Feb 212013

Reprinted from Cyclerides 2/20/2013.

1.  Putting on rain gear. If it looks like rain, smells like rain, and there is rain on the pavement, it is probably raining. It is now officially PAST time to put your rain gear on. Put rain gear on PRIOR to all of the obvious signs.

Lesson: Error to putting on rain gear too soon. It only takes a couple of times of getting drenched to learn this one.

2.  Learn that “E” on the gas gauge actually does mean empty. It does not stand for “E-ternity of Gas”. I sometimes tend to get those confused. Figuring out how far past the “E” you can ride is useful in the game to see how far you can go on a tank of gas. To win the game you are able to ride into the gas station and actually put more gas in the tank than it holds. Losing the game involves a call to AAA from the side of the road. My record is now 5.3 gallons in a 5 gallon tank.

Lesson: Walk 3 miles for gas in 100 degrees and you won’t make that mistake again.

3.  Estimating time to ride to destination.  Getting it through my head that 350 miles of riding through mountain passes and twisties is going to take considerably longer than 350 miles on a Montana freeway. One of my more famous quotes on a trip; “It is only 350 miles, we should be there by 3pm.” I am reminded of this quote at 5pm by Mrs. C. when we are still 100 miles away.

Lesson: Learn it. Always OVER estimate how long it will take.

4.  Be sure bike is in neutral when starting. After 35 plus years of riding, this one still tends to get me every once in a while. Nothing much worse than going to your bike at a bike night, thinking it is in neutral and pushing the start button to find out that you were wrong. However, it is quite entertaining for all of the people that saw you make this common rookie mistake. Pull in the clutch or make sure it is in neutral before pushing the start button.

Lesson: Don’t be the subject of the jokes for the rest of the day.

5.  Confirm that the kickstand is secure before dismounting. I had this happen in Ouray, CO. a few years ago. I put the kickstand down on the severely sloped main St. a little too straight up. The wind was blowing pretty good and when I got about 4 steps away from the bike I heard a big crash. It had blown over. Fortunately no serious damage to levers, etc. and I was able to ride it.

Lesson: Make sure that bike is stable on kickstand.

6.  Directions. No matter how much I like my GPS and no matter how many times it has saved me, road signs still trump the GPS. If you know you are supposed to be on I-70 West and the sign clearly says I-70 West, go with the sign.

Lesson: Know what you know.

7.  Eating regularly. I am the kind of guy that will eat a big breakfast and be good until we stop for dinner. My thought is that stopping to eat is “Burning Daylight”. Not everyone shares my thoughts on this. Much easier on yourself to stop and get your spouse some food when she is ready for it. Generally the only source of real discussion on our trips.

Lesson: Keep your wife well fed. Makes for a more enjoyable ride.

8.  Be aware of under dressing. Realize that standing still in the sun with a short sleeve t-shirt on in 60 degree weather does not feel the same as riding 70 mph in the same temperature and attire. Over dressing will never be a problem for me.

Lesson: Learn how to “Layer” properly. It is easier to deal with too many clothes on than it is to freeze for 100 miles. Error to over dressing.

9.  Make sure saddlebag lids are latched before riding. Not only do you lose your personal belongings out of the bags, it can be perceived as an amateur move. It is very embarrassing when the guy in the minivan pulls up next to you and points to your saddlebag lid flapping in the breeze.

Lesson: Can be very expensive if your leather jacket flies out.

10. Stop taking off with kickstand down. Rookie mistake #1. It is embarrassing to have someone point at your kickstand when you are riding to find that it is still down. It also makes left turns much more challenging. Page 12 in the riders manual advises against this activity. Never can figure out how I forget this. Usually stems from being distracted just as you take your bike off of the side stand.

Lesson: Dangerous. Stop doing it.

Mar 022012

POLICE OFFICER ‘MUST’ READ:::::::::::::::::::



In World Wars I and II when a G.I. was discharged from the military service, some suffered from what was then called shell shock or combat fatigue. Following later conflicts such as Korea, Vietnam, and now Afghanistan it is now referred to as post-traumatic stress disorder.

In the past few years and especially now, when I have been in church or other gatherings, the speaker will sometimes ask all of the service men and women, both past and present to stand and they are given a round of applause, which they well deserve.  Sitting in the same church or hall there are police officers sitting alongside these veterans.  Usually there is no mention or thanks given to them. They stand and applaud the service men. Many of them are ex-service men themselves.

Many police officers suffer from shell shock. “What” you ask? “They have never been in combat”. Oh yes they have, maybe two hours at a time or two or three minutes at a time. They have been there, on the line, and they have risked their lives repeatedly in the line of duty. Twenty to thirty years of brief combat encounters adds up to a lot of accumulated combat time. As a result, a number of officers suffer from a milder form of post-traumatic stress disorder from time to time. They do not recognize the symptoms as they are slow and insidious. This is in most cases is only a temporary mild emotional trauma that goes away by itself, unbeknownst to the officer or others.

Police are taught in the police academies that they can be killed by kids, crooks, and housewives.  They are taught hand-to-hand combat and they spend weeks on the firing range learning the fundamentals of pistol shooting.  Some believe they are being taught how to kill people, much as the military does with its young recruits.  But that’s not the case for Officers; they are being taught how to neutralize a situation; how to make sure a “bad guy” doesn’t have an opportunity to kill the officer or a citizen. Believe me they have plenty of opportunity to use all of this training.

What they are not taught is how to cope with the irregular working hours, the disrupted family life, the high rate of divorce, alcoholism, suicide and though infrequently, the homicide of  loved one.

A non-police officer friend of mine stated to me that most police officers and retired police officers are a little hard-hearted.  I thought for a moment and said, “You know, you are right.” He was right; police officers see the world differently than other people. They mostly live a life of isolation, many times self-imposed, in a quasi-military organization. Police officers have their own secret argot, a jargon, a language all their own.  They also have a code of ethics, an inner sanctum where outsiders are not allowed to enter. This adds to their isolation even more.

Yes, police officers remember the pedophiles, the serial killers, the rapist, the battered and neglected children and the murder victims.  These memories are embedded in their subconscious minds, etched into their conscious memories.

Psychiatrists’ tell us that a person’s conscious mind can endure horror but the subconscious mind suppresses these experiences and does not forget them.  The subconscious mind will not let it go, and some of the images hang in our memories like a wet blanket, like a physiological bank of crime scenes, sounds and cries of death and dying. Police officers stare death in the face on a daily basis. Luckily the conscious mind has a defense mechanism so one can survive in this continued human misery of their work environment.

A police officer friend of mine handled an accident where a 14-year-old boy was run over by a car, when he ran a stop sign on his motor scooter. The boy stayed under the car for 100 feet, the car and the pavement grinding him into hamburger, blood, guts and brains and bone parts. The remains of the youngster were smeared into the pavement.  His body was mangled beyond recognition.  After he had completed the accident report, he went to the boy’s home and informed his mother of her young son’s death. She was home alone; he heard her screams of anguish and tried to comfort her to no avail. She collapsed to the floor. He stayed with her until the husband could be summoned and arrived home. These incidents do not go unremembered, ever.

He was working the afternoon shift and when he got home that night; his family was already in bed.  He decided to have a nightcap.  He unexpectedly drank much more than he anticipated.  Why? The horror of what he had witnessed; his subconscious mind could not cope with it.  This incident occurred thirty years ago; he tells it to me with sadness in his voice and with vivid details, like it happened yesterday.

The stench of death settles into our minds and we don’t forget these memories, they are lying just below the surface, just waiting to leap out and remind us of our past. Police officers have old repressed, unpleasant memories that are hidden away deep in the back of their minds, and sometimes they began to stir and surface unexpectedly with vivid clarity. Some memories never die. One retired officer explained to me that he has many good memories but also some not so pleasant in the mix.  There is no way to escape the pain of the reality of his past experiences. There is no way to stop the past coming back to you; it is something that you have to live with. Some cope with it better than others.

Police officers have seen people who have been shot with shotguns at close range. People’s brains and flesh blown all over the walls, blood running out of people as thick as Jell-O. Watched victims bleed out, watched them die, held their hand and felt their last heartbeat. They have seen women who were beaten to death, babies who have drowned.  They deal with screaming, drunken dope addicts, thieves, panhandlers, whores, their pimps and the scum of the earth on a daily basis. They work in the gutters of the devils’ playground. On the lighter side, occasionally a police officer delivered a baby. Many of these babies are named after the police officers that delivered them.

They have heard the screams of mothers, wives and husbands when they delivered the news of death. They have sat with them and tried to console them in their time of remorse. Incidents that they haven’t thought of for years, things they thought they had forgotten come creeping back into their conscious minds.

Many police officers die young. They have a very high rate of coronary disease due to stress and horror they have witnessed. The average age of death for a police officer is fifty-seven to sixty years of age. The rate of divorce is around seventy to eighty percent. They die prematurely, the predator is stress.

Police officers are exposed to stress in their work on a regular basis. Stress has been defined as, a state of unbalance where negative occurrences far outweigh the individual’s ability to cope with them.

Police Officers do not work in an arena of gladness or happiness.  They work in a danger zone filled with despair, pain, hurt and bad news. This day after day of negative occurrences wears on the officer.  Whenever, you see a police officer’s car speeding somewhere, he is not going to a pleasant incident.  Someone has been hurt, dying, been robbed, or raped, something unpleasant has happened. There is a victim at the end of the officer’s run.

There is always an element of danger, but the officer knows this and accepts this as part of his sworn duty, it’s his job. He hopes and believes that he is doing something that’s makes a difference.

I don’t think officers are consciously worried about getting killed on the job, but they are aware of it and know that death stalks them.  Most of them have a friend or have known a fellow officer who has been killed in the line of duty. The officers who are killed are mostly ambushed and shot at close range.  There is really no defense against this, they know this. They work around the clock when its dark, when everybody else is sleeping the cops and criminals are awake, they are out there with them, chasing them, arresting them.  Almost all police officers have been in what could have been a serious automobile accident.   Police officers are beaten, stabbed, shot, spit on and cursed and shot at.

Many police officers work in a world of filth and human rot and sewage in the high crime areas, others work the better zones.  Danger lurks everywhere for the police officer.  He is taught in the police academy that anybody, a housewife or a kid, or an old man can kill you; never to let their guard down.  They are out there working right now, putting their lives on the line for you.

Police officers; hardhearted? Yes, sometimes they are!  They are also plagued by the tenderness taught to them by their parents, their churches and their friends as they were growing up. This empathy sometimes gets them killed; feeling sorry for someone causes them to let their guard down.

Every once in a while you see on the news where some old retired cop intervenes into a crime in progress and saves someone’s life. A few weeks ago a city bus turned over, trapping a woman under it. She was crushed and in great pain, screaming in agony. A police officer crawled under the teetering bus and held this woman’s hand and talked to her in her time of crisis until the bus could be lifted off of her. I am sure he considered the risk to himself and did not hesitate going under the bus with the woman. He witnessed her life ebb away, he had prayed with her. A hardhearted cop, a tough cop crawled under that bus.  A cop crawled out from under that bus that could not conceal or suppress his compassion; his hard exterior crumbled, the tears flowing down his cheeks gave him away.

Like the old saying goes, “Once a Marine, Always a Marine” Well some have said, “Once a Cop, always a Cop” Both statements are true.

Remember police officers have seen and done what most people have only seen on their televisions. They have a strong sense of personal duty to the public. There is also the satisfaction in knowing that they are doing a service for their fellow citizens.  They are a dedicated band of brothers. They have a great camaraderie with each other and will put their lives on the line for each other and for you.  Many have; many have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

God Bless these unsung heroes. If you should encounter a police officer, salute the badge and tell them “Thank You Officer, I appreciate what you are doing; you guys are doing a good job.”

They won’t expect it and do not expect it, it’s their job. They may smile and say, “You are welcome”, they may not. They may not show it. You have told them something they seldom hear. I am sure that they will appreciate the pat on the back.

I know that cops give you tickets, and they put you in jail. They also keep the peace; they keep the criminals at bay.  I know that the most encounters with police are not pleasant. I just ask that you just be aware of what I have just related to you.

The longer a police officer is retired the more tragic memories fade into a hazy opaque mist, his sensitivity returns. Old memories of fellow officers they have known and loved come into play. The satisfaction that they served well and time heals many old wounds.

They have a dirty and many times a thankless job. There is a certain sense of responsibility, pride, excitement and danger in being a police officer.  They like what they are doing or they would not be doing it. Hopefully they are content that they did a good job that they did what was expected of them.  They do not expect your approval, never did, never will.

When or if they are asked to stand for recognition, most will not. ..

Copy Right:  2011

ASAP (Always Say A Prayer)

Be who you are and say what you feel…

Because those that matter…Don’t mind…

And those that mind…Don’t matter!

Determination “It’s a little bit like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when you’re tired.  You quit when the gorilla is tired.”

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven in the lives of others!”

David Herold


“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are, right now.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Mar 292011

Once the badge goes on, it never comes off, whether they can see it, or not. It fuses to the soul through adversity, fear and adrenaline and no one who has ever worn it with pride, integrity and guts, can ever sleep through the ‘call of the wild’ that wafts through bedroom windows in the deep of the night.

When Cops Retire

When a good cop leaves the ‘job’ and retires to a better life, many are jealous, some are pleased and yet others, who may have already retired, wonder. We wonder if he knows what he is leaving behind, because we already know. We know, for example, that after a lifetime of camaraderie that few experience, it will remain as a longing for those past times. We know in the law enforcement life there is a fellowship which lasts long after the uniforms are hung up in the back of the closet . We know even if he throws them away, they will be on him with every step and breath that remains in his life. We also know how the very bearing of the man speaks of what he was and in his heart still is.

These are the burdens of the job. You will still look at people suspiciously, still see what others do not see or choose to ignore and always will look at the rest of the law enforcement world with a respect for what they do; only grown in a lifetime of knowing. Never think for one moment you are escaping from that life. You are only escaping the ‘job’ and merely being allowed to leave ‘active’ duty.

So what I wish for you is that whenever you ease into retirement, in your heart you never forget for one moment that ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called children of God,’ and you are still a member of the greatest fraternity the world has ever known.

Civilian Friends vs Police Friends

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Get upset if you’re too busy to talk to them for a week.
POLICE FRIENDS: Are glad to see you after years, and will happily carry on the same conversation you were having the last time you met.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have never seen you cry.
POLICE FRIENDS: Have cried with you.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back.
POLICE FRIENDS: Keep your stuff so long they forget it’s yours.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Know a few things about you..
POLICE FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that’s what the crowd is doing.
POLICE FRIENDS: Will kick the crowds’ ass that left you behind.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Are for a while.
POLICE FRIENDS: Are for life.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have shared a few experiences. ..
POLICE FRIENDS: Have shared a lifetime of experiences no citizen could ever dream of…

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will take your drink away when they think you’ve had enough.
POLICE FRIENDS: Will look at you stumbling all over the place and say, ‘You better drink the rest of that before you spill it!!’ Then carry you home safely and put you to bed…

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will talk crap to the person who talks crap about you.
POLICE FRIENDS: Will knock them the hell out for using your name in vain.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will ignore this.
POLICE FRIENDS: Will forward this..

There are those that think they understand. And then . . . There are cops