At what point should one quit riding? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
Riding Proficiency Tips and suggestions for improving the rider's safety skills and riding techniques

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post #1 of 76 Old 10-04-2019, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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At what point should one quit riding?

I know this is an emotional topic and I have read up on it on other forums and elsewhere online. But it is a serious question and I see a lot of unhelpful answers like:
  • I will keep riding until I die (exactly what I am trying to avoid!)
  • If you have to ask, you should probably quit (I reject that. I think everyone should always be reexamining their priorities.)
  • If you can't handle the bike anymore (true, but not my situation and too obvious)
  • It's a personal choice everyone has to make for themselves. (Of course. But I am asking for input before I make that decision.)
So, I rode in my late teens and early 20's, all small bikes, then quit, being "responsible." Got back into it at 64 on a DL650. Took a lot of rider safety classes and rode conservatively. I had a few close calls the first year, but no accidents. I have done pretty well in the subsequent three years. At 68, I probably still only have about 10,000 miles logged. I ride AGATT, including an air bag vest. I always assume I am invisible and any vehicle that can possibly hit me, will try to hit me and that each curve may have a slick spot around the bend. My reflexes, balance and vision are still decent. But I am far from being a top notch rider and probably never will be.

But I have been thinking:
  • The accident death rate for riders is 38 times higher than drivers across the board, and increasing.
  • The rate for older riders is even higher.
  • Cagers are getting crazy with texting, etc.
  • Getting all suited up (and unsuited up) is a chore.
  • Where I live there are maybe three months in the Spring and three in the Fall where the temperatures are really conducive to comfortable riding AGATT.
  • At my age, a serious accident could be hard or impossible to recover from.
  • I am just not getting the "gotta get out on the bike" feeling as much anymore.
  • I can afford it, but the less I ride, the financial returns are diminishing and I am on a fixed income.
So please be serious. What are your criteria for packing it in, or advising someone else to pack it in? Any advice?
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post #2 of 76 Old 10-04-2019, 11:35 PM
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I'm 72 and been riding pretty much since my teens - took a break for kids then back into with my son.

Of course I have a horizon that is approaching but then I come across 80 yearolds still riding.

I do have a chronic injury from an off pavement front wheel wash out that damaged my shoulder but I did manage 17 days cross country this year - was a bucket list and I enjoyed ...might do it again next year.

I stay out traffic and rush hour....tho riding on major highways and at speed do not bother me. Stop and go is a killer as really bothers my throttle hand/shoulder but Celebrex works and some cortico steroid injections.

Gearing up is a thing you do....annoying at times but.....

When I swing my leg over and get out in the back roads....I drop 20 years ...simple as that.

I found riding with audiobooks a really enjoyable aspect and took away the urge to "
get there ". I'm relaxed and even with the inevitable occasional slow traffic ...
I have a group of riders...many my age, some even older and lots in retirement. It's a nice 40 minute ride through back roads and there are couple decent places for coffee or lunch.

That gives me a destination and some social enjoyment.....i get out in the fall colours and love the spring time ....it's outside .!!!

I really don't think you have to reason it out....quit when you are not enjoying it anymore.


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Canada 2018 CB500x >2009 CBF1000 sold 10 Wee ABS sold 09 Burgman Exec sold 10 NT700v sold
Australia> 04 KLR650 93 ST1100 sold
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post #3 of 76 Old 10-04-2019, 11:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmf552 View Post
I know this is an emotional topic and I have read up on it on other forums and elsewhere online. But it is a serious question and I see a lot of unhelpful answers like:
  • I will keep riding until I die (exactly what I am trying to avoid!)
  • If you have to ask, you should probably quit (I reject that. I think everyone should always be reexamining their priorities.)
  • If you can't handle the bike anymore (true, but not my situation and too obvious)
  • It's a personal choice everyone has to make for themselves. (Of course. But I am asking for input before I make that decision.)
So, I rode in my late teens and early 20's, all small bikes, then quit, being "responsible." Got back into it at 64 on a DL650. Took a lot of rider safety classes and rode conservatively. I had a few close calls the first year, but no accidents. I have done pretty well in the subsequent three years. At 68, I probably still only have about 10,000 miles logged. I ride AGATT, including an air bag vest. I always assume I am invisible and any vehicle that can possibly hit me, will try to hit me and that each curve may have a slick spot around the bend. My reflexes, balance and vision are still decent. But I am far from being a top notch rider and probably never will be.

But I have been thinking:
  • The accident death rate for riders is 38 times higher than drivers across the board, and increasing.
  • The rate for older riders is even higher.
  • Cagers are getting crazy with texting, etc.
  • Getting all suited up (and unsuited up) is a chore.
  • Where I live there are maybe three months in the Spring and three in the Fall where the temperatures are really conducive to comfortable riding AGATT.
  • At my age, a serious accident could be hard or impossible to recover from.
  • I am just not getting the "gotta get out on the bike" feeling as much anymore.
  • I can afford it, but the less I ride, the financial returns are diminishing and I am on a fixed income.
So please be serious. What are your criteria for packing it in, or advising someone else to pack it in? Any advice?

Seems like you answered your question.

If you haven't got the desire to ride like you used to have and are dwelling on the negative aspects sounds like you're done.

Riding requires your head to be in it. If your can't ride with confidence you're more likely to have a mishap IMO.

I still look forward to every ride even just commuting. I don't consider what bad may happen other than to avoid it!

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor 13:13
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post #4 of 76 Old 10-05-2019, 12:44 AM
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I agree with Spec.
You seem to have all the information needed to make the decision. The way you present the facts of your case sounds like you really don't want to be a regular rider, but perhaps wanted to re-examine something that was fun in your youth, and found it isn't as much fun now as it was back then. (Motorcycle riding is not the only activity that falls in that category.)
If your head is not fully into it you are adding an additional hazard. As much as it pains me to say it, my advice would be to quit.
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post #5 of 76 Old 10-05-2019, 12:50 AM
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So maybe it doesn't have to be a "toggle switch" decision where by you just quit. Maybe you start to do expedition trips. Some folks I know trailer their bikes to places they would like to explore and just bop around for a few days. The Rocky Mountains, Vermont, Nova Scotia .. you get the picture. The bikes become a means to an expanded end.

You might even switch to a mid-size dual sport bike for trailer slabbing. I do a vintage bike ride every so often in Southern California. I find it much more enjoyable doing that 6 hour slab and the 3 hours in LA traffic in the air conditioned cab and well rested for 3 days in the mountains East of LA on the bike.

You get to pick where and when you start and stop riding. The new scenery will get your mind off the statistics in the bargin. Mix it up for a couple of more years.

I figure the ad for my estate sale will include the words, "... ran when parked."

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post #6 of 76 Old 10-05-2019, 12:55 AM
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Hehe .....yah I cheat..fly the bike to the west coast for 2 weeks of riding then ride home. One way is fine and I actually did get tired of the Rockies and headed home a couple days early by the northern route and that turned out to be a treat....but damn it IS a long way across from Toronto.

East coast at least next year ...shoulder be damned ...I need the riding to keep me feeling young...cool weather gear tomorrow...
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Canada 2018 CB500x >2009 CBF1000 sold 10 Wee ABS sold 09 Burgman Exec sold 10 NT700v sold
Australia> 04 KLR650 93 ST1100 sold
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post #7 of 76 Old 10-05-2019, 12:55 AM
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You've been riding long enough to understand and spot the dangers of riding on two wheels. This is key for a long and safe riding career and you seem to have a good grasp on it. It's when "you've lost that loving feeling" with riding that you question "At what point should one quit riding?" I too lost that loving feeling at the beginning of this riding season but mine was due to the bike I was riding. I toured on a sport bike for the last 9 years clocking 100K km on it and my body couldn't handle the riding position anymore. Once I bought the vstrom I got that feeling back and now look forward to getting on it again and touring.

I know the dangers every time I get on the bike. All I can do is be aware and know my surroundings at all times when I ride and minimize my chances of a mishap. For me the reward outweighs the risk, for now. Physically, you sound to be in good shape for riding. Maybe you're not inspired? Maybe a change of bike? Join a new riding group? Failing this, then the risk may be outweighing the reward.
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post #8 of 76 Old 10-05-2019, 12:57 AM
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I got back into riding at 50 after a 21 year break. I then rode for 8 years and hung it up. I had three bikes in that time, two of the three concurrently for about a year.

During the last three seasons of my riding, I began having the feeling it wasn't that fun anymore. Of course, I didn't like that thought, so I shrugged it off. Too much time, money and emotion invested, you know? But the feeling persisted and even grew worse the next season. I rode a little less often and that helped a bit. By the third season, I admitted to myself I wasn't enjoying it anymore so I tested my thoughts out on the road. I was done. Riding had become a second job and then I realized...wait for it....It had become boring! For me. Not necessarily in terms of mileage, but in spare time, it's all I did on weekends. Don't get me wrong, not every ride was a chore, but I didn't enjoy most of them.

I've always thought about the dangers of riding as we should, but not in the sense it ever made we want to quit. I rode because I wanted to, until I didn't. And I always think it's possible if circumstances are right, I could one day get a bike again. So my choice came down to one thing. I was no longer enjoying it.

Not sure there's a formula for this decision; you really do have to form your own conclusion. Don't allow others or subtle pressures to keep you riding if, deep down, you want to give it up. Go by how you feel.
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post #9 of 76 Old 10-05-2019, 01:10 AM
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I don't know what my criteria for packing it in will be. I am not there yet. several bikes back I thought "well this will be my last bike" but it ain't over yet. If your eyes don't light up a bit and you don't find a smile on your face when you fire up your ride and head out then you might try a 6 month absence from riding. when I got married I quit bikes and that didn't last 6 months before the wife said to go get a motorcycle, that I was climbing the walls. Several times my wife has encountered me on my m/c unexpectedly and didn't think it was me at first. "you look 20 years younger on a motorcycle" she says. I think "yeah 20 years or more". I know my reflexes are not what they were 50 years ago. then they could have been measured with a stop watch, now a calendar might be a more appropriate measuring device. but you deal with your limitations, if you can't then you should quit. I got a street license when I was 14, and rode off road before that. now I am 75. More than half of the people in my high school class ('62) are dead. some of them were very careful some were not.

While I am alive I want to live, and a bike does it for me. If it did not do it for me I would quit.
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post #10 of 76 Old 10-05-2019, 02:03 AM
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It seems like you've already laid out some pretty clear reasons for you to give up riding; do you really need any more opinions from other guys whose outlook might not be the same as yours? All your points are good reasons to give up riding; the only difference between you and another guy is how much importance you place on those reasons. I can agree with several of your reasons (the danger factor, texting drivers, ATGATT being a chore), but they aren't powerful enough reasons for me personally at this stage of my life to give up riding. But if one of my reasons for giving it up was "I am just not getting the "gotta get out on the bike" feeling as much anymore", I don't think I would need any other reason beside that one to quit. I've given up multiple hobbies in my life (far less risky than motorcycling) for the simple reason that I wasn't enjoying them any more. There was no soul searching involved, or trying to come up with any reasons to keep doing it; not enjoying it was all the reason needed.

As long as I enjoy it, I'll keep doing it until a physical infirmity makes it impossible for me to continue. I'd quit riding tomorrow if I woke up in the morning and said "I just don't like riding any more".

"No matter where you go, there you are."

Last edited by RCinNC; 10-05-2019 at 10:19 AM.
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