Back in 2002 I rejoined the herd of motorcycle riders. After serving in a number of countries where being in an automobile was dangerous enough, riding a motorcycle was not on my mind, but when I got back to Germany in very late 1999, the motorcycle bug bit me and bad. During the summer months I would see all of these bikes on the road, sometimes alone but often in groups of riders with their lady friend on the back. Oh, how I wanted to join them.
I went back to the US and borrowed my son’s bike and tried to get my license, but after 17 years off a motorcycle, I had lost my touch and failed the exam. In 2002 I again was in the US but this time I went through a Motorcycle Safety Foundation training course and then got my license endorsement. Once back in Germany, I got my German motorcycle endorsement on my license as well and bought my first motorcycle in 19 years and of course, I started to ride. The area around Frankfurt is great for motorcycling, being in the wine country, along the Main, Rhein and Mosel rivers and into the hills. Wonderful!!
In 2004, I started searching the Web, looking for motorcycle groups in the Hamburg area that I could link up with and found one that interested me, primarily because they were into raising money for a children’s cancer clinic at one of the local hospitals. One of the members’ daughter had cancer and he and his wife (who was also a club member) were doing what they could for her and other children with cancer. I would not be the only foreigner in the group as there was also a Scot and a Dutchman, but with my (still) weak German, I struggled to be a part of the group. The club, or riding association as it prefers to be called to avoid the negative image of bad bikers, had monthly meetings, organized rides and had social events. But the big thing was raising money for the cancer clinic. Every year the club would sponsor a ride and present money to representatives of the clinic and this would more often than not be in the areas of $15,000 – $18,000. The money would be used to buy equipment for the clinic or other necessary items.
Unfortunately, the daughter of the husband and wife members died a little over two years ago, and then within a year after that, the father died, also of cancer. Talk about a double whammy for the surviving family.
Although I am no longer a member of the club (my lack of German finally got the best of me), tomorrow I will ride with some friends on the 2nd annual ride in memory of the departed member. The gathering will not be anything like “Rolling Thunder” of last week, it will be several hundred bikers and all will donate money to the clinic in memory of Jörg Nicolaisen who died at the tender age of 53 from cancer. Keep your fingers crossed that it will be a safe ride for everyone.
I like doing good things for other people, even those I don’t know and raising money or helping to raise money is easy. Another easy thing to do is offer advice and this is it. If you are over 50 and you have not suffered the indignity of a colonoscopy, you need to arrange to have it done. It is not fun but the horror of the entire thing is the stuff you have to drink to purge yourself….and it’s enough to gag a maggot. The actual procedure is easy, painless and very worthwhile. If my friend Jörg had had one done on him, he just might be alive today. My former employer required physical exams every two or three years and at age 50, the colonoscopy was required. My recent one (last month) was due to my having being hospitalized in February for an infected colon. Gisela just had one done as well and we are both (ahem) clean. Please do it as well…it could save your life and if it does, you can give me a medal.
Enough – hugs to all – Ken