Returning Cyclist Crashes Harley in 10 Seconds

Submitted by Scythian

1 OCT 2002

SAGINAW, Mich. -- Baby boomer Jim Zimmerman's brief fling as a tough biker ended in pain very quickly.

The retiree's misadventure began when, facing 60, he gave into a youthful yen and got a local dealership to deliver a brand-new Harley- Davidson to his door.

``It was a mid-age crisis thing,'' Zimmerman admitted last week. ``I'd see these dudes with women and thought a motorcycle would put me in like Flynn.

``I didn't look at the obvious, that I hadn't been on a bike in 30 years and probably didn't remember much about it.''

Ten seconds after he climbed aboard for the first time, he struck a neighbor's utility trailer at 40 mph and broke several ribs. The odometer logged a tenth of a mile.

``It was so fast, and I didn't think fast enough,'' he said. ``I probably panicked and throttled the gas in a death grip.

``Oh my god, I hurt in places I didn't know could hurt. The cops said it's a miracle I'm alive.''

After $2,000 in insured repairs on the bike - and more on the neighbor's trailer - Zimmerman sold his Harley for an $800 loss. But the experience isn't quite over.

Until his complimentary membership in the Harley Owners Group runs out, ``I get a mailing every two to three weeks, reminding me of how stupid I was,'' he said.