GREENVILLE — It would be easy for Ron Anthony to be bitter at what life has thrown at him.
Instead, Anthony can be seen riding his modified motorcycle with the biggest smile on his face — thanks to Chris Lovett, of Hogg Cycle Shop in Greenville.
Anthony, a Piqua resident, first survived stage 4 cancer back in 2008.
If that wasn’t enough, Anthony had a car pull out in front of him while riding his motorcycle last Labor Day.
Five weeks later, he had to have his right leg amputated — but Anthony was not about to just accept his fate.
He was determined to get back on a motorcycle.
“I contacted the shop I normally dealt with in North Dayton about modifying a bike for me,” Anthony said, “because I couldn’t use the foot brake anymore (because of a prosthetic on his right leg). They said they didn’t want anything to do with it because of liability issues.”
He found the same response from every bike shop he contacted.
“So, I put an ad on Facebook,” Anthony said. “A couple people told me they might be able to do it but weren’t sure. That scared me that they weren’t sure, so I didn’t want to go with them.”
That’s when Lovett stepped in.
“I just wanted to help the guy,” Lovett said. “So, I contacted him and told him I could help him.”
Anthony had no idea what a dream meeting that would turn into.
“I knew there were kits in England for doing the modification,” Anthony said. “Those are $1,600, and it doesn’t even include labor. But Chris (Lovett) told me he could do it with parts he had at the shop and that would work out better.”
Lovett, along with Brian Emerick, Tyler Bridges, Mike Bragg and Joe Amlin, all contributed to making the modifications for the cycle.
“There is nothing I can’t engineer,” Lovett said with a smile. “I probably spent $6 on parts at the hardware store. Other than that, everything came from the shop here.”
Then, he gave Anthony a call, who was excited with the news.
“I asked him what I was going to owe him, so I could get the money I was going to need together,” Anthony said. “And he told me there was no charge. That he just wanted to get me back on a bike. I couldn’t believe it.”
When Anthony went to pick up the bike, he still wasn’t believing there was no charge.
“I was thinking I probably misunderstood something, so I asked him again how much I owed him, and he told me there was no charge,” Anthony said.
Lovett made sure the bike was safe.
“I rode it around for a couple weeks, testing it out,” Lovett said.
Then came the big moment.
“I didn’t want to go out on the road right away because I was a little nervous,” Anthony said. “So, we took it over to the Darke County Fairgrounds and rode it around there a couple hundred times.”
Then he took it out on the road.
“He was gone so long, I didn’t think he was coming back,” Lovett said. “Ron (Anthony) is a great guy. I love that guy. You couldn’t wipe the smile off his face.”
And that was payment enough for Lovett.
“He said my smile was his payment,” Anthony said. “I have to admit, when I got on the bike for the first time, I teared up a little bit. Because, I wasn’t sure this was ever going to happen.”
A few weeks later, Anthony came over to the Greenville Cruise-In.
“I wore shorts because I wanted people to see my prosthetic leg,” Anthony said. “It was a pretty chilly night.”
So, when it was time to go home, Anthony figured he was in for a cold ride — but Lovett had other ideas.
They called him into the bike shop and provided him with pants, a hat and other items to make sure he had a warm ride home.
“He even took the jacket off his back and gave it to me,” Anthony said. “They said, you can’t ride home the way you are — you will freeze. My wife brought the stuff back a week later and tried to give him $100 as a tip, and he wouldn’t take it.”
Lovett said the reason is simple.
“This about Ron (Anthony), this not about me,” he said. “But, I have to believe there are other amputees out there I can help. There has got to be.”
Which is one reason Anthony wanted to get the word out.
“I didn’t know him or anything about his bike shop before this,” he said. “So, I am sure there are others like me who don’t know. I can’t say enough about what Chris (Lovett) has done for me.”
It is not hard to find Anthony now.
“He is always on that bike,” Lovett said with a laugh. “He rides it everywhere, and he has gone on some long rides.”
With a big smile that never leaves his face.