By nature I am not a particular emotional person. Most issues in my life I take with a grain of salt, and simply let slide. But a situation happened over 12 months ago which left an indelible mark on my life.
The company I own and run was in need of a trainee. Over the years I have been through many. To many perhaps. And for every good one I found I tended to go through about ten. So anyway, I placed an add on the net, and after shifting through over 200 applicants, I invited a few for a interview. I eventually settled on a young man who was well presented, and seemed to have plenty of mechanical nous. I duly employed him.
Alex started a few weeks later, and buy all accounts I was very happy with his progress, he was punctual, tidy, and had a conscience, a bonus in this day and age.
He was living with his partner , and even though he was only 21 they had there first baby (Connor) in the August of that year.
In an attempt to save money he traded his car and brought a motorbike. I spoke to him about this, and even though I ride myself, I tried to emphasize that Auckland's peak hour traffic was no place to learn to ride. He informed me that he knew how to ride and not to worry. ( I will come back to this comment later)
I was so impressed with Alex I had given him a key. He was often at work before me and would open up the factory and of course put the jug on.
During this period the company had suffered a big down turn in work, partly because of the recession and partly because of circumstances with in the industry. In an attempt to keep all my staff employed, the staff were taking a day off each week when the work was particular light. On the Friday I gave Alex the day off , but told him not to be late Monday as we did in fact have a bit coming in/
I arrived at work on Monday morning , unusually for Alex he was not there, the rest of the staff arrived and still no Alex, not even a phone call. This was very much out of character. My truck driver came in , and casually mentioned there had been a motorbike accident on the northern motorway. We all looked at each other, but continued on with out day. Trying not to think the worse. By 9.00 I was worried so phoned his home number, no answer. This I found unusual as having a new borne I expected that at least his partner would be home.
At 9.30 am, I got a phone call from the police to inform me that Alex had been killed on his motorbike that morning on his way to work. I will not go into details about the rest of the day, but suffice to say that only having a staff of six, we were all deeply shocked and it was a very emotional week.
Due to other factors in my life, and the shock of Alex's death I sold my bike a few weeks later, deciding that it was the best thing to do. Alex's death had hit a nerve with me, I I found myself carrying some guilt because of it. Selling the bike was an attempt to make myself feel better.
After some months, and time for reflection I realised a few things. His comment that he knew how to ride, was in fact very misleading, and gave me the impression that he was a good rider. In hindsight he knew how to ride a bike, but he did not have enough experience or rider training to KNOW how to ride his bike. There is a big difference.
I often found myself wishing I had done more to help him, but I realised I had in fact done a lot. I could not hold myself responsible for his actions. Attempting to beat myself up over something that in reality I had no control over was a pointless and waste of time.
Six months later I brought myself the Sprint and have continued to ride, well aware of the risks, now more than ever, but I still ride anyway. Which brings me to the title of my post. Motorbiking is not logical, it is emotional. Something happens to me when I am on the bike. The worlds worries fade away, the stress of day to day stuff disappears and I am free.
And yes every time I put my leg over her I think what could happen, and because of that I am aware of my own mortality. I am probably a better and safer rider because of it.
I will not forget Alex, and his death taught me many things, a great deal of them about myself. But in hindsight I should not of let his death stop me doing what I love.
To the non rider, riding a bike is not logical, to the motorcyclist it is emotional.
Roger, sounds like you've spent a long time thinking about this. Becoming aware of your own mortality has got to be a good thing, I know it's not always so in all cases.ReplyDelete
I agree - don't stop doing what you love, I guess make sure you have plans in place for your loved ones - should the unthinkable happen. Peace. J
Sad story, for Alex, you, and all who knew him. Everytime I read of a fellow biker's demise I resolve to ride safer so that their death will not be in vain. Thanks for sharing this story.ReplyDelete
Thanks for your comments, I appreciate then. At the end of the day we must do what we love. Life is short .ReplyDelete
This is a very important post.
My feelings go out to you and Alex's family but you've completely captured the fact that as individuals, we're all responsible for following our own destinies and whatever consequences may arise. You're right about doing what we love. What would be the point of life otherwise?
Very well written indeed.
THanks Geoff I appreciate you thoughts and comments.ReplyDelete
Great article, and well, late reply.ReplyDelete
I lost my long time riding partner (and partner!) to cancer a few years back, not my fault, and lots of poison under the bridge with her family.
My coping strategy, self-abusing as it now appears in retrospective, was to give everything up, sold all my bikes, gear, stopped reading, eating, listening to music in the hope that it would "help".
I was a long time IAM trainer, observer trainer, IAM club committee member for exactly the reasons you outlined in the article that led me here. Putting something back was always my attitude.
Thanks for the perspective, I am now riding again, and, well,we ride on, we have to have faith in what we believe to be true. Life is to be lived, we put in what we hope to get out.
Thanks mate, and Thanks for stopping by. I know exactly where you are coming from...it sounds though you have been able to slowly move on and rebuild. I hope you get back into IAM, and refocus.Delete
I am interested to know how you came across my blog. All best and trust you are loving being on two wheels.