5 years ago, on Tracy’s birthday, the 23rd August 2007, whilst riding through the stunning scenery near the High Tatra mountains in Slovakia, our lives were changed permanently in a heartbeat.
We were heading back to the campsite having spent the morning sightseeing, when we were hit hard by a truck performing an illegal U-turn without warning just as we were alongside. The impact broke my knee and destroyed my bike. But worse, it also seriously injured my wonderful wife, Tracy, leaving her with a catalogue of injuries that don’t warrant repeating. Her spirit and strength enabled her to endure endless operations and skin-grafts and hours of painful physio and rehabilitation. She suffered a lot with post-traumatic stress disorder and had endless nightmares as she relived the moments before and immediately after the incident. She was forced to give up the nursing career she had pursued since she was a young child and leave her job as a district nurse. She had to learn to manage with a right arm that is barely functional, and to put up with the disgusted stares of passers-by should they catch a glimpse of her wasted right forearm (which she still hides whenever she can). She takes so many tablets to control the constant pain she is in that the pharmacists at our local Boots know her by name and we have had to allocate an entire kitchen cupboard to store. She naturally and understandably developed a fear of motorcycles that was in stark contrast to her pre-incident love of them. She would often be panic-stricken when I would return from a ride a few minutes later than I’d thought, and I’d return home to see her pale face eagerly watching for me from the window, the fear that something had happened to me etched on her face.
So what happened 5 years to the day after the accident was nothing short of a miracle.
The picture tells the story better than I ever could. Just look at the smile on her face…
Yes, she decided that it was time for her to get back on a bike again. Something I thought would never happen.
Whilst she will never be able to ride her own bike again (her right arm is permanently disabled), she used to love coming on my bike and it’s just fantastic to have her back there once more!
Our first ride together was relatively short, just over the moors to Hebden Bridge for a coffee, but her smile was just as wide when we got back, so I hope it won’t be too long before we can get out again and perhaps go a little further. I doubt her back will ever be strong enough to put up with long journeys, but at least now we can once again share one of our lives’ greatest passions - being out on our motorcycle!