Well, I just went to my new doctor for my yearly check-up. Thankfully there was no bend over and cough and to my great surprise as he took care of the medical things, we talked MOTORCYCLES. Yeah, that’s right, my doctor rides. Not only does he ride, he is a card-carrying member of the Iron Butt Association.
After the examination, he took me into his office to show me photos of rides. Dr. Jay Grosse practices internal medicine when he’s not riding one of his BMW motorcycles.
Grosse started out in Pasadena, Calif., as a military brat, so he has seen a lot of the world. As a kid, he had limited motorcycle experience on his dad’s Honda Trail 70, but evolution finally twisted that throttle.
The next twist came in college. Several of his friends had bikes and would let him ride them around campus. Then the realization hit: “I don’t know what I am doing.”
On a funny note, one summer in college he found himself without a car, so he rode dad’s Honda Trail 70 on a 50-mile round trip to school. He parked it to focus on earning dual degrees in chemistry and biology.
Working as a lab assistant in college, he frequently ate a hurried dinner late at night. It was during one quick 15-minute dinner that another student, Michelle, noticed his hurried dining habits. Michelle and several of her female friends always ate together and all commented on the male student’s dining habits. Finally, Michelle approached the stuff-it-down diner, pointing out his unhealthy eating habit.
“You need to slow down, enjoy your food, have a cup of tea and most importantly, come sit with us,” she said.
He joined Michelle and the other ladies, and that relationship turned into 36 years of marriage and four children.
Here is a funny one. He thought as he was getting his degrees that he was not smart enough to be a doctor. Then a group of medical students joined his class discussion and he realized he was as smart or smarter that most of them. Ohio State Medical School followed. Now a newlywed, his wife worked three jobs to support them as he finished med school and his residency.
When he became an M.D., work still dominated his time, but a friend had a Honda Shadow 600 he needed to sell. He offered it to Grosse, who was somewhat intrigued.
“No! We have four kids,” was his wife’s reply, but time does have a tendency to change things. He was working a practice, seeing patients at two hospitals, some nursing homes, and other responsibilities. He worked 12- to 18-stressful hours a day.
“You are working so hard, so get some insurance and get the bike,” Michelle said at one point after seeing he needed an outlet to relax. He bought the bike, and the shaky ride home raised his concerns as to his ability. Those concerns made him realize he needed to improve his skills as a rider, so he enrolled in the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Basic Rider Course and would go on to take the Advanced Rider Course.
Maybe it is from his studious background, his medical practice or just his mantra, he has a motto, “always be better.”
His motivation to become a better rider led to taking nearly a dozen riding courses, including Jim Ford’s Staying Safe Workshop and some hot laps at the California Superbike School. He says he never stops.
As his skills increased he realized he had truly found the best therapy and prescription ever. He could not hear his beeper. Stress and everything else just faded away behind on the asphalt. He now has several prescriptions that he takes. The highest dosage is the 2003 BMW K1200 RS, his go-to ride. Second is the 2017 BMW R1200 R and then there is the 2008 Yamaha XT250 dual sport. For four-wheeled excitement, he has a BMW 540 with a big V-8 and a Toyota MR2, along with Michelle’s birthday gift of a Mini Cooper with a 6-speed.
Grosse recalls his first track-day experience, thinking he was a pretty good rider due to the many classes and experiences already under his belt. He rolled up for the first practice session and from the start, everyone blew by him.
“I have no business being here,” Grosse said. He laughed as he admits the humbling moment. “But I am not going to be beat.” By the end of the course, he was noticeably better and glad he developed a strong foundation of riding skills at the event.
The doctor also does his own wrenching on the bikes, even investing in a tire changer for his expanding three-bay garage. Motorcycling brought out the two-wheeled explorer in him, with long-distance rides to California, Maine, Utah, Colorado and even around Lake Superior in Canada. He averages one major run a year and does about 10,000 miles a year on two wheels.
One of his biggest rides took him from Tennessee to California, up the coast, then back across the country to the East Coast with no interstates, camping along the way and stopping in small towns along the route to complete a 11,000-mile Iron Butt challenge. One bit of wisdom he picked up from the road: when in a new place ask a police officer for the best place to eat. He says he found some real culinary treasures that way.
His riding career made him realize the therapeutic value of motorcycling, but he didn’t expect the social aspect of riding would lead to so many lifelong friendships.