Lightning strikes

Lightning is a thing of beauty, a vessel of awesome power. Mostly, lightning is some thing to behold. We marvel at it, and we appreciate it when it presents itself, for rarely is it around for long.

From time to time, tragedy accompanies this natural phenomenon and, out of nowhere, lives are turned upside down by a bolt from the blue. When this happens, we comfort ourselves that lightning never strikes twice in the same place.

It's strange that we're so reassured by this idiom. It is, after all, just a saying.

My friend Frank crashed his bike a few years back. He came down when riding in a criterium race.

I didn't know Frank then, but I know from others that did, that it had been serious. The injuries lingered, but he recovered well enough, and as soon as he could, he got back on his bike.

And he rode.

I recently read his perspective on that first crash, and his road back to riding. It made me realise the nature of his injuries and the degree to which he had fought to firstly survive, and then to ride again.

Two weeks ago, Frank came down again. This time there wasn't the chaos of bunch riding; no jostling  for position; no cheers from the sideline. This time, there was just Frank and the road ahead. He was riding alone on a country road in northern New South Wales when a kangaroo leapt out at the wrong time to cross the road.

A bolt from the blue that has changed many lives forever. For Frank, and for all of us, lightning struck twice.

Now, that last paragraph in his story is eerie:

As bad as my injuries have been, I know there are others out there who have sustained worse and recovered. I take my hat off to them. I hope my story inspires others to just give it a go. You only get one chance in life, or in my case, two!

I can't help but think that he got that second chance because the world was meant to have him for a little bit longer. So we could appreciate his wonder and be thankful for his beauty. I for one am thankful for that time. One thing I'm certain of is that the world needs more people like Frank. His sudden departure means the world has one less good guy.

Frank, rest in peace knowing that you have inspired many of us, and will continue to do so. Not only in  the way you rode, and through the passion that got you back on the bike, but also because of the way you lived your life, as a gentleman and a friend.

The doctors have said that the last thing Frank will remember is riding along that country road on his bike. I imagine the afternoon sun glistening over his shoulder, or perhaps filtering through the treetops to speckle the road ahead of him. I like to think that Frank was grinning that big grin that filled his face and made us all grin with him.

This, to me, is beautiful; a vision that is truly something to behold. One day, when this sadness passes, that vision will make me grin again.


  1. AP, I'm so sorry and saddened to read this. I don't know Frank, but I know the sadness of losing someone and acknowledging their impact on your life. I'm thinking of you. SR

  2. Also, the hyperlink to Frank's perspective of his first crash doesn't work; could you update as I'd be interested to have a read.

  3. Thanks for the heads up on the link Speedy Reidy. The link is now fixed. Thanks also for your thoughts. It means a lot.

  4. When soemone says they are the nicest person think yeah I have heard that before but in Franks case it was absolutely true. I had known Frank for over 20 years & considered him to be like my brother. He never had a bad word about anyone & was always there with a hug if you needed it. I will love & miss him forever & still can't believe that lightning did strike twice. RIP Frank I miss you dearly. Marisha