Novice J&P Blogger Shares a Motorcycling Memory

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August 12, 2011 | By: J&P Cycles

Editor’s Note: We’ve got a raft of good writers here at J&P Cycles who scribble off some pretty good blog posts on a regular basis. Many of these managers and employees not only know how to turn a wrench, they know how to describe to you how to turn a wrench.

Our blog has become the go-to place for those who have questions about their motorcycle or are looking for the latest means of boosting power, maintaining safety or blinging up your bike. So when Carla Elliott, our HR director, came up with the notion of giving everyone at J&P an opportunity to get in the act, our employees jumped on board.

Carla recently sent an interoffice email inviting employees to share their favorite motorcycle experience with the rest of us — and you, our readers. Employees were asked to relate a funny incident, reveal their best maintenance tip, or describe a most memorable motorcycle ride. The idea, said she, was to “share your story with the customers and readers of our blog and showcase the many riders we have here at J&P.”

Carla gave employees a June 21 deadline and told them the winning blog would debut on the J&P Blog and the author would receive a gift card. And were the winning blog deemed to be a success, the author would be offered an opportunity to submit additional blog entries. From all the entries, the judges picked Tom Blankenheim’s story, which appears below.

Tom’s Motorcycle Memory

By Tom Blankenheim

I have but one memory to share about my experience with a motorcycle. Up until my senior year in college I had never operated a motorcycle. Then, just before graduation, a friend of mine purchased a used Honda street cycle and was showing it to all of his friends one night. One by one, each of us climbed on board and took the cycle out for a quick spin around the neighborhood.

Being of college age and fearing nothing, I hopped on the cycle, listened to a quickly delivered lesson on how to shift, and blasted on down the road. I had absolutely no problem in balance, shifting or acceleration, and in fact, I was pretty much enjoying the thrill of the ride until I spotted the “T” at the end of the block.

Everything I learned in that 30-second lesson went right out the window as I panicked in my attempt to slow down the bike. Rather than applying the rear brake or clutch, I squeezed the front brake, losing any control I might have had at that point. Rather than continuing on a straight path, which would’ve taken me into the neighbor’s yard and eventually through the house itself, I laid the bike down and tumbled forward head-over-heels.

The crash left me hobbling on my feet, bruised and bleeding from my shoulders on down. But instead of accepting help from those who witnessed the event, I left the cycle on the street and began walking back to where the journey began.  With my head hung low, I stumbled halfway up the block before being plastered with water balloons from a car full of teenagers who happened to be driving by. Talk about adding insult to injury!

My friends saw me staggering the final half block and knew that something had gone wrong. The motorcycle was retrieved and I spent the rest of the evening nodding my head in shame as my friends took their best verbal shots at me. Several days later, as my aches began to recede and my injuries began to heal, I was handed a bill for $350 to pay for damages to the bike. I suppose that’s a small price to pay for injuries that could’ve occurred, but the bottom line is this: I’ve not climbed on a motorcycle since.

Comments (2)

First time I ever rode a motor cycle (actually a mini-bike), I was about 11 or 12. I was at my cousins house. My Uncle pulled it out of the garage and gave us the same basic 30 second how-to lesson. I made it to the end of the driveway, applied the brakes. The damn thing wanted to keep going. Straight into traffic! God was looking out for me that day. I crossed the road just in between two cars and into the ditch on the other side of the road. I walked back to the house shaking in my shoes at the experience. Leaving the bike across the street for someone else to retrieve.

And I thought I had it rough when my mom was sitting nest to me, as I was learning to drive a stick shift, while we were stopped at a red light, on a very steep hill, where I was about to roll the car back into another every time I tried to pop off the clutch and drive forward. Yep, just laughing me.

The water balloons in your story just made me feel a lot better.

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