04 Suzuki SV650 Bio
Here's the scoop on how I came to own, and shortly thereafter total my 04 Suzuki SV650
After getting lucky and selling my 92 Corvette, the speed bug soon bit me again. At the time, a lot of my co-workers had sport bikes, and I began to get interested in 2 wheeled action. What intrigued me the most was how fast the motorcycles were in stock form. Several of my friends had 1,000 CC bikes that were running the 1/4 mile in the mid 10's at over 130 MPH. After riding a few of my friends bikes (an SV1000, an R6, and a GSXR 600) I chose to go with a smaller twin engine bike, the SV650 seemed like a good choice.
I found a killer deal on a used bike about 2 weeks after I started looking. It was still the newest model year, had less than 900 miles on it, and was owned by a mechanic at a Suzuki dealership. The best part was that it was only about 30 miles from where I lived. I caught a ride to the dealership and bought the bike. This is where I started to get stupid. Things slowly progressed from bad to worse, and I never reacted to it. The old saying goes, "Everyone can see the train coming, except for the guy standing on the tracks."
I had never really ridden a motorcycle before. I had ridden some trail bikes as a kid, and spent about 10 minutes on my buddies street bikes before I saddled the SV for the first time. I very timidly rode the bike the 30 miles back to my place. I was amazed at how fast I became comfortable on the bike. In just a few days it was as normal and as natural as driving a car. In fact, the second day I owned the bike I took it to the drag strip and made 2 passes. I killed the bike the first time I launched it, and I nearly wheelied over the second time. All in all, I wasn't too disappointed, after all, I hadn't had the bike 48 hours yet.
My next bold move with the bike was to head 700 miles North to my home town in Montana. It was 90 degrees outside when I left Salt Lake City, but after about 6 hours of riding north, I had crossed into Idaho and almost into Montana. The temperature had fallen to 35 degrees and it had started to rain. I was poorly dressed for the conditions, and I whole heartedly believe that I nearly froze to death while riding the bike. I finally stopped at a hotel in Lima, Montana. After several hours in a hot shower and a poor night of sleep, I headed out again the next morning. Again, it was about 35 degrees, and a light rain was falling. I prepared myself the best I could I started North. After about an hour of riding I was soaked, freezing, and starting to wonder what the Hell I was doing. I decided that I would ride for another 15 minutes, and if the weather didn't improve, I would turn around and head back to Utah. About 10 minutes later, the rain stopped, the clouds cleared, and the sun actually came out. I spent the next hour or so cold, but slowly drying out. Finally, after another hour or 2 of riding, I had dried out and the sun had brought the temperature up to nearly 60 degrees. A few hours later I arrived in my home town of Libby, Montana. I spent a week with my parents and showing off the bike to some old friends before heading back to Utah. The return trip was beautiful, the weather was great, and some of the scenic areas in Montana and Idaho are incredible to behold from a motorcycle.
Over the next few weeks I used the bike as a daily commuter without incident. I had a few close calls, but all of them were when I was messing around on the long straight outside where I worked. Finally, one night, the inevitable happened...
I couldn't sleep one Friday night, and decided that a nice, leisurely bike ride might help clear my head and help me to relax. It was 2 AM when I backed the bike out of the garage and headed up the basically deserted freeway. It was a warm night, all I had on was some jeans, tennis shoes, a sweatshirt, and a helmet. I had decided that I would ride up a canyon road, way on the outside of town. I had planned to ride the canyon nice and easy, well within the speed limit, and just enjoy riding with no one else around.
I entered the canyon, and the first turn was the last thing I remember. I didn't make the second turn, two turns into the canyon and I had wrecked the bike. Apparently, I drifted wide on a right hand turn and hit the wall of the canyon. I shattered my left femur and left knee, sliced my right leg to the bone cutting my femoral artery, road rashed my back and hands pretty badly, and took all the other bumps and bruises associated with crashing into a rock wall at 40 MPH. I don't remember any of the actual accident, the last thing I remember was entering the first turn of the canyon. The next memory I have is laying on the double yellow line in the middle of the road. I was laying there, on my back, looking up at the canyon wall and the sky. I knew I had wrecked, and I knew I had gone down pretty badly. The most amazing thing to me was that there was no pain. I actually remember thinking, "Jesus, maybe I am alright." I had laid in the road for about 15 seconds, afraid to try and move when I saw the glare of headlights coming up on my from behind. "Great" I thought to myself, "Now I am going to be run over." I was laying in a blind corner, at 2 AM, on the most deserted road you could possibly imagine. You could drive this road 1000 times and never see another human being. Thankfully, I heard the car start to slow, and then the most amazing thing happened, blinking red and blues lit up on top of the car. It was a cop. In the absolute middle of nowhere, at 2 AM, there was me, and 15 seconds behind me was a police officer. Within 15 minutes there was an ambulance there. Had the officer not found me almost immediately after the accident, I almost surely would of bled to death. I don't remember anything about the ambulance or the ride to the hospital. The next clear memory I have is of the hospital.
After spending 14 hours in traction, I went in for surgery. The surgeon drilled a hole in my hip bone, and another in my knee to accept a titanium split. The splint is about 1/2 an inch in diameter, runs the length of my femur, is held in place by two 2.5 inch screws, and is permanent. My left knee cap was also shattered during the accident. From a surgical standpoint it was basically left alone. There was some minor repositioning of the bone fragments through manipulation of the skin, but the shattered knee cap was essentially left to heal on its own.
My right leg was caught on the motorcycle when I crashed. I still don't know exactly how or what I was caught on, but whatever my leg was hung up slashed my right thigh pretty badly. It cut through my pants, through my thigh, and if it were not for my femur, most likely would of cut off my leg. The injury is about 2 inches above my knee, and it looks like someone took a paper shear and sliced straight down in an attempt to cut off my leg. The wound cut some tendons, veins, and most notably my femoral artery. After some minor surgery to stop the bleeding, reattach the tendons, and stitch the muscle back together, I made a full recovery with my right leg.
I spent 9 days in the hospital, and another 3 months on the couch at home. The surgeon told me it would be 6 months before I could walk normally, if ever, and I would never ski again. After 9 weeks I began to hobble about at home with a walker. I started some in home physical therapy with a stellar physical therapist, and slowly began to rebuild my legs. After 3 months, the surgeon finally cleared me to become weight bearing on both legs 100%. After 5 months I was walking and running like normal, and decided to hit the ski slopes to see what would happen. There were some limitations due to muscle weakness in my left leg, but the actual skiing went wonderfully. At 6 months I went to the surgeon for what ended up being my final follow up. There were several things that the surgeon was impressed by. My strength, range of motion, ability to run and ski, and some other medical things that I don't understand. At the end of the visit the surgeon cleared me to return to normal life, skiing and all. He was amazed that there was no pain in either leg, and advised me to seek a sports therapist if my legs began to hurt later.
I credit my amazing recovery to a few things. First, was the physical condition of my legs. Since age 11 I had been taking a Taekwondo class twice a week. I also skied pretty regularly. The musculature and flexibility of my legs was outstanding prior to the accident. I was also in pretty good cardiovascular condition. Second, the skill of the surgeon and physical therapists that worked with/on me. Quality health professionals made all the difference. Third, but certainly not least, God. I'm not a very religious person, but without the miracle of the the officer finding me, I wouldn't be here to write this. That cop, in the middle of nowhere, is a pretty astonishing thing to have happened. The odds of that occurring would conservatively be 1,000,000 to 1, probably more.
Anyway, the accident was in 2004, I still have no pain, I run, jump, ski, and most recently have taken up a full contact Muay Thai/Jujitsu class.
And the moral of the story is...
There were several things that led to the unfortunate accident on the motorcycle. I never got a motorcycle endorsement, never took a safety course, and vastly over estimated my abilities on the bike. If you do decide to enter into the wonderful world of motorcycling, be sure not to make the same idiotic mistakes I did, you are literally taking your life in your hands when you ride, make your hands prepared for the responsibility.