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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch
  • Beyond the ride

  • On Saturday, Sept. 21 we laid to rest Hubby’s uncle, Randy Lang. He was killed in a motorcycle accident on Sept. 8 when he struck a deer.
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  • On Saturday, Sept. 21 we laid to rest Hubby’s uncle, Randy Lang. He was killed in a motorcycle accident on Sept. 8 when he struck a deer.
     
    On a motorcycle, any accident can be serious. Plenty of bikers have spilled their bikes and some get hurt. In the worst case scenario bikers have been killed.
    However, getting on a motorcycle is no different than stepping off the curb at the wrong time. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone.
     
    As a car accident survivor who is terrified of the idea of being at one with a two-wheeled machine that weighs only a few hundred pounds, I’ll admit that the idea of riding a motorcycle and being part of a club began to take on a somewhat romantic phenomenon Saturday.
     
    I don’t think any of us were prepared for the outpouring of love and support that was received.
     
    We arrived at the funeral home a half-hour before visitation began to gather as a family. Already by then a steady stream of bikes had began to pull into the parking lot. As we assembled to grieve privately for a few moments we could hear the thunder of more and more bikes pulling in. People reported to us later that somewhere in the neighborhood of over 100 motorcycles were in the parking lot.
     
    While the immediate family was inside gathering their thoughts and saying one last goodbye, outside another group of family assembled for the same reasons ­– to hold one final rally for a much loved biker who is, and will be, greatly missed.
     
    It certainly appeared on Saturday that all bikers, no matter what club they belonged to, are a part of a big, extended close-knit family. The brothers and sisters of the many clubs that came to show their respects were as close to uncle Randy as any family member you will ever find.
     
    Camaraderie, brotherhood, strength, friendship and a sense of family seemed to be the common theme among them. A motorcycle club, for uncle Randy, really was an extension of his family.
     
    Nearly every one had a memory or story to share about Randy. Some were heartfelt and gripping and others provided comic relief just at the right moment.
    Before the service I looked around the funeral home which had filled to standing-room only capacity and found myself speechless. I was unprepared to see leather-clad, burley bikers with tears of sorrow streaming down their face for a man who touched each person there in a profound way. One by one friends stood up to share how Randy always had a comforting word, a fun-loving spirit and something that most of those there shared–a motorcycle.
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    Despite the stereo-types of bikers and their clubs, the reality is, they are a group of individuals who share a common passion and love for their motorcycles. But more than that, they are a group of friends, family and comrades who have found a strong and common bond, which started with a love of motorcycles and riding them.
    Saturday’s gathering was not a funeral. It was about celebrating that bond and friendship that, while borne out of the love of motorcycles, had grown into something so much more – a sense of pride, of honor, and of familial love.
     
    When I think of Uncle Randy, there is one quote that comes to mind that couldn’t be more fitting...
     
    Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow! What a Ride!” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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