EXTRACTS FROM THE CHRONICLES OF A
BORN AGAIN BIKER
June 23rd 2006 - arrived at LRI A&E entrance via ambulance - service superb - diagnostic leads attached to all body parts - surprise/surprise everything working as it should - bloody painful when the leads were removed - not only follicular challenged in the bone dome area but now bare patches over other body areas (not been that bare since the vasectomy shave). Initially refuse to allow doctors to contact wife until diagnostics complete but eventually relented - dragon lady appeared at bedside in A&E with sister in tow (what a combination of stereo ear - ache) - first words wife uttered on seeing me wired up and neck brace still on "oh Bob I'll never complain about you drinking again" (oh yeah) sensibly kept my mouth shut for once, just grimaced bravely.
Feeling pretty sorry for myself with all the aches and pains - medics only gave me paracetomol to alleviate pain - bed in ward found pretty quick - lovely afro nurse cleansed road rash injuries to left knee - not very sympathetic or gentle in doing so but gave me stronger pain killers to compensate.
Visited at bedside by police officer who attended accident, to take my statement - confirms that all paperwork for bike and myself in order - informed that lorry driver from Czech Republic (wondered why didn't see driver in cab before collision) - driver arrested and detained to appear at Hinckley magistrates court next day on undue care & attention charge - officer also brought my helmet from the scene of the accident - luckily was wearing the full face helmet - road rash damage all over front - visor now has opaque finish and deep scratches - dread to think what facial injuries would have been suffered if wearing open face helmet - wife said probably would have been an improvement.
Discharged from hospital late pm that day - had to prove could walk unaided - staggered and limped around ward - no problem (obviously hadn't seen me staggering from LPMCC pub nights) daughter & son in law collect me - seem more concerned at how long would be out of action before could continue with DIY projects on their house. Cussed for 2 minutes solid having learnt a new vocabulary from wife during first Harley purchase.
End June 2006 - additional info from police - driver pleaded not guilty - trial due mid October if he returns to UK - fortunately have excellent witness statements saying driver 100% at fault - witness statement interesting - after impact both bike and rider went under the lorry wheels and came out again the same side (pinball wizard) - bike was crushed by lorry wheels saving me from serious injury or worse - in true Phoenix tradition asked paramedics if bike was ok whilst laying in the road receiving treatment.
Accident happened on first anniversary of fathers death - convinced the old boy pulled me out from beneath the vehicle - must have been the concussion causing hallucinations - could have sworn heard "your times not up yet son"!!!!!!
Mid July 2006 - Recovery slow going, all the bruising coming out - asked the wife if she fancied a multi-coloured love-in - can't repeat reply but "off" was the last expression - Viagra remains unopened in its packaging. Viewed bike in storage at Coalville - bike absolutely flattened by lorry - with all the Harley hype surprised it didn't survive being run over by an artic lorry - engineers report stated "bike uneconomical to repair" what an understatement. Insurance pays out within 14 days of accident - amazing service - cash the cheque PDQ just in case 'er indoors has ideas how to spend 'my money' - whoops too late 'ours'.
Limping and cursing around home - moaning about my beloved (bike of course) wife totally pissed off - says she wouldn't mind if I decided to have another bike if I was up for it, as the accident was not due to rider error this time!
Decide to spend time usefully - asked wife to pass down from the loft all the Motorcycle Sport magazines from early 60s through to 80s - she didn't realise had all these hidden away (that's one hiding place won't be able to use again) - explain that it's part of my misspent youth history - she remarked that having the 80s editions proved I'd never grown up - no one liner response sprang to mind to defend myself - can't defend the indefensible. Mixed in with the mags are Velocette & Norton ES2 service & repair manuals - well thumbed through - remember well the times in the 60s & 70s rebuilt Velocettes & the Norton - with the advice & spares from the local dealers Petty's in Leicester - many memories of the 1st class insults directed by Frank & Harold, two brothers who owned the emporium and the mechanic Walter who derided my efforts of rebuilding a bike, but still gave invaluable advice & help after plying him with alcoholic beverage at his local pub. What memories the magazines evoked - road tests of British/Italian/German/Japanese bikes - very few Harleys.
End July - Start looking on dealers websites & eBay for Harleys - spotted two 100 year anniversary Dyna Superglide Sports Touring models same livery as the wrecked Sportster - asking prices high - visit dealer in Chesterfield bike in good condition but not pristine - tried to negotiate reasonable price but would not discount - decide not to buy - bike on eBay was immaculate but at dealer prices - seller would not drop price - got quite upset when suggested eBay price is unreasonable for non guaranteed high value bike - told him to stuff it where the sun don't shine without the benefit of YK jelly!!!!!
August 2006 - return to work - lighter duties again - on return to work interview HR suggest this is becoming a habit with injuries etc over the past few years - queried whether self inflicted to obtain lighter duties - suggest they get pregnant - take customary 4 months paid leave for self inflicted injuries due to assault with friendly weapon - leave HR office job still intact (just).
Returned to dealer - bike still in showroom - start negotiating - dealer receptive to offers - make ridiculous offer - thought salesman having seizure - after wiping away streaming tears of hysterical laughter goes to managers office - both return with book cost information - funeral expressions by both cannot hide their interest in wanting to sell - could not agree on price - decide to leave - virtually at exit when called back - eventually agreed price - good result - reduced bike by £1200 - Harley dealer very unhelpful would not under invoice for spouse purposes - paid part cash/part cheque - bike to be collected in 10/14 days due to holiday commitment with wife's sisters & brothers in law. - inform wife of Harley purchase - knows me too well - queried how much more I paid compared to the other Harley - told her that it's the same colour & the same year as the previous Harley - how much more she insisted - when showed cheque book stub - the 'how much' decibel rate was within acceptable health & safety limits - all holiday impatient to return to UK - copious amounts of Magner's cider & San Migel helped - brothers in law assist in deflecting criticisms of drinking - saying hot weather causes drink to evaporate between the journey from the bar to table - they stir it by questioning the true cost of the Harley whilst in wife's company - stuck to the storyline - did not get me pissed enough to divulge incriminating information although pretty close on occasions - cost me a fortune in alcoholic bribes for a promise to cool it regarding the bike proving once again that Harleys are expensive bikes to own.
Return off holiday - Surprise/surprise - grovelling email from eBay seller giving second chance option to buy his Harley at bid price - inform him that too late & thank him politely for the second chance offer to buy at similar price to dealer.
Mid August 2006 - persuade daughter to drive me to Chesterfield and collect bike - interesting journey up the M1 - only opened both eyes when approaching Chesterfield to give directions to Harley dealer - daughter complained rosary bead rattling and holy litany chanting affected her driving concentration - promise to pay for repairs to passenger floor pan due to imaginary emergency braking - she is her mothers daughter - will have to enrol in same open university cussing degree course - arrive at dealers - sign all necessary documents - now proud and apprehensive owner of Dyna Superglide - daughter sees bike for first time - "Pops, you are not going to get away with saying it's the same type of bike as before - it's huge." she says - remind her that she shouldn't interrupt my ablutions and enter the bathroom when I'm taking a shower - although pleased with the compliment.
Prepare for homeward journey - salesman checks fuel tank level and confirms it's at half full or half empty depending on your life's philosophy - daughter decides to follow bike on return journey to Leicester mobile phone at the ready to call emergency services - apprehensively start journey home - first time ridden another bike since the accident - safely negotiate M1 J29 South island and proceed homeward bound mainly in central motorway lane overtaking articulated lorries in nearside lane - bike appears to have steering problem - it wanders between lanes - realise it's rider error and concentrate on keeping bike upright and in straight line - 30 miles into journey home bike loses all power as I overtake an artic lorry - frantically wave arms gesticulating to artic driver - artic slows down allowing me to get to motorway hard shoulder intact - what a relief - checked leathers trousers to see if adrenalin is brown in colour and odour free - daughter reverses car up to me relieved to see that I'm still alive - thought I'd gone under the wheels of the lorry - find cause of power failure - fuel starvation - switch to reserve and engine fires up - I will never trust the word of another salesman again - moral of the story is if you screw a person you will be screwed in return - return home without further incidents and park bike in garage - no comments from spouse !!!!!
Build up confidence with short journeys around Leicestershire - overly confident during one run - 'earholing' around sweeping bend - run out of road - had to take cross country route over recently cut barley fields - luckily there were no ditches - bike and rider amazingly unscathed - took quite some time to remove barley stalks from engine - good therapeutic activity - helped heart rate to return to normality - removing brown adrenalin stains painful - barley stalks quite sharp - no problem with haemorrhoids now - return bike to garage - self confidence at all time low - can't hack it - wonder if should have retired from biking as suggested by family.
September 2006 - Decide that actually the joys of owning a bike is Plus 30% - Plus 60% is riding - Minus 10% cleaning - decide to lay bike up for the winter to allow for recovery of injuries and confidence.
Well told; been doubled up reading it. I'll have to read it again.