A helping hand in exchange for a broken one

Two months ago, Murd Nicholson was going for a Sunday motorcycle ride along Tutshi Road when a bear jumped in front of his group of Gold Wing Road Riders. Nicholson didn't see the bear.

Two months ago, Murd Nicholson was going for a Sunday motorcycle ride along Tutshi Road when a bear jumped in front of his group of Gold Wing Road Riders.

Nicholson didn’t see the bear. And by the time he’d realized the riders in front were stopped, it was too late.

He jammed on the brakes—the motorcycle went into a high-speed wobble—and then went sailing between the two bikes in front of him, clipping the edge of one of them.

“I just tucked my head into my chest, said, ‘Help me,’ and away I went,” said Nicholson.

The first time he hit the ground he broke his left elbow.

The second time, he broke his right hand.

Then his face was ground into the pavement.

It only took seconds for Nicholson, a barber, to damage his most precious instruments—his hands.

Two months after the accident, he can still see the wire poking out of his elbow holding his bones in place and it’s hard for him to properly hold anything in his right hand.

His business, the Barber Shoppe, now stands shuttered and dark, waiting for the time when his body heals enough for him to go back to work.

“At first, the doctors said I wasn’t going to be able to work again, but now it looks like I’ll be back in December,” said Nicholson.

With no other way of supporting himself until then, his friends and family put on a charity barbecue and auction to raise funds for him.

On Sunday, more than 200 people packed into the Frank Slim Building at Shipyards Park to listen to live music, eat food off the grill and bid on items, including round-trip tickets donated by Air North.

“I ride with Murd, and was with him during the accident,” said co-organizer and friend, Ken Roberts.

“It wasn’t a pleasant sight to see a fellow rider like that. But the Gold Wings all rally behind each other.”

The Wings were at the barbeque as well as friends from Yukon Learn, Special Olympics, the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Society and 7th Day Adventist Church, all organizations Nicholson has been involved with during the 23 years he has been in the Yukon.

“Knowing how well he is liked, we didn’t think it would be a big deal to get all these people out,” said Roberts, who first met Nicholson 20 years ago at a beard-and-moustache-growing contest organized by Nicholson.

Looking at Nicholson, you wouldn’t think he was hurt.

He had a large smile on his face, a lipstick mark plastered on his cheek and his motorcycle licence with the word “wanabe” printed on the plate, hanging from his neck.

“He’s self-employed and when you’re self-employed you’re it. Thankfully he has a supporting cast of thousands,” said organizer and friend, Marg Eschak.

Donations for Murd Nicholson can be forwarded to the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Society.

Contact Vivian Belik at vivianb@yukon-news.com