Are you too old to ride a motorcycle?

by on July 27, 2017
in Commentary

Am I too old to ride? | Biker Chick News

In our 40’s, 50’s and 60’s – and not one of us is too old to learn! (Photo by Janet Stoll, aka “Seven Over”)


Am I too old to learn to ride? How old is too old?

If you’re in your 20’s or 30’s, you probably aren’t worried about these questions in the slightest. (In fact, if recent industry news reports are to be believed, you aren’t even thinking about riding. What’s up with that?) But if you’re in your mid-life and contemplating riding a motorcycle, this may actually be one of the first questions you ask yourself.

My view is, that while age itself is just a number and pretty much immaterial, it is actually the bodily aging we eventually experience that you should be evaluating when you consider the question of “how old is too old.”

In my e-book, GET ON: A Guide to Riding Motorcycles for Women Who Think Too Much, this message alludes to aging:

Are you physically capable? You don’t have to be an athlete to ride a motorcycle – I am living proof of that… But you can’t be physically frail – you must have confidence that you’ll be able to raise the bike off the kickstand and maneuver it around.

This doesn’t speak to your age, per se. Rather it speaks to your physical suitability for operating and controlling a bike. So instead of thinking about your age (50? 65? 76?), think about your aging: How are your vision and hearing? Your reaction times? Your upper body strength? Your knees, hips and ankles? The steadiness of your gait? Your quick-thinking capabilities? Your general ability to quickly absorb and learn new tasks?

Of course, your physical limitations – whether or not they are related to aging – don’t necessarily preclude you from riding if you have the determination to work through them. I know of one woman who suffers from chronic fibromyalgia and rides thousands of miles a year, in spite of the discomfort it creates. Another who lost her leg in an accident and still rides with a prosthetic. When you have physical limitations, you should seek out other riders who battle the same limitations – chances are you’ll be surprised at the types of “issues” people ride with, and the ways in which they’ve managed to cope with those issues.

Another consideration is the notion of risk vs. reward. I’d be willing to bet that every person who rides answers this question for themselves, over and over again throughout their lifetime whether they are conscious of it or not. Do the rewards of riding outweigh the risks? The answer to this question can definitely change as we age. Think about the “risks of riding” in relationship to these statements:

  • I’ve just been blessed with my first grandchild! 
  • My diabetes is making my foot numb. 
  • I haven’t had the same zeal since the heart attack three years ago.
  • I’ve been riding for 25 years with no accidents – maybe that’s enough adventure.

I have a friend who is in her late 60’s. After a medical issue was discovered, her doctor told her “You can ride, but if you do anything to injure your spleen you’ll bleed to death before help can get to you.” She has been riding for more than 12 years with never so much as a bike drop. She’s not “too old to ride,” but she has re-considered the risk vs. the reward and decided she’s done with motorcycles.

Ultimately, the question of whether you’re “too old to ride” is one you’ll have to answer for yourself. But remember, there’s no magic cut-off number. Whether you are too old has far more to do with the impact of aging than with actual age.

After all, I’m pretty sure Rochelle Simms didn’t give a rip about being 91 when she took a ride last month on a Suzuki GSX-R1000 superbike:

 

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    Comments

    One Response to “Are you too old to ride a motorcycle?”
    1. Wendyvee says:

      You already made all of the good points.
      At some point we may have to stop (heaven forbid) or decide that another bike is right for that time of our lives. I hope I have many more in me.

      There are plenty of women to look up to in that regard … go Rochelle :)

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