I have news which may be shocking for some readers.
As it says in the banner above, I have referred to myself by the pseudonym, “Booted Harleydude, a booted biker in the ‘burbs.”
Soon, though, this will change. More after the jump.
Yep, I have made a very difficult and somewhat heartbreaking, but acceptable decision to sell my Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Further, I will not replace it.
Readers gasp and may be saying, “You are going to sell your Harley? Why? You love riding it so! It’s your only escape!”
Yeah, all true… however, given all that has been going on with my husband, my priorities have been 1000% focused on taking care of him. Shopping, preparing home-made foods, cooking, doing his share of household chores, driving him to essential appointments, and just spending time with him listening… everything. These tasks lovingly given take most of my time.
With not riding nearly that much this year, my riding skills have gotten sloppy. I have made rookie mistakes that frighten me. Almost dropping the bike because I forgot to put down the side stand; turning too tight and almost losing control; and riding much too slowly because I am timid and overcautious… all of these things shouldn’t be happening to someone who once was an MSF Instructor and a senior emeritus Road Captain of my riding club!
On top of that… the issues with my husband add stress. I work carefully on stress-reduction techniques such as meditating almost every day for 30 minutes, taking daily walks, and talking with a therapist once a week. They all help; however, I have a chronic illness that affects me through flares caused by this added stress.
Trust me, you really don’t want to know what’s involved with these flares, but it isn’t pretty.
When my chronic illness is not acting up, it sits like a silent tormentor in my system and fatigues me. The fatigue just gets me, especially when I am riding my Harley.
How does this fatigue affect this decision? Let me explain. When you operate a heavyweight motorcycle, especially on busy suburban roads and highways, you always, always, have to ride with 1000% focus and attention. Always. “Keep your head on a swivel” is the demand. Since my serious skydiving injury to my neck vertebrae years ago, my head just doesn’t swivel more than about 30 degrees.
Keeping 1000% vigilant takes a lot of effort and energy, which requires stamina. My chronic illness fatigue destroys stamina. It’s that simple. And also it’s that sad. There is no magic pill I can pop to restore what this disease takes away. (Trust me; I’ve tried everything.)
Further, given that I am my husband’s sole caregiver and only friend in the world, I cannot risk injuring myself should some idiot on the road hit me or I crash or fall. I.just.can’t.accept.that.risk.any.more.
I have been thinking about giving up my Harley for some time now. I wanted to take a few “last rides” before I did that. Recently, I visited close friends in southern Pennsylvania and rode my Harley to get there on roads I love — through the scenic Catoctin mountains.
I took my time, stopping occasionally so cars behind me could whiz past and my slowness wouldn’t make them mad and do silly things like try to pass me on a double-yellow.
By the end of this month, I think I will be mentally ready to part with my Harley. A friend who is a local motorcop and owner of a motorcycle training outfit will sell my bike for me.
Now this does NOT mean that I will give up motorcycling all together. My brother-biker “S” who had the courage to ride with me on a Crazy-Awesome Adventure through the “Mighty Five National Parks” of Utah in 2017 said the other day — I can always rent a Harley when I want to. We had planned another motorcycle adventure this year, but it got sidelined by Covid travel restrictions.
I am hopeful that by summer 2021, things may have calmed for my husband such that “S” and I can resurrect our delayed adventure, pending we both can get a vaccine for Covid-19 and my husband will be okay on his own for a week.
Life is short: be at peace with your decisions.