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COTD: Niki Lauda Edition

Illustration for article titled COTD: Niki Lauda Edition

We've told the story of the legendary Austrian F1 driver Niki Lauda before, but it always deserves a retelling. He crashed and burned on the Nürburgring and was back competing for the title in just six weeks.


Lauda could have never set foot in an F1 car after his '76 crash and no one would have thought less of him. Instead he stepped right back into the cockpit and went on to make bucketloads of money from it. He retired, made a comeback, founded his own airline twice, and ran his own F1 team.


Drew Hawk told his own story of recovery while we were busy bashing bikes. It's worth a read.

Three years ago I bought my first bike, a Suzuki GS500. Tiny little sport bike, enough power to speed me around how I wanted, but not enough to scare me. I tipped it over standing there trying to turn it around the first day, after picking it back up the wrong way, and getting one of the worst back cramps I've ever had, I learned that it was a heavy piece of machinery and should be treated as such.

After a year, I bought a Kawasaki ER-6n, loved the price and the styling of it, and gave my GS500 to my dad, who couldn't be happier (still), as he hadn't ridden bikes consistently since before I was born.

A week after having my ER-6n, I wasn't paying attention, and dumped it in some gravel, tossing myself off of it in a corner, I screwed up my shoulder, hip, and lower back a bit, and I don't think any other pain I had felt till then was quite as intense.

I contemplated just letting the insurance company total the bike like they wanted to, as I was legitimately scared of riding again, could I stay focused, could I be safer? Was it a better idea to just give up and get some cash back?

After fighting them, healing quite a bit, and finally getting my bike back after repairing it out of state, I climbed back on, and rode the 140 miles back home. Scared to death, especially for the first few miles, it took me a while to get the BE SCARED OF EVERYTHING YOURE DOING mindset out of the way.

I wouldn't trade my bike for anything now. I can't use it every day, every season, but it gives me a sense of fun and freedom for such little money and time. Even commuting to work, which is tedious in my car, is enjoyable on my bike, simply because it just makes me feel better.

TL:DR - don't remember where I was going with this, but I wanted to tell a story of even how I was scared to death to get back on, I'm glad I did, and I look forward to riding in the future.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Congratulations, Mr. Drew Hawk, on today's COTD! I am please to award you with a new motorcycle, a Harley, I think, which this lovely lady with the butterfly tattoo will bring you very soon.