Motorcycles and the Peace Corps

For most of my life motorcycles were pretty far off the radar, but I guess when you grow up in Sturgis, South Dakota eventually they catch up with you.  When I was nineteen I bought a 200cc dualsport bike (basically a dirtbike with a head/tail lights, rear view mirrors, and a license plate) and haven’t looked back since.  I rode that little, blue bike all over the Black Hills for three summers.  Then this December I bought a larger 650cc cruiser style bike and spent almost two months tooling around the southern US.

That trip was, in part, to relive a trip my dad took in college, but also to try to get motorcycles out of my system for a while.  In the Peace Corps motorcycles are a major no-no.  I’ve heard of more than one instance of volunteers being sent home for riding or getting a ride on a bike.  And as extreme as that sounds, I do understand.  The Peace Corps supports thousands of volunteers all over the world.  Most of those volunteers are in their twenties and the number one cause of injury or death of twenty-somethings, in the States anyway, is motor vehicle accidents.  So if the Peace Corps were to allow their volunteers to drive vehicles or ride motorcycles it wouldn’t take long before someone got hurt.  I understand the policy, but that’s not to say I don’t wish it were otherwise.

This evening I was seriously tempted when Anika’s husband rode up on this tiny, ancient Belarusian bike.  Sultan tried riding a bit and, much to everyone else’s amusement, was not doing a fantastic job.  I’ll be honest, I really wanted to show off.  But I didn’t.  I followed the rules and didn’t even touch the bike.

It was painful.

I did get a pretty great picture though.


My host brother, Sultan, and his nephews: Tamerlane and Irlan. 


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About Cole Bedford