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Retiree buys, crashes Harley motorcycle
By Associated Press, 10/01/02
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.