Dick Gelfman, founder of the "Ride Across Maryland" (Photo: Ride Across Maryland)
2010 marks the 10th anniversary of Dick Gelfman’s Ride Across Maryland. Ride Across Maryland is an annual charity ride that benefit’s the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation. This year, the Ride Across Maryland committee is working hard to break the $2 million mark in funds raised.
Ride Across Maryland has become a legend of a ride in the motorcycling, and charity communities. As the “Ride” approaches, I couldn’t help but to wonder what motorcycling meant to Dick that he would make it the centerpiece of his charity effort. Recently, I asked Dick if he would share his story with my readers. I found Dick’s story incredibly inspirational, I hope you enjoy it too. Thanks Dick, for sharing your story with us!
Tom Bachur - Baltimore Motorcycle Travel Examiner
Only Another Biker Would Understand - Dick Gelfman
As many of you may recall, my wife and I were involved in a devastating car accident in July of 2002. We had just completed year number 2 of the Ride Across Maryland, the breast cancer benefit ride. A young driver coming from the other direction drifted across the center line and hit us head-on. Fortunately, we were not on our motorcycle, but in a sturdy SUV. Shortly after impact, our car caught fire and if it hadn’t been for a very good Samaritan who came upon the scene and got me out of the car, I wouldn’t be writing this column. The accident was followed by weeks in Shock Trauma and more weeks in Kernan Rehab Hospital.
While some of the docs were saying I might be spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair, I knew that would not be the case. While I was recuperating, I could close my eyes and imagine myself on my Harley Ultra Classic riding through the countryside I knew so well. It wasn’t like watching a movie. It was more like really doing it. I could see and feel myself leaning into the twisties I knew so well, feeling the road beneath me. It wasn’t a fast-forward dream, but a minute by minute, mile by mile motorcycle ride, the kind I had taken so many times for so many years.
I took this trip not once, but several times a day. Rather than thinking about the long rehab road ahead, I saw and felt myself in the seat of my bike taking what could be an hour or two journey. When it was over, I felt the same sense of exhilaration and relaxation I had felt so many times before. I WAS riding, and I knew I would be back on my real bike in the not too distant future.
But it was difficult to explain this to a non-rider. When I would tell others about it, I would get polite acknowledgements, but I was sure no one, except another rider, would really understand what I was talking about.
It took about a year to progress from total confinement in a bed, to a wheelchair, to crutches, to two canes, to one cane, to leg braces, and finally to nothing. And about another year before the docs finally said, okay, you can ride. They were surprised, but I wasn’t, because I had been ‘riding’ the whole time. But only another biker would understand.
Please consider participating in this years "Ride Across Maryland." If you are unable to participate, you can make a tax deductible donation to help fight breast cancer, a disease that affects one in seven women.
Enjoy reading Tom's articles? Bookmark his page and stop back frequently, or subscribe (at the top of this page) to receive an email update when Tom publishes new articles.
Follow Tom on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BaltoMCTrvlExnr or @BaltoMCTrvlExnr