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Old 08-27-2012, 02:17 PM   #61
Granparacer
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As I have gotten older, my tolerance for risk has changed. I now ride well below the edge of my abilities "most of the time". I have to admit to getting carried away now and then, feeling like a kid. Those moments are worth the price of admission. If I feel a little spooked, I back it down a lot and have learned to listen to that voice, there's usually a reason for it. I hope to never call it quits, but if the time comes that I feel like I'm a risk to others or if it's not the same good feeling it's been for the past 48 years, I'll hang up the helmets.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:53 PM   #62
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Sorry, but riding a motorcycle is not a prescription for death. People die every day, all kinds of ways.
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Old 08-27-2012, 03:02 PM   #63
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Perhaps now is the time.

Six weeks ago I had an accident after coming out of the Malibu Mtns. after a great ride. Total amnesia from before accident until waking up in the hospital a day and a half later. Results: Triumph Scrambler destroyed, frame broken. Left ring finger smashed to bits. Now wired up may be amputated later. Cracked vertebrae in neck and lower back. Broken right hip. Now wheel chair bound with neck and torso braces. I will recover but it's hard at 69 years old.

The toughest part is not knowing what caused the accident. I suspect I was run off the road by a hit and run driver. Perhaps it's time to quit.
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Old 08-27-2012, 03:03 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackx70 View Post
Sorry, but riding a motorcycle is not a prescription for death.
Nobody here is saying it is. There are additional risks that come with being on two wheels, and when someone decides those risks outweigh the rewards, they stop riding. The rest of us accept the risks, or at the very least ignore them.
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Old 08-27-2012, 03:05 PM   #65
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Nobody here is saying it is. There are additional risks that come with being on two wheels, and when someone decides those risks outweigh the rewards, they stop riding. The rest of us accept the risks, or at the very least ignore them.
Fine, but there seems to be a streak of fatalism that is kind of silly.
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Old 08-27-2012, 03:11 PM   #66
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Fine, but there seems to be a streak of fatalism that is kind of silly.

How old are you? Not being an ass, just curious. Age changes many, me included.
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Old 08-27-2012, 05:31 PM   #67
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I will not quit until I cant sit a bike.
54 now, riding since 14, and I never got hurt on the street.
Plenty hurt in the dirt (the cause of most of my issues) and I have given that up, at least till I find a fun light little bike to dirt ride.
I never hear voices, or feel like I should not ride.
Since I have been street riding since 17 and never had a close call (even in my young wild days), I do not consider it risky, at least the way I ride.
There is always some risk, but I also fell down some stairs and have broken bones, which is more then I ever got on the street.

When my son was young, it was time to do stuff with him, and all that new house stuff, so I did not ride much, but always had a bike I could get out on once and a while.
The house and job and wife still limit my riding time, and I am down to about 10,000 miles a year of joy riding and it sucks to not be able to do long trips, but that is the way it is...

If you do not have good health insurance, its kind of crazy to ride much, or dirt ride at all.
More so with wife, kids, house...
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Old 08-27-2012, 05:53 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by NJ-Brett View Post
I never hear voices, or feel like I should not ride.
Since I have been street riding since 17 and never had a close call (even in my young wild days), I do not consider it risky, at least the way I ride.
There is always some risk, but I also fell down some stairs and have broken bones, which is more then I ever got on the street.
I don't "hear voices" either.....just have a "feeling" today is "not right"....I listen to those feelings. 57yo ....been riding since I was 14 as well. Sometimes I "know" today is not right. Silly? Maybe.... I agree there is ALWAYS some risk. Life is risky...work in an ER...we're all gonna check out. Just agree with the OP that circumstances change. Kids/life DO have to take over sometimes... The OP is worried about his kids/family. Kudos to him. Now is not always the time. Later maybe. We all have to live our lives at that time. Riding is important..but not above your responsibilities. I have "none" per se....but do listen to that siren that says "no".... BTW, my ONLY injury in the last 20 years WAS going down steps.....
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:05 PM   #69
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There are lots of great observations in this thread. I have had this question go through my mind before. I did stop riding for a while when I was uninsured for a few months. During the time I was road racing I remember reading in the paper of a couple killed in their bed by lightning. It made me think I'm safer racing than sleeping....

I'm fully committed to riding now. I do admit to being hyperaware. And I still make decisions that I question afterwards.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:19 PM   #70
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How old are you? Not being an ass, just curious. Age changes many, me included.
42. A youngin in this crowd, I guess.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:36 PM   #71
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42. A youngin in this crowd, I guess.
Must be, younger than me by 13 years but you aint no pup. A lot of people re-think the risk they are willing to take when they have children, doesnt matter what the risk is, could be drinking and partying, scootering or sky diving.

In my own personal experience, at 55 I'm not the rider I was at 25, or even 45. Reflexes arent as good, got aches and pains that start now after a few hours in the saddle that I never had even 10 years ago at 45. That shit can be distracting, plus self employeed, if I'm out of work for 3 months I'm likely bankrupt. It's all things to think about.

I dont second guess people wanting to quit, they know more about theirself than I do, if they feel the need to get away from it, why would I second guess them?

Have a friend who was wanting to get out of it but was wishy washy on it, stayed on a little longer, and t boned a volvo. Two kids in high school and a stay at home wife, he has the mental capicity of an 8 yr old now and needs baby sitting. Truthfully, he never needed to be on a bike to start with, but it caught up with him. He was a dumbass on a bike, his fault entirely but I still wouldnt wish it on anybody.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:51 PM   #72
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Must be, younger than me by 13 years but you aint no pup. A lot of people re-think the risk they are willing to take when they have children, doesnt matter what the risk is, could be drinking and partying, scootering or sky diving.

In my own personal experience, at 55 I'm not the rider I was at 25, or even 45. Reflexes arent as good, got aches and pains that start now after a few hours in the saddle that I never had even 10 years ago at 45. That shit can be distracting, plus self employeed, if I'm out of work for 3 months I'm likely bankrupt. It's all things to think about.

I dont second guess people wanting to quit, they know more about theirself than I do, if they feel the need to get away from it, why would I second guess them?

Have a friend who was wanting to get out of it but was wishy washy on it, stayed on a little longer, and t boned a volvo. Two kids in high school and a stay at home wife, he has the mental capicity of an 8 yr old now and needs baby sitting. Truthfully, he never needed to be on a bike to start with, but it caught up with him. He was a dumbass on a bike, his fault entirely but I still wouldnt wish it on anybody.
I have been riding for 4.5 years now. About 46,000 miles give or take. I do admit that starting later in life probably has made me appreciate and work harder at keeping body and soul together.
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:45 PM   #73
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Bravo - great post. Thanks for writing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fibzzz View Post
I enjoyed reading these because I see a lot of myself in some of the responses. I started riding when I was a kid, on dirt. I got my motorcycle license shortly after my car license at 16, and got my first streetbike the following year as a high school graduation present -- a blue 1975 BMW R60/6. Fast-forward 12 years and several bikes later, and I was living in Los Angeles, riding my Honda RC51 every day, spending my weekend mornings in the canyons above Malibu.

That Fall, my wife and I found out she was pregnant. We planned to break the news to our family at Christmas. On Thanksgiving weekend, I got up at 6am for my Sunday ride, and spent three hours riding my favorite canyon loops with a stop at the Rock Store for a cup of coffee.

On the way home, I decided to run Piuma Road, a very twisty section in the Santa Monica Mtns, and a favorite road that I had ridden probably 200 times. I had dialed back to probably 70% of my early-morning pace because the later it gets, the more cars there are to worry about. As I rounded a blind, tight right-hander at around 35 mph, I was leaned over pretty good but I vividly remember that I was thinking about the maintenance I had to do on the bike that winter... New chain, sprockets, probably a new rear tire while I'm at it, etc... I was in the left tire groove, to help me see around the corner a bit better. In an instant, an SUV coming the other way was over the center stripe directly in my line, and instead of pushing on my right bar to try tightening my line to get out of her way, the panic reflex kicked in and I grabbed brake. The bike stood up instantly and BOOM. We collided head-on in the center of the road as the driver tried to swerve back into her own lane. I hit the bumper, then the hood, then the windshield, then the road in front of her car. I tried to stand up, but my left leg collapsed under me.

The next crystal-clear memory is of sitting there in the middle of the road, looking at my crumpled bike, and thinking, "I'm about to be a dad. What the hell am I doing here?"

Torn ACL, LCL and PCL, extensive nerve damage and some gnarly bruises, but thankfully no broken bones. Consider this a commercial for Vanson racing leathers -- go buy some.

I also remember the CHP officer who responded to the scene walking over to where I was sitting on the side of the road, and asking me why I was there. I told him I was the rider. The look on his face was startling. He said, "Wow, I can't believe I'm talking to you right now. When I rolled up on the scene and saw the bike, I thought for certain we had a fatality. You're one lucky son of a bitch."

He's right -- I was. That was 10 years ago.

I'm now the proud parent of an amazing 9-year-old son and an equally amazing 6-year-old daughter. And I can honestly say, even after witnessing the birth and growth of both of our children, the urge to ride was still alive inside me. I fought it pretty successfully, though. I cancelled all my magazine subscriptions and stopped following the new bike models. I took up golf. I threw myself into my work. But my wife saw that I was still struggling with it deep down, because she knows what riding means to me. It's part of who I am as a person, and I can't separate it. A few years after the crash, after many long, late conversations and a lot of soul-searching, for my birthday she arranged for me to rent a Harley Heritage Softail on a perfect, sunny Saturday.

I admit I was nervous as hell. I didn't want to ride it at first. Forget the fact that my surgically-repaired left leg was still a liability, even with a custom, carbon fiber brace. My son was now three years old, being his dad was the most incredible experience, life was good... Why would I want to put that in jeopardy? Was I being selfish? I WAS being selfish, I told myself. But she wanted me to do this. And deep inside, I knew I NEEDED to do this. So I took it out for a spin. And where did I go? I headed straight back to Piuma for a date with my demons.

Two things were immediately apparent: A Heritage Softail ain't no RC51. And I was rusty. I took it slow and easy, shook off my jitters and feelings of self-loathing, and ended up thoroughly enjoying the chance to reconnect with a side of me that had been put to sleep.

That one ride was enough to last me another seven years. Until last December when I visited my brothers in San Diego. Between the two of them they have a BMW GS, Road King, CBR929RR, and a VFR750. We planned a long morning ride, and I landed on the 929. I wanted to hate the experience. I actually talked to myself inside my helmet. "Your boy-racer days are over... You're older / fatter / more mature... You don't need this much power, this isn't fun like it used to be, your knees won't stay bent like this anymore..." But it was a blast! The old me came back. It was literally as if I found my old self standing on the side of the road somewhere along that route, and picked him up.

The next six months after that trip were not easy on my wife! And honestly, they were tough for me too. I knew I wanted to get another bike -- I felt like I needed to get one in order to be the person I really am. But I was battling the same feelings of selfishness, responsibility, pressure from family and friends who couldn't believe I would ever consider riding again. I AGONIZED over it. Tortured myself and, by her proximity, my wife too. But it finally came down to this simple thing: I'm a happier husband / father / friend / co-worker -- a better person -- when I have the outlet and personal satisfaction of riding a motorcycle.

Once I got through my "process" and convinced myself I was ready to buy another bike, I then had to come to peace with the idea that I was not getting another sportbike. I realized I don't need the temptation. If the power and handling are there, I want to use them. I looked at every bike out there, but kept coming back to a conversation I'd had with my brother before our December ride. He said that if he could keep only one bike forever, it would be his GS, because it does everything well. Soon afterward, I came across a mint 2011 GSA on Craigslist and I went for it.

It has turned out to be exactly what I wanted, what I needed. I love riding it.

I don't think I'll ever stop thinking about the what-ifs and worst-case scenarios, or entirely get past the feelings of guilt, selfishness, irresponsibility -- pick your term -- that come with getting another bike. As a parent, how could I? But I believe I've taken the right steps to mitigate as much risk as possible:

1) I have good insurance (vehicle, medical and life).
2) I wear top-quality protective gear at all times.
3) I ride early. On most mornings between 5am and 7am, I have the roads around Harriman State Park to myself, and I like it that way (well, it's me and the deer so I still have to be cautious!).
4) I don't push the envelope. I ride within my capabilities, and leave ego at home.
5) I avoid riding in groups. I prefer to ride alone, or at most with one or two others whose riding styles I know and decision-making I trust.

That's about it. If you made it through my entire diatribe, congrats -- you're probably the only one! Sorry it got so long; this topic is pretty close to home for me!

Ride safe all.
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:55 PM   #74
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I have been riding for 4.5 years now. About 46,000 miles give or take. I do admit that starting later in life probably has made me appreciate and work harder at keeping body and soul together.

I've been going on some form of motorized two wheels since 1966, it doesnt hold the wonder it did in the 70's and 80's. I've run the gamut from getting my kicks in the dirt, to speed and power (and 75 horsepower was pretty stout in the late 70's) to cruisers loaded with chrome for a run to the local burger joint and an occasional weekender to touring for a couple weeks at a time, lasting 5,000 miles and 5 or 6 states on a Goldwing. I stopped this weekend for a burger, probably 20 bikes out front, I couldnt tell you what a single one of them was. I rarely look at them anymore, seen one GS or milkcrated KLR or ape hangered E Glide, youve seen them all. I ride now but theres not some fire that I feel, if I sold the bike today I would miss it on those cool rainy weekend mornings that I like to ride, I wouldnt miss it at all on those 100 days. Riding is just one part of my life, I wouldnt feel the need to go jump off a building if I couldnt ride, because I went thru about 8 yrs with some vertigo issues and couldnt ride, it wasnt the end of the world.

But dont kid yourself, it's a hobby that can turn around and bite you on the ass if you or somebody else fuck up. Not trying a scare tactic, but in 45 years of riding I have lost probably 6 friends to accidents, for the most part self inflicted. The friend above, he came out of the accident, he didnt know anyone, not his kids, not his wife, not his parents, none of his old buds. He started out from scratch when he came out of the coma.

You can read thru some of the lest we forget in inmates, sobering thoughts
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:32 PM   #75
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Sorry, but riding a motorcycle is not a prescription for death. People die every day, all kinds of ways.

Thanks for the update. Guess none of us figured that out.
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