Lauren Hutton Rides Again

Lauren Hutton had no qualms about trekking across the Nevada desert on a BMW LT100 bike on Oct. 3, despite the serious motorcycle accident that nearly claimed her life on the very same route a year ago

"I'm in good shape, except for a tiny limp," said Hutton, who had not straddled a bike since her accident. "It's a very sexy feeling to wrap your legs around throbbing steel." Last Oct. 22, Hutton was on her way to Las Vegas when her BMW 650 hit gravel, flew up, and sent her skidding 150 feet across pavement.

She was on life support for five days and in a coma for two weeks, "but it was a talking coma," said Hutton. "You were talking to my subconscious, and people said my subconscious was nicer than my conscious self."

She underwent an eight-hour operation to remove the three ribs that had punctured both her lungs, then spent another month in a hospital in New York. 'I'm Not Used to Being an Invalid' Hutton's excellent physical condition contributed to her rapid recovery. "In a few months, I was ready to ride again. I'm not used to being an invalid. I've never had a serious injury before, except for a broken leg." This time, there were no mishaps. "The ride," said Hutton, "was glorious. Life is very sweet when you're riding through the desert at 80 miles an hour. You see everything from the ground to the sky, and you realize how beautiful the world is." Hutton and the other twenty members of the Guggenheim Motorcycle Club, including Jeremy Irons, Dennis Hopper, and Guggenheim president Tom Krens, rode to Vegas to promote the opening of the hermitage Guggenheim and the Las Vegas Guggenheim. The motorcycle brigade was uniquely appropriate to celebrate Frank O. Gehry's installation, "the art of the motorcycle" at the Las Vegas Guggenheim. The group stopped to spend the night by the Kern River, "where we stayed up late under a full moon, talking about what's going on in the world. We get along so well because we have a certain camaraderie. On the road, we know that our lives depend on each other's skills." The fearless 57-year-old had no fears about mounting her bike again. An avid dogsledder and scuba diver, the former model has camped in the jungle with pygmies and eaten the local delicacy — live termites. "Whenever you're risking your life, when death rides with you, you're very much aware that you're alive. I like that feeling."