Post-Surgery Motorcycle-Less Syndrome

Lieback’s Corner (#11) / 8.1.2011

Throughout my 31 years, only two incidents prevented me from piloting a motorcycle for extended periods of time – a rod in the femur (car accident, ‘94) and some ripped and torn ligaments in my throttle thumb (street motorcycle accident, ‘09).

But this all changed last Wednesday when the third incident dropped into my life. Yes, dropped is the definitive word…

That warm July morning I underwent surgery for double hernia. The two-hour operation went "flawless," as the surgeon had told me, but the "crucial" recovery period would have to be equally "flawless."

These two words have haunted me ever since…

And during this "crucial" period arrives much time off the bikes, the V4 and inline four engines restlessly sleeping in the garage two-thirds through summer. To date, it’s been 12 days since I began suffering from Post-Surgery Motorcycle-Less Stress Disorder, a maddening psychological trauma that attacks more than just the mind and nerves.

Not one doctor has a cure for this disease, but from my past two motorcycle-dulling experiences, I know the first blip of the throttle upon returning on a bike relaxes the symptoms. The issues may linger for a few miles, but one is usually cured after a blast through a favorite canyon.

Contingent on the doctor’s words, I should return to standard-issue street riding by week’s end, but more "spirited" rides in full leathers will likely be another two or three weeks. And as for the track…well the leaves may be changing colors before I can push that hard.

And just as the machines won’t be ticking to a cool anytime soon, neither will my body. The usual 100-mile weekly workouts on the stationary bike have ended. The weekly 12-mile jogs with my lab Bostrom have ended.

But at the same time, the nightly consumption of good reds and pale ales continues. Mash these circumstances together, and my whole idea of fitness to remain agile and quick on a motorcycle simply doesn’t add up. But the extra pounds do…even for poor-young Bostrom.

Through all of this, though, I have placed additional emphasis on a lifelong lesson; as a former English professor told me, the key to success in life, regardless of what one takes on, is learning the disciplines of patience and discipline.

Over the years I’ve optimally expanded in both of disciplines. They helped me achieve a healthier lifestyle, opened doors to jobs, and though it sounds contradictory, created additional speed on a motorcycle without sacrificing safety, both on and off the track.

So after the third incident that caused Motorcycle-Less Syndrome, it’s back to building upon these lessons, but on a more basic level. Not for speed. Not for job opps. Not for physical health to assist in quickness. But to simply breathe everyday without the things that make me who I truly am today – motorcycles.

I can deal with another few weeks of non-spirited riding, just putting around the mountainsides, waiting for the mesh – the same stuff used to make Gore-Tex, may I add – to fully adhere to my abdominal wall, thus preventing future pain that radiates from the groin to the chest.

But hopefully that old adage of things arriving in three is true. Because if I have a fourth incident that prevents me from exploring my spirit via two wheels for an extended period of time, bringing back another Motorcycle-less Syndrome, my self-training in patience and discipline may have been futile.

But like the only non-negotiable adage in life says, only time will tell…

Stay twisted; throttle yr soul
– Ron Lieback
Lieback’s Corner is the Online Editor’s column, which delves into RL’s recent motorcycling mind breaths and wanderings.