Over the years I’ve found that some of the best rides weren’t necessarily the longest in distance or time traveled. In fact one of the best rides I ever took was also one of the shortest.
First of all you have to understand the background preceding this ride. On Sunday, September 10th 2000 I was riding with some friends and we were returning home from an event near St. Louis. It was a rainy morning as we rode east through Ohio on I-71. As we neared Columbus we took the I-271 bypass which would take us around Columbus and then connect us to I-70 which would take us to Pennsylvania. As usual I was lagging behind on my 1996 Ultra a little as I rode trail at the back of the pack. When we made the turn onto the ramp that led to I-70 I told myself to slow down because I would be able to catch up when we got on the interstate.
Unfortunately I didn’t listen to myself. As I was twisting the throttle to catch up to my friends I felt the rear tire lose grip on the wet pavement and the bike went sideways. I immediately left off the gas which let the bike swing back around. But then it went into a wobble and I found myself rolling and sliding on the pavement right in front traffic. Luckily I survived but had to make a trip to the ER at Mt. Carmel East Hospital in Columbus. A couple hours later I walked out after having been diagnosed and treated for multiple contusions and abrasions on my left arm, left leg, left torso and chest. I wasn’t a pretty site, nor was I able to ride my bike home so my friends went to the nearby airport and rented a vehicle to haul my sorry, and sore, butt home. A couple of the wives, Tara and Terri, would do the driving, which they didn‘t mind since that got them off their husbands bike and out of the rain.
Some phone calls had been made to inform my relatives that I’d been in an accident and that I was being transported home. Arrangements were made for some of my family members to meet us at the Pittsburgh airport so my friends could turn in the rental vehicle. The next 2 days were agony as I had to slather Neosporin over my extensive road rash and field calls from disbelieving friends. But by Wednesday I was able to make my way to my shed where my 1988 Classic was sitting in storage. After charging the battery, changing the oil and putting some fresh gas in the tank she fired right up. The next challenge would be to see if I could get my bruised and swollen leg over the seat and then back the bike out of the shed. I found I could but it was not a comfortable feeling. Lets just say that I took a couple extra aspirins when I got back in the house. Plus my sister was not happy but she also said she realized how bad I was hurt because it had taken me 3 days to get the other bike running.
Even though I’d gotten the bike running on Wednesday I waited till Thursday to take it for a ride. I rode over to New Castle Harley to meet the owner Bill Bomberger so I could ride with him down to the Quaker Steak and Lube bike night in Cranberry Township. I wanted to go there because I knew the friends who had been with me when I wrecked would be there. As we pulled into the parking lot I could hear screams and shouts from my friends in the crowd as we rode by. By the time I got my bike parked I could see Tara and Terri hurtling small bushes as they were sprinting towards me. They wanted to lavish hugs on me but even though I didn’t mind all the attention I had to remind them of my bruises and road rash. Arm in arm they slowly escorted me to the table where the rest of my friends awaited. It was a great reunion and I’ll never be able to forget their friendship and compassion. That ride 4 days after I wrecked was only about 100 miles total, but it was definitely 1 of the best.
Posted by Sam Kanish