IF YOU HAVE A DUMB HEAD, THE REST OF YOUR BODY SUFFERS
“If you have a dumb head, the rest of your body suffers.” That nugget of wisdom was laid on me by a wise man named Gilbert Holt, father of Hot Bike Editorin-chief Jeff G. Holt, as we deepfried some shrimp in his kitchen one night.
Senior Holt’s words ran though my mind loud and clear on a recent commute into the office aboard one of the Hot Bike test motorcycles. As I loped along at a leisurely pace on the freeway, a familiar rumble of a small-displacement V-twin ripped by me at triple-digit speeds in a rather wobbly state. I caught enough of a visual to notice the rider was on a new bike with a dealer plate, new boots, new helmet, new leather jacket, and, well, new everything. Their reckless riding was the “dumb” part.
A handful of miles down the freeway when traffic started to get heavy I pulled off to enjoy the splendor that is gasstation coffee and donuts. I geared up and entered the freeway a few minutes later wondering why I continue to submit my stomach to such brutal budget delicacies. That was my “dumb” part.
Traffic was stopped. Not the bumperto-bumper 10-mph stuff that is the regular during the morning crunch at this particular interchange, but it was not moving at all. It was a scene straight out of a zombie movie. I finessed my way through the planted autos to where the cause of this melee was. I scoped out highway patrol cars spread out, road flares galore, an ambulance, and an 18-wheeler in a nearly jackknifed position. There were some rather lengthy skid marks leading up to where it rested. I then noticed two cars in front of it that were smashed up tip to tail like the losers in a demolition derby at a state fair.
I then had a dreadful feeling in my gut, partly because of the Kwik Stop caffeine but mostly because I sensed the rider who had blazed by me earlier in a blur of new chrome, paint, and leather was somehow involved.
Painfully, I caught a glimpse of that brand-new machine off to the side of the whole accident scene.
It was laid down on the shoulder of the freeway with bent forks, various parts dangling by wires, and some deep gouges on that shiny chrome and paint. I could only hope the rider fared better. That was their “suffering” part.
I don’t exactly know what happened. If I had to bet I would say the rider’s overly excessive speed for the conditions was a contributing factor to the outcome regardless if they caused it or were a victim of it. Unfortunately I have had this same scenario play out in front of me a handful of other times the past two to three years on my daily commutes. In those other instances the riders and bikes looked like veterans of the road. It’s not just newer riders who can learn riding lessons the hard way.
After making sure the rider was being attended to by paramedics and checking in on their condition, which wasn’t life threatening, I made my way into the office.
I got within a few miles of Hot Bike headquarters and had to suddenly exit to use a restroom at a restaurant. That cheap-o coffee and donuts had done a number to my insides. That was my “suffering” part.
As with everything in life, the choices you make have an effect on the outcome of the situation at hand. I advise that if you are going to be dumb, keep it off of the motorcycle and go more along with my bad decisions. The suffering from overly bitter coffee and stale donuts goes away in only a few hours. Maybe that’s why I keep on doing it to myself. Mmm, donuts. HB