All things must end :(


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More than just a Motorcycle.
Please read the whole thing.

I lost an immensely important piece of me. I hope I can explain.

As a machine, my 1982 Suzuki GS550LZ was rebuilt with a lot of love and with the support of some really close friends and my wife (she wouldn’t ride it, but completely supported me). It was truly a grand achievement. I had taken someone else’s abandoned, disassembled boxes of parts and turned them back into a machine that even a non-motorcyclist could appreciate, and on a budget that would’ve made you call me a liar. It was a work of art. It was safe, and comfortable. Even though it was 40 years old, It looked and ran like a new bike and kept up with, and sometimes rode circles around, everything my friends had, even though they had much newer bikes worth much more money. I was proud of my bike, and it was the possession of mine that I took the most care of.

My motorcycle was much more than just a machine though, it was my escape from the realities of the pandemic, and then more notably, my wife’s breast cancer. It was my guarantee that I could affordably go anywhere, and do anything, even if it was just for a few hours or a few days. I didn’t ride it as much as I wanted, but I COULD, and knowing you have an escape is very important. Its size and cost of ownership fit our near-destitute budget without problems. It was so cheap to own and operate that I could enjoy it without guilt. It was also an instrument that allowed me to fulfill my innate need to add to people's happiness, by taking me to places and putting me in the right mindset to capture beautiful, unique images and videos and freely share them. I know this worked because I've gotten unsolicited feedback from different people mourning the loss of this contribution to their own lives.

My motorcycle was my emotional support animal. And when just the ride wasn’t quite enough, I could find a date and time when my best friend was available and we would ride together. But those rides were even more. We, together, had gotten a pair of intercom helmets. Operating a motorcycle puts you in a different mental space. We could ride for hours and talk literally the whole time about life, people, problems, etc. It didn't matter and no subject was taboo. When the batteries ran out, we would plug the helmet straight into a battery pack so we could continue the conversation. I challenge you to find me a better definition of therapy, and one that costs so very little.

All that ended on Thursday morning, October 27, 2022. A car pulled out in front of my motorcycle in my neighborhood. I was unable to avoid her hitting me and I was thrown several feet. Lifeflight was initially called, but then canceled ( I guess because they were able to stabilize me at the scene). I was unconscious for several minutes. I broke nearly all the ribs on the right side of my body in the back. I now have 3 titanium plates on 3 of the broken ribs to stabilize them. I had a punctured and collapsed lung. I also broke my left thumb, and had several other less significant injuries.

My bike is totaled. I initially hoped I would be able to repair it, but the physical damage extends to the actual frame, which is badly bent. I will eventually heal physically. The emotional damage cuts much deeper.

Goodbye, my friend.

Wife's Cancer goFundme (now mine I guess)
Wife's CaringBridge Journal ( a great read, BTW)


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Learning the Ropes
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That is just awful to hear, especially after doing such a beautiful job putting your bike together.

Keep your chin up and heal quickly.



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This saddens me greatly. Your pictures of that bike made it look phenomenal, and I can only hope my own turns out that well.

My dad lost his bike in a similar fashion when I was in high school.

He had a Yamaha XS1100J, over time he had gotten the bike running, cleaned up, and piece by piece had acquired a full Vetter set just like yours. I recall he used a trunk rack off a Suzuki, and a hitch from a BMW to complete everything, and we had a tiny trailer we pulled behind. Even had the radio housing, fairing lowers, and by the time it was done, a 4:1 SuperTrapp exhaust on it.

He was on his way to work one misty morning, all lights on, and wearing a bright rainslick, and some kid was in a hurry to pull into a car lot, pulled right in front of my dad, bike caught the car right behind the front tire and totaled it. Totaled the bike, threw my dad down the road, breaking both his wrists and undoing years of chiropractic work.

That bike was the inspiration for building mine. Shitty relationship with my dad, but that bike was my best childhood memory with him, and I wanted that at least.

Heal up, and stay positive!


Learning the Ropes
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Very sad news indeed Tom after all the great job on that bike, but most of all your health first.
The bike you can rebuild it later on.
Stay positive.

Alan F.

Vetter Aficionado
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I completely agree bikes love the attention and wait patiently.
I'm sorry to hear of your injuries. I know I don't heal as well as I used to, so good luck. Keep a sharp eye on your nutritional intake, some guys fall into bad eating habits and wind up with other issues?arising. Good nutrition intake will optimize your bodies ability to heal.

As for your bike, shout it out. Someone has a frame for you, after that just swap over piece by piece inspecting each part as you go.

Kynan C.

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Wow Tom, thanks so much for sharing your scary and sad story. The pictures of your accident really hit home. For the many years I have been riding (knocking on wood) I have not crashed to that extent. I am glad you are still with us and your noodle wasn't damaged, your bike can be resurrected in one fashion or another.

Speedy recovery to you!