I have disabilities that make swinging a leg over a motorcycle not impossible, but uncomfortable. Also, I have hands that don't work too well, which makes it difficult to use the clutch lever. Several years ago, I sold my Kawasaki Voyager and was bikeless for a while. Then I heard about the Honda Helix. I still have it and I'm still riding.
So, I would suggest to those who can no longer handle a motorcycle, check out one of the new "super scooters." They have big motors and are fast enough to run with any traffic anywhere. Plus, there is no clutch lever.
To those who might say, "Yeah, but it ain't a motorcycle," I say, "Try it. You might like it. And at least you're riding again."
My girlfriend's name is Robin. She's a beautiful woman who is gifted in many ways. Robin suffers from spina bifida, a fusing of the spine that forces her to use a wheelchair or crutches. The characteristic that most drew me to her was her spirit. She could easily complain about her condition or acceptance but she never has.
When we started riding together on my 2000 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic, we ran into several stumbling blocks. The most challenging was devising a way to carry her wheelchair with us.
Well, Robin wanted to ride so bad and I was determined to give her that. So, after one bright idea, three toolboxes, a new luggage rack, and four 2x4s later, I had come up with a workable product. It holds the wheelchair like the garage hangers you use for bicycles. After a test trip, we set off on a summer run to Sturgis, South Dakota.
We rode 3,800 miles in nine days, through rolling hills and valleys, across rivers, through the dry Badlands, up into the Black Hills, stared at the majesty of chiseled rock, through canyons and past pastures that seemed endless. On the return trip she was pelted with hard rain as we chased a thunderstorm through South Dakota and Minnesota. She didn't complain, even on our last day, when we pushed ourselves 16 hours through Pennsylvania to our home in New Jersey.
I believe all things are possible with hard work and patience. I also believe that this woman has shown me the real meaning of the words courage, endurance and spirit.
My wife, Alice, has carpal tunnel syndrome in both of her hands from working a manufacturing job all her life. She had problems holding the clutch lever in while we rode in heavy traffic, so I installed a White Bros. Easy Boy clutch arm kit. The kit extends the clutch arm at the transmission so that at the clutch lever you have more leverage. This allowed her to hold the clutch in for extended periods while in downtown Sturgis. She really likes it!
I have an artificial leg. My leg was amputated due to a birth defect. The only real difficulty I have riding is shifting with my left leg, as I don't have any ankle movement. The heel-toe shifter on my Harley works real well for me. I used to ride dirt bikes and missed many a shift while riding in the dirt. My buddies got used to hearing my bike singing away while I hunted for the next gear.
In conclusion, there are always ways of overcoming a handicap and doing the things one likes to do in life. Don't ever say, "I can't." That statement can be your downfall.
I have cerebral palsy, a muscular disorder that affects my legs, hands and speech. I also have scoliosis, a lateral curvature of the spine, and I was unable to walk until age 7, when I had surgery. That has not stopped me from riding street bikes and ATVs. I currently race ATVs for the sheer pleasure of having fun in the dirt and for the competition. A person needs to take risks in life sometimes. I'm glad I did. Otherwise, I would have missed out on a lot.