In February 2011, I was out in Big Bend on my 02 LT. I headed over to Rio Grande Village to photograph the Rio Grande and to eat a light lunch. While I was pulling into the parking lot in front of the store, I saw a younger man working on his bike. He was putting some of the fairing back on. I didn't think much about it. We all tinker with this and that on our bikes.....especially when on the road. What struck me all of a sudden as odd was that all the work he was doing was with his right arm. He wasn't using his left arm at all. On a closer look, I realized that his left arm was hanging limp and his hand was in his left pocket. I struck up a conversation with him while a few other bike riders came and sat down to eat lunch. One couple was on a 1978 BMW and enjoying the hell out of it. The other riders were on enduro style bikes and had been hitting the river road. Bike riders sharing a table, a cool drink and a snack before we left to go our different directions on our bikes, but the bond of loving and riding bikes had us sharing stories, experiences and maintenance tips. It was amazing to watch him work on his bike as he adjusted his carbs, head light and the fairing. It was even more amazing to watch him ride it one handed. He had been in a motorcycle wreck years back that had ripped all the nerves of his left arm away from his spine leaving it non-functioning. He rehabed from the wreck enough to go on a pedal bike tour on central and south america. He also had been told he would never ride a motorcycle again. While on his pedal bike tour, he came to the conclussion that if he could manage to navigate the paved, unpaved roads and off roads treks he had taken in central and south america, he could with some mods to the bike manage to ride a motorcycle again. He had all the left hand controls moved to the right side handle bar where he operated turn signals, horn, clutch, front brake and throttle. And with one arm he rides on and off road. And he maintains his bike. It is a testiment to the strength, fortitude and will power of the human spirit to find these special and brave individuals who over come odds and experts who tell them that they can't do what the love to do. Where there is the will, these people will find a way. I also got the impression that his motorcycle was/is his main transportation. He told me that the only limitations he has are those that he can't find a work around for. And from what I could see, he wasn't limited at all. The last I saw him he was leaving behind a cloud of white dust as he road down one of the many Big Bend unimproved trails that navigate the park with his right hand on the throttle and his left hand in his pocket.
Benny, I want to thank you for sharing your video of your son. It was a moving experience to watch. You son is an amazing young man. I am glad to see that he has had a fantastic recovery, and that he is back to riding again!
I cant see the video doesn't work with linux. I know the feeling though. About 4 years ago my son and I were doing a track day. I was right behind him kind of pushing him. I was faster that day and he is so competitive he could not let me pass him. Anyway I watched him high side right in front of me. Time literally stood still. The worst part was I could not stop to help him because they would not roll the ambulance while people were still on the track. Horrible experience. He compressed 3 disks in his neck, of which he still has problems with.
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