Oops! :-) It turns out it is not a good idea to hit your breaks while swerving on a motorcycle. Apparently it hurts gravity’s feelings and forces the physics property to take resentful, wrist breaking revenge. But this isn’t a rant, it is a success story.
My most recent Life List item has been learning to ride a motorcycle. I don’t own a car and now that I live in LA, I have been running into more experiences where owning my own means of transportation has become necessary. I wasn’t excited to leave the non-car owning ranks of Leo Babauta and Tynan (if you don’t already read their blogs, I highly recommend you start) so a motorcycle seemed like the perfect answer.
It turns out that in California you can skip the drive test at the Department of Motor Vehicles as long as you pass a licensed training course. This was a win-win for me because it provided the training I needed and got me out of a test I didn’t want to take. Immediately after learning this, I went online and registered for the first available class.
The class is 15 hours long with half in a classroom and half actually riding. Unfortunately, I hit a bit of a problem (well technically a large piece of concrete) at hour 13. We were doing an exercise were you switched to second gear and once you hit about 25 MPH, you needed to swerve in a direction spontaneously picked by the instructor and come to a quick stop.
My swerve went really well but my stop could have gone better. As soon as I started the swerve, I instinctively hit my breaks. This works great in a car but not well on a motorcycle. The bike seized up, fish tailed and I hit the parking lot ground at about 20 MPH. I remember consciously thinking I had to roll (I don’t think this actually accomplished anything but it did look cool). I eventually came to a stop and the instructors ran up. I had a huge adrenaline rush and really wasn’t sure if I was okay. After about a full minute, the adrenaline finished its ride and I started to feel the pain. My knees were bloody, my wrist and elbow were throbbing and something was definitely wrong with my ankle.
I eventually got up and tried to walk it off. (that’s just how I roll… wrist first on concrete). Clearly I had a problem. I sat back down and waited to regain some strength. I eventually drove/limped straight to a pharmacy to get pain killers and then to an ice cream place to get some ice cream. (I had earned it.)
The next day I went to work and felt a little better. The week progressed as normal with the addition of a limp and without most of the use of my right arm.
Then something weird happened. I woke up five days after the accident with a purple wrist. It literally looked like someone took a hammer to it. Totally freaked out, I immediately went to the doctor. We took multiple X-rays but found no broken bones. Perplexed at my oompa-loompa arm, the doctor decided he was going to send the X-ray to a specialist.
Two days later, I got a phone call.
Doctor – “I got your X-rays back from the radiologist. I bet it hurts when you poke right below your thumb”
Me – “Owch!! It does!”
Doctor – “That is because your wrist is broken, lol”
Me – “WTF!?!”
Immediately, I went to his office to go get a cast like a normal human being. What a freaking bizarre week.
As I write this, I am sitting on an airplane clunking my keyboard with a half cast. (I am flying to Dallas to go watch something really cool. Stay Tuned!) Tomorrow, I will be getting a full arm cast. The doctor said, I might need to keep it on for 12 weeks. Sad trombone…
All of that said, I consider myself to be extremely lucky. As far as motorcycle accidents go, this is nothing. Wrists grow back easily, brains do not.
Living the life you want is not an easy thing. There are a thousand reasons to live a different life. This the reason so many people fall into a convenient lifestyle rather than an extraordinary one. Adventures don’t always have happy endings, that is what makes them adventurous.
It is mistakes (and yes the broken bones) that make success truly something special.
This is my journey and I am happy to be living it. It is not perfect but it is mine.