can more accurately gauge my risk profile.  Which at least makes me FEEL better once I've made the decision to ride....  :-)
I guess I'm like you.  Sometimes I think of myself as an engineer wanna-be.  I could easily have gone that way in life, I just ended up pursuing other careers instead.

I was thinking about life pre-retirement and post-retirement yesterday.  In my pre-retirement days, I was a project manager and scheduler at an airplane manufacturer in Seattle.  Maybe because of the scale of the projects we were in, but in a professional capacity, I didn't do risk mitigation much if at all.  As a retiree, I find myself doing risk mitigation all the time.  Riding a motorcycle is a prime way of exercising that risk mitigation.

Motorcycling is dangerous.  I used to climb mountains in my younger day.  That was pretty dangerous too at times.  If you go up a rock wall as the rope leader and fall, even if you have a belay rope on, you're going to fall a long ways...twice the distance of the rope that's let out.  But you trained for it, and did what you could to mitigate the risk.  And enjoyed it immensely.

Just like in mountain climbing, you have risk in things like the actual performance of the sport.  You have risks in what others do.  You also have risks involved in outside influences like the weather.  You plan ahead and do what you can to mitigate those risks to the point they are acceptable to you.  And then enjoy yourself.

I was thinking of this on my way to church this morning.  (We have a group of seniors called "Young at Heart".  Minimum age to join is 60.  :D )  I pulled out into a break in the traffic.  The bike was leaned over a lot as I made the right turn and accelerated to not interfere with the approaching car.  I didn't think about the small contact patch my tires made on the pavement.  Or if there was anything lessening the coefficient of friction on that surface.  Or how far to twist the throttle and the corresponding lean angle to stay in that near lane and not go wide.  I didn't think either of the protective gear I was wearing, including the Hit Air vest I also have in case I fell and needed it.  I just enjoyed it and thought to myself, "You have to enjoy cheap thrills when you get a chance."

You'll never quantify just how dangerous riding is, because each of us looks (or doesn't look) at the risk differently.  We train differently.  We plan differently.  And we ride differently.  A group study won't do any good, because it is a personal decision you make.  But if you're questioning it...you're looking at the risk.

Chris
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