Like our community which is in a huge growth stage, I too am experiencing a growth, different yet similar.

It is a growth of spirit and direction.

I had, for a time, lost my sense of direction, purpose - I rediscovered it when I started the paper and the devastating losses I experienced in Olds, took it way again - for a while.

You see when I started the newspaper 6 and a half years ago, I was a lost soul. I had been a florist, a farm girl. I loved riding horses, gardening and canning. And then I had a car accident and so much of what I thought was me - was suddenly, irrevocably gone.

I had new physical limitations to learn how to get around. Some I had to learn to accept.
Acceptance of those limitations was the hardest thing for me.

I pushed my body hard trying to get it to do things that only a short time before had come naturally. As a consequence I hurt myself even further.

One of the new limitations that I had the hardest time accepting was the fact that my ankles now roll over very easily. I have ZERO control over my ankles. That meant no more high heels. (As a former model, high heels were something I had plenty of.)

I loved beautiful shoes. I loved the way they made my legs look. I love the way my body moved when I wore a sexy shoe. I loved the way my body moved when I was wearing a "business" pump. They were distinctly different ways of moving - it depended on the shoe and how it made me feel.

The day that I finally came to accepting that I would never be able to wear high heels or gorgeous boots ever again - at least not with any degree of safety or comfort, was one of the most devastating days I had had in a while.

I had this beautiful pair of Harley-Davidson knee high boots that had double front zippers.
My foot doctor had just sentenced me to wearing ankle braces and army style riding boots for the rest of my life and I was none to pleased about it. (The Knee boots would not accommodate the braces.)

I remember thinking he was an ass, although painful, I was still wearing certain boots and shoes - I can do this was my attitude. You watch me Sawbones! One day very shortly after, in an attempt to prove him wrong, I got on my old sporty, gorgeous knee boots and all - and off I went. I made it a block.

The light had changed to red, I put my feet down. My left foot stepped on a rock, my ankle rolled and over bike and I went.

Having a 400+ lbs sporty on top of my leg did not feel real good and neither did my ego.

The driver behind me got out of his car and lifted the bike off me. I got up, my ankle was swelling and my hands were shaking.

I took the bike home along with my bruised and wounded pride.

I hobbled downstairs, sat with some boxes and purged my shoe closet of everything that was unsafe for me to wear. Over 300 pairs of shoes and boots...(My husband used to tease me that I was the Imelda Marcos of the north.)

It was for me, a hard and emotional afternoon. As I took exquisite $4 and $500 pairs of shoes, held them, admired them for their quality and craftsmanship, and then put them in boxes to give away. I admired the $20, $50 & $100 pairs in much the same fashion. I admired them for different reasons than the expensive ones, but I admired them none the less. I remembered different functions or times when I had worn them - some made me laugh, some made me cry.

In all, I gave away over $4,000 worth of foot wear that day and resigned myself to "granny" shoes. It seems that sensible and good looking do not really go hand in hand.

Now I know most guys reading this blog are scratching their heads right now. What the hell does High Heels and motorcycles have in common. Nothing - But safety and vanity are really what this small sad tale is about.

I have learned to appreciate my braces, orthopedic insoles and army boots. I now love the way I stride when I wear them. I appreciate that their functionality and sturdy looks are what allow me to stay on two wheels safely. I learned to be PRO my own safety and to ignore the female vanity.

After the financial loss of the Olds bike show, I went through another phase of personal growth.

I had to re examine why I was doing shows. I had to look at the fact that I had lost my passion and drive. I had to figure out what went wrong.

I revamped the newspaper and web site, and just like the re birthing they went through - so did I. I remembered why I had started the paper. My desire to see our community, the rider community have a place to have a voice and the deep desire to see it get some respect.
We as riders have so VERY MUCH to celebrate and there was no collective place for us to really share that sense of celebration.

As I sit here today and I look back on my personal growth so far I realize how far I have come.

I also realize even more, how important it is for our community, from coast to coast to coast - to communicate, share and evolve and to think about and work towards our common good.

Too often we spend time complaining about change, about laws we don't like and how others perceive us. We dwell on the things that bother us instead of celebrating all of the good that there is here.

The phase of growth I am in is about discovering/rediscovering that what you resist you get more of.

What you celebrate you also get more of.

Whatever you think about, what ever you put out there, you will get more of.

If we want more laws that restrict our freedom - keep fighting them.
If you want fewer laws that restrict become "FOR" something.

If you want more denigrating comments and attitudes about our community, just keep getting angry and being offended when they come your way. If you want to be treated with respect, then give respect and when you get it - CELEBRATE IT!

You see energy goes where attention flows.

The war on drugs has not stopped drugs - nope - it's accelerated the use because more people are living in an awareness about drugs.

I have decided to be for things I like/enjoy and to ignore and disregard as much as I am capable of, the things I don't. It's a weird place for someone in my position and yet - it's not.

You see, unlike a normal mainstream newspaper, the Busted Knuckle Chronicles has become a place of celebration. It is our place as riders to celebrate our differences, our achievements our communities.

While we still discuss controversial or touchy subjects, we tend to focus on being for a solution instead of just griping about things.

It's an interesting time to be in the rider community.
There are many challenges - some we have created through our own collective thoughtlessness (Loud Pipes Issues in particular), some have come from old perceptions (Bikers/Riders not being welcome in certain establishments) and others have come from our legislators who are trying to either make names for themselves or trying to get rid of a community they don't like or fear (Bill 117 in ON would be a good example - the attempt to ban kids under 14 from being allowed on motorcycles)

How will we as a community face these challenges - how will we change them?

By being FOR something instead of being against it, that's how.

The Bikers Discount Buying Club for riders and the Bikers Doing Business Association (The BDB Club) is one way we can reduce denigration. By elevating those who work with us, who want our business we reduce the impact that those who do not like or understand us have. By celebrating those who treat us well, we find more people willing to treat us well.

By being PRO rider training, awareness and motorist awareness and education we can stem the tide of deaths our community experiences because we are focusing on a solution and not the problem.

Yes, we as a community are growing and evolving and it is going to be an interesting ride.

So tell me, what would you like to see change in the rider community and what do we need to be for to affect that change?

If you are lucky enough to be riding today, please take a walk around that iron steed, check it's oil, inspect your tires...stay hydrated, ride like everyone around you is blind and can't see you and use respect with that throttle hand and the say - "Yes Mom" - LOL

Belt Drive Betty

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