I have a friend whose husband was an active member in a “brotherhood” of bikers a few years back and I remember thinking that I liked the idea of a group of people with a common interest supporting each other and doing something worthwhile. Their brotherhood would hold fundraiser rides and other events and, of course, support their members during any time of need. I saw it as a positive spin on the biker gang stereotype of old.
I’ve historically been a solo rider, but definitely not a loner, riding with different friends at different times. I love planning my route, on bike or otherwise, through towns where I can hopefully get to see a friend or family member just to get that little dose of kinship and love or support that keeps me replenished. And fortunately I have built some connections and made some friends along the way at motorcycle rallies and events so I am growing my circle of friends. I’m on HU, but don’t actively use it. I’m on ADV Rider but don’t actively use it. I’m a girl who has built a small Facebook network and I seem to rely on it for communication instead of working through the biker forums. I’ve always appreciated the open support that motorcyclists show each other – giving tips when crossing paths at a gas station or sharing supplies or contacts if a stranger needs help, etc.
However, my accident in Labrador nearly two weeks ago has opened my eyes to the incredible support and “brotherhood” that exists between riders in the world. While I was in the hospital, Brian reached out on ADV Rider to a local forum and several of the locals responded with incredibly generous support (probably pretty normal for Newfies and Labrador people as I am finding out). Lee offered to haul my bike more than 1000 miles from Goose Bay to St. John’s to catch it up with me. I’m from a mid-Western small town where some people would give you the shirt off their backs, as we say. But I can’t honestly say I know anyone who would go so far to help a stranger out.
Dave offered to store it, run errands for the invalid (that’s me) and lend moral support, and Mike stopped by for a chat and cheer-up session and showed me a tattoo of his tib-fib break on his right leg (small world, eh). Mike contacted another local rider, Tammy, who then offered us a place to stay while I recuperate.
After spending a few days at St. Clare’s in St. John’s and then a few more at a local hotel, I am now comfortably ensconced at that new friend’s lovely home. Over the years, I’ve opened my home to strangers and fellow travelers at times, but never have been in need of it myself. The kindness this person has shown me by opening her home to me moves me deeply. Strange, the difference in my perspective from being the recipient instead of the giver.
So I awoke in a new place today, with a small agenda – to let everyone know I am doing well, to start bending my knee a little more, to get a little stronger, to sit in the sun for a while, and to take a deep breath of gratitude for this brotherhood/sisterhood and the kindness of strangers.