Lieback’s Lounge: Crashing & Dreaming

Ron Lieback Ultimate Motorcycling

Lieback’s Lounge | Motorcycle Commentary

Ron Lieback Ultimate MotorcyclingI nearly died when I was 14 years old. The memories of that July day have yet to surface 23 years later. All I remember was throwing my Girl skateboard in the trunk of a buddy’s gray Oldsmobile, and driving around the block of my old homestead.

That’s it.

A few hours later I awoke to some overweight dude in a white lab coat drilling a hole in my shin, which I learned later was for putting my leg in traction.

I was in and out of consciousness for two days until everything became clear. I had broken my right femur, which still has a titanium rod inside today, and my skull. I also had some blood on the brain, and some chipped teeth.

Fourteen and damaged. Though it sounds devastating, all that pain put me onto a unique path in life. I now had some evidence to support the “life is short” adage, and began to follow what I was most passionate about. I also became a serious dreamer.

Motorcycles soon absorbed most of those dreams. Since single digits, I mostly associated motorcycles with cruising freedom, due to my dad and uncle’s love the Harley-Davidson brand and the cruiser scene.

But while recovering from that car accident, I discovered superbikes. Motorcycle rags were purchased and devoured like my guitar magazines. And then I saw it—the Ducati 916.

Just the looks of that bike brought back the chills I got when I learned how to play Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile”. To this day I get that same feeling every time I see that bike that was ingeniously crafted by Massimo Tamburini.

The 916 became the bike of my dreams, and I promised myself I would not stop at anything until I had one.

Well, just like 23 years later I still can’t remember the details of my crash, which doctors say are psychologically blocked due to the pain, I don’t own a 916.

I had opportunities, but more practical Ducatis came into my life. First an 1198, then a Multistrada 1200, which is by far my all-time favorite bike ever when it comes to actually riding—but it has nothing on the 916 when it comes to sexy looks.

I got close to a 916 with a 748 I grabbed on the cheap, but it needed much work and got traded for a Monster 900 S i.e. I’m going to either restore or build.

Who knows? I’ve since dreamed up at least six possibilities for a build, but always go back to restoration.

Supporting these types of moto-centric dreams has led me down some unique career paths. I’ve held a job since I was 12. Throughout the years, I was a food caterer, UPS driver, newspaper reporter, marketing manager, client services lead, business developer, in that order. I’ve recently decided to start my own side business built around content creation, also.

And while performing other jobs for the past decade, I’ve remained in the career that has continued to put me in a sort of dream state daily for the past decade, motorcycle journalist/editor.

Even moto journalism derived as a dream; good friends and family members told me I was nuts to chase a motorcycle journalism career on the East Coast, but the drive to succeed trumped all.

There are days when I look into the woods from my second-floor office window here in Northeast Pennsylvania, and simply smile because I love every breathing moment of not only my personal life, but my “work” life.

And it all began with a crash that led to dreams and endless pursuits.

People also think I’m nuts when I say if I can do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. That crash in ’94 hurt, but the pain was worth the modern happiness and smiles. Now, if I only I had a 916 in the collection.

This column is from our latest issue; subscribe for free at the Ultimate Motorcycling app.


  1. Doing quite well. Living the good life, working from home editing the Parts Unlimited /Drag Specialties Magazines for Don Emde and enjoying my family. This was a great column.


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