Where bikers dare to sing
Today is a sort of special.
It's 12 months since I got my motorcycle.
I've mentioned the bike in previous posts but, for me, there's one thing special about having it. It has given me a longer-term view of my remaining time on this planet.
I generally have trouble imagining myself more than a few months down the road. This isn't just because of the terminal cancer (I was given 1 to 10 years in 2015). It's also because of depression which pre-dates the cancer. I have recurring thoughts of ending things and find it really hard to imagine myself being here six months from now.
Getting the bike has helped me break that limitation, at least to some extent. A year ago, as I hadn't ridden a motorcycle for 35 years, I didn't have the benefit of "no claims discount" to reduce my insurance premium. A year on and, Yay!, I have 20% NCD. I recall, back then, thinking ahead those 12 months, anticipating the insurance renewal.
There's also all the biker gear I have purchased since getting the bike. I normally keep clothing purchases to a minimum (a) because I could snuff it soon, and (b) because I'm slowly losing weight and the fit of clothing is hard to pin down... in the last 12 months my waistline has gone from 38 to 35 inches... I don't think it'll go much lower. Having the bike and a sensible attitude to rider protection, buying the necessary clothing was unavoidable.
Having the bike and getting out on it regularly has boosted my spirits in times of low mood. Knowing that my time is limited, and having invested in the bike and clothing, I see it almost as my duty to be out on the bike, flying the flag for those of us living with cancer. To coin a phrase, "A biker with cancer is still a biker" :-)
The cancer situation has moved on quite a way in those 12 months and I do wonder whether I'll see another 12, but I'll make the most of my time while I still am able. Not just the biking, but also the choir activities and friendships... they all make life special. It's as if the cancer is making my life more intense, each moment of joy is amplified and the people who matter to me become all the more important and valued.
Until next time.
Love the title! This is a really beautifully written blog. I'm glad to hear your bike gets you through difficult times. I especially love the last line of your blog. We've featured this on our home page as we like it so much.
All the best
Hi Jess. Thanks. I feel honoured :-)
Hi Thomas , you are an inspirational.Nothing should stop you now. Keep going, keep moving.xx
Thank you. I shall keep going for as long as I'm able :-)
At some stage, though, I will have to stop biking and that will be a sad day indeed. But I hope that will be a while yet.
Hi Thomas - that's totally inspiring for everybody who reads your post - you have a great positive attitude - Thank you for sharing it with us all - you've certainly brightened my day!
Thanks for your kind encouragement.
The positive attitude comes and goes... I grasp it while I can :-)
Hello there. I see my bike as my therapy too. Before my diagnosis of breast cancer in 2005 I had never ridden a motorcycle. Forward a bit, post treatment I was determined to live life to the full; part of that was getting my motorcycle licence at age 40. Fast forward a few more years, got my secondary (incurable) diagnosis last year which hit me sideways. Part of my symptoms is pain because of spread to my bones and my left arm in particular, so I was finding it hard to keep riding my beloved SV650. However, joy of joys, discovered that I can ride a Triumph Bonneville with my arm not so stretched - goodbye pain, hello beautiful brand new Bonnie. My partner has already come up with a plan to get a sidecar when I can't ride anymore.
Keep riding & singing :-)
When I got my bike, Feb 2017, I did wonder if there are others who have taken to biking after a cancer diagnosis. My Macmillan nurse wasn't aware of any. A biker group might be a good way to raise awareness (and perhaps research/support funds) of cancer in all its forms. You're the first "cancer biker" I've come across :-)
If you're ever down in Sussex (or Surrey, maybe), perhaps we could meet for coffee at one of the biker cafes.
May your riding joy continue for many months and years.
I've just been invited to take part in producing a cancer awareness biker calendar, I jumped at the chance even though it's up North. I have shared with the group your line about still being a biker as that seems to resonate with me.
My life does seem to compartmentalise though: there's the biker me, the cancer me, the working me, the church me, the family me - none of these appear to be the same person but I'm working on it.
I have met lots of women with breast cancer on the Motorbike Women facebook group but so far have not been able to mix the strands of my life together.
So grateful to Macmillan for providing this platform for us
I'm finding that it helps to write things out.
The cancer awareness biker calendar sounds interesting.I'd like to know more :-)
I can sort of relate to the compartmentalising thing. I find I try to switch off the cancer side of my life when I'm doing other things such as biking (including chatting with bikers at the cafe) and when at choir. People ask how I am, knowing I have cancer, and I generally just say "Oh, getting by". I really don't want to go into detail... too much of a downer.
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