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Hanging It Up

This has been a rough year for me; actually, going back through the end of last year. Going down in September was a real wake-up call to the risks inherent in riding, the sacrifices I was imposing on my family, the true cost of what I’ve spent so much of my time doing. I’ve spent a lot of years having fun on two wheels, but these last few months have made me see that at the end of day chasing adrenaline doesn’t really get you anything but tired.

I think I’ve said here before that my accident saved my marriage — it brought my wife and me closer together, it mellowed me out and made me a nicer guy, it made me appreciate my daughter more… In a strange way, it was the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time. But it’s also affected my riding — the crash is always in the back of my head, making me tentative, making me hesitant, making me … scared. I keep trying to push through it, but the way I’ve been riding lately that just makes me even more dangerous.

So I’ve been looking at those things, at how my family is better and how my riding is worse, and how much I’m risking one to chase the other and I’ve been weighing them. Riding is a solitary pursuit, family is, well, family. Which gives more of a payoff?

So after a lot of thought and consideration I’ve decided that family wins. And so I’ve decided…

Wow. It’s hard to write these words. I never thought I’d ever say something like this, not even when I was lying there in the ICU with a tube down my throat.

I’ve decided to stop riding.

I’ve already put the bike up for sale in my local Craigslist. I’ll probably take a loss on it since it’s got high miles and it looks it, and the economy’s in the tank, but I can use whatever cash I get for it. I’ve talked to my P about it and he asked me to turn in my colors when I sell the bike, and he’s right — you can’t be in a motorcycle club if you don’t ride. I’ll surprise the wife with it over dinner tonight (unless she reads this first, because, you know, she apparently does read here from time to time). I think she’ll be pretty excited about it.

As for this blog… I don’t know. It’s kind of like the club — there’s not much point in keeping a motorcycle blog without a motorcycle. And who knows, maybe I’ll start jonesing for two wheels and change my mind (but I doubt it). So for the time being I’ll keep it going here; maybe I’ll tell old stories and may that’ll help me deal with giving up the bike. Who knows.

I guess I’m an ex-biker now. In a way I guess that means I won since I’m walking away in (mostly) one piece, but it doesn’t feel like a win. It sucks, but it feels like the right decision. I guess that’s life — “smart” choices don’t ever seem like they’re fun.

Ride on, everyone. Get your knees in the breeze for me. On the bright side, at least there’s going to be one more cager out there who looks out for bikers.

3 Responses to “Hanging It Up”

  1. on 01 Apr 2010 at 3:15 pmMatt

    Wow, you got me… to stop lurking twice in one week.

    You had me fooled… by your subject line – I thought you were making another trip out to the Mojave Phone Booth with Steve. The first day of April… would be a good time for it.

    If I fell for it… on a motorcycle like you did I’d be having the same thoughts right about now.

    Good luck, Chuck. Motorcycle or not you’re going to need it. :)

  2. on 01 Apr 2010 at 7:09 pmCanajun

    It’s a tough decision that all of us are going to have to make at some point, whether due to injury, finances, or age – or any combination of the three. But my 2 cents – if it isn’t fun any more and you’re worried about your health and your family every time you go for a ride, then it’s time to find a new pastime. And you will.
    Good luck.

  3. on 02 Apr 2010 at 4:51 amJoker

    You had me going for a minute there you bastard!

    Then the significance of the date matched up with my shock and awe. You’re quitting riding like I’ll vote Democrat…both of which have about as much chance at happening as seeing God.

    Happy April Fool’s Day Chuck!

    Now get your ass out and ride…