This weekend one of my friends had an accident. There were no other vehicles involved, it was good weather, a good road and on a long straight, but somehow he managed to leave the road and hit a sign. Our best guess is that tired, after too much work, he just fell asleep. Sometimes shit happens.
So now he is lying in hospital, a broken jaw, broken ribs and no feeling in his right leg but still alive and still thinking about getting his bike back on the road and riding again. It is when things go horribly wrong that you really find out what you are made of and how good your friends really are.
I remember many years ago another friend of mine had an accident, it should have been nothing to write about, just turning in a car park she dropped her bike. It has happened to us all, but unfortunately for her the bike landed on her, broke her back and severed her spinal cord.
Mandy is another one who would never give up riding but unfortunately two wheels were impossible so her boyfriend, myself and some other mechanically minded friends adapted a trike so that all the controls were manual. It wasn’t two wheels but it was in the correct spirit of things. Doing this entered us into a whole new motorcycling world, the world of the disabled rider.
It is amazing what human beings can adapt to when they put their minds to it, lose a hand, no problem, put all the controls on one side. Lose a leg, put that sides controls on the handlebars and work out some sort of outriggers that come down when you stop. There are hundreds of solutions and what is more there are hundreds of people out there who have solved the problems that are encountered.
Why re-invent the wheel? That is what six bikers from Manchester thought in 1991. They set up a UK wide support mechanism, set up by bikers for bikers. It is called NABD and it stands for National Association for Bikers with a Disability. It is a registered charity and uses money raised to help disabled bikers get back on the road. They supply grants to help with conversions, technical help and even loan bikes to get people moving again.
And so back to my friend again, lying in his hospital bed, of course I hope and pray that he will regain use of his leg, get his bike back on the road and ride in the way he used to. However, if he can’t and he still wants to be on two wheels I know that with the help of some great people I and my other friends will be able to help him on his way.
Societies such as NABD deserve our support, just finding out what exists in your country is a good start but the best is to go along to their rallies and parties and support them, because “There, but for the grace of god, go us all”