Friday, July 23, 2010

Safe Crap

You can always do "safe crap"! Where's the challenge in that? Anybody can do "safe crap". If there is no risk involved, then why do it and where's the fun? These phrases were overheard on a recent Saturday afternoon when my wife and I went to a small lake in the area to help out our son. He is a high school cross country coach and he had helped arrange for his team to do a sort of mini triathlon at the lake. They needed a little help with manning some water stations for the athletes. We volunteered. It was a really hot day. Temps in the 90's, Humidity was almost unbearable. Swimming, then Bicycling, then Running. The distances were reduced because of the heat, but it was still grueling. The athletes did great in spite of the weather conditions, but it was obvious that the heat was having a detrimental effect. There was some discussion about the sanity of trying to do a triathlon under these conditions. Why couldn't they pick a better day? Well, you can't always pick the weather you want, especially in Mid-July in Kansas. Then I overheard somebody respond by saying that "You can always do safe crap". I mean, why would anyone even attempt a triathlon. It really can't be all that much fun. Maybe the motivation lies in the challenge. Then why would you complicate it by adding in a dangerous element, 100 degree heat. Maybe another part of the motivation is the danger involved. A rough quote from one of my favorite movies, "A League of Their Own", that stars Tom Hanks and Geena Davis, goes like this: Baseball is "hard"! It's the "hard" that makes it great! If it was "easy", everyone would do it! When I heard the statement about "safe crap", I thought about motorcycling. Some of us may actually like motorcycling partly because there is some element of danger involved. Safe and easy? Not entirely so. There are a lot of other reasons to enjoy riding as well, but you can't ignore the feeling that there is some challenge to it. Some people may lead their lives hoping to avoid danger. They might be the kind of people that would mention, at lunch, sort of in passing, that there sure seemed to be a lot of bad motorcycle accidents recently. The comment would seem innocent but you know it was directed at you. They don't come right out and say that they think you are an idiot for riding, but ......... Those people would also not go for a run in 100 degree weather. They would wait until later when it cooled off, go to the club, or maybe not go at all. You won't catch many of these people on a motorcycle. They consider it just too dangerous even though they would probably enjoy the hell out of a ride if they went on one. The observation is that there are some people willing to take some "calculated" risks in their lives. Maybe they will occasionally do something unusual or out of the ordinary. Maybe they are more prone to accept challenges. Other people seem to be just the opposite. They seem to always avoid risk and endeavor to always do what might be considered right, safe or predictable in all circumstances. I am not saying one way is better than another. But I do have an opinion about who is "living" and who may be just "surviving". I, for one, admire people that accept and respond positively to challenges. Those high school students on that day sure earned a lot of admiration from me.


  1. Personally, I ride because of the neat clothes I get to wear.

    Although I'm afraid my 13AA feet and rocs don't get along very well.

    Seriously, the challenge of managing the risk of riding and doing what I can to minimize these risks is definitley one of many reasons I ride.

    Last night when I was filling up my Symba at the gas station a gentlemen in the car next to me asked me how many miles to the gallon I got. I answered and then he told me he used to ride, but didn't anymore. He didn't feel safe anymore. There were too many people out there that didn't see motorcycles.

    There is a line isn't there, an edge between safe enough and not safe. At the time I thought to myself: I never expect to be seen. I take it for granted that no one can see me and ride accordingly. I wear hi vis (neat clothes), but this attitude of being cloaked is one of the ways I manage the risk of riding....and, I suppose feel safe in an unsafe activity.


  2. Oops. I wrote: "Although I'm afraid my 13AA feet and rocs don't get along very well."

    I meant to write: "Crocs" rather than "rocs"

    Oh well.