Monday, August 17, 2009


A half a baseball-sized lump suddenly popped out of my leg, but had now almost disappeared into the amoeba of yellow/green skin on my left shin.

I dropped my scooter the first week I had it. I was teaching myself how to ride in the Ikea parking lot, I took a turn too wide, hit the break and grabbed the throttle toward me in my panic - I crashed into a curb, the sea grass planted there softening my fall. At the time my knee was slightly skinned, I got off easy, I thought. My scooter wouldn’t start, I could smell the gas - I knew it was flooded. I finally gave us both a breather, went in to Ikea and had a lovely breakfast overlooking the parking lot. There stood the scooter alone, all triumphant at 9:30 in the morning. I knew everything would be alright. It was a right of passage to drop it. Well fed on powdered eggs and turkey sausage, I went out to see how she was feeling, she started right up and we continued to ride for another couple of hours. They say “when you fall get right back on the bike.” This time it wasn’t a metaphor.

When I woke up the next day, I had difficulty walking. I had a nice limp going. Day three post drop I was sitting at my computer and felt a strange tightness on my left shin. I peeled back my pant leg and saw the half a baseball.. My girlfriends had warned me, begged me not to do this. I was wondering what it would have looked like if I had dropped a 600 pound motorcycle – glad I started small.

I would do it all over again. Buying the two wheels, taking the fall, temporarily screwing up my leg. It’s been over a week, and I’m getting better everyday. The baseball is more of a hard-boiled egg. My circles in the parking lot at Ikea are perfect, my figure eights are spot on. My heart is no longer in my throat in heavy traffic. This is what happens when you get right back on that bike.

When I was a kid, I had a bad fall on my bicycle. I chipped my front tooth, the right side of my face was taken over by a giant scab. I was full of fear after that. A couple of decades later on Fire Island, I went over the handlebars missing a turn, I walked that bike back to the rental house on the beach, shaken. A year later, I bought a mountain bike, my first day out someone opened a car door in my path. I gave the bike away the very next day.

Now, you couldn’t get this scooter away from me, no matter how hard you tried. Throw it at me, the baseball, the drunk driver honking and tailing me one night on Henry St., almost forcing me off the road. The homeboy that pulled a startling swerve around me to run the red light. The car service driver full force on the horn, coaxing me to pull across into heavy oncoming traffic. The anorexic cyclist who decided to take his chances, speeding across my path as I rounded the corner in a pee in your pants near miss. None of this makes me want to turn my keys in. My past fears are no more. My fear now is of life passing without the thrill of riding on two wheels - the “wheeee!” sensation traded in for an AARP membership card. It’s not about risk taking behavior. I’m stopping at yellow lights, enrolling in Motorcycle Saftety school, purchased a full face helmet - in spite of the fact that feels like a plastic bag being slowly tightened around my head. I do want to live – emphasis on LIVE. I want to fly on my scooter, maybe one day ride a motorcycle, own a Harley, BMW, maybe even a Moto Guzzi. By then I should have an AARP card in my wallet - I'm hoping it will get me a sweet deal at the Ducati dealership.


  1. I love the conviction, I think you will be a biker for life. The best thing is that the cool feeling of being on a bike never goes away. Keep that smile of your face!

  2. Ah, tis a wonderful feeling to fly!
    Thanks, Rob.... :)

  3. Yikes...and yay! BTW, you are already eligible for the AARP discount ;)

  4. Nah, I pay full price for my dentures, and I take 'em out for HIS pleasure. ;)