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Discussion Starter #1
Found this on another site. Long, but very good read. Preaching to the choir, I know, but we could all use ammo this sharp every now and then. Maybe it's a repost, but if so, it's a good one.

Riding without boots and crashing might cost you some road rash or foot mash or even in an extreme case might lead to amputation. You might never walk without a limp. You might battle a weight and fitness problem for the rest of your life. You might never walk with pain. But it probably wouldn't kill you.

Riding without gloves and crashing might cost you some road rash or a
Munched hand or the severe, excrutiating pain of mangling a body part rich with nerve endings. Or you could lose a finger or two. It could cost you the
ability to play ball with your son, to properly feel the gentle curve of a
womans breast, or to hold a beer. But it probably wouldn't kill you.

Riding without at least an armored jacket and leather trousers or full
leathers or an Aerostich or even just a leather jacket and jeans and
crashing might cost you serious road rash. You might grind off a nipple.
You might embed gravel in your elbow. You might get beef jerky all over
your back. You might grind off your kneecap or have a scar resembling
Australia on you calf like a friend of mine does. You would be scarred for
life and not be able to walk on a beach shirtless without feeling self
conscious. You might end up like Kevin Spacey's character in "Pay It
Forward" and have to deal with the same awkward moment every time you remove your clothes with a new lover. But it probably won't kill you.

Riding without a back protector and crashing in all but rare crashes would
be inconsequential. However, there are so many variables out there- curbs,
fenders, poles, guardrails, debris in the road- any one of these could be
the golden BB that nicks your spinal cord in just the wrong way and leaves
you in a wheelchair for life. Or, maybe you just have constant sciatic pain
in one leg. Or you can't move your legs. Or you have to wear diapers for
when you @#%$ yourself, and/or a colostomy bag you have to pull out of your pants leg and squeeze your waste out into the toilet at a bar like a guy I know. Or you can't move from the chest down. Or from the neck down. Are
you good at working joysticks with your mouth? Or maybe you might need a
respirator? Or 24 hour care? Certainly, there are impacts that are
completely forseeable that would permanently injure you even with the best
back protector in the world. But there are crashes and subsequent impacts
that even mediocre back protectors can make that little bit of difference
in- the ones you get up and walk away from, sore all over, but *walking*.
Do you want the last time you walked to be when you walked out of 7-11 with a pack of smokes and then got on your bike? Those precious few steps out the door and over to the bike to be the five steps you remember the rest of your life because the next time you were off the bike you were lying
strapped to a backboard staring at the headliner of an ambulance, tears
running down your face because you couldn't feel the little piggies and you
were almost ready to vomit at the stench of your @#%$ because you lost
control of your bowels? Riding without a back protector and crashing might
not make a difference, or it might make all the difference in the world. It
might not kill you, but it might make you wish it had.

And, finally, helmets. Riding without a helmet and crashing might be of no
consequence. You might never even touch terra firma with your head. Or you
might give yourself an asphalt facelift. You might get a concussion that
results in only a bad headache the next day. You might get a serious
concussion that lands you in the hospital for endless CAT scans and MRIs,
and for the rest of your days be plagued by migraines. You might fracture
your orbital and lose your vision. You might fracture your skull and end up
fully functional but with a horrible Frankenstein like scar and a metal
plate that bothers you on cold days and sets of metal detectors in airports.
You might have a closed head injury from which you don't awaken from for
hours or days or weeks or months- all the while your mother, father,
sister, brother, children, workmates, and/or riding buddies come a visit
you, filling an utterly depressing hospital room into a gauche jungle of
flowers and bright card saying "get well soon!" that you never see or smell.
Sure, you might awaken completely normal besides the hole drilled in your
head to reduce pressure. Or you might awaken a little fuzzy, unsure who
these people are. Or you might awaken and have to re-learn everything it
took you all your life to learn, eventually returning to normal or even
better like Harrison Ford in "Regarding Henry". Or you might awaken a
man-child, drooling and laughing as you try to stack blocks, wearing
sweatpants and a t-shirt signed by your mother, father, sister, brother,
children, workmates, and/or riding buddies- which you will never read. Or
you might have an open head injury, from which the "you" you know will most
likely never return. The rest of your life -be it a day, a week, a month, a
year- will consist of feeding tubes, the endless beep and whoosh of the
heart monitor and respirator, and the drip-drip or IV fluids, catheters in
your rod, and feeding tubes. Of course, you won't mind all of this, you'll
be in a dream land no one knows about. Your body will waste away and
atrophy. Eventually, the shell that used to be you would give out, and your
loved ones would have to make the most grueling decision of their life. Or,
you might die on the road, fluffy gray brain matter mixing with blood and
cerebro-spinal fluid. Perhaps you last ride would be twenty miles an hour
down the street by your house combined with an impatient young driver and an
ignored stop sign. Or perhaps it would be a ride on the freeway and a
pothole denting your rim and popping the front tire off the bead sending you
into the guardrail. Or you might go out in a blaze of glory qith a 100 mph
wheelie ending the wrong way. Whichever way, would make maybe a 10 second
news story depending on where you live, maybe a paragraph buried on page 32B
of the paper. Riding without a helmet could be of no matter- or it could
mean the difference between going on as you are now, or having life taken
awy from you as if God flipped a switch.

I can live without toes or a mangled foot- but I choose to try and prevent
that. I can live with a hand that looks like a burn victim's and maybe
relearn to write with my left hand- but I choose to try and prevent that. I
can live with a scar in the shape of Australia on my calf- but I try and
prevent that. I can live with road rash on my torso and arms- but I try to
prevent that. I could live in a wheelchair, agonizing through every day,
but I chose to try and prevent that.

I can't live as a man-child. I've already played with blocks. I only drool
when I sleep.

We all make choices. Gear can't always save you. All the best leather,
denim, Cordura, Kevlar, fiberglass, and plastic is useless when fate throws
the Immovable Object or the Irresistible Force in your path. But I choose
to stack the deck in my favor. If it all ends up for naught and the stacked
deck and the cards up my sleeve end up losing to Fate's royal flush, so be
it. But I'll try.

-Author unknown-

900 Posts
However as long as you get all the above on camera you can sell it for $30 a pop to the sea of squids and squanabes and roll around on your pimped out chair.

It is a shame that the people who should read this don't or at least don't take it to heart. Mortality cannot be taught, it has to be learned through experience.
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