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Riding Off Into the Sunset

ZLrider Oct 7, 2017

  1. ZLrider

    ZLrider Well-Known Member

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    Been doing some thinking the last few years about how much longer I'll be able to ride. Got my first bike when I was 14 and except for a few years when riding wasn't really an option, been doing this thing I love for nearly my whole life. Seems the issue anymore is my body at times just doesn't seem up to it. Worked hard my whole life and if I wasn't riding a bike, I was riding a sled. Have had my share of incidents. Both at work and riding.

    Mostly I've healed up well, but it seems I have a bad habit of re-injuring myself.....and anymore it just takes forever to heal up. Sucks to get old.

    Just in the last few months, I screwed up a foot pretty bad, still not 100%, but probably can ride. Earlier this year and also last fall, re-injured both arms. In my younger days I tore up a rotator cuff when I flipped the Arctic Cat crossing a bare ice lake at high speed at night, while drinking. Also tore ligaments in both forearms heaving railroad ties around. Now it doesn't take a lot to screw them up again. Right now I got a really sore neck. Don't know what brought this on, but even if I had my bike back, I don't think could stand the extra weight of a helmet.

    Over the years, starting back when I was a kid, I hit a big damned rock which sent me flying over the handlebars. First or 2nd day I had my CL125.
    Got ran off the road and through a drainage ditch.
    A girl in a VW ran a red light. I broad-sided it, went over the top. Collapsed lung and 5 fractured ribs. Still got the scars from that one.
    Came over a viaduct to find traffic stopped dead in the road. Ass-ended a car full of punks from my HS. Flew over the top of the car, landing on the street in FRONT of the car. They beat the hell out of me too.
    Went down and banged up my left knee.
    Hit some gravel at high speed while careening around a curve. My bike hit a tree, I somehow did not. Woke up in the hospital. Nothing broken, but more wear and tear on my body. Totaled the bike. Killed the tree.
    Bailed off my JD Spitfire when lost it on the ice. I missed the telephone pole, but wrapped the sled around it. More wear and tear on the old bag of bones, but could have been much worse.
    Did the number that messed up the rotator. Took months to heal.
    One day going around a sharp curve at low speed, the KZ refused to turn, sending me through a ditch and into a fence. Never could figure out what happened, but more wear and tear on the foot/ankle.
    Hit some unexpected gravel when braking hard.....right before a curve. Put me down again, this time doing a number on my other knee.

    Won't even get into all the other injuries I had on the job or in cars. Anyhow I'm just wondering how much more this body of mine can take and if I should really continue to tempt fate. At least the ZL has been kind to me. Then again these bikes handle well and inspire confidence. Plus I'm a lot wiser now and don't push it to the limit.

    Anybody else thinking about how much longer they can or should ride? For the record my 60th Bday is rapidly approaching. Except for these nagging injuries, I don't feel any different than in my younger days and haven't really changed my lifestyle much. Getting tired of pain though. As I sit here typing this I'm hurting pretty bad.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
  2. 87kawzl

    87kawzl Well-Known Member

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    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.th...acket-automatically-inflates-built-in-sensors

    Sounds like technology came around a bit late for ya!

    Seriously though, only you can make the decision when the time to hang up the gear is right. I'll be 49 soon and some days while on the bike I feel great. Then there is the heavy traffic days with all of the 20 something princess' doin hair and makeup while on the phone on two wheels rounding the corner for a Starbucks.

    I've been commuting less and trying to get out to the less populated areas when I do ride. That's a total 180 from how I used to ride, I loved burning up the city streets and crisp rides to work.

    If there was a way thru the woods to get to work I'd get myself one of those adv bikes. I hope to be riding for many years to come sometimes it helps me forget about the aches and pains.
     
  3. R. J.

    R. J. Well-Known Member

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    :hello: I've been riding for 50 years & never been hurt on a bike. I started on 2 wheels when I was 9 & riding on the street when I was 13 which was my first street bike. I've raced motocross (20 years), hare scramble (12 years) & hill climbs for 8. I've done well to. I Had 2 sleds & raced them to. Never crashed. All my hurting is mostly from arthritis & constant headaches. How long I'll ride I really don't know. I ride less & less every year. I've thought of selling my Eliminator over the years but what for. It's not like I'll get anything for it any ways. I'll be giving all my bikes to my youngest son along with all my guns.
     
  4. markus56

    markus56 ZL-OA Co-owner Staff Member Administrator Super Moderator Supporting Member

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    I'm in R.J.'s camp.......I've been riding since I was 14 on the dirt and then graduated to the street when I was 16.......and I've never been hurt bad on a bike or had a bad wreck on one. Yeah, I think all of us has hit a little gravel in the road and I've been way too close to eating it big time but my Guardian Angel always did her job. I will admit that the risk factor has gone way up since cell phones and have considered quitting just for that reason but I refuse to let them win like that!
     
    R. J. likes this.
  5. R. J.

    R. J. Well-Known Member

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    :hello: By first learning to ride in the dirt makes you a better street rider. Those skills automatically kick in when you get into a close call. I've been in many close calls. Such as avoiding a rear end collision. If need be I head into the grass/dirt on the side of the rode instead of hitting a car. I have gone down when doing so but always came out with no damage to me or the bike. When I used to race I also have gone down. One time somehow my foot got stuck between a rear shock & wheel/tire. Another time a rock hit me in the chin semi knocking me out. I finished the race. Also I got the wind knocked out of me when going over a jump when another rider crossed under me on a jump. I do not call a crash a crash unless you or your bike is taken out of the game.
     
  6. markus56

    markus56 ZL-OA Co-owner Staff Member Administrator Super Moderator Supporting Member

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    I agree R.J., starting out in the dirt makes you a better street rider.
     
    R. J. likes this.
  7. slug

    slug Senior Member

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    My dad is still riding at 76!
     
  8. markus56

    markus56 ZL-OA Co-owner Staff Member Administrator Super Moderator Supporting Member

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    That's great.....I hope to be also.
     
  9. R. J.

    R. J. Well-Known Member

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    :hello: My friend Ron A. still rides at the age of 84 & still runs his shop out of his home. Also a couple that we know rides a 1800 Goldwing with a sidecar & they are in the mid 90s.
     
  10. markus56

    markus56 ZL-OA Co-owner Staff Member Administrator Super Moderator Supporting Member

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    That's cool.....gives me hope! :D
     
  11. ZLrider

    ZLrider Well-Known Member

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    Nice to know a few older guys are still hanging in there. My thoughts are more along the lines of not that I can't ride, but should I? What used to take a day or two to heal now takes weeks. Have had a lot of pain in my life and just don't want a lot more.

    For instance I missed a step here at the house and wadded my foot up for lack of a better term. It's been almost 2 mos now and it is a lot better, but still hurts.

    It might sound like I've had a lot of wrecks, but it's over the span of many years and most of what I listed resulted in not a lot of damage to me or the machine. A lot of the real bone head stuff was when I first started riding. Live and learn and at least for me slow down. Almost every one of those incidents could have been avoided if hadn't been pushing so hard. It's all good fun until you hit that patch of gravel. Around here there is gravel everywhere and generally not a problem until you find yourself in a patch on a curve that you can't see until you got the machine leaning. Physics takes over and there is no saving it.

    The comments about learning in the dirt I fully agree with. I just don't think I have those skills anymore, it is just been too damned long now. I'd actually like to have another dirt bike or a scrambler. There are literally 1,000s of acres of open space around me that extend for 100 miles or more. Still though is that hazardous for a guy my age? I remember kicking the bike back up onto it's wheels with 16 year old legs. Just don't think they'd take the punishment anymore, especially with knees that have gotten a bit creaky. Maybe I'd be happier with some sort of thumper. With all the trouble Bill is having with my carbs, it seems like owning the ZL may end up being more of hobby where I spend my free time wrenching rather than riding.

    I also agree that cell phone use has made our streets very dangerous. Also not a fan of all the cars that now had daytime headlights. Used to be if you saw a headlight in the daytime you knew a bike was coming. Now I wonder if people tune that out and basically don't even notice them. Luckily my riding tends to be country roads where I encounter few cars.

    Never been a Harley guy, but it seems I'm in the vast minority. They've got to be easier to work on, especially the newer fuel injected models.

    Thanks for the replies and be careful out there guys. Our abilities and reflexes surely aren't what they were when we were kids and more and more distracted idiots are sharing the roads with us.
     
  12. 87kawzl

    87kawzl Well-Known Member

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    I used to wear my armored gear and go out riding like a nut feeling invincible. Now I usually don't leave on the bike without it because I feel the same way as you, just don't want the pain if anything happens out there. That's the reason I am very careful on where I open it up nowadays for that rush that I can't live without.

    As far as wrenching vs riding, they all need attention and once the zl is sorted it should run fine for ya. I'm sure the scheduled maintenance on a new bike costs plenty and breakdowns happen.
    As they say, if it's got tits or wheels you are bound to have problems.
     
  13. R. J.

    R. J. Well-Known Member

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    :hello: I still ride in the dirt mostly on 4 wheels. I have a 2002 Yamaha sport quad that I've had for 14 years & I ride it at least 2 times a week & a Grizzly 4x4 that I mostly use for hunting. My wife rides it also. I have a 2016 RMZ 450 that I ride every other Sunday with guys that are all older than myself. One guy that's 73 is fast as hell. Ya it takes more time to recover from a ride but on the other hand I think it keeps me in shape. I was racing a 19 year old kid that was on a 450 Honda. About 15 laps in he tuckered out before me.
     
  14. slug

    slug Senior Member

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    Il be rooting for you! :)
     

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