Let's Never Forget That Motorcycles Are Ruthlessly, Unforgivably Cruel

For all the things I did wrong on May 20, 1985, I did one thing right.
An Arai Wes Cooley Replica saved my life.

Regular readers know that I love motorcycles. But motorcycles don’t love me back — they don’t love anybody; they are capricious, dangerous things that will snuff out your life in an instant or leave you in physical torment for the rest of your life with little cause — and often for absolutely no rational reason at all. For all the gushing motorcycle fanboi-ism I spew here on the ‘Verse and over at Tanshanomi.com, I am clearly aware that motorcycles kill and maim. As beautiful, elemental and enjoyable as motorcycles are, there is something inherently perverse, perhaps immoral about a machine that effectively utilizes the rider’s body as an exoskeleton. That’s a difficult dichotomy to wrap my head around some days. And May 20th is the hardest day of all.
This Friday I will, for the 25th time, observe Free Day. It’s my own private holiday — a dissonant anniversary that is a reason to celebrate life and be thankful for God’s good grace, as well as a reminder of a painful and scary time that still impacts me and my family. It marks the day my life could of — and perhaps should have — ended. Every day since then has been an undeserved bonus, a free gift from God I hadn’t earned.

The morning of Monday, May 20, 1985, dawned clear, cool and bright in the Twin Cities. I climbed aboard my newly hopped-up Honda FT500 Ascot and headed to my job at Burnsville Motorsports. As I sat waiting to make a left turn from County Road 18 onto Hwy 13, my boss shot through the intersection in front of me aboard his 500 Interceptor at hyper-legal speed. Wouldn’t it be cool if I could catch him before we got to work? The light changed and the chase was on.
A short time later, I was lying at the bottom of an embankment, a steady stream of blood from my nostrils soaking into the lining of my helmet. I wasn’t sure how I’d ended up there, and I’m still not completely sure to this day. I remember watching the 85 MPH speedo get pegged, then briefly looking down at the White Brothers sticker on the top of the fuel tank. I also remember grabbing the brakes in a moment of fear, but I can’t tell you a thing about what was immediately before or after that vivid flash of panic. That moment of my life exists as a self-contained little island in my memory, yet I clearly remember how real and horrifying it was.
I would spend the next hour or so drifting in and out of consciousness. I can only remember short snippets of that morning:
“My name is Amy and I’m an EMT…”
“Don’t cut my jacket.”
“We’re going to do whatever we need to do to take care of you.”
“Peter, can you tell me what day of the week it is?”
“What’s the date today?”
“Um…May 19th.”
“You’re one day off, but that’s good enough.”
“What happened?”
“I didn’t make the turn.”
“There was no turn there; you were on a straightaway.”

When I came around fully I was in a CT scanner at St. Francis hospital in Shakopee. I had one hell of a headache. My nose bled on and off the rest of the day, and my urine was bloody for another day after that. My lungs were badly bruised and my inhalation volume was maxing out at about a third of their normal capacity. More ominously, two vertebrae had multiple fractures in each. I could wiggle my toes, but the lower half of my body was numb and tingly until late that evening, when the swelling in my spinal cord subsided and I was moved from the ICU to a regular hospital room. I had truly dodged disaster by the slimmest of margins.
I was 21 years old, young enough for my body to recover quickly and completely. Even so, I would sleep for the next month leaning forward in a chair, resting my head on a pillow on the kitchen table. Lying down flat was painful, and twisting my torso to roll over or get out of bed caused spasms that put a dangerous strain on my fragile, healing vertebrae. For six weeks I did breathing exercises three times a day with a little machine that measured the efficiency of my lungs.
As much as that accident affected me, it also was hard on my family. I had been discharged from the Army only a few months previously and was living back at home with my parents. My mom said to me later, “It was more traumatic for us than it was for you. By the time you knew what was going on, you knew you’d be okay. When I got the call from your father, he could only tell me that you were expected to survive, not what condition you’d be in. Driving to the hospital, not knowing, was horrible.”
I don’t believe that it’s possible to prevent all accidents, but I made a lot of bad decisions that contributed to that critical moment:

  • I had no formal rider training;
  • I didn’t know the limits of my machine;
  • I had not practiced making deliberate, abrupt maneuvers;
  • I had not developed a mental plan for how to deal with emergency situations;
  • I wasn’t paying very close attention (at 90+ MPH, why the hell was I looking down to admire a stupid tank decal?);
  • I was riding way, way too fast;
  • I was not riding for myself, I was riding to impress somebody else.

There were a couple of things I did right. First, I wore the proper gear, including a quality full-face helmet that most certainly saved my life. Secondly, I kept living; I didn’t crawl under the bed and hide for the rest of my life. Thirteen months later I was roadracing a vintage Bultaco.
Today I still ride, but am am much more serious about safety. Instead of exploring the edge of the envelope out on the road, I save that for rider training sessions and then aim to stay close to the middle of it when I ride.
Observing Free Day reminds me that life is a fragile, priceless thing that should not be treated carelessly. Investing myself in the lives of my wonderful wife, my parents and family and the other people I love is worth more than any hobby, any sport, any inanimate object. I’ve taken a couple of breaks from riding over the years, to keep it all in perspective and make sure that the risks I’m taking are worth it. I’ve discouraged a lot of my friends from riding because their casual, sunny attitude about getting a bike told me that they had no idea what sort of dragon they’d be dancing with. It’s still a point of contention with my mom, who even now would rather not hear anything at all from me about motorcycles, which I respect.
I sincerely hope I am never permanently injured or killed on a motorcycle, but should my ticket for this free bonus round get punched my next time out, I hope it’ll be of some solace to know that I accurately perceived and willingly accepted the risks. Free Day is my reminder that no matter how my life goes from here on out, I’ll always be more blessed than I deserve by at least a 26-year margin.
And, since I didn’t get the chance to say it at the time — Thanks, Amy.
[Image Source: ebay.com]

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48 responses to “Let's Never Forget That Motorcycles Are Ruthlessly, Unforgivably Cruel”

  1. acarr260 Avatar

    Those who don't learn from their mistakes are damned to repeat them. I'm glad that you're wiser for the experience and I'll gladly toast your Free Day holiday this Friday evening.

  2. joshuman Avatar

    Happy Free Day to you.
    Of your list, I am glad you added the last bullet. That's the one that kills high-school kids thinking motorcycles are a cool way to get girls and really cheap insurance.
    Did she cut the jacket?

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Yep. Almost immediately.

  3. tonyola Avatar

    Glad to hear that you both survived and recovered. Motorcycles are great fun to be sure. I've done some dirt riding but street riding scares the willies out of me, because there's no such thing as a trivial accident on a bike. No matter how good, skilled, or experienced you are, you're always vulnerable to the stupidity and inattentiveness of others. I've known a few EMTs and emergency room doctors and they've all said the same thing – the most messed-up victims are often those who have been in motorcycle accidents. I've also known a few people who were killed or paralyzed in bike accidents that would have been mere fender-benders had they been in cars.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      I did just a little bit of dirt riding when I was a kid on a neighbor's bike. I missed the 2-3 year window I had to buy a motorcycle. When I lived with my parents, they would have nothing to do with them as long as I lived under their roof. (But didn't have a problem with me getting a old Corvette when I was 17.) Once I got married, my wife was against them too and it just wasn't worth the fight. I think bikes are really cool, but I'm pretty sure I would kill myself in short order. The one time I did try riding a street bike on a neighborhood street a few years ago I almost ran it into the curb. I wasn't used to every limb having to do something or two somethings at the same time. Seeing as I am built like a gorilla, fat, with short legs and long arms, by the time I got a bike big enough to ride it would have more power than I could handle. Plus, as you said, the risk vs. reward just isn't there for me.

    2. Cretony38 Avatar

      10 times the amount of people die in car accidents than motorcycle accidents every year for the last 80 years. The safer cars get the worse drivers get. It's called "risk Homeostasis" Still feel safer in a car? Then you haven't learned anything.

      1. Tim Odell Avatar
        Tim Odell

        Is that figure per capita?

      2. dculberson Avatar

        I am an avid motorcyclist, but you're just plain wrong in your assessment. He feels safer in a car because he IS safer in a car. From Wikipedia:
        Motorcycles have a higher rate of fatal accidents than automobiles or trucks and buses. United States Department of Transportation data for 2005 from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System show that for passenger cars, 18.62 fatal crashes occur per 100,000 registered vehicles. For motorcycles this figure is higher at 75.19 per 100,000 registered vehicles – four times higher than for cars.[55] The same data shows that 1.56 fatalities occur per 100 million vehicle miles travelled for passenger cars, whereas for motorcycles the figure is 43.47 – 28 times higher than for cars (37 times more deaths per mile travelled in 2007)

        1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
          Peter Tanshanomi

          The "2/6/20 rule" used to be a good rule of thumb: for every mile traveled on a motorcycle versus a car, riders were twice as likely to crash, six times more likely to be hospitalized with injuries, and twenty times more likely to die. In recent years that last figure has been hovering between 35-40x, which tells me that cars are indeed getting safer, and motorcycles aren't.

          1. tonyola Avatar

            I think a factor is that with the big improvements in emergency medical care as well as safer cars, more and more people are surviving auto-related injuries than ever before. What would once have been a fatal injury is now readily treatable and emergency crews are far better equipped to deal with problems on the scene. Motorcycle accident injuries tend to be more grievous with things like broken spines and necks, being crushed, severe head injuries, or slamming hard into objects – incidents that would be hard to survive no matter what.

      3. tonyola Avatar

        Cretony38's post is a perfect example of the misuse and misinterpretation of statistics.
        There have been no recorded fatal attacks by polar bears in North America during the last 20 years. Therefore one could conclude that polar bears are safe and harmless. I suggest that Cretony38 go pet a polar bear.

  4. IronBallsMcG Avatar

    Four years ago this Thursday I got rear-ended by an Explorer while at a stop on my CB750. While my injuries were nowhere near as bad as yours, the only thing that kept it from being much worse was wearing good gear. It was an unseasonably warm spring day in St. Louis, but I geared up over my work clothes for the ride home.
    I love riding and bought a replacement bike one month later, but the gear is an even bigger part of my life now than it was before.
    If you ride, please gear up.

  5. Feds_II Avatar

    Wow. Welcome Back, for the 26th consecutive year.
    My wake up was on my GL500. My ride home consists of consecutive S-bends over 4-5 concessions (my county was laid out be Scottish surveyors, seemingly). Took the first one at normal speed, the second one a little faster, until I got to the last one. One instant I was leaning into a turn, and the next, I was sitting on the pavement, watching the bike spin off into a ditch. I was lucky enough to walk away with a little road rash on my ass and a bent front fork. And much more lucky to not have to pay a higher tuition for that lesson.
    Also, I had forgotten about your 2nd link. Awesome that is. I guess I'll be buying a Valkyrie over a Rocket III when the time comes for a long distance bike.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      The Valkyrie is a better bike anyway.

  6. muthalovin Avatar

    Indeed, it is good to keep things in perspective. I have had the good joy of crashing my fathers NSR250 on the way to Alice's Cafe. My first crash. I had just passed my motorcycle training safety course, and had the endorsement, but not a whole lot of actual time on the road. Took a corner too deep, and ended up in front of a Mustang that dodged me, and slid into the dirt. The bike and I were fine. The rest of the day, I rode a lot better, mostly because my dad, and all of his friends slowed down for me and gave me gobs and gobs of great advice that I did not learn in the class.
    Sure, motorbikes can be ruthless and cruel, but they are still worth it.

  7. lilwillie Avatar

    I'll toast to you on the 20th, that is for sure.
    I lost two close friends who made all the same mistakes you did except one added mistake. No helmet. Trucks don't move, if they are F-150 that are hit head on at 75mph or so or 1500 Silverado's that are hit broadside at 125mph.
    Those two instances happened right around the end of High School for me so it scared me off bikes completely. That and my small frame could never find one that made me feel safe. I've rode a few bikes at slow speeds but just know I am not a cycle guy. Even though I think they are cool as hell.
    I'm very impressed you learned from your mistake and live to pass along the wisdom to others. I hate hearing about bike wrecks because I know the odds of them walking away are small. Also nice to know you still enjoy Bikes. So many people, like me, swear them off when it isn't the Bikes fault at all.

  8. Robert Emslie Avatar
    Robert Emslie

    Years ago, back when she was an undergrad at UCLA, my wife witnessed a bad bike crash. It was on National Blvd, where traffic was stopped for a double trailer gravel truck, which was attempting to turn onto the road. From the opposite direction she caught a glimpse of a motorcycle, traveling at high speed and carrying two riders.
    The bike rounded the blind corner on the other side of the gravel truck from her, and she says she then heard the low dull thud of an impact – no screeching tires, no drop in engine note – just the sound of of the bike's immediate halt. She never saw the impact, but sailing over the top of the fifth wheel carriage straight towards her was the brain pan of one of the riders, hitting the pavement and spinning off like an errant frisbee.
    After that, she made me stick to four wheels.

    1. Thrashy Avatar

      As gruesome a wreck as that was, I have a feeling it would have gone badly for the riders even if they were in a car. High speed foolishness will catch up to anyone sooner or later, no matter what they're driving or riding. Lucky for all of us that for Tanshanomi, it happened on an empty stretch of straight road. Not everbody gets the chance to learn from that kind of mistake.

  9. bad scar Avatar
    bad scar

    Aug 12 1984 i was hit by a drunk driver from behind going over a hundred mph to my 60 mph, my bell star gave its life to save my life . I suffered a broken neck, back in three places,six ribs,hands and fingers ,punctured lung,dislocated both shoulders ,both knee's,closed head injury,lost alot of skin . It took 8yrs to recover my functions , i still do phys.ther. 3 times a week to this day. I feel my injury's every second of every day. I raise my glass to you because i can relate to what it means to survive a hard landing… They cut my coat , bibs ,boots ,pants off… But i still look at my beat up helmet like a trophy of survival. cheers to ya!

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Let me ask you this: with all the pain you've been through, was riding worth it? Any regrets?

    2. W. Kiernan Avatar
      W. Kiernan

      A Bell helmet saved my life too. Big old thing, made me look like Bright White Brainiac.

      1. bad scar Avatar
        bad scar

        it seemed like it weighed a ton

  10. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    A former neighbour of ours used to be involved in motor accident investigation, and I recall him speaking of the stress he suffered on finding a brand new BMW K1100LT in post-smash condition. The rider was wearing a helmet, and so his skull and survived beautifully. Albeit no longer attached to his body.
    And it's here that I admit my pussi-ness; bikes still give me The Fear. I'd love a big bike of my own, I love the freedom it suggests, Id love to live by Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. But I can get myself into enough trouble on four wheels, let alone two. I'm not sure I trust myself enough.
    I'm a laid back driver, for the most part, I usually drive with about the 70%tile of the traffic. Sometimes, where appropriate, I'll get a wiggle on. Only extremely rarely will I take a stupid risk, and when I do, I almost always only just get away with it. On a bike, with instantaneous response, I'm only a wrists twist away from suicide.
    I've got a touch more growing up to do before I feel ready.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      I hear you on the fear attached to bikes… I love driving cars, and when younger I drove them like an idiot. I don't want to know what I would've done with the keys to a bike.
      However, today I would love to have a nice Triumph Bonneville to go for speed-limit relegated cruises. Just to see what it's all about

  11. B72 Avatar

    I left home on a 95 degree day, grabbed my leather out of habit, swung my leg over the bike and said "damn it's hot' maybe I should put the jacket back". Thank god I was too lazy to bother and decided to cool off by riding instead. An hour later I hit some rough pavement and had a tank slapper. Wore through the jacket, and took 1 layer of skin off my elbow. I credit my left arm's happy existence to that jacket.
    Gentlemen, if you ride, please gear up.

  12. $kaycog Avatar

    What a chilling story, Tanshanomi! I have tears running down my cheeks. By the Grace of God, you're still alive.
    Happy Free Day, indeed!

  13. ptschett Avatar

    I wish I could remember my worst bike crash. My memory is missing the 5 hours between opening my garage door one day in early October 2006 thinking "this is a great day for a ride", and coming to on a backboard in a CT scanner.
    The best I can figure, I was out riding one of my usual gravel-roads routes on my KLR650, and might have high-sided on a left-hand turn. I'd had the bike for a year and thought I knew everything, not realizing how much left there was to learn; also I might have been playing with steering using the throttle. I went down hard on the right side and hit my helmet on the ground too.
    Evidently the bike and I ended up in the ditch, there were bits of grass in my helmet's upper vents and also crammed into some exposed screw heads, and I managed to shatter the speedometer face and scrape up my legs through my jeans. Somehow I regained enough presence of mind to straighten out the right-side hand controls into a usable state, then rode to a farmhouse (near to, or far from the crash site? no one knows) where the residents called 911 for me after seeing my state of being disoriented (apparently I kept saying "I must have crashed my bike!")
    Of the ambulance ride or the hospital I don't remember much before the CT scanner, but I do remember later being quizzed on what day it was (I was wrong, but I almost never know what day it is) and who was President. I don't remember ever giving the hospital staff my parents' phone number, but they got ahold of my Dad and we talked around 3 AM.
    Dad didn't get much sleep; the next morning he drove the 120 miles to the hospital, which was the nearest hospital to where I'd crashed but still was 25 miles away. We checked with the sheriff's office and the only body shop in the area, and neither knew where the bike was; it turned out it was still at the farm I'd rode to, so we had to drive around following my ride routes to find it since it still had my house keys in the ignition and of course I didn't remember where it would be.
    Since then, I won't ride my bike further than across a parking lot without a full-face helmet and motorcycle-specific jacket; I hardly even ride without protective gear over the top of my jeans. A later incident encouraged me to get motorcycle-specific boots which I now wear whenever I'm leaving city limits (which is 99% of my riding anyways.)

  14. dragon951 Avatar

    Happy Free Day. I'm glad you are still with us.

  15. B72 Avatar

    I forgot to say it earlier – happy free day!
    As the saying goes, "There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots". Here's to the wisdom (and luck) that got us through!

  16. dolo54 Avatar

    Funny you mention 'riding for yourself'. I have a mantra when I'm about to do a big jump or something equally crazy when I'm snowboarding. On the approach I say to myself 'do it for the love' meaning for the love of boarding, not to show off or impress anyone. Mainly because the times I've messed up badly was usually because I was doing something for ego instead of for fun. Its sounds kind of corny, but it seems to work for me.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      I got back on a board this year, for the first time in three years… man I missed riding.
      it had nothing to do with an accident or anything, just too busy/lack of funds/distance from mountain/the usual excuses.

  17. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

    Happy Free Day to you Sir, you're damn right about the gear, a quality jacket, gloves and helmet is obligatory for me, even in the hot Brazilian sun. Lucky enough in my almost 40 years of riding experience i've never had any real serious accident.

  18. craymor Avatar

    I haven't yet wrecked on a bike, though having my FJ1100 spill it's guts out at ~100mph made me come rather close (one of the rods decided it would like to be in three pieces instead of just two and dumped the entire crankcase out just before the rear wheel), but I have this to say to you Happy Free Day, and keep on wearing your gear!

  19. A the T Avatar
    A the T

    Apologies for pedantry, but it's Wes Cooley, Suzuki roadracer in the late 70s to mid 80s.
    In 1995, I had a big one of my own: 6 days of coma, 6 weeks in the hospital. I was conscious but not cognizant, and my family feared having to take care of me forever as a fully-grown 3 year old. One day I just woke up as me again, and for that I am grateful.
    Still riding 16 years later. Geared up and ready.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Thanks for catching my typo. Wes deserves to have is name spelled correctly. I corrected it.

  20. FЯeeMan Avatar

    I managed to crack 2 vertebrae in a bicycle accident (hey, 30mph is 30mph). I'm not really sure if my helmet prevented more severe injuries or not, but neither me nor my kids mount the bike without one. I was about 10 when I remember seeing the poster in the bike shop for Bell helmets, "If you've got a $10 head, wear a $10 helmet".
    I've had enough other injuries with me as the motor that I really have no desire to ascend to dino-juice powered injuries.
    Glad you're still with us.

  21. CptSevere Avatar

    I'll confess, I haven't had a bike since I moved away from SLC back in 2002, but back then, when I rode nearly every day, for quite a few years, I had a couple of close calls. I laid down my Norton with a buddy on back, and neither of us was hurt badly. Another time, I collided in traffic on my CB350 with a Toyota truck (he changed lanes right into me, and I should have braked immediately, but I was not paying enough attention) and I needed stitches on my forehead. I got off, man, I got off lucky. Ever since then, I wore a full face helmet and leather jacket, unless I was going a block away for a pack of smokes. Yeah, even doing that is risky. Hell, getting on a bike is risky. Everything you do that is worth doing is risky, if it's fun or creative, or adventurous. You have to go into it level headed, and not get too brave. I'm lucky, my motorcycling misadventures were lessons, not disasters. I'm feeling the need for another bike these days, and when I get one, it'll be a classic Jap bike or Brit bike, not something that will send me into orbit, but all the same, when you're on a bike, you've got to stay paranoid and have 360 degrees of vision. Here's to Tanshanomi, and his Free Day, and to all our own personal Free Days.

  22. Mechanically Inept Avatar
    Mechanically Inept

    My lesson in vehicular stupidity was lucky and really inexpensive. I was doing 35-40 MPH in the snow in my neighborhood when I attempted a Scandinavian Flick around a sweeping left turn in my (mom's) Dodge Caravan. The inevitable understeer sent me off the road and towards a front yard, a stab of the brakes netted me a 4-wheel lockup and a nice set of skid marks to show my path. I went into a snowbank, and high-centered on a large rock. The only casualty was a smashed oil pan.
    More recently, a friend of mine wrapped an Impreza around a tree at high speed on a dirt road, and somewhat miraculously escaped unharmed. Even looking at pictures of the accident was sobering, let alone seeing the car in person.
    While I hope that these experiences would dissuade my friend and I from making the same mistakes again, the consequences are easily forgotten when you're opening it up on a twisty road…

  23. dead_elvis Avatar

    First & foremost, congratulations on being able to celebrate Free Day, but also for getting back on the motorcycle. I'd be happy to ride a few roads with you if we ever get the chance. 20+ years of riding here, and so far I haven't had to crash test my helmet & other riding gear. I'm looking forward to as many miles as possible of continuing that inexperience.
    That said – did you think you really had a chance of catching a half-liter Interceptor going fult-tilt on an Ascot?

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      1) It was an Ascot with a White Bros cam, carb and pipe.
      2) We weren't racing. My boss on the VF500 was just zooming along to work. He had no idea I was trying to catch him. With the mods, my top speed was probably around 105 MPH, and he was going less than triple-digit speeds.

  24. coupeZ600 Avatar

    Happy Free Day!
    My Free Day occurred in a Big Truck, and while I didn't actually crash or get hurt, I really thought I was going to die and/or kill someone. After I cleaned out my shorts at the Truck-Stop just up the road, I related my tale to the other drivers there.
    "Jesus Christ, didn't you see all the Crosses at that curve?!?! That alone should have told you to slow the f*ck down!!!!"
    I was just a kid and they weren't at all sympathetic, but ever since then I scan the shoulders to learn from others mistakes.
    (Great story, by the way, and brilliantly told. Thanks, Tanshanomi!)

  25. Cretony38 Avatar

    I was 23 on that day & my free day came later that summer when a driver in a eating french fries pulled out in front leaving me to broadside his mustang, he paid dearly for the repair of my new Vespa P200E but no injuries.
    You listed 7 faults that you are now aware of yet still blame the motorcycling?
    BTW This Spring I started racing an '83 Ascot in Vintage road racing at Willow Springs raceway.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      I was not "blaming" motorcycles; I was discussing their elevated risk, which is inherent in their design regardless of your skill level. Yes, those 7 faults contributed to the accident, but you can get into trouble on a bike even though you do nothing wrong…as your case illustrated.

  26. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

    Glad you're still here. I have a healthy respect for motorcycles and my own clumsyness. I will stay in four wheels and admire those of two from afar.

  27. dan t Avatar
    dan t

    It should be noted that Arai is one of the best helmets out there. In the late 80s I crashed a VFR750 racing at Blackhawk Farms, and managed to skid on my head (Freddie Spencer replica though) far enough to burn through multiple layers of material from the helmet's outer shell. Pretty colors for different layers, light green, pink, gray etc…visor curled and burned from the heat. Raced my Hawk later the same day. Once you race the STREET becomes scary!

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      "Once you race the STREET becomes scary!"

  28. Franzouse Avatar

    Be kind to motorcycle riders, they only have two wheels.