Ostomy Memories on a Motorcycle

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Having an ileostomy may militate against such activities as joining nudist colonies or performing belly flops off a high board at public pools, but it certainly is no bar to climbing on a motorcycle and heading out on the highway with Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild” blasting in your mind. Four years after my surgery, which had been in July, 1964, I climbed on my Triumph, my new wife got on behind me, and we took our honeymoon riding around the State of Florida. Wearing matching drab green fatigue jackets, we drew a few stares, the joy of two-wheeling yet to have permeated the consciousness of thousands of Honda buyers. In those days, motorcycles were pretty much limited to Hell’s Angels and similar thugs. We passed through two-bit Florida towns where patrol cars tailed us down miserable main streets and round-faced redneck children threw rocks at us from in front of two-pump gas stations. But we had a helluva ride and the only law that we broke was the law of probability. And I only had to spit a spider out of my mouth once as we came around a curve on a canopy two-lane.

I still have a bike but have not put many miles on it so far this year.

Hi Henry, thanks for the story from a fellow biker. I started out with a French-made scooter, then a dirt bike. From there, I had a Kawasaki street bike and an English AJS. But when I found out the girls wouldn't ride with me, I got a car instead. My last real road bike was a Harley Sportster, and now I have a scooter again for running around town on errands.

 
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I restored my Sportster back to its original and it sits behind my couch in my living room. Way too many knuckleheads out there who have no concept of how to drive or yield to others. I'm also had a few too many biker buds get planted in the ground thanks to those said knuckleheads. But my dirt bike comes out on occasion when I need to plow up the pasture a bit and don't feel like doing it on a slow tractor. Must have been a VERY different world back then, Henry. Glad you got to make the most of it, Mr. Easyrider. Unfortunately, those fat redneck kids are now just fat kids, and are everywhere thanks to parents who don't have a clue... but let's not go there. Your riding experiences paint a great picture of a slower, easier time. Reminds me of that song "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay... wastin' time..."

Later,

Bob


Henry, I hope you're compiling these memories into a book. Your offspring and descendants would love to have them. I imagine you've seen a dramatic change in ostomy products over the years. And maybe in attitudes? Do you remember the Burma Shave signs in Florida? For everything - not just Burma Shave. It sure has been interesting reading your posts. Born to be Wild - now isn't that an anthem for the 60s!!

Laurie

 
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Hello HenryM.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane. it's been 60+ years since I last had a motorcycle but your story brought it all right back to me. Unfortunately, like Bob, I lost a few friends to the activity and when I was knocked off by a bike-blind motorist, I felt it was time to join the four wheeled brigade. Nowadays I prefer a pedal cycle  for any trips under 5 miles. However, I have been knocked off that on three separate occasions by articulated lorries overtaking and then pulling in too soon. It's a dangerous world out there on two wheels!

Best wishes

Bill

<p><br />Boy, I wish that I still had mine.</p>
<p><br />Your cycle of cycles (pun intended) is a good metaphor for life itself:&nbsp; childhood (scooter), adult (m'cycl), old age (scooter again).&nbsp;&nbsp;</p>
<p><br />Actually, the song that you mention by Otis Redding, "the dock of the bay," was in '69, the year after I was married.&nbsp; And you nailed it re the knuckleheads, the ones that are always pulling out to turn left right in front of the approaching bike.&nbsp; I sold my Triumph when I was suddenly struck with the premonition that my accident-free time was about up.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p>
<p><br />Re the progress of ostomy products:&nbsp; I've posted about that before, one of my earliest "Ostomy Memory" posts.&nbsp; What I wear today is a Lexus compared to the Model T I started out with.&nbsp; And yes, I certainly remember those Burma Shave signs.&nbsp; They predate Florida's interstates.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p>
<p><br />At the ripe old age of 77, I still want to get another motorcycle, but I won't.&nbsp; Trying to make it through covid-19 is challenge enough.&nbsp; As I told Bob, I gave up my Triumph because I had a premonition that my accident-free time was about up.&nbsp; A guy on a bike can only avoid the idiots pulling out in front of him to turn left so many times...&nbsp;</p>


Yes, I think it is getting increasingly more dangerous to be on two wheels, despite the global push to reduce fossil fuels. I am reminded of something a colleague told me many years ago, about encouraging his parents to help him finance his first car. He said that he began to leave motorcycle magazines lying around for his parents to notice. When they became worried that he might buy a bike, he said that he couldn't afford to buy a car, so a motorcycle was the obvious solution. They offered to help pay for a car. Clever, but manipulative! 

Laurie

<p><br />I don't think I was that clever as a teenager.&nbsp; Of course, they'd already allowed me to have a Vespa scooter on which I delivered newspapers.</p>

My son had a Harley that I posted a picture of myself sitting on it on my profile. I was glad when he got rid of it like some have said people nowadays have no respect for riders. There is a motorcycle club right up the road from me that does a lot of good things around town.

<p><br />Some people make assumptions about cycle riders that just aren't warranted.&nbsp; The same goes for pit bull dogs.&nbsp; They're really gentle sweeties.&nbsp; The bad ones are that way because of their owners.</p>

Henry... all true! For me, when cell phones became the driver's newest distraction, it was the death knell for motorcyclists. Cars should have an undisableable feature where cell phones have to be off... not just Bluetooth enabled... OFF... when the vehicle is in motion. If you or anyone in the car needs to make or receive a call... the driver needs to pull over. Period. Yeah, it's an inconvenience... but it's also an "inconvenience" to bury a motorcycle driver or explain to their family why being on the phone while driving was more important than the motorcyclist's life. Ok, I'm ranting now... you get my point. My NJ road rage is coming out... I feel like the Hulk transforming.

Later,

Bob

<p><br />I think there have been studies concluding that driving while distracted on a portable phone is killing and maiming more people than DWI.&nbsp; A number of states have enacted laws against it.&nbsp; I marvel, too, at the people I see talking on their phone while walking (walking while talking!!), standing in line at the grocery store, etc.&nbsp; It's a mental infirmity.&nbsp; </p>

Hey guys, thanks for the interesting read. I didn't realize there were many bike enthusiasts out there. I rode my first mini bike at age 10, and have been addicted to motorcycles ever since. I have owned, ridden or restored close to 40 motorcycles in my 45 years of riding. I recently had to sell my collection of vintage motocross bikes, to fund my separation and house settlement. I still have 3 bikes, a 1975 Yamaha 175 trail bike, a KTM 300 enduro bike, and my main bike, a Kawasaki KLR 650. I've owned Harleys, Triumphs and a lot of Japanese bikes, both road and trail bikes. Spent most of my riding days in the 80's and 90's, back then there was not as much traffic, no random breath testing, and helmets were then not compulsory in Australia. It was truly a time of freedom. These days, I don't ride very many miles, due to the fact I lost my butt when I had surgery. After about an hour in the saddle, I'm done. I live in the countryside, luckily I can go for a ride without seeing much traffic. I got the Kawasaki KLR 650 a couple of years ago, it's a dual-purpose bike, I had plans of doing some adventure riding and camping, I never got any further than just buying all the camping gear, and setting up the bike with luggage bags. Worrying about my stomas, and having anxiety has put the brakes on that idea for now. I'm sorry about everything that could go wrong, but probably won't. My Kawasaki is a big heavy bike, weighing in at over 400 pounds, if it tipped over, there's no way I could pick it up. I'm not getting any younger either lol. Might need to find a smaller, lighter bike. Bikes have been in my blood all my life, these days, it's about the only thing that keeps me going, having a few bikes in the garage. I have a lot of good memories from the old days. Still find myself thinking, what life would be like now, if I didn't have two bags. I'm sure I'd still be on two wheels, riding around Australia. Thank for the trip down memory lane.

<p><br />How terrific it was this early morning to get up and discover your wonderful message awaiting me.&nbsp; Thanks for the motor memories.&nbsp; Stay well, Two Bags, and stay in touch too.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p>

Fellow biker here. On it whenever I can... errands, commuting to the office (not much these days). When you're on two wheels, it's like a different world. Glad to see fellow riders on the forum.

Hi Henry, don't know how I missed this one. So evocative as are all of your posted memories. Sorry to hear you are not riding anymore. I swear you and my husband have so much in common. He is a lifelong biker and still rides at the age of 73 (almost 74). His current bike is a Yamaha but he has had so many over the years. I used to ride with him but my fear started to increase with my age and I just wasn't having fun anymore. I worry every time he is out there on the bike, not because of his riding skills, but because of all the other idiots out there on the road, talking, texting or just not paying attention and not looking around them. It irks him to no end that I worry but I can't help it. I will be really happy when he hangs it up! On the other hand, I know what joy it has brought him and he can talk endlessly with his biker friends about their adventures. Oh, yeah, he also hates to travel, another thing you share! Any travel we have done has required a lot of arm-twisting on my part, but he is always happy we went! Go figure.

All the best,

Terry

<p><br />The desire to throw my leg over a bike and crank it up has never left me.&nbsp; Last December, I joined a gym and started working out, the half-baked thought in my head to build my upper body strength back up, take the required Florida cycle course, get the cycle endorcement on my DL, and then --&nbsp; whoopee -- go looking for my new bike.&nbsp; But then covid-19 invaded, I had to quit the gym to protect myself, and so I'm still riding on memory.&nbsp; Maybe for my eightieth birthday...&nbsp;&nbsp;</p>

My dad and uncle owned a Suzuki shop in Westwood, NJ. Best days of my life. If it was not for cars and bikes, we would be totally insane.

Speaking of Burma Shave signs, my husband and I did a 2-week trip sans kids (at grandparents) to break in our brand new slide-in camper back 20 years ago. Not only do I remember the Burma Shave signs (still up in rural parts of the country!), but also the Wall Drugs signs all over South Dakota. Several were over 100 miles away! We decided we just HAD to go see Wall Drugs, and were so glad we did! It started as a small drug store in a small town, and gradually expanded until it covers an entire block, and they've kept the kitschy look and feel - definitely NOT your typical big city drug store! We had one heck of a time camping and poking our way back from Wyoming to Louisiana on an extended second honeymoon (or was it our third, by that time? ...) and just enjoying life!

Sportster rider here, too. And a couple others. Started riding again maybe four weeks post-surgery and never looked back. Been on countless multi-day touring trips. Last one was through the Smokies on a new BMW--logged 3000 miles in four days.

<p>Ah, the Smokeys is a great ride.&nbsp; I always wondered what'd be like to straddle a Beemer.&nbsp; That had to be great!<br /><br /></p>
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