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Old 04-18-2009, 05:45 PM   #1
Barbara
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Default "My Last Ride" inspired me.......

Hi Guys,

I just read mscuddy,'s "My Last Ride". Damn....so I thought I'd share what was supposed to be the end of my riding. It was August of 1987, a long time ago. I was at the bottom of a local lake, scuba-diving with some friends, and with my 10 year-old son in the boat.

I felt a huge weight on my chest. I was at the bottom of the lake, and dropped my weight-belt, and headed for the boat and my nitro tablets. My son helped me into the boat, I took the nitro that always made the pain go away, and nothing happened. Uh-oh. The guys with whom I was diving got me to shore, and up to the house, and called the ambulance---no 911 out here in those days.

The medics got there as I was watching my hands cramp up, and wondering why that might be happening. My little boy was very upset, and I spent all my worry-energy reassuring him, which helped me to keep calm.

They carried me to the ambulance, and all the way to town they kept asking me my name--I finally asked, "Do you really want to know, or are you checking to see if I'm still alive?" Laughter, and "Well, a little of both, I guess" was the answer.

We got to the hospital. I was semi-floating, not really aware, and now I know I was full of "keep her calm" drugs. Three hours later I was the first person to receive an angiogram and angioplasty in our local hospital, because they didn't think I'd survive to get to a major hospital. I'd had a major heart attack, and had another one in the hospital two days later. More angioplasties. I never doubted that I would be fine, but apparently I was in the minority. A friend who was an RN went home and told his girlfriend that I "wouldn't last the night".

Well, I proved him wrong! My cardiologist told me that I shouldn't drive a car for six months, and couldn't ever risk a motorcycle again. I had a couple of Commandos, a P-11a, a BSA Lightning, a couple of Victors, two nice Matchless G-80s, and an whole collection of Triumph twins. As I was building the energy to walk around, I would go out in the shed and sit on the bikes, mainly the P-11a.

People made offers on the bikes, and I sold most of them. I kept the P-11a, a Commando, and one of the Victors. After two months, they wanted me to start cardio-therapy---stretching and such. I rode in on the Commando, since it was the easiest to start. As I pulled up to the hospital--I'll never forget it--my cardiologist was walking in the door. He looked over, saw me, and just shook his head and smiled.

I'd proven him wrong, although it took months. Whenever I go in to see him, and I do that regularly, I ride the sidecar bike, and grin when he looks at my helmet and smiles, just a little.

My heart attack(s), and a subsequent SCD ("Sudden Cardiac Death") in the middle of a karate class, have made me more determined than ever to enjoy every possible moment in the saddle. We all have a first ride and a last ride, but I hope to postpone that last ride for a long time to come. The sidecar helps, since some of my meds make me a bit dizzy if I forget to eat. Oh, and I'm on my 6th implanted defibrillator....sometimes technology is a very good thing!!

I know a man in England who rides a BSA with a sidecar, and he has one leg. I've seen a sidecar frame modified to allow a wheelchair to roll up, and the rider to slide over to a custom seat and controls. But what inspires me most is a person who just states what happened, with no attempt to garner sympathy, just---here's my story. That's what impressed me about "My Last Ride", and I hope with all my heart that the title turns out to be untrue!

Thanks for the story, Matt. You help me keep my own tiny issues in perspective!
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Old 04-18-2009, 06:38 PM   #2
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Wow.......
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Old 04-18-2009, 07:15 PM   #3
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Thanks Barb, you're a gem.
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Old 04-18-2009, 08:13 PM   #4
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I Like her, Cuddy - Can we Keep Her?
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Old 04-19-2009, 05:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbara View Post
Oh, and I'm on my 6th implanted defibrillator....sometimes technology is a very good thing!!
Rock on, sister!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbara View Post
I know a man in England who rides a BSA with a sidecar, and he has one leg. I've seen a sidecar frame modified to allow a wheelchair to roll up, and the rider to slide over to a custom seat and controls.
Cuddy, while I was out riding yesterday, I saw a guy on a chopper (? raked out cruiser) and he was towing something. When I looked, it was a super-mini trailer with a lightweight wheelchair on it. Have you seen those before? I hadn't. Would that work for you? I was wondering how that wheelchair didn't bounce out of the trailer. Must have had it strapped down some how.
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:08 AM   #6
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Dr. yes, I've seen all types of contraptions for allowing people in my condiiton to ride, and frankly, most of them scare the bejeezus out of me.

Right after I got out of rehab I had my dirt riding buddies duct tape me to one of my motorized bicycles (the one that Buz has now) and they let me loose on El Mirage dry lake. While it was, er..searching for the word here...thrilling, the consiquences of me eating it again would have been bad, real bad.

So until I can figure something out myself (retractable wheels, a seat with velcro on it, and velcro on the seat of my pants, etc, or a Chang Jiang with a hand shift and a sidecar) I'm going to move slowly in that direction. And the wifee said she'd leave if I even tried something on two wheels again. So have to be very sneaky and all that if I want to get "in the wind" again so to speak.

Thanks.
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Old 04-19-2009, 11:10 AM   #7
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Hi Matt,

I'm a huge fan of not telling other people what to do-----but. (Always that...."but"...) You did say "two wheels" vis-a-vis your wife, right? Well! Sidecars have *three*! They are stable, even for Gramma's with odd heart meds--it would a snap! Platform frames are available (or fairly easy to cobble up if you have welding equipment available), and on a bike, brakes can be linked and use a hand lever, and the clutch cable can be linked to a hand-shift.

So. Now that all of your friends have figured out exactly how to get you back on....ummm...."more than two" wheels, all that's left is to find some guys in your area to volunteer to help gather bits, bikes and build the thing.

You're in SoCal? Jeez, there must be dozens of people who would jump at the chance to experiment---oops. I mean, to "assist" in the creation of a very special machine! How about it, Guys? Anyone out there? Anyone at all---don't be shy, step right up.

I'm up by the Canadian Border, but I'd scoot right down there on my sidecar bike to watch the first voyage on a custom-built Matt Machine. That would be the apogee of cool!!

"Sticking my nose in"? Well, yes--but it's what I do.....
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Big John the BSA
Baby B. the BSA
Gemini the BSA/Triumph
Pip the Triumph T140v--(I have "Great Expectations")
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Old 04-19-2009, 11:54 AM   #8
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I'm suggesting that Matt puts wheels on his still and ride that around with a hose in his mouth and easy leaker on the other end.
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Old 04-19-2009, 12:04 PM   #9
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I'm suggesting that Matt puts wheels on his still and ride that around with a hose in his mouth and easy leaker on the other end.
Sounds like a Spring Break contraption.
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Old 04-19-2009, 07:18 PM   #10
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Ya know Barb, it's going to be an honor to have you as a moderator here on MO, we don't get too many Grandmas who are into vintage brit bikes, sidecars, smoothbore rifles and moonshine.

And you may be right about a sidehack, the Chang Jiang (look in the motorcycle test section) already has a hand clutch, and a hand shift on the left side, behind the seat. So that's most likely the way I'll be going after I sell off some more "trinkets" that I can't use anymore. A newly refurbished M1 Chang Jiang with sidecar goes for around five grand, FOB Los Angeles.

Now I could dig one of those, a Chinese copy of a Russian copy. But a BMW flathead down deep.
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