Today I had the realization that I am mentally healed from my 2011 motorcycle accident. YAY me! There was a time where I wondered if I would ever ride again. The fear of a vehicle or animal pulling out in front of me was terrifying! I have such a passion for motorcycling that I wanted to face my fears, learn to get past them, and continue to do what I love. What else would I do? Really. There is nothing else that makes me feel so alive than to be on a motorcycle feeling so connected to the machine underneath me. Smelling and feeling the air around me, experiencing the beauty of this country, and facing the daily challenges (whatever that might be) leaves me feeling connected and alive.

Post accident I would always try to ride with someone else and have them lead. I would avoid riding at night (which is not a bad idea for anyone, anytime.) I bought new gear that was more visible other than BLACK! Please, if you are wearing black add some bright color via a vest and reflectors. BE SEEN! Even 3 years after my accident I would still get overwhelmed if in the lead.  I’d have moments of being very afraid of cars and not trusting that they weren’t going to pull out in front of me. There was a time early in Steph’s and my journey where I was leading and we were getting into some heavy traffic. We were a bit lost and my anxiety levels were rising. A part of me wanted to just suffer through it because Steph had been doing all of the leading and I wanted to share that load and show her that I could lead.  I had to put that ego aside and do the right thing and get myself off the road. I pulled into a parking lot, had a melt down, and told her that I just couldn’t do it and needed a moment to calm myself. My anxiety level was too high and I wasn’t feeling safe at all.  From then on Steph leads and I follow. I lead on difficult dirt sections as there’s no cars to worry about, which I REALLY like. After 21,000 miles we are back in the Seattle for a few days before continuing on the BDRs. I went out on my own to run errands, and off course there was a ton of traffic. Normally this would have caused a lot of anxiety but I noticed after two days of riding in traffic that I wasn’t experiencing any anxiety! Instead, I felt confident and in control. I shared this experience with Steph and another friend and was asked what I thought contributed to this new easeful feeling.  I had to think about the answer and I think it has to do with time, being a more skilled rider, stopping when I get overwhelmed, continuing to do what makes me feel safer (riding MY ride,) continuing to train, and getting more educated on motorcycle safety. I don’t think we can train and educate ourselves enough! My goal is to take some kind of training at least once a year, I would encourage every motorcyclist out there to do the same. Just because we have been riding for years doesn’t make us good riders. Training makes us good riders! I wanted to share this because I wanted to let those who are going through some kind of challenge, whatever that might be, that there is hope. Things do get better and we are stronger and more capable than we sometimes believe.   I encourage you to do what YOU love and if you have to take baby steps for a bit, then take those steps one at a time. Don’t succumb to the pressures of people around you. Ride YOUR ride.

3 comments

  1. excellent, Shal. Stephanie and you should write a book about your adventures. there’s MORE?? i’ve enjoyed the trip. (except for the part about Stephanie’s bike and her taking that tumble. oof!)

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