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How will you decide when it's time?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by GLJ, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. GLJ

    GLJ Never go faster than your guardian angle can fly. Top Contributor

    Fred's post and my exchange with madmax-im got me thinking. How will I decide when it's time to hang up the helmet for the last time?
    My dad decided on his own when his bike riding time was over. He was in my opinion wiser with his bike riding decision than with his 4 wheel driving decision. He drove until a few weeks before his passing at 92. He probably shouldn't have have been driving but taking his keys would have started WW3. Mom quit at 92 voluntary. She just flat said she didn't want to drive anymore.
    I hope that I realize it's time to quit when I don't feel safe or comfortable. I'm only 62 but I have realized I'm not the rider I once was. I just hope I have enough wisdom to know when it's time. I'm a bit more sedate riding today.
    Stuffing it into a corner at 2 or 3 times the suggested speed has no appeal. On the XS2 with no fairing 70 fells too fast. 70 on the BMr is OK. I know that I have not ridden much for the last 12 years so somethings will calm down.
    So my question to you gentlemen is if you have ever given any thought as to when it will be time to hang up your helmet? Like to here other thoughts.
    peanut, MaxPete, Gator xs2 and 4 others like this.
  2. Downeaster

    Downeaster Everything in XS Top Contributor

    I'm about to be 69 and I'm having the same thoughts.

    I find I have days when I'm really on my game and other days not so much. I've even had days where I've started to go for a ride and turned around an gone home within 5 miles because it just didn't feel right.

    Today was a good day, I had my stuff together, weather was perfect. I thumbed the ol' ECU into Sport mode and lofted the front wheel whilst running 'er through the gears and breaking the ton before slowing back down to a semi-reasonable speed. Carved a couple of pretty good corners, might even have left some footpeg rubber in one of them.

    I do find I'm using Rain mode (much less twitchy throttle) and just bopping up the road and enjoying the scenery more often that in past years.

    I suspect there'll come a time when one or both of two things will let me know I should hang it up: Loss of balance/strength to the point that I'm constantly worrying about dropping the bike or spend all my ride time worrying about traffic/accidents/crashing rather than enjoying the ride.
    peanut, jonesey, MaxPete and 8 others like this.
  3. GLJ

    GLJ Never go faster than your guardian angle can fly. Top Contributor

    I don't have those problems yet. I can hold all my bikes up just fine. Balance isn't what it used to be. I can still come to a stop and go again without putting a foot down. Just not as long.
    I think what you just said is what's bothering me. Even though I enjoy the ride all the things that could go wrong play on my mind. I'm hoping time and miles calm things down.
    Thanks for responding.
  4. Downeaster

    Downeaster Everything in XS Top Contributor

    I think you have to strike a balance: If you don't worry a LITTLE bit about what can happen, you get careless and will eventually pay for it. It's when it overwhelms you to the exclusion of everything else that's a sign.
    MaxPete, JAX71224, aldo5468 and 4 others like this.
  5. GLJ

    GLJ Never go faster than your guardian angle can fly. Top Contributor

    I think you have a very good and realistic point.
  6. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    I retired about a year and a half ago. Right up to the end I was commuting to work on a modern bike ( Suzuki DL650 V-Strom ) , it was quick and had excellent ABS brakes , all of which was good in the dense urban traffic I rode in. It wasn’t all that much fun riding in rush hour traffic in a sea of cars and my brain was in accident avoidance mode constantly.
    I find that since my retirement , I’ve switched gears, I enjoy tinkering ( and apparently this forum ) as much as riding. I pick more rural roads and a deliberately slower pace and I find that putting around on a vintage machine, in no big rush suits me.
    I think as you age, it’s a combination of factors. Your reflexes slow, your brain doesn’t process information as quickly, you lose strength and flexibility and all these things conspire to erode your confidence and sense of well being. Since everyone ages differently the appropriate time to stop riding will be different for us all.
    I have also thought about when the right time to hang up my spurs will be. The things I am on the watch for are, my confidence, ability to judge traffic flow, and the general physical ability to handle a motorcycle.
    I’ll tell you one thing, I made a conscious decision a while back to stick to lighter bikes. I had once toyed with the idea of buying a big heavy cruiser and after test riding all the big name cruisers, I came to the conclusion that while they feel solid on the highway, they are a bitch to handle at low speeds, for me anyways.

    I’ll close with a story about a guy who didn’t know when to quit. Years ago a fellow I worked with had gone on this two day ride with a group of guys. In this group was an older man and his wife riding a Goldwing. On the second day of the trip, the man with the Goldwing dropped his bike not once but twice while coming to a stop, sending his wife skittering across the pavement. She got up and yelled “ I’m not getting on that bike with you again!”
    The Goldwing got left at an out of town gas station while the couple rode home on the back of other riders bikes.
    It was a bad scene.

    I really think if you listen to your heart and not your ego, you’ll know when it’s time. Hell....we all will.
    peanut, jonesey, MaxPete and 5 others like this.
  7. Moabite

    Moabite XS650 Addict Top Contributor

    ...my suggestion is try a quality electric bicycle, they are amazing. Do not have to pedal hard, for 5-15 mile ride for old peeps most no problem. Your speeds will be 5-15 mph, not fast compared to xs but if only i had more money it is on top of my list.
    ... Or try a scooter, they actually fun too...
    ...and lastly you could switch to millennium method-online motorcycle driving with an xs650 set up with simulator screen and controls in your garage...
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
    GLJ, peanut, MaxPete and 1 other person like this.
  8. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    I think it's in the manual.

  9. gggGary

    gggGary Stop that! XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Only half in jest....
    I'm thinking a fatal crash would be a good stopping point.
  10. madmax-im

    madmax-im Yamaha...Go your own way... XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Mailman has said it well..and i totally agree...If you arent thinking about this then you are not being prudent. I had 2 wrecks in 15 months..first one totaled my beautiful 1979XS1100..Another driver's at fault..the 2nd wreck was on my 2007 Suzuki bandit 1250S..on a 2 lane backroad..i ran off and into a drainage ditch..No recollection of that one..Had a mild concussion..
    These 2 events with 40+ yrs of riding without incident..had me ready to quit altogether. Other health issues that would not fare well if i were injured in another wreck..So i decided its was time to quit... Here we are 9 months later and i have decided I'm not truly ready to give it up..Not having a bike is driving me nuts..Bottom line is I know i am not ready to quit..and I feel when the time does come i will know well enough...
    As Mailman said..picking lighter weight bikes helps plus just putting around on backroads is the new mission..Most of all is to bring a vintage Yamaha to the Vintage Yamaha Rally at the Iron Horse MC Lodge in Stecoah...it is the premier Yamaha event in N.America..
    Y'all c'mon out now... y'hear?
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
    peanut, TwoManyXS1Bs, MaxPete and 3 others like this.
  11. grizld1

    grizld1 Grumpy old man Top Contributor

    I hear that, Gary; I'll take quality of life over duration of life for sure. Turning 72 in a few weeks, figure I have 3 to 5 years of riding left. When attention to the road and controlling the bike become too much like work, I'll hang up the lid. But let's not get maudlin. Here are some lyrics I cobbled together. To the tune of "Amazing Grace:"

    Old age has come and kicked my ass
    And made a mess of me.
    I now am slow, who once was fast
    Tense tight, who once rode free.

    In corners where I pitched in deep
    To scratch an itching knee,
    I clench my cheeks as 'round I creep
    And fight to hold my pee.

    Hang my helmet on the wall,
    And keep it 'till I'm dead.
    Then 'cause I'll have a ways to fall,
    Please strap it on my head.
  12. Downeaster

    Downeaster Everything in XS Top Contributor

    Ima print that out and hang it on my wall!
  13. aldo5468

    aldo5468 Redleg XS650.com Supporter

    Amen to that
    MaxPete, gggGary and GLJ like this.
  14. aldo5468

    aldo5468 Redleg XS650.com Supporter

    I'm 75. Agree with a lot of what others have written. I think it depends somewhat on where you usually ride (traffic density factor, road quality, visibility at intersections, etc.), how much an aggressive riding style factors into your enjoyment, and how you judge that your skill and capability plays against your "acceptable risk" profile as you age. Some of it is a slow, subconscious attitude change, just slowly losing interest - four years ago this summer, our four grandkids moved near us, so some of the time when I used to go ride now is spent with them, but other times, it's nothing to do with the kids, I just choose a nap over a ride. I sold my XV1100 last summer but still have my 650. Even with my sedate riding style on predominantly rural asphalt, my head tells me that I don't ride enough anymore to maintain my skills where they should be, but emotionally I'm not ready to give it up just yet. Too soon old but still not smart, I guess.
  15. Downeaster

    Downeaster Everything in XS Top Contributor

    This goes to what I was saying earlier. A BIG part of the joy of riding for me is wringing that puppy out and feeling the acceleration. But, more often these days, I know I'm just not sharp enough to risk it. When I am, I do. When I'm not, I choose "Rain" mode and just putt around.
  16. xjwmx

    xjwmx It's just the unknown. Top Contributor

    I think this is one decision that gets made for you...
  17. kshansen

    kshansen XS650 Junkie Top Contributor

    Well for me I have to say there are many days right now when even with perfect weather I have just not felt up to riding or even working on one of the bikes out in the garage. I'm hoping some day the doctors can reach a decision on why I'm so tired all the time.

    The latest idea is Sleep Apnea, waiting on insurance company to decide if I worth going in for a "sleep study".

    Yesterday I did some weed eating work and push mowing along with a bit of time on the zero turn mower. To day I managed to make it to the diner for breakfast but then spent the rest of the day until about 4 pm half asleep in recliner.

    More often than I care to think about it I have been wondering if I should get serious about passing at least a couple of my bikes on to someone else. The only XS650 with a plate on it has not touched tires to the road yet this year along with the 1988 Sportster. The 1978 XS650 that is ninety percent done has not had a wrench touch it since last fall.

    What really sucks is I probably got more riding time in with snow on the ground going back and fourth to work before I retired than I have managed this season!
  18. Moabite

    Moabite XS650 Addict Top Contributor

    ...do you smoke cigarettes? At my age my friends that smoke are getting very inactive, i not a doctor but to me anyone that smokes needs to quit and then it takes time to get body and lungs happy again...but quitting very hard for most...especially if spouse codependent too...
    peanut, MaxPete, GLJ and 2 others like this.
  19. MrBultaco

    MrBultaco it ran before being parked Top Contributor

    When I was talking to my 88 year old father, we discussed this and I told him that it would be best if he made the decision and not someone or something else did. He agreed and stopped driving a year and a half later. He wasn't happy that his lady friend had to drive him around though. He passed at 93, two years ago.
    MaxPete, madmax-im, GLJ and 1 other person like this.
  20. xjwmx

    xjwmx It's just the unknown. Top Contributor

    ^That's one way the decision gets made for you.

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