Closing Time

Jun 10, 2013 View Comments by

Luke Swab

Today is my last day riding for most of the summer. Tomorrow I start a 24-hour journey from Lansing, MI to King Salmon, AK to be a part of the 2013 Sockeye Salmon run in Bristol Bay. For the next 2 months, I will only be thinking, “fish, fish, fish,” aboard my 32’ aluminum boat, the F/V Jimmy Jeff. So today is a day to enjoy one last ride before I have to put the bikes up for the summer.

As I put the bikes away memories of all the riding I have done over the last year come flooding back. What a great year it has been—and believe it or not—I can attribute most of it to my broken leg. If I hadn’t broke my leg, I would still be mostly riding my little BMX bicycle, taking road trips filming for BMX projects, not thinking about motorcycles at all. It was 4 months before I could put any weight on my leg, making it really hard to get around and take care of myself. I couldn’t drive my car because it has a clutch, so I had to figure out a new way to get around town.

I ended up buying a Chinese scooter for $650 and rigged up straps to carry my crutches. After riding that all fall, I became obsessed with the scooter life and kept adding more to the stable, a Yamaha Zuma, a Honda Elite, and even a Yamaha C3. Then there was the pit bike and the 3-wheeler—I was back into motorsports like I was when I was a kid. My roommate bought a Kawasaki Versys and the garage was suddenly packed with bikes and scooters of the most random variety.

When my cast came off, I was able to start walking again, but winter was upon us. Sure, I could drive my car, but now I couldn’t ride. That’s when the trips started. I have always wanted to go to Hawaii, but just never made the move so now was the time. I got a ticket with airline miles and went to our 50th state to visit a friend who had a Yamaha WR450F I could ride. While on this trip, I met some new people and ended up riding for most of the 3 weeks that I was out there.

Next came Costa Rica. I rented a bike for 10 days and traveled along the pacific coast, popping into surf towns and staying for a day or two, then moving on, following the coast south into the wetter, more jungle-like country. A few water crossings later and it was time to come back home, much sooner than I wanted.

By this time the weather is starting to get warmer and the snow has melted in the Big Mitten. Riding back here in Lansing lasted for about a month, and now I sit here typing up my random thoughts, reminiscing on the whole year, because for me, a new year is beginning. The start of my fishing season is my personal “New Years.” I look at the calendar different than others because my fishing job marks a new start for me every June.

So for me, it’s time to put the bikes away and shut the garage door. I’ll be back in August with a fresh take on riding and a huge smile on my face.

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About the author

Commercial fisherman to pay the bills. Adventure Rider for the smile on my face. Documenting it all as proof that anyone can live this dream.