The day I almost lost my manhood

Dennis Warden

It may have been a spring day during my junior year in college. Or, it could have been late winter. In some ways I have tried to block out this experience from my memory.

Let me slow down a little and give you some background. Growing up I was not a city boy, but I was not a farm boy either. I guess you could say I was the product of a small town. On the other hand, the gang I hung out with had more connections to farm life.

Because of this association they all had access to two wheel transportation. My mother was not keen on motorcycles. She didn’t want me on one, no way no how.

You’ve all heard the saying — there are two types of motorcycle riders, those who have been in an accident and those who are going to be in an accident.

To a young, long haired college student in the early 80’s a motorcycle was the symbol of revolution. But, it was not attractive enough for me to spend my hard earned money on one. I had other things draining my bank account, namely college, cars and girls (not in that order).

Many times on the weekend Ray, Rick, Richard and Steve would ride the gravel roads in the county on their dirt bikes in search of adventure. Without a bike of my own I was left behind. It’s something you get used to. I really don’t ever remembering this bothering me.

One weekend they must have felt sorry for their comrade who was left behind because they found an old dirt bike for me to ride.

Today there are kids who grow up with a dirt bike. I’m sure you may even know some who race. Children as young as 4-years-old can participate in motocross with a 50 or 70cc dirt bike.

The only experience I had on a bike was the kind you peddle. After a few short lessons I was following everyone else down a gravel road on an old 125cc Yamaha. Their bikes were much newer and more in the range of 250cc.

It didn’t take long and we found the adventure we were seeking, or maybe it found us. Anyway there it was, several large piles of clay near a clay pit.

Landscapers with experience use heavy equipment to move piles of dirt around to create an obstacle course for motocross races at local fairs and on TV. The racers then literally fly through the air from one pile of dirt to the next.

At first I sat back and watched my friends tackle one particular pile of clay with ease. They didn’t fly through the air. They just climbed the pile of clay with their bike. It was probably not more than 15 or 20 feet tall.

To me it looked like a small mountain. My friends kept encouraging me to take the challenge. It would make me feel like a man to conquer the mountain they said. 

This was one of the only times I gave into peer pressure and said OK. Believe me, I learned my lesson. Ray told me how to do it. Just put the bike in first gear and give it plenty of gas and whatever you do, don’t let up until you reach the top. 

So after saying a couple quick Hail Marys, with adrenalin racing through my heart I mounted the old bike that I had learned to trust, revved up the engine and started up the pile of clay.

To my surprise there wasn’t much to it. In no time I had defeated the mountain and found myself at the top. That’s when my life flashed before my eyes.

If this was a TV show here is where I would leave you hanging so you would have to tune in next week to find out how my only experience on a dirt bike ended. 

Anyway, back to my story. In the middle of that clay pile was a small tree with me and the motorcycle headed straight for it. 

It was a simple decision, get off the bike. So I placed my feet on the ground and let go. 

One thing I failed to explain about the dirt bike my friends had procured for me — this bike was street legal so it had a small license plate just behind the seat.

That license place caught my Levi jeans just under my crotch. I was millimeters away from not being able to have kids. Luckily the only thing damaged was my jeans. Actually they were destroyed with a rip going down past my knee. 

If you don’t believe me I have photographic proof. Just visit our web site at Under the opinion pull down menu select A New Adventure. In case you are wondering the bike survived it’s collision with the tree.