TORRINGTON, CT – The fate of the motorcycle is inconsequential when a rider goes down. A bike can be replaced, but a person cannot. Fortunately, Glenn Royals survived after recently finding himself confronted by a driver in a pickup who pulled across his path. He suffered some extensive injuries when he clipped the truck and is still mending weeks later. His bike only sustained modest damage, which is fortunate, too, because he was riding a 1959 Harley-Davidson FLH Duo-Glide, a valuable Panhead with original paint.
Royals is a well-known figure in the area. He operates the repair and restoration car shop Royals Garage with this brother, J.R.; organizes classic car shows; and collects old cars and trucks. Less known is his love of old motorcycles. In addition to the 1959 Panhead, he owns a 1975 Harley-Davidson Sportster (with only 2,000 miles on the odometer); a 1966 Harley-Davidson FLH, a Shovelhead, and a 1968 BSA 441 Victor.
The accident occurred on July 10 on the Winsted Road north of town. He was southbound when the truck pulled across his path. “He didn’t see me,” Royals recalled, although his memory doesn’t include mental images of going down. Maureen Bascetta, an off-duty EMT, was passing by and stopped. She blocked traffic with her car and got him stabilized until first responders arrived to transport him to the trauma unit at Waterbury Hospital. “They said the first thing I asked as ‘How’s my bike?'”
Royals suffered a broken left tibia, broke left ankle, and a slit in the side and back of his head. He also lost a chunk of eyebrow and received numerous spots of road rash, embedded with tar, on his arms and legs. He was dressed in sneakers, shorts, short-sleeved shirt and wasn’t wearing a helmet when the accident happened. “Everything you shouldn’t do,” he said.
The Panhead wasn’t as badly damaged. There’s a dent in the left side of the gas tank. The tool box was crushed. The headlight got scuffed and the lens on a driving light smashed. A crash bar on the right side got ripped from its mooring and a lever got bent. It could have been much worse.
Royals has owned the Panhead since roughly 2000. He was aware of the bike and when its Winsted owner put it up for sale on the “Swap Shop” show on WSNG radio, he snagged it for only $2,000. It had been sitting for five to seven years. Royals said, “The guy said, ‘I can’t ride it and I’m not gonna.’ One finishing touch was attached to the rear. “That has the original license plate on it,” Royals reported.
Everything considered, Royals doesn’t appear upset by the damage to the Panhead. “That bike really held up well. I’m going to fix it,” he said. Royals added that one other possession was lost in the crash. A pair of 1977 Corvette sunglasses were smashed.