CRASHING

The famous American motorcyclist, Cook Neilson, in a old copy of Cycle Magazine listed all the motorcycle crashes of his friends, family, acquaintances, and magazine staff. Then he had this to say:

"Everybody I know who has spent any time at all riding a motorcycle on the street has crashed. Getting off is the inevitable escapable consequence of getting on. It makes no more sense to expect a crash-free motorcycle riding career than it does to expect to play a set of tennis without hitting one into the net, or a game of pool without blowing your position, or ten rounds of boxing without catching one on the nose. You ride bikes; you crash.

Now tell me this, all you "It-can't-happen-to-me" ers: suppose you awake this Tuesday suffused with the absolute knowledge that at 10:00 a.m. you will have a crash on your motorcycle. The certainty of it is overwhelming; as you break into perfect consciousness you can practically feel the thumps, the scrapes, the scratches and the burns; the forlorn, smoking wreckage of your motorcycle is palpable in the mind's eye.

Got that? Now. How will you prepare for the morning's ride, knowing there will be a crash at 10:00 a.m., knowing you will be the feature attraction? If you really believe that swill about helmets obscuring one's vision, helmets leading to strangulation, helmets causing one's neck to snap and helmets impairing one's hearing, then I suppose you will venture out of your house, onto your motorcycle and toward your crash bare-headed.

But if not - if you can imagine your head flinging off some blue-haired lady's front fender, or thwacking crisply into the pavement, or glancing off a parking meter pole; if you can imagine what it will feel like to take a truly thundering shot to the temple; if you can imagine how the outside world will look through eyes that no longer communicate to a functioning cognitative apparatus - then I believe that faced with the inevitability of your 10:00 a.m. crash, you will put on your helmet and buckle up tightly.

Ah, you're thinking, but of course, faced with an inevitable crash, naturally I will wear a helmet. But who says a crash is inevitable?

You think it isn't? Why should you be different from Loughlin, my father, Halesorth, Schilling, Boiler, the Hansen brothers, Homchick, Kohr, Stein, Vamvas, Irban, Lague, Muhifeld, Stepp, Jennings, Sargent, Stermer, Phillipson, Crowder, Browne, Pererra, Dickenson. Friedman,
Riggs, Hodges, Thomas, Moses, or me?

Why should you be special?"

Think about it.

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