Archive for January, 2019

tales of the bike…

Sunday, January 6th, 2019

I am the wife of a motorcycle rider. Before that, I was the girlfriend of a motorcycle rider. Think what you like but Robert always has been and always will be a motorcycle rider. As most of you know, he was in an accident on his bike last week. He was injured but will fully recover. My emotions have been some combination of roller coaster and maze since I got his call after his wreck on Tuesday. Let me elaborate…

When Robert and I were first dating, we would go for long rides on his motorcycle. Trust in Robert was never an issue for me. He was not trying to be anything other than who he is. He wasn’t trying to be cool or a rebel. He wasn’t a reckless driver – he was always very careful and attentive to everyone and everything around him. We would ride out to Shelby County and tour the back roads…County Roads 25, 41, 43, Sicard Hollow, Grants Mill, Highway 119. There was very little traffic all those years ago and we would ride for miles without seeing another person or vehicle. It was quiet save the purr of the engine. At that time, we had no communication system to talk to each other while wearing helmets. You learn a lot about a person in that quiet. I learned that Robert can spot a hawk from a mile away. I learned how to read the road ahead and respond to the twists, dips and turns in a way that made the ride smooth and easy. I learned to let go. There was no stress about work or school or family or anything for that matter. Just the cliche of the wind in your hair and sun beaming down. We were young and falling in love. It was wonderful.

It was quickly clear to me that riding a motorcycle isn’t just another activity on Robert’s agenda. It is a part of him. He recently wrote an article for the monthly employee newsletter where he works on this very subject. He explained that his love of riding is beyond explanation. It is in his blood. In his soul. A part of him. Even in the years that we didn’t own a bike, he was a rider. I have no desire to ride alone but riding with him became a part of me too.

Last summer, after a long motorcycle hiatus, Robert bought another bike. He fixed it like he wanted and started to ride almost daily. Pure joy. He and I started to ride together again…early Saturday trips to the farmer’s market, rides to lunch, any excuse to get on the bike for a little while. He discovered new roads closer to our part of town and was excited to take me on them. I was thrilled to go. He took the girls for little adventures. He went on longer trips by himself and we talked of doing those together as the girls get older. Being a more mature man this go around, Robert put more into safety. He invested in more gear than he had before and made his bike as safe as possible. He was meticulous. He wore all the gear all the time. We all did. No exception. It was this extra effort that saved his life last week.

His accident was a freak. No amount of preparation or maneuvering could have changed the outcome. He didn’t do anything wrong. He didn’t miss any sign that it was about to happen. No omen, premonition or warning. Just a freak accident. This is the hard truth about motorcycles. You are out there exposed and something small can become something big in the blink of an eye, no matter how careful or prepared you are.

While my heart overflows with happiness that my one true love is still here with me and that he will recover and be fine, there is a profound sadness that has crept in. I am sad for my husband that this part of him has been wrecked. I am sad for my marriage that we will not have those times on the bike together. I am sad for my daughters that they will not have that one-on-one time with their Dad on the bike. We will find other ways to have that connection, but it still makes me sad. I know that some of you are probably rolling your eyes with aplomb at all of this and that is ok. Not everyone will understand. I get it.

Robert has said “No more motorcycles” several times in the last few days. I believe him. This was too close. A few people have joked that surely I will never let him on a bike again after this. I am not that kind of wife. He is a grown man who is more than capable of making that decision for himself. I would be surprised if he ever straddles a bike again. But he will always be a rider. And I will always be his copilot.

I realize that I wrote this post for myself…thanks for reading. AK