Are You Too Old To Ride

Aug 23, 2012 View Comments by

If you can’t read the headline, the answer is yes. Really, how old is too old to ride a motorcycle, 60, 70, 80, or more? We, as a community and sport should probably address this before some government agency is “directing” us to, and you know they have been thinking about it.

I know and ride with numerous people who represent this demographic divide. There are riders older than me that I consider even better riders than I am. Whether it’s experience or conditioning that makes them so, I’m not sure. All I know is that it can be a workout just keeping up with them—which is why I don’t think we can put an expiration date on somebody based on age alone. I don’t care if you’re 26 or 62, if you don’t have at least a desire to ride; you’re a road hazard. I remember being in Duluth, MN and meeting a couple that had been touring around the country for the last 10-15 years; they had just purchased a trike so that they could continue touring for another ten years…they were 80, and you know what, I bet they’re still out there. I have another friend who rides a Gold Wing, his hips are so bad he takes handfuls of pills and walks with a decided limp, he has got to be pushing 70, yet he puts on about 12,000 miles a year and has never missed Sturgis, riding two-up, at speed, from eastern Wisconsin. If you tell him he’s too old, then you’d better duck.

When it comes to being too old I believe it’s best to let your body tell you, and not wait for your friends to hide your keys. IF riding is a pain, or you’re a danger to others on the road, then it’s time to pull the pin. IF you find yourself carrying on a twenty-minute discussion with a fire hydrant, that’s a good sign your eyesight is going. IF you hit a bump and there’s a crunching sound from your body, and not from the bike or the road, that’s a body check (being cashed). IF your bike spends more time down than up, and lastly: IF it’s no longer fun to ride, then it’s probably time to turn in the keys.

There are lots of ways to keep Father Time at bay; change your bike, like I had to, for one that is lighter and more maneuverable. Move to a trike, a sidecar, or add out-riggers to your current bike. There are even small “coaster-style” wheels that deploy when you slow down or stop for more security and improved balance. Where there is a will, there’s a way, and a ride to get you further down the road!

An old car dealer friend of mine may have put it best when he said; “it’s not the years, it’s the miles.” So until your personal odometer has spun a few times, and you, and your body agree, it’s probably best just to: Ride on.

Tags: , , Categories: Wayne's World

About the author

A Wisconsin farm boy, I learned how to ride a cow, before a horse and way before a motorcycle. I first started riding on my 16th birthday and I took my first real ride at my party: I pulled a wheelie and dug a trench in the lawn, which sent the bike in one direction and me in another. I was irrevocably hooked!