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Als ride in my honor

Convio: Site Not Found

Here’s what I wrote for them… they will be putting it up on the site shortly .

“Volare senza ali” is Italian for “flight without wings”. Perhaps it aptly describes the unexplainable draw I feel to motorcycles and all they represent. It’s the unbridled freedom of movement, surfing the cusp of death where engineering and skill reign in the chaos around you. Propelled, you stay alive through training and faith in your own abilities. Being in control and connected to mortality.

In 1977, when my father took me for my first ride on his amazing RD350, and again each time since then when I swing my leg over a bike, motorcycles set me free. Without fail I become the image that rests in the back of my head, hiding. We all have it, the image of who we want to be, but aren’t because of circumstance. A motorcycle releases that me. No motorcycle has stirred my soul more than the Ducati Streetfighter and the raw, visceral, explosive growl it throws in its wake.

I’ve owned other brands of bikes but I’ve never felt so openly welcomed by a company as with Ducati, and in turn by the Indianapolis Ducati Club, Idesmo. From the magnificent showing and rider care experience Ducati presented at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the MotoGP races, to the Indianapolis Ducati dealership’s monthly cook outs, Ducati is a family in Indiana.

I’m 47. It’s July, 2016. I was diagnosed with ALS in January 2016, and I’ve gone from a strong, independent back woods hiker to wheelchair-bound, unable to hold a fork, with a failing ability to speak. But I can say I’ve never been happier in my life. It’s because I’m witness to my family and friends pulling together and being able to experience an unbridled, generous kind of love I’ve never known… For the first time, I love life and all of its flavors.

I was decimated when I was no longer able to ride. It is such an integral part of me. But my ties to the Idesmo club encouraged me to stay connected to something that gives me so much joy. When I was first asked about a benefit ride I suggested donations go to the local Indianapolis ALS Society loaner closet. This is equipment and gear loaned to victims of this disease. The disease can be blindingly fast, taking things more quickly than the mind, body, family, and caregivers can acclimate. The bills are staggering and the emotional strain is incomprehensible. Through the initial shock of it all, the Indianapolis ALS Clinic, one of the best ALS treatment facilities in the country, stood beside me to help. The loaner closet eased the mental and financial strain by providing things before I even knew I needed them; a walker when I was no longer able to walk unaided, and a patient lift when I was no longer able to stand up on my own. Most recently, now that I have limited strength in much of my body, they provided a $15,000 electric power chair to borrow until my insurance can provide one for me. While insurance bureaucrats debate my eligibility, the ALS loaner closet helped me immediately.

I’ll return the equipment as I progress past its usefulness. I’ll donate what I have when I’m no longer able to use it, so that someone else is able to maintain their freedom longer than if they didn’t have it. And that is where we started… motorcycles are freedom. This ride and money donated on its behalf won’t diffuse into a nameless corporate charity. They will enable me and others at the Indianapolis ALS clinic to retain our freedom.

If you know someone with this disease, I’d say to live the best life you can and show them that they are still the strong vibrant person to you that they have always been. It’s not the dying that hurts the soul… It’s feeling like a burden to the people who relied on you for so much for so long. It’s the feeling of helplessness. Keep that in mind maybe, and rejoice for every moment. Life is beautiful. Love is beautiful. Motorcycles are beautiful and I happened to love a crimson Italian beauty called Streetfighter that showed me, and still shows me, how to live.


A poem I wrote about riding:
hummmmThrottle tied whip crack. Tarmac rubber marring. Controlled scream. Running with the explosion. Out front wicked twist pulled in, honed, perception bound, look through. Where you want to be is where you end up. Lean. Switch grip and goYou never know what your capabilities are unless you surrender to them and let them take you where they may.
 

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