My Motorcycle Obsession
Where did it start? Why did it start? What drives me? And the biggest one of all why I ride an Indian Motorcycle.
Everyone has a story. A reason, something that drives them, that single thing or even a collection of things that leads them to motorcycles. Some stories are simple, others more complex. This is my journey.
I have always liked bikes and loved the journey but it wasn't until fairly recently that I became completely obsessed. I have always been a bit of a speed freak, perhaps even an adrenalin junky. I've sky dived, dive with sharks, do deep wreck dives, ride my bike and more.
It started early on when I picked up my first rugby ball. I am fiercely competitive and if you have a bunch of guys trying to take something from you it drives you to even greater heights.
Now when I first started playing I was 8. Growing up in SA that was too young to play for the school team so I lied and just pretended to be older. I got away with it because I was always much bigger than the others in my age group. For me there was nothing better than a good rough and tumble. I also happened to be quite good and later played at a professional level.
No, this is not a how great am I, but rather a little insight into the passion that drives me. A look at the inner me. Something no one really ever sees. This competitive spirit has always given me 2 things: a determination to be relentless no matter what obstacles get thrown my way and a love for camaraderie, for team sports.
Why I ride an Indian MotorcycleSo when it came to riding I always preferred riding with someone. The only issue was, that I was either almost never riding or when I did it only ever ended up being a short hop. I always felt unfulfilled. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved my ZZR 1400. I still miss it. At the time, I often had itchy feet. I was always out buying the latest and greatest and one day I decided to see what sorta bike deals were around.
I ended up in Doble Motorcycles Croydon looking at some Honda's when I came across a Victory Vegas. Although I was looking for something different, I bought it the moment I saw it. I didn't even ask for a test ride. I had someone with me so I bought a helmet, sorted some insurance and left with it immediately. I absolutely loved the bike.
Then sadly one day I ended up in an accident which wrote my bike off. I was devastated. Now this was quite a story in itself! I lay on the side of the road for 4 hours waiting for an ambulance. When they finally arrived they took me to Southampton. Great right? No, Southampton had no trauma unit so they refused to take me. I found this out after sitting in hospital for a further 2 hours with no care! They then wanted to drive me 2,5 hours in the opposite direction to a different hospital. When I heard this I lost the plot. I told them to shove it. I wheeled my wheelchair out the hospital, as I couldn't walk, with the Doctors chasing after me. I managed to get a lift home because I wasn't going to spend my weekend lying in a hospital bed for a Doctor to only arrive on Monday. I managed to crawl my way into bed and then my wife took me to hospital on Monday.
Less than a week later, before I could even walk properly I was at Moorespeed looking at bikes. Now this was the same time when Polaris announced they were going to discontinue the Victory and put their weight into the Indian brand. I spotted the Indian Chieftain and went to sit on it. I smiled and knew I had have it. That was it. I was hooked.
Now at this point I was still not riding the way I do now. I was however battling with Cancer and was going through treatment etc. Coming out of treatment a lot changed. I had to get used to many new realities. No immunity, 12 months of 24 hours a day Morning sickness, constant tiredness and the big one for me! I gained about a 100 pounds as a result of a hyper sensitivity to the anti sickness steroids. Just my luck. Everyone else looses weight and I gained it.
This is certainly a process that nothing or no one can prepare you for as with many other debilitating illnesses. It definitely changed everything. You do a lot more soul searching and see so many things very differently.
So one day I woke up and wanted to ride. Guess what. There was no one around. So I packed a few bits, jumped on the bike and headed to Europe. And that's how I started doing my rides.
I wake up, decide I'm gonna ride, pack some kit, pick a direction and go. No planning, no worries. Just me, my freedom device and peace. Along the way I have met many great people and it is also how I started visiting all the Indian dealers.
It is my ambition to ride and visit every single Indian dealer in the world. Will I get there? I don't know, but I certainly will have a lot of fun trying. I rode about 30 000 miles last year. I made 7 trips to Scotland (one of my passions, what a beautiful country), rode to Portugal the long way doing 8000km in 9 days visiting all the dealers along the way, rode to France, Spain, Belgium, Holland & Germany countless times. I found myself doing weekend trips to Germany, Scotland and other longer trips. I just couldn't stop. I would ride for 12/15 hours a day traveling up to a 1000 miles a day.
I wasn't doing it because I was trying to set some kind of record or trying to prove something to myself or anyone else. I rode because when I rode I thought of nothing else. When I rode I wasn't ill, grossly over weight, riddled with all sorts of issues. I was just a guy on a bike thinking about nothing other than where to fill up or which turn to take next.
Today I try and spread the word about riding as much as I can for 2 simple reasons. Firstly because I am completely obsessed and it helps to keep me sane and secondly to show others who live with cancer, any other debilitating illness that they never planned for or expected that there can be something better in your life other than simply being ill. This is something that only people who are going through it will understand. Initially its ah shame. Hope you get well. But then people move on. Little do people know that is easier said than done. For many like myself its a way of life.
Being the sick guy. It's not like visiting family, holding the cute baby and then giving it back. It sits there day after day chipping away at you and even when you are supposed to be better it's still there kicking your butt. I've lost count of the amount of time I've woken up in a pool of my own blood.
My DOD (Date of Diagnoses): 12 March 2012 also my birthday. This was the biopsy they did to remove a lymph node which grew to the size of a cricket ball when I got sick. That in itself was painful. It is also the reason why I grew a beard, to hide the massive swelling under my chin and the massive scar the procedure left. It really affected me.
"Live your best life" - UVZ
Every single night from around 6 my temperature rises and I get the sweats which keeps me from sleeping and I don't tend to cool down till around 3/4 in the morning. I have no energy, very little immunity. If a germ even looks in my direction I'm in hospital a few days later.
"There is hope and life is worth living. Fight for it." - UVZ
As a closing note, for the 1 person who may actually read this blog, in this time of uncertainty with the Corona Virus, don't forget your fellow man. Help those who can't help themselves, respect others and be considerate.
Remember, a small fever to you, could be the end to someone else. Oh, and if you have a garage full of loo roll could I buy a few squares please!!!
So, to answer the question, why I ride an Indian? I ride an Indian not because its the most gorgeous bike, the fastest, most iconic or perhaps the only bike I fit on. I ride an Indian because of how I feel when I ride it. I don't stop smiling, and I feel like anything thing is possible. I feel free.
Thank you for checking in.
Stay safe, Ride Safe & live life!