Returning to the Wind – The Nine Lives of Bill

Returning to the Wind – The Nine Lives of Bill

This guy? This is Bill.

bill on the blue ridge santa bill bill blue ridge bill on the blue ridge

No doubt you’ve seen him make an appearance in photos that I’ve posted over the years. He’s always around. On our road trips, the Crotona Midnight Run, the Santa rides, riding for pie on summer nights, Bill has been a fixture in our lives for the past decade. He is one of my most cherished friends.

With a riding resume that dates back longer than I’ve been alive (left jab), Bill has been riding motorcycles for more than 40 years. Through rain, sun and cold, from coast to coast – the air that foils over a set of handlebars is woven into the very cells of his body. He is a wanderer.

bill at the crotona

In October of 2012 while on a road trip to West Virginia, Bill suffered a (non-moto) medical emergency that ultimately resulted in the above the knee amputation of his left leg.

His army of friends were in complete disbelief as the news began to trickle in from afar. We were in shock that this could have happened to our friend.

The very first time that Kenny and I went to visit him in the hospital, before I could go upstairs I had to collect myself. The tears were at the ready. In my own selfish fear, I wondered – how does a person go on?

I very quickly found out.

While I can only imagine the private devastation that a person goes through with the loss of a limb, I have seen Bill face his recovery with grace and determination. Watching him relearn to walk with his fascinating C-Leg prosthesis has been nothing short of inspiring. There are so many lessons to be learned from a person who doesn’t curl up into a ball and die when life broadsides them. The sheer force of their will to get on with gettin’ on is amazing.

Beyond the day to day aspects of learning a new way to move around in the world, throughout the past 12 months one loose thread has been dangling, waiting to be pulled. Would he be able to ride again? When simply putting your pants on takes 5 times longer than it used to, some people would be inclined to fold and say of course not. But not Bill.

Almost 1 year to the day of losing his leg he came home with this:

bill on his new canam spyder

A Can-Am Spyder. I don’t know who was more excited – him or me?! I’m lying. It was me. I am over the moon! 🙂

Learning to walk again was a necessity. Getting back on the road? Well, it was also a necessity…. just of a different kind. Riding is an investment in a persons well-being and their quality of life. For some, like Bill, riding moves them beyond simply existing to living fully.

I am thrilled to have my friend back on the road and in the wind.

Welcome back, Bill!

Here’s to a million more miles. <3

 

8 Replies to “Returning to the Wind – The Nine Lives of Bill”

  1. An inspiring tale. So sad he lost part of his leg, but so glad he triumphed over it and is once again riding in the wind.

    Let’s hope we all have the grit to keep riding in the face of adversity.

  2. Great tribute. Bill was one of the first riders I met in the LIME/Port Jeff community and his friendly, charming personality won me over. When I heard the news of his leg, I knew he’d find a way to overcome the obstacle. I can’t imagine a Bill who doesn’t ride in the wind.

  3. Thank You for the kind words Fuzz. My world has opened it’s doors once again. I’m truely thrilled once again. Recovery has been a long road and I have many more miles to go.
    Thank You once again
    Bill Kane

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