I could start off by saying, it was a dark and stormy night, but in fact it wasn’t. It was an amazing but cool sunny day in October, October 14th, 2018 to be exact. I was out riding the hills around Wellsboro, Pennsylvania; it was a great day riding with great friends. So although this article isn’t about the how, when and where of the accident, I think it’s important to know that there was an accident involving me that day. Luckily it was cool, and therefore I was wearing my Olympia jacket and Olympia riding pants and although my Victory Cross Country tour bike didn’t survive the accident I did! Once the metal, glass, and bikes were taken away, my soul, heart and mind continued to relive that split second in time that could have resulted in a life changing injury or worse never seeing my kids again.
Many thoughts and dreams kept me awake and wondering what do I do next. My family including my Mother, sister, brother and kids kept repeating “so you’re not going to ride a motorcycle again are you”? REALLY the thought of that made me as sick to my stomach as the thought of getting back on the “horse” again.
Was I nervous? That’s an understatement, my heart and mind were racing faster than any bike mankind has ever made, or tried to make.
Luckily I had a couple of amazing friends supporting me in the first few critical hours after the accident. They got me on the back of one of their bikes, giving me a spare helmet as mine was toast after the accident. And although my gear didn’t survive as well as I did, I wore it for that first ride on a bike after the accident. Was I nervous? That’s an understatement, my heart and mind were racing faster than any bike mankind has ever made, or tried to make. There’s a book out there called the “The World’s Fastest Indian” it doesn’t have anything written in it about speed, compared to the speed of my heart and mind at the time. Not only was I getting back on a bike the day after the accident, but I was putting all my trust into someone else driving that bike. WOW, I survived that first ride. Now these guys suggested I go on a demo ride that was going to happening within the next few days. There goes that little voice again, the racing heart and mind, “can I do this, I can’t do this, what happens if I go down again, next time I may not be so lucky”.
On October 19, 2018 I got back on a motorcycle with me at the “wheel” so to speak. And guess what I survived. Please take note of the time of year, yup October, end of riding season in Ontario Canada. So I got in one ride before I would have normally parked my bike for the season. That presented more time to rethink the accident and riding again. I needed to start looking for that prefect bike to replace the bike that I feel saved my life; it took the major impact and helped me survive. Finding that bike, would make it a definite no going back decision to ride again.
On December 14th, 2018 I found that bike, a 2014 1300 Yamaha Deluxe, it was prefect. And when I found that prefect next bike for me, my heart mind and soul came together to realize I could never give up riding. My first trip on my new bike was to ride the mountains of Wellsboro Penn., and conquer that road. Riding has been a part of my life for almost 25 years. It’s my way of dealing with day to day life, when I ride I can’t think of anything but the ride. The incredible roads, sites, and smell’s (most of the time) the amazing friendships built from riding. And to steal a quote from the book “The World’s fastest Indian”, when you drive a car it’s like you’re watching a movie, when you ride a motorcycle you are part of the movie.
I’m happily riding my bike as often as possible, short rides, long rides but NEVER without full gear. To those that say its too hot, nope it’s very cool in more ways than one. To those that say it’s too expensive, no price can be put on saving your skin, and life.
Don’t let the fear of what could happen make nothing happen!!
Elisabeth (Elly) van der Made
- 58 years old
- Riding Street bikes for almost 23 years.
- And hope to be riding well into my 70’s!