It's what any of us would want, isn't it?
Those of us who live in parts of the world where the weather prevents us from safely operating a motorcycle for several months out of the year know the ache that occurs when we haven’t ridden in far too long. Knowing that, and also knowing that none of us will live forever, brings this story awfully close to home.
Roger L. Smith, a Vietnam veteran who rode his motorcycle to work every day, is now on end-of-life hospice care. He stopped riding his motorcycle over two years ago as the effects of his exposure to Agent Orange decimated his lung capacity. He described it as “dying from the inside out.”
Over two dozen riders from three different local motorcycle clubs rode to his house on Sunday, February 23, 2020, so that Roger could get out on a motorcycle for one last group ride. He rode as a passenger on a large, stable Harley-Davidson trike, bundled up and with his oxygen tank secured to the bike.
It was not a warm day, but that did not deter the riders who attended, many of whom were veterans themselves. All of us who ride can understand the feeling.
“I said I want to get on a bike at least one time before I die,” said Smith.
Smith’s health had taken a serious downturn in the last three weeks, so even though it might have been more enjoyable to wait until the weather warmed up a little bit, time was of the essence. Happily, there wasn’t any snow on the ground in Ohio, and the bikes were able to navigate dry roads for Smith’s ride.
”It’s truly an honor to do this and we do a lot of rides for charities and events, but when you can do this for a veteran who requested one final ride, it’s a great feeling,” said Combat Veterans Motorcycle Club member Steve Murray.
Smith was thrilled to be on this ride, cold weather or not. Everyone in attendance was thrilled to help. The feeling of being on a motorcycle for what you know is your very last ride on Earth must have been overwhelming, but stories like this help us all to restore a little of our faith in humanity. God speed, Roger; there had better be motorcycles and twisty roads in heaven, for all our sakes.