Saturday, May 12, 2007


So. On my way home from the base early this afternoon I passed a young guy on a sport bike going in the opposite direction. As is customary, we waved at each other as he flew by…he was probably doing 80+ mph. I was doing about 75. What immediately caught my eye was the way he was dressed, or to be more specific, the way he was under-dressed. He was in shorts and a tank top. With no helmet. I didn’t get a look at his feet, but if the rest of his clothing was typical I’d guess he was wearing sneakers. We used to call guys like that "squids."

I don’t know who that guy was…but if I did I’d e-mail him this. Here’s a little excerpt:

My name is Chris Young and I live in Auburn, Alabama.


I was getting gas in my Montero-Sport. And after filling up, I had realized that I left my money at home. So I exchanged my cell phone to the cashier for minutes for me to leave and go home to get some money for the store. While at home, I thought about how nice the evening was and figured I would ride the bike to pay the gas station. (In shorts and t-shirt!!!) I made it to pay the lady but never made it home. Well, not until 26 days later. The cause of the wreck is still a blur to me, but not the crash and the aftermath.


I think I was traveling around 100 mph on the interstate, because I told the police I was doing 70 - 90 mph to make it sound better, but you know how us "BAD SPORT BIKER'S" are, and had only passed two vehicles, one car and one trucker. The trucker did notice my high rate of speed, according to the police report and he was also the one who saved me.


This experience has changed my life. While I was in the ER, My blood pressure got down to 60/30, average is 120/80, and I was put on lots of pain meds that night and they continued for almost 3 weeks. I shook like crazy all the time for three weeks, some from pain of my skin and some because coming off the pain meds towards the end. I had 600 cubic centimeters of skin grafts, taken from my left thigh and a broken collarbone. 25 days in the hospital and 7 surgeries. Most of the surgeries were to change the dressings on my arms and legs. Due to the pain of the cleaning of my skin, I had to be put to sleep. One surgery was to cut away the dead skin, and one more was to graft and the last one was too take all the staples out of the grafted skin. My collarbone was never really looked at, it is healing ok, I guess. They wanted to fix my skin before they could do anything to my collarbone.

More at the link, including some pretty gruesome pictures of the physical damage Mr. Young endured. If you think leather is too hot, try wearing anything, and I mean even the lightest tee shirt, over severe road rash or your brand-new skin grafts (see those photos if you want proof). If you think leathers are too expensive…compare a $450.00 set of leathers to a $46,000.00 hospital bill. Not to mention the pain and suffering you and your loved ones would go through. Or, as Mr. Young says:

Hospital bill has been totaled to $45,892.66, (Maybe More) I did have insurance, but wearing leathers would have been a lot better and cheaper.”

What he said.

About the pic…that’s the world-famous Rollie Free setting the land speed record for motorcycles on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1948. He was on a Vincent Black Lightning and hit 150 mph. Dressed like that. NOT recommended. Here’s the story.


  1. Here here. I rode twice today, and during both rides I saw several riders wearing less than what I thought was prudent.
    I'm constantly amazed at how little people will wear and even more amazed at how fast or wrecklessly they'll ride wearing so little.
    But as one astute person put it, "thank God for stupid people because life is graded on a curve."
    What he said.

  2. Hmmm. Dilemma. Should I be my normal pedantic self and point out that it's hear, hear! and NOT "here, here?" Or should I let it go? Moot point. Cat's out of the bag. But, it's a father's DUTY to gently correct his offspring. I'll let "wreckless" go, however.

    Thanks for weighing in, Sam, and please excuse my sarcastic attempt at humor. I mean well.

    Oh...and BTW...I never intended to imply Rollie Free is a squid. He's not. He probably forgot more about bikes during his life than I'll ever know. He just set a bad example, as it were. I looked high and low for a pic of a real squid but my search was unsuccessful. Thus: Free doing his best Squid Imitation.

  3. Uncle Buck,

    granted i've done hellish speeds on bikes, but those days are i just refer to Mensans like that as "organ donors".

  4. Organ donor is very appropriate since they usually have most of them intact. The large amount of skin loss and brain trauma that occurs when they don't wear a helmet helps those that need their organs...

    I read up on Rollie, apparently he decided to shed the clothes when he failed to achieve his desired 150mph mark while wearing his leathers. He was so determined that he shed the leathers for a little less aerodynamic drag. Well intentioned and all, but still NUTS!

  5. "Organ donors." Heh. And that's usually the case, unless said squid comes to an abrupt halt from high velocities (like: a wall. or the back end of a truck) and the organ bursts. It happens. And then no one benefits.

    Just sayin'.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.