Mewsings from Lowecat (aka Indianacat)

My rants, ravings, and overall 'mewsings' on life, the universe, and everything.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

One Year Later

I wasn't able to ride a lot last year; as Tig, my 1981 Yahama Seca 750 was sufferin' from a rusty gas tank that made ridin' next to impossible. However, I remember the sunny day in August when it came out on the news of a terrible crash involvin' an IMPD (Indianapolis Metro Police Dept) vehicle plowing into three stopped motorcycles from behind. One of the riders was physically unharmed, though he carries the emotional scars for the rest of his life. Two people, an engaged couple, were severely injured. One person died.

The police officer involved had a blood alcohol content that was reportedly nearly two times the legal Indiana limit. He didn't act drunk, according to witnesses on the scene. The blood draw was performed at a local occupational health center near downtown Indy. It has twice been thrown out as use as evidence due to a technicality.

2010 also saw the loss of an outlaw motorcyclist and his old lady by a possibly drunk driver, that case, too, seems stuck in juidicial purgatory. The cop, David Brusard's case, may not go to trial until 2012.

I support the cops, as most of 'em do the right thing (see my blog about a Fallen Officer). The bad apples do tend to spoil the whole barrel for all of us, though. So today was a day of mixed emotions for me. I belong to the Facebook Page to wear blue on Saturday to Honor Fallen Officers, and wore a tee shirt for the ride purchased today over my HD shirt to support the injured riders. The proceeds from the ride's registration fee and shirt sales are going to help the survivors medical bills.

This was my first event ride in years. It started pretty early for me, as I'm not much of a mornin' person. I gassed up Tig, so there'd be no surprises, put on my leather vest with my cat pins and patch for the Indy Tarts and Tartans Gerard Butler fan group on it, my sunglasses, stuck a water bottle in my pocket, and took off.

Meeting other riders from all walks of life was quite a lot of fun. We look out for each other, whether in a club or not. There were bikes as old as mine, plenty of Harleys, women riders like me, old and young and middle aged men, and a few families were there. A few people expressed an interest in Tig, asking his age, complimenting his looks, and wishing me a safe ride.

There were a few club members there, whether there were outlaws is hard to say. There were definitely some characters there, with their bushy mustaches, their long hair, their patches on their vests. Women in do wraps and kercheifs riding with their men. Young guys with fancy bikes, and older guys with touring bikes. I met one fella with long blonde hair that flowed down his back. From a distance, he resembled Dog the Bounty Hunter and/or Brett Michaels. He was very pleasant to talk to, asking me how long I'd been riding, and kinda kept an eye on me when he could.

Media was there, but they kinda stayed to the sidelines. I did get my 15 seconds of fame on one of the local channels coverage, and you'll find it here:

Go to the story Hundreds of Riders Attend Eric Wells Memorial Ride, and look closely at the 2:48 mark.

Getting back to the story. How does one describe the feeling of hearing roaring engines, the smell of the exhaust of many bikes, the feeling of belonging that happens in an event like that? It's overwhelming, and humbling. Pulling out of the parking area was a lot like the Sons pulling out of Teller - Morrow. We just went in line, side by side.

Before we started out, there was a short memorial service. Mr. Well's mom spoke to us, and one of their family read a poem that was read at his funeral last year. Balloons were released, not just honoring him, but had the name of every fallen rider in the last year. The balloons were the colors of Harley, orange and black. A little strange humor came out when some of the balloons seemed to want to stay 'grounded'. They never wanted to go in the air.

One of the most poignant times happened before the service, when a lot of us were standing or sitting on our bikes. Mary Wells and Kurt Weekly, the injured engaged couple, walked down the line of bikes to say 'Thank You' to each one of us. So did Mrs. Wells. She told me, when finding out this was my first event ride in years, that I had an angel named Eric riding on my shoulder. Wow.

We got lined up on 56th Street, two lines in each lane. I had a Harley beside me, one in front of me, and then one pulled up next to me. 56th is a four lane street, so we had plenty of room. Once all the bikes were lined up, somehow we all knew to rev our engines in a mighty roar. Tig roared as just as loudly as the others, you'll be pleased to know. There was something to be said about the feeling of being a part of that event. A feeling of doing something special.

Course, when we hit the interstate, we had to watch out for the cars that weren't watching for us. But no one had any close calls of any kind. Thank God.

I'm going to give a shout out to IMPD. Initially, they were not going to provide us with an escort. They still didn't, which would've been nice to have on the highway. BUT, they did close off 56th street for us, and also closed off many of the downtown intersections as we cruised to the city - county building. I made sure to give 'em a thumbs up when I passed 'em (and did so safely), to show that their presence was appreciated. After all, the event hurt them, too.

And that may be why a motorcycle or cruiser escort wasn't made available for this particular run. Though accused and pleading not guilty, Officer Brusard is one of their own. To assist us could've been seen as turnin' their backs on a brother in blue. To not help us at all would've been a public relations nightmare. Could IMPD have done more? Probably. The fact that they did ANYTHING, in my humble opinion, says a lot about the men and women who serve and protect.

So I rode today in honor not just of Eric Wells, or the Ghostrider MC rider and his old lady, or any other fallen rider lost in the last year. I didn't just ride today to wear blue in honor of the fallen officers. I rode today to support all who seek an end to the hurt we've all felt, to honor those who were lost, and those who serve.

Not bad for $45 worth of donation.

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