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 Motorcycle Safety
 Aging and Disabilities
 I'm not old - I just feel like it sometimes
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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17292 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 01/15/2011 :  7:30 AM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend                        Like
As I approach my 68th birthday I find that more and more often it is harder to get ready - to be up for - a ride. (No need to take a nasty tangent here!)

The colder it gets, the more difficult it is for me to handle that cold. The same safety gear that was perfectly satisfactory for comfort at this temperature only a few years a go is no longer adequate. Yes, an additional layer of clothes solves that problem - but it is a problem.

Similarly, I do not have the energy level of just a few years ago. So far, just insuring that I have a cup of coffee and a small breakfast before I go out in the early morning is enough to jump start me, but only a few years ago I was perfectly happy to get out on two wheels and wait until the first rest stop to have that coffee and breakfast.

The solution, generally, at least for me, is to have a riding buddy expect to make a particular ride with me. I find that admitting age is not as easy as putting a smile on my face and joining my riding buddy with a positive attitude.

And it's not just the cold and energy levels ... before every ride I check the air pressure on both Cash's and my bikes. That means that I get at least one knee on the ground, but sometimes in order to reach a valve stem that is in an awkward position, I get the rest of my body on the ground. The problem is getting back up onto my feet. Indeed, there are times when I almost cannot manage that. It takes me more and more time and effort as the years roll on. No cure that I can think of. For sure, electing to not bother to check the air pressure is not an option.

scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6890 Posts
[Mentor]


Pleasanton, CA
USA

KTM

990 Adv, XR650L

Posted - 01/15/2011 :  8:50 AM
quote:
Originally posted by James R. Davis

And it's not just the cold and energy levels ... before every ride I check the air pressure on both Cash's and my bikes. That means that I get at least one knee on the ground, but sometimes in order to reach a valve stem that is in an awkward position, I get the rest of my body on the ground. The problem is getting back up onto my feet. Indeed, there are times when I almost cannot manage that.
That reminds me of what George Burns said: "You know you're getting old when you stoop to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you could do while you're down there."

I think I've been blaming some difficulties in riding dirt bikes on just being out of shape rather than aging. Thanks for starting this discussion forum as a reminder to those of us who have achieved grandparent age.
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rkfire
Advanced Member
1695 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Peer Review: Blocked

Posted - 01/15/2011 :  9:57 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Have you considered a motorcycle lift, if you have the space for it?

First I need to work on getting the space, but once I have that accomplished, I want a table lift.

It might be overkill for checking air pressure, but, I too am getting weary of the getting up and down. Things like checking my chain, brake pads, removing wheels for new tires, oil changes, checking nuts and bolts, or for leaks, or even cleaning grime down low and on the wheels.

When I get one, I think I might be more vigilant with some of these things. I'm pretty sure my knees and aching back will thank me.
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greywolf
Male Moderator
1495 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 01/15/2011 :  12:20 PM
A table lift is a great thing to have. For now, knee pads on the riding pants are enough for checking air pressure. James has three years on me though.
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Cash Anthony
Female Administrator
1466 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, Texas
USA

Honda

Magna 750

Posted - 01/15/2011 :  12:40 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Some years ago we rode with a couple who lived out in the country where they could work on the projects they liked.

One thing the husband did was to modify motorcycles for people who had special needs. I remember seeing one rider who had an artificial foot who was able to ride via a hand-shifter adaptation. Another had a sidecar from which he rode, without anyone in the saddle on the bike. :) THAT was an eye-opener for a lot of drivers! And we saw an arrangement that permitted a rider to steer his wheelchair near the bike, then have it pulled into the sidecar, so that he didn't have to wheel it all the way in.

I don't know who does this kind of work as a regular source any more. But it's clear that some people are simply unwilling to give up this sport and will go to extreme lengths to adapt so that they can keep riding.

Bravo, if it's safe for them!


Cash
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Tburd
Male Senior Member
476 Posts


Waukesha, WI
USA

Suzuki

Boulevard S50

Posted - 01/15/2011 :  1:10 PM
quote:
That reminds me of what George Burns said: "You know you're getting old when you stoop to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you could do while you're down there."

That's a great quote, and to borrow from another... "been there, done that." LOL

I'm 63 and the accumulation of a few minor injuries over the years when added to the effects from getting older has turned into more than just a minor annoyance. Having had a broken wrist, arthoscopic knee surgery, and rotator cuff surgery has made getting back up from the ground sometimes difficult. Shortly after I bought my S50 I started dreaming about a bigger heavier bike but quickly realized that's not a good long term plan. My bike is only 480# and I can pick it up if I had to, but if at all possible will I will not do that anymore by myself. I'll keep it until one of us wears out. Not really a problem because it's a perfect fit for me.

Another issue is that I've only been riding for four years so I'm still learning and am getting better, perhaps more slowly, but still improving. One of these days I expect to hit a plateau when the effects of getting older overtake the improvements I'm getting from my learning curve, then for lack of a better term, things will go downhill. A lot of variables involved making it hard to assess where I am versus where I should be.

I'm trying to be smart about this but I love riding and don't want to ever give it up. Still, I'm trying to be aware of what's going on.
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larswlvs
Junior Member
55 Posts


Akron, Ohio
USA

Honda

2003 Valkyrie

Posted - 01/15/2011 :  1:47 PM
Well having turned 69 in Dec. and a 5 way bypass last year I can relate to this topic. So far I can still get on and off the ground with no difficulty but I try not to do it when I don't have to. I do the work on my own bike and it is a rather large bike(Honda Valkyrie) To check my tire pressure I have tire pressure indicators that screw into my valve stems and all I have to do is push a button and read my front and back tire pressure so that's one shortcut we all can take without having to get to our knees. I believe many of us are getting further on in the years then we may not like to admit and I think this is a great topic to discuss
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LJW
Female Junior Member
74 Posts


Prescott, Ontario
Canada

Yamaha

TTR 125

Posted - 01/15/2011 :  1:52 PM
James, I can't get up from one knee either unless I have something to hold onto to pull myself up. I let my husband do the getting down on the floor/ground stuff for me. In exchange, I read the fine print for him.

Cash, you might be interested in this video. It was recently posted on the Honda CBR125 site to give encouragement to a 19 year-old who just lost his foot after being struck by a left-turner in Toronto.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcrx...yer_embedded

Jane
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rayg50
Male Moderator
2082 Posts
[Mentor]


NYC, NY
USA

Honda

Shadow Spirit 750DC

Posted - 01/15/2011 :  6:45 PM
I think a realistic attitude about what we can and can no longer do is critical as time does its thing.

Having suffered from knee problems for some time, there are certain things I can no longer do and others that I can. For example, I can no longer squat on one leg and raise myself up on that one leg. What I can do is get down on one or both knees and get back up with more than just a little difficulty. I note, but do not think about those things that are becoming more difficult. I have no intention of ceasing an action simply because it is no longer easy.

IMO, I do not have to think about whether or not I can do something. If I cannot, it will be pretty clear.

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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2266 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 01/16/2011 :  1:55 AM
The physical maneuvering needed to check over the bike and do the things as preparing for a ride like James introduced are things I think of as pain versus gain or cost per fun activity (reward). When the time, energy and effort is more involved, it does seem to detract from the experience but I think it's just our own way of unconsciously measuring the additional efforts as we age and being a bit impatient, if not frustrated.

Equally important is not driving beyond my age. My reaction times, vision and hearing are not a standard baseline, but a gradually changing set of control or input criteria that have to be accounted for in the equation when riding or driving.

I think of how James feels when I roll my bike out of the garage at 10 PM / 27 degrees. If the cars are tight in the drive, I have to roll it through a two-foot crust of snow in the yard and warm it up for my 10 minute commute to work. This, after I have loaded my back pack with a few food items and geared up. It seems like a lot of fussing around when 10 minutes ago, I could be in the car and down the street.

Problem is, the car radio is too enticing and soon enough the talking heads on AM radio are conspiring to seize my arterial function. Riding the bike is really nothing more than a healthy choice in my case...even though I mumble about the dark and cold.

Now that it's a seasonal slowdown for many riders, it's a good time to get in check with our own health. We spend gobs of time and money keeping the bike going and in shape, always at the ready when we feel so compelled. Let's make sure we are in good shape too and not the weak link in the system. Blood pressure check-up (me on Monday), healthier foods (I have a piece of chocolate that looks like an apple), a bit more exercising ... you know the drill !!

~brian



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Night Train
Male Advanced Member
1667 Posts
[Mentor]


Sydney, Nova Scotia
Canada

Harley-Davidson

99 Sportster XL 1200

Posted - 01/16/2011 :  7:37 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Getting down and having difficulty getting back up is a situation I, and two of my closest riding buddies, have had to come to terms with. When working on the bikes alone, we each have to ensure we have something handy to climb back up onto our feet with. When working together, one person remains on their feet to fetch tools and assist in the return to an upright position. Collectively, we probably have enough metal in our bodies to construct another motorcycle.

We do pretty much all the maintenance and repairs on our bikes, and as Brian pointed out, most of it is measured on the scale of pain vs gain. For the present time, the gain outweighs the price paid in pain, but when the scale tips in the other direction, it will be the time for some serious soul-searching.
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madmac
Male Junior Member
43 Posts


Everett, WA
USA

Kawasaki

Vulcan 900-LT

Posted - 01/20/2011 :  3:54 PM
This is truly a subject with which I have been wrestling with the past few years. When I get down to work on the bike, I am glad that my wife is around. She likes doing that; watch and ask questions. We have partially resolved part of the problems by her working on her two bikes in exchange for dragging me up off of the driveway when I have been working on my two.

Now we get to deal with the really big one in a few months. I'm going to have a total ankle replacement on my left ankle. What fun this is going to be. I still intend ride however. Does that sound like a bad idea? I'm 65 years old and I have no intention to stop riding just yet.

Thanks for the new forum area James.
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Night Train
Male Advanced Member
1667 Posts
[Mentor]


Sydney, Nova Scotia
Canada

Harley-Davidson

99 Sportster XL 1200

Posted - 01/21/2011 :  7:27 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
MadMac, the idea of riding after your ankle transplant certainly doesn't sound like a bad idea. Once you have recovered from your surgery, you may find you will have no problems whatsoever. Hopefully, you will be blessed with a left ankle like you had when you were 20.

I guess what I'm really saying is only time will tell, and once you cross that bridge, you will have a better idea. If you are left with limitations that affect your riding, there are some modifications you can make to your bike to compensate. The one that comes immediately to mind for your situation is the electric shifter, which allows clutchless shifting from a button mounted on the handlebars. An example of one of these products can be found at http://www.pingelonline.com/eshifter.htm

While searching for the electric shifter, I came upon a site devoted to motorcycle riders who are disabled or amputees, and there is a wealth of information about various modifications people have employed to extend their years in the saddle. It certainly gives one the perspective that where there is a will, there is a way. Here is the site: http://www.mtb-amputee.com/motorcycleamputee.htm

In any event, I wish you all the best in your upcoming operation and hope you will keep us abreast of your recovery.
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madmac
Male Junior Member
43 Posts


Everett, WA
USA

Kawasaki

Vulcan 900-LT

Posted - 01/21/2011 :  7:13 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Night Train

MadMac, the idea of riding after your ankle transplant certainly doesn't sound like a bad idea. Once you have recovered from your surgery, you may find you will have no problems whatsoever. Hopefully, you will be blessed with a left ankle like you had when you were 20.



Night Train,

Not so much concerned with the shifting as I am going left foot down when I come to a stoplight and so forth. I'm hoping that this will not be a problem. My bike is not a heavy model. I'm riding a Kawasaki Vulcan 900 LT, and it weighs about 575 lbs. if I remember correctly. My weight limit on the left ankle is going to be 50 lbs. I am of the opinion that the load on the ankle will be less than this, as all one is doing is holding the bike upright, not trying to lift it. I believe that it will be all right, but you know how wives are. But I believe her biggest concern is when I take the bike off its sidestand. I'm pretty sure that won't be a problem, though. Thanks for your great reply.
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SteveS
Male Advanced Member
1208 Posts
[Mentor]


Toronto, Ontario
Canada

Harley-Davidson

FLHTK 2012

Posted - 01/22/2011 :  2:56 PM
quote:


........... But I believe her biggest concern is when I take the bike off its sidestand. I'm pretty sure that won't be a problem, though. Thanks for your great reply.



Taking my bike off the side stand was one of the first things my mentor taught me. "Don't try to be a macho 20-something with arms like a right tackle, use your body." (inner thigh to leverage it up.) I'm 5'10ish and 180 lbs.

Worked on my first softail when I was 61 and on my ultra since I turned 65 three years ago.


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Peter
Male New Member
16 Posts


Sierra Vista, AZ
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Posted - 10/01/2011 :  12:54 AM
James started this thread last January and the last reply was in the same month. Why not more interest? There must be many old timers who would have valuable insights and tips, but have not shared them because they're uncomfortable talking about themselves.

I'm uncomfortable, but here goes anyway.

I'm 71 and, according to my doctor, am in above average physical condition for my age. But cataracts make it difficult for me to ride at night and when facing the sun when it's low on the horizon. So I avoid both situations whenever possible.

A different, recurring vision problem has me considering giving up motorcycling and all driving. It's troubling to contemplate, but I take seriously my responsibility to everyone with whom I share the streets and highways. The ultimate safety tip might be knowing when to quit riding and driving.

So, if anyone else is wrestling with that decision, I'd like to hear from you.
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Night Train
Male Advanced Member
1667 Posts
[Mentor]


Sydney, Nova Scotia
Canada

Harley-Davidson

99 Sportster XL 1200

Posted - 10/01/2011 :  7:27 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Peter, there are a number of physical ailments that we can find assistance in some form to enable us to keep riding, but I don't know of any to replace or assist in vision. I would suspect that you have discussed this matter at length with your doctor and are aware of any treatments available or not available for your condition.

On the surface, one would think the decision facing you is an easy one, however, being the right one doesn't necessarily make it easy. We all take our privilege to drive/ride for granted when we are physically and mentally proficient, however, as we age or as we deal with life's alternate plans, we become more aware of just how much our independence is supported by our driving/riding. The reluctance to part with that keeps many on the road long after they should be there, resulting in being an inherent danger to themselves and others.

I have personally witnessed one's reluctance to face reality and cease driving, result in the death of an innocent bicyclist. After the incident, once confronted with the facts, the party tore up their license but the disaster had not been averted.

I empathize with the turmoil of your decision but I also applaud your maturity and responsibility to be making it in the first place.

Whether you are driving/riding or not, your contribution to this site is valuable and I look forward to you sharing your experiences with us.
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Magnawing
Male Senior Member
281 Posts


The Woodlands, TX
USA

Honda

VF750C

Posted - 03/05/2013 :  9:05 AM Follow poster on Twitter
For the original problem mentioned, tire pressure, how about a TPMS system? Costco carries the most reasonable priced system I've seen at $80
http://www.costco.com/Accutire-MS-4...0028852.html



There are other systems available through the usual supply houses (Dennis Kirk, MC Superstore, etc.) but they seem to run around $200.

It doesn't solve all the problems with aging but it will eliminate the need to kneel down to check air pressure each time you ride.

As a disabled vet, I'm familiar with the problems of aging, prematurely in my case (that's my story and I'm sticking to it)and I tend to look for whatever conveniences I can find to minimize the need to venture too far from vertical.
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rayg50
Male Moderator
2082 Posts
[Mentor]


NYC, NY
USA

Honda

Shadow Spirit 750DC

Posted - 03/05/2013 :  7:23 PM
Amazon has them for 60, but the reviews are not good.

http://www.amazon.com/Accutire-MS-4...re+MS-4362GB

BTW, I move the bike until the stem is towards the top and check the pressure. If I need to add air, I attach the pump, move the bike so the stem is low to the ground and turn on the pump. To detach the pump I reverse the procedure. Kneeling down is not an issue for me at all. Getting back up is another story.

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Magnawing
Male Senior Member
281 Posts


The Woodlands, TX
USA

Honda

VF750C

Posted - 03/07/2013 :  8:54 AM Follow poster on Twitter
It sounds like the $200 self contained, bike mounted system is the way to go if you want true TPMS on the bike. But your system seems to work.

I know what you mean about kneeling...I too have bad knees, hips and back thanks to years on big gray boats and kneeling isn't a problem...returning to vertical is, however, quite an effort.
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aidanspa
Male Advanced Member
1739 Posts
[Mentor]


Omaha, NE
USA

Harley-Davidson

Road King

Posted - 05/30/2013 :  3:42 PM
quote:
Originally posted by James R. Davis

...I do not have the energy level of just a few years ago. So far, just insuring that I have a cup of coffee and a small breakfast before I go out in the early morning is enough to jump start me, but only a few years ago I was perfectly happy to get out on two wheels and wait until the first rest stop to have that coffee and breakfast.
Lack of energy, fatigue and decreased mental sharpness have restricted my riding greatly over the last couple of years and I'm only 55. Could it be hormonal? I wasn't aware until recently that men experience andropause, just as women do menopause, and that the decreased production of testosterone, growth hormone and DHEA leads to those very symptoms.

Has anyone here experienced hormone replacement therapy? If so, what where your results? If not, why not?
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