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    Dealing With Age as a Motorcyclist.


    When did you back off or retire from racing?

    When do you plan to back off or retire?

    What metric did you use to gauge performance.

    Same to street riders who do not plan to ride forever, how do you decide when it's time to stop?

    ….................
    ​​​​​​​
    I turned 40 two weeks ago. I love racing bikes, I've done it since I was a kid if you count BMX and Motocross..

    At 40 I still feel strong, I'm fast and am still improving, but im starting to think more and more about injuries and what they mean at this age.

    Longer healing time, work that can't just not get done, things I want to do with my kids this summer.. . These are all at risk every time I get on that bike..

    How did any of you guys deal with getting older or how do you plan to deal with aging as a motorcycle enthusiast??

    Kristen and I have talked about this.. when I decide it's time we will buy a racecar. I have an idea in my head about how to tell when to stop, but I'm curious what you guys did or will do??



    Don't spend money and buy, spend time and learn.

    #2
    I love this question, I think you alluded to it in another post recently. I don’t have time to give a super in depth answer right now, but the short answer is:

    I’m a few years older than you (just a few!), I have been racing sporadically for about 20yrs, and I feel like I’m just getting started!

    Based on the competitiveness of some of the people I know, doing it up to 60-65yo is achievable at a satisfying level. Most of my mentors today are 50+, and I routinely see their skill and guile outperform kids in their 20s.

    Fitness = I work out more than I ever did, and while my looks are declining, my endurance and strength are still good, maybe better!
    Money = I can finally afford all the good sh*t I couldn’t get when I was 20.
    knowledge = I keep learning, so every race season is easier than the last from a technical standpoint.

    Commitment = this is the big one, I am much more aware of the effort to results ratio. It is the real mindf*cker, because you have to be honest with how much of a commitment (money, time, risk) is worth it, and then realistic with your expected results based on your commitment. I hit 6-10 races a year, I no longer get butthurt if I get beat by a guy who is doing twice that. Most of all, I’ll not try to make up for a lack of practice/commitment by getting aggressive in a race… so I don’t crash as often!

    once my hamstrings and wrists can’t hold on anymore, or I have a big crunchy get off, I might try airplanes. Not sure!

    Comment


      #3
      I think you will cross that bridge when it happens. You will know, nobody will have to tell you. Numbers are just numbers. You are not anybody but you.

      Years ago, I thought 75 was going to be the end of riding just based on a number I was heading to. Now at 73 with 3 bikes, I rode over 10k miles last year which is kind of a record for me. Any kind of get off at any age can be a deal breaker or if lucky just a scratch whether racing or street riding. When your number comes up, it comes up. Deer on mountains roads tests my luck often.

      Also, health has a lot to do with aging and decisions. I feel balanced, no shakes and I don't need a bathroom break every 30 minutes. What meds one gets on at older ages can prevent riding too. For now I have arthritis and take just blood pressure meds. Overall, I think my 75 number was a little premature. Maybe 80 is the new 75.

      I will stop riding if I get banged up or broken or killed of course but if I don't feel balanced or my eyes get worse (hearing already is worse) then I will stop. Of course driving a car can also be affected by my health too. I ride with a guy sometimes who is 83 and now rides a Spider 3 wheeler. To me he is still riding at that age.
      Bill,
      88 Blue Hawk (bike #39), 89 Red Hawk, 2021 Rebel 1100 (bike 41) Some Past/sold in reverse order:,FZ09,97 Magna #1&2 , 97 VFR750F, 87 VFR400R, 88 Hawk, 86 SRX 600, 77 RD400, 79 CB650, 04 VFR, 88 Blue Hawk, 89 Red Hawk, Yamaha SRX600, Harley 1200C, Yamaha RD400, Harley 883R, Yamaha 750 triple, Vlx600, Honda 450, Honda 400, CB550F, Kawasaki H1, BMW R69US, Yamaha R5C 350, Honda 160, Bridgestone 175, 1950 Harley 74 w/sidecar, 65 Harley 250 Sprint, 1948 Harley and my 1st bike-1941 Harley 74 knucklehead my dad gave in1963.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally Posted by riot View Post
        not try to make up for a lack of practice/commitment by getting aggressive in a race… so I don’t crash as often!
        It's funny you say that!!! When I was younger I would not think twice if I was in a situation where I thought I could gain a spot by doing something I figured had a 50/50 or better chance of pulling off vs getting off..

        That's the biggest change I see.. that ratio has jumped to probably needing a 90% or better chance of success to attempt something that I know is a risk.


        Very thoughtful response man...
        Don't spend money and buy, spend time and learn.

        Comment


          #5
          I have taken the MSF Experienced Course 5 or 6 times. I’m also a lane-splitter, 38 years in Los Angeles traffic freeway or not. Never had a lane-splitting incident. Los Angeles drivers are the most distracted drivers, than anywhere else ... shaving, putting on makeup, changing clothes, typing on a laptop, smacking the kids, dog or whatever in the backseat, reading a map .. book .. newspaper, fondling the girlfriend, etc., etc. ... of course, then there’s the phones! I just ride with the attitude that everyone is out to kill me and there are more of them every day... Am I still having fun?

          It’s been said that there is a limited amount of intelligence in the Universe ... but the populations keep growing.

          Setting that all aside ... the real danger to my riding well being, comes from within. That is, I’m catching myself getting as distracted as those all around me. Over time, my riding is becoming more conservative incrementally ... no more lane splitting ... recognizing that I don’t heal as fast ... reaction time elongation is perceptively shortening ... am I still having fun? It is harder to go riding here without have to deal with heavy traffic or freeways.

          Track riding is better than street but has its costs ... am I still having fun?
          Bi-Coastal U.S.A.: Los Angeles, CA and Long Island, NY

          Comment


            #6
            Originally Posted by BillnOroville View Post

            I will stop riding if I get banged up or broken or killed of course but if I don't feel balanced or my eyes get worse (hearing already is worse) then I will stop. Of course driving a car can also be affected by my health too. I ride with a guy sometimes who is 83 and now rides a Spider 3 wheeler. To me he is still riding at that age.
            He is still riding as far as I am concerned as well.

            So basically you will ride as long as you can still physically control the motorcycle you are out getting after it.

            Much respect sir.

            Do you find the same, less, or more joy in getting on the bike at your age? Don't answer if you don't want, but I'm very curious.

            I know some older people who ride. My friend Lenny is in his 70s. He lives to care for his 60 acre and to ride that 1971 sportster. I've wondered if he always found that joy riding and that's why he has done it so long, of he the joy grew still being out there getting it done when most of his friends don't like to walk up a flight of stairs...
            Don't spend money and buy, spend time and learn.

            Comment


              #7
              I've discussed this same issue on ADVRider. I think age is just a number, in my case, 76. More important is an honest judging of your health parameters, just as a pilot has to get an annual physical.

              Some important categories on the checklist.
              1. Eyesight.
              2. Reflexes and neurological health.
              3. Physical strength.
              4. Cardiovascular fitness.
              5. Confidence.

              If you can check those boxes as "okay" then I think you should keep riding. (I can't speak about racing but I am guessing that a modern road race track is a least as safe as the highway.)

              I ride with older guys, and several of them have moved to smaller bikes. We are shrinking and we are not as strong. But we're still experienced riders, and that counts for a lot. We take it easy and we don't do stupid things.

              Comment


                #8
                jspeed53 ya track riding has its advantages.. everyone out there should be paying attention at least. It has its down sides too .
                Go to a track day and end up on track with gixxer dude who has three track days and thinks he is a vr46 rider, or dude who has just learned what all the levers and the twisty thing do....

                That risk gets slowly eliminated in the rise to the fast groups, or in racing when you get into expert or d1 or whatever the real class is. Everyone out there has real skills and knows their limits, but then the risk comes in with having to run that speed. Things go wrong less and when everyone is skilled, but when they do go wrong they go WAY wrong..

                The risk is everywhere. I'm going to try and ride today. The bike is not registered so I'll be out on the country back roads..... Where all the good ol' boys are out beer crusing on the first 70 degree day of the year.

                But I just love riding/racing motorcycles....

                Like you said, is it still fun
                Don't spend money and buy, spend time and learn.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally Posted by 6 View Post

                  It's funny you say that!!! When I was younger I would not think twice if I was in a situation where I thought I could gain a spot by doing something I figured had a 50/50 or better chance of pulling off vs getting off..

                  That's the biggest change I see.. that ratio has jumped to probably needing a 90% or better chance of success to attempt something that I know is a risk.


                  Very thoughtful response man...
                  My standard joke is that young riot used to race with the motto "Win or crash trying", but old riot races with "Don't crash, win maybe if I can".

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally Posted by ricksax View Post

                    If you can check those boxes as "okay" then I think you should keep riding. (I can't speak about racing but I am guessing that a modern road race track is a least as safe as the highway.)
                    That's a fair point.

                    And modern road race tracks are way safer than highways. That said. I have crashed a bike on the street not racing once. Wet off apex turn and j was felling a little froggy. Once in 25 years of street riding.

                    I can't even begin to list my crashes and injuries racing. It could be a whole forum on its own. The danger level isn't even comparable.
                    Don't spend money and buy, spend time and learn.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I have been riding continuously since 1970 and will be 72 yo later this year.
                      Agree with what has been stated in the thread as far as street riding-never raced.
                      One other thing that I do is observe older riders, that in my opinion should stop riding and use the observation to determine if it applies to me and is it time to stop riding.
                      So far so good but that will not be forever.
                      Last edited by Ziggy; 03-19-2022, 09:55 AM.
                      "Red hair and black leather, my favorite color scheme"
                      1952 Vincent Black Lightning by Richard Thompson


                      '88 Blue 99% stock SOLD
                      '88 Restomod
                      '16 Yamaha FJ-09

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Well, I’ve never officially retired from racing. I’ve raced on and off (mostly off as late) since 2003. That urge to get back out racing never goes away. I think it was motojournalist Peter Eagan who hit the nail on the head when he compared racing to drug addiction.

                        When do I plan to back off or retire? I don’t. However, circumstances, specifically monetary circumstances, often dictate when I can get to the track. Unlike when I was in my 20s or 30s, I have different priorities and obligations now. My wife went back to school to earn a Masters in Speech Language Pathology after teaching for many years. Plus there is upkeep on a house in addition to other monthly expenses. It doesn’t leave much for racing, and as we know, racing isn’t cheap. Another factor is father time. I don’t have the same energy I once did and the thought of breaking bones the way I used to does not thrill me. I once did a track day two weeks after getting airlifted out of a track with a concussion and broken collarbone. I don’t see that happening today.

                        My metric for performance are lap times and race results. Simple as that. If I continue to win or place on the podium, I’m happy. However, I’m getting older and the old Hawk isn’t getting any younger. It was tough enough racing against SVs a few years ago, and with the new breed of twins (RS, R7, etc.)…sigh. I guess there is always vintage racing, there just aren’t that many races in the southwest (aside from AHRMA races at Willow in CA).

                        I used to ride nearly every weekend, plus commute to work. Now, I’m lucky if I get out to street ride once or twice a month. Some of it is getting older and enjoying sleeping in when I get the chance. There is also the fact I have ridden most of the roads in AZ countless times, back in the day, with a large group of friends. However, a lot of those friends have stopped riding or switched over to dual sports or adventure bikes (not my thing). I also lost a number of friends, some of them good friends, a number of years ago. Riding on the street just hasn’t been the same since then.
                        ASMA #139

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally Posted by Ziggy;n955879.
                          One other thing that I do is observe older riders, that in my opinion should stop riding and use the observation to determine if it applies to me and is it time stop riding.
                          Man. Wow. .
                          that's na extremely good point.. never thought of that. But that will stick with me.

                          Last edited by 6; 03-19-2022, 07:48 AM.
                          Don't spend money and buy, spend time and learn.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I can't remember who first said it but I go by the saying "there are old riders and there are bold riders but there's no old and bold riders"

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I’m no racer, but I intend to street ride until I no longer am able to throw my leg over the bike. At 57, I’ve learned to be a bit more cautious; stay off the mountain roads after dusk because there are too many deer, I never really liked riding in the rain (or snow), etc. Went for a ride after work yesterday, took it easy because there’s still a ton of salt and gravel.
                              Flock of Hawks | '13 Tacoma | '69 Falcon (currently getting reassembled!)
                              I've spent most of my money on women, beer, cars and motorcycles. The rest of it I just wasted.

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