Rider has things well in hand


Having only one hand doesn’t slow down Jimmy Brown. Here he is on his
1978 Yamaha XS-650 which he rode into Texarkana from Hope.

I was looking out my second-story office window a few days ago and noticed a motorcycle parked in front of the building. I was trying to identify the make when the rider comes back and starts loading up. I immediately ran for the stairs hoping to get to the front door before he left. I just had to talk to this guy.
I exited the front door and got a better look at the prosthetic hook protruding from the rider’s right sleeve. It was this that had sparked my curiosity. I identified myself as a blog writer and asked if he minded if I asked a few questions and blogged about him.
Mr. Brown has owned five motorcycles over the years, ranging from those with 50cc motors to 750. His current ride is a 1978 Yamaha XS-650. He showed me how he’s moved the throttle to the left side and demonstrated using it in conjunction with the clutch. He primarily brakes with the foot- actuated rear brake, but showed me the little screw he’s added to the end of the front brake lever on the right handle bar. It stops the hook from sliding off so that he can use the front brake as well if he chooses to do so.
I ask if he has a motorcycle endorsement, and he pulls his license out to show me that he does.
“Were there any problems getting your license?” I ask.
“I got my license in 1973,” he explains. “I lost my hand in 1976.”
He told me he started riding again in 1978, and that he never had any problems or fear about getting back on his bikes.
“I just got on and started riding,” he said. “I never was afraid I couldn’t do it.”
Currently Mr. Brown doesn’t have a car, so the 650 Yamaha is his primary means of transportation. He doesn’t belong to a motorcycle club, or routinely ride with a large group of people. He is not, then, your typical baby boom biker. He’s just a man who has always liked and ridden motorcycles. An original free spirit, seemingly unaware that he has a “disability.”
Mr Brown had no intention of impressing me when he hopped his bike and rode to town. But he did.

- Guy Wheatley

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