Assumed Dangers

July 21, 2015 | By Mike Seate

CRM pal, comedian and damned quick rider Alonzo Bodden has a bit he does about the strange phenomenon of non-motorcyclist’s bad habit of telling us creepy stories. “Why is it,” he asks, “that when people realize you ride a motorcycle, they feel the need to tell you the worst crash stories they can imagine?” His is a good question, one borne out recently during a ride along one of my favorite country roads. I headed up the traffic tangled Route 79 North from Sewickley about 40 miles to the Porterville-Prospect exit where the roads get interesting and the traffic thins out. It’s a eat place to get one’s two-wheeled groove on as PA. 528 runs alongside scenic Moraine State Park and its waterways, but just before running through the fast bits, I stopped at a local convenience store for a sports drink. About 12 ounces into my Powerade, a chap parks near to my bike and emerges from his car. He’s wearing enough camo to make him feel at home at a NATO live fire exercise and has what appears to be a handgun capable of slowing most armored fighting vehicles strapped to his belt. “That looks like one fast ‘sickle,” he says approaching my Norton. “The problem is,” he continues, “those things will kill you. Dead.” Now I’m in the mindset of having a nice, mind-clearing motorcycle experience, and, as non-riders never seem to realize, is not an activity that’s in any way enhanced by endless tales of death, dismemberment and other asphalt-inflicted mayhem. Nevertheless, my well-armed friend would not be deterred from the task at hand. “I saw a guy who was cut clean in half when he sped off his crotch rocker into the path of a big-ass semi truck,” he continued, before explaining in gruesome detail how many headless, limbless and, apparently luckless bikers he’s witnessed all coming to grief while attempting to enjoy the sport of motorcycle riding. After attempting, unsuccessfully, to deflect the course of this one-sided conversation several times, I offered back my own insight. “You know, lots of folks- about 35,000 every year- get offed by that high-velocity hole-puncher strapped to your belt, but I don’t really feel the need to remind you of how dangerous those things are,” I said. Being uninterested in the how’s and whys of an explanation, I promptly nicked the Norton to life, successfully drowning out the next round of two-wheeled horror stories. Ear plugs. In the future, I’ve got to start riding wearing ear plugs…