I shouldn't even be here typing this. As a youth, I was forbidden to ride any sort of motorcycle and for good reason. In 1973, my father was involved in a nasty motorcycle accident and, after spending a year in the hospital, was told he could never walk again. Yes, this would be more than a good enough reason to make sure my pop's only born son would not take the same path as his father.
I finally figured since I was never going to ride any bike with a motor on it I would do the next best thing and start racing BMX. I then turned to downhill mountain bikes. Anyone who has ever seen downhill racing knows that it is just as dangerous as riding a motorcycle if not more. So in a way I was still defying my parents, just without a motor.
The day of reckoning was when a friend had gotten in trouble with the law and needed some money, so I bought his '77 FLH for a song. This was the same week I was moving out of my parents' house to the Northwest, so out of respect of their worrying, I kept that news quiet. I cut my H-D teeth on that bike, trying to stop the myriad of oil leaks and swapping frontends and tanks to suit my mood. I rode that damn bike rain or shine until I sold it to move back to SoCal.
Since then I have bought and sold more than a few bikes and have even gained the approval of my parents to ride, but every time I pull in the clutch and knock the bike into first, I think about my mom and dad and all of the hurdles they have gone through all over that split second in time and pray it doesn't happen again.
Ride safe, guys and gals.