Ending the ride...gracefully.
There's a song out called "100 Years". It's by John Ondrasik who goes by the stage name of Five for Fighting. The song talks about the fleeting moments of time. When you've only got a hundred years to live, time seems to fly by. One of the lines talks about how halftime goes by. Judging by that, I'm solidly into the third quarter.
Sometimes I wonder about how long I'll be able to continue riding a motorcycle. 10 years? 20 years? I can't say. What I do know is that, compared to the number of riding years behind me, the years ahead of me are relatively short. I'm not morbid about it. I'm still pretty healthy and don't see the end of my riding coming anytime soon. The reminder to me is to savor every moment spent on the bike. The more time that passes, the more appreciative I am of still being able to ride. Like I say, I hope to have a lot of two wheeled miles still to enjoy.
Life doesn't always work out like we might hope, though. I've often turned to the Bible for wisdom in living my life and in dealing with others. There's a particularly applicable scripture in Ecclesiastes Chapter 9 and verse 11. Not to get all biblical on you, but these are certainly words that apply in life no matter what our theological views might be. They were written by King Solomon. Even today, Solomon is used as a metaphor for wisdom. This is from a modern English translation.
"I returned to see under the sun that the swift do not have the race, nor the mighty ones the battle, nor do the wise also have the food, nor do the understanding ones also have the riches, nor do even those having knowledge have the favor, because time and unforeseen occurrence befall them all."
Life's circumstances can change suddenly. Sometimes we're forced to make decisions before we were really expecting to. In addition, we need to decide what kind of attitude we're going to have about it all.
Such is the case with Bryce Lee.
If you've been hanging around this blog for a while you may be familiar with Bryce. He's commented fairly frequently here. Speaking of which, I haven't heard from Bryce in a bit. I hope it's just because he's too busy to stop by. You see, Bryce is dealing with just such a situation I'm talking about. Bryce has Cancer and Lupus. These are enough by themselves. The chemotherapy treatment and side effects of the diseases have taken their toll on him. Bryce has another thing to deal with when it comes to riding. If I remember correctly, Bryce is somewhere around 7 feet 10 inches tall. This takes away some other options that might be open to shorter people like me!
Over time Bryce and I have corresponded on the side. We've grown to become friends. As things have progressed Bryce has shared updates with me. I try to keep him encouraged. In other ways Bryce has imparted wisdom to me in return. Recently Bryce shared with me that he has come to the decision to quit riding. He also shared some of the reasons with me. I asked for permission to publish his statements on the blog. Bryce graciously granted it. I use the word gracious with a special meaning.
When the time comes that it becomes clear I can no longer ride, I hope to be able to show the same grace and dignity that Bryce has. Truth be told, though, that time for me will probably be marked by the abundant throwing of tantrums and much pouting!
Anyway, here's Bryce's letter to me.
The reasons behind the decision:My own personal reality is riding a 28+ year old machine with accompanying parts (and eventually insurance) problems; combined with my own physical and mental failings due to Lupus and Cancer and continuing chemotherapy. A fellow female motorcycle journalist (Ms.Irwin) recently said I looked well, and I replied, "all the better for the eventual laying out in a box." :)
This simply means not having the Honda Goldwing or any other form of motorcycle. And then too the actual riding, controlling of a motorcycle means different parts of the body need to function. They don't and in all likelihood never will again.
It comes down to a matter of comfort.Am I comfortable with being on a motorcycle be it two or three wheels? Of late became tense, worried somebody in a moving vehicle, talking on their cellphone and /or drinking a coffee or smoking a cigarette will bump into me. At my age, any motorcycle accident would be traumatic.
And most likely fatal.
Before the medical diagnosis was already reducing my motorcycle riding. I have an A.T.G.A.T.T. (and a reflective vest) attitude, and as very warm weather has never been my friend, found full leathers were too hot and uncomfortable. And non-leather materials simply aren't made for elephantine sizings.Have looked for textile alternatives, they exist however the cost is far beyond my meager abilities.And these days having reviewed alternative machines including sidecar rigs, realize motorcycles are constructed for physically smaller, far more agile bodies. I don't qualify!:)
Motorcycling is a very personal thing! A pleasurable activity of the past with numerous friends riding and destinations elsewhere. Many of those friends now no longer ride or are part of this world. As we age, our friends slip away, mentally and physically.
The Goldwing is for sale, listed on the local Buy and Sell list. It will be listed elsewhere, am willing to dicker and accept a lesser price. I want it removed from my possession quickly and yet, it will be difficult to remove the black beast from my mostly pleasant memories.
1-UP (Bryce Lee),
To Bryce: No matter what your body is capable of ( or not ) we know where your heart is. Even if you can no longer physically ride, you will always be a motorcyclist. Thank you for sharing these very personal words. Of whatever use it is to you, please accept our collective thoughts and prayers for your recovery.
MIles and smiles ( hard though they may be to find at times )