I think there has been some electronic tampering going on here. Did Diebold design this poll gadget?
First off, I don’t think more than 10 people read my blog. Seriously. If I had an audience of 50 or more people, surely I would have been discovered by some great publisher by now who would have scooped me up and paid me to write my memoir or novel, like has happened recently–or so I heard on NPR’s books podcast–to some young bloggers.
(Yeah, right. Who am I kidding? My blog is too varied in topic and my writing too wandering to ever be considered publishable or interesting by anyone other than my own friends.)
Secondly, I’d like to know who the one–for I’m sure it’s only one–motorcycle-advocate is who has certainly gone to this site via multiple computers to vote such a huge margin for a motorcycle?
So I don’t think this poll is valid.
Not that I don’t appreciate the help in deciding what toy I should buy for myself. Logically, I should buy a motorcycle because it’s more fuel efficient than a car and it offers a lot of the same freedoms and fun that cycling does without all the work. I did enjoy riding a motorcycle in the classes I took in June and I’m happy that I’ve fulfilled my lifelong dream of getting a license.
However, I got to thinking the other day… I’m a pretty fearful cyclist. I’m constantly worried about and anticipating every emergency or situation that could occur as I’m riding. I’m totally and fully aware of my surroundings. Which makes for a great motorcyclist. But a really obvious thought occurred to me as I was soaring down Hines Hill on my OCR during my commute to work on Tuesday:
The chances of me crashing on a motorcycle and a bicycle are about the same. The chances of me surviving said crash is higher on a bicycle.
Most crashes on a bicycle result in a shaken up rider at the least and a trip to the hospital with a concussion, maybe a few broken ribs or other bones, at the most. Okay, sometimes a motorist hits and kills a cyclist. Maybe about as often as a motorist hits and kills a motorcyclist. But dying from a crash on a bicycle is much less likely.
With this week marking the 10 year anniversary of my (doomed) marriage, I remembered something about Mike’s past. His ex-girlfriend from college–whom he was very sure at one point in his life he was going to marry, but obviously never did–lost her brother to a motorcycle crash. I remember him talking about how his girlfriend changed after that accident, how she went through a period of depression that ultimately did end up destroying their relationship. It’s not really the relationship part of this story that I remember most, but Mike’s sadness about the end of this man’s life and how it affected the other people in his life. I have a feeling–but I’m not 100% sure–that Mike would probably have not ridden a motorcycle. And he probably wouldn’t have wanted me to (though he knew he could never stop me from doing something once I had my mind set).
Not that that matters significantly. I mean, we’re also talking about a man who encouraged me to jump out of an airplane with him–multiple times, I might add–so there’s no accounting for sanity here. Maybe he would have ridden a motorcycle with me, maybe he wouldn’t have. It doesn’t matter now, he’s no longer here and this is my life. But that memory serves as a little caution light, winking in the back of my mind, as if it were Mike himself saying, “Be careful, Fritzy. Be aware of the risks.”
I guess just a part of me thinks that if I take to motorcycling, it’s only a matter of time before something happens to me since the statistics seem so high. It seems to me that death on a motorcycle has about the same odds as death from cigarette smoking. And I feel like I’m willfully taking that risk by deciding to ride. I have that same nagging voice in my head about it that I did whenever I lit a cigarette. As a smoker, I never really enjoyed any cigarette because I thought about how each puff might be moving me a step closer to cancer. I feel like I’d feel the same way on a motorcycle each time I’d turn the key in the ignition: Is this the last trip I take? Will I survive this ride?
I don’t have a death wish. And I’m no longer an adrenaline junkie. I’m just trying to live life to the fullest and to experience everything there is for me to experience. I could do it on a motorcycle, for it offers the freedoms that cycling gives me and at faster speeds. I could do it only bicycle which also offers the side benefit of exercise.
Suffice it to say, I’m still undecided about how to spend my money. If I buy one thing now, I may potentially buy the other later on–like next year or something. No doors are closed. I’m just not sure that at this moment it’s the motorcycle calling out to me.
I think of how during the class, I totally went off the track I was supposed to take because I looked up at the instructor instead of the road ahead. The motorcycle, of course, very quickly went in the direction I was looking and I had to brake hard to avoid running into the instructor. That’s when I realized how much of a powerful machine a motorcycle is. If I’m fully aware on my bicycle, I have to be 100x more aware on a motorcycle. Can I do that?
I’m a crappy driver. Just look at my car full of dings and scratches and my dented back bumper. I’m not sure I have the responsibility to ride a motorcycle. On a bicycle, my crappy driving style is more forgiving.
Well, either way, this matter can’t be decided by a simple poll, no matter what I said. I guess, though, it was interesting to learn that my audience thinks I need to get a life other than that of pedaling all around Ohio sans motor…
I’m sure I’ll keep you posted as to what I’ve decided to do. Maybe I’ll just continue being a tight-wad. I could lose my job tomorrow and then I’d kick myself for spending the money. You never know.