Learning to Ride at 75

LIGuy

Well travelled
I turned my 2nd thousand miles today. I now have 2,017 miles on the bike. I've now had the bike 5 and 1/2 months. Looking back at this thread I see that it took me 115 days to hit my first thousand miles, but only 51 days to hit my second. I also started keeping track of my mileage after I passed the 1200 mile break in point. I got 717 miles on 11.6 gallons for an average of 61.8 miles per gallon. I'm going to call it an even 60.
Its awesome that you keep track of all those things, I wish I could but I just keep riding and forget to do anything. Lol
One day 😁
Got my bike at the end of july and I'm gonna hit 3k by weeks end
 
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GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
Another first today. First ride in something other than hot weather. It was in the 50's this morning. But by the time I got out it was about 60. I got to wear my Denim Jacket without feeling like I was going to get heat stroke. It was also the first time for riding on a windy day. It was what you call blustery today. You really feel it on a motorcycle. 61i4IBUeMIL._SY497_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
Dropped it. :(

After going on 6 months since I started riding and 2100 plus miles I dropped it today. The last time I dropped it I was still in my first 100 miles, so I thought I was past that. But I bought a new pair of boots. I had been riding with my New Balance Walkers which don't have much tread on the bottom and do not have a raised heel. But these new boots have pretty thick tread on the bottom and a raised heel.

What happened is I came to a stop in a right turn lane with 2 cars ahead of me and when I went to put my left foot down the heel of my left boot caught momentarily on the left foot peg. So I couldn't get my left foot down in time and the bike tipped over onto it's left side. I was able to get it back up and restarted fairly quick but I noticed that the clutch lever was bent. I was still able to ride it the 5 miles home and when I examined the bike the only damage was that bent lever. I took the lever off and put it in the vise and it was fairly easy to bend it back to very close to it's original shape. I put the lever back on and took it for a 6 mile test ride and everything seemed fine, but my pride is hurt. :(
 

LIGuy

Well travelled
Ouch! There is lots of things going on when you pilot a machine like a motorcycle.
I like to be fully tuned in when I get on my bike. That includes the once over on my gear, straps, laces, buckles - all that crap I want to be fully aware of what it can and cant do for me or to me .
I have huge size 14 feet and I notice when I ride with boots on, my shifting is not as flawless as it is when I wear work shoes.
Keep your chin up and keep riding.
Maybe do a couple of test runs when you ride with newly purchased gear on, like new boots, a new helmet or gloves.
Even a different jacket might and could make a difference to a rider
I started with a 3/4 helmet and full visor because it was the middle of the summer and I felt stuffy in a modular. When it got cool and I switched to the modular I rode around the neighborhood for 2 days just to get used to it. :rolleyes:
 

Laserman

Well travelled
Staff member
Glad to hear you're okay, GJC! A lesson learned is always greater when one can walk it off; pride is designed to be tested!

like @LIGuy and likely some others here, I'm a bit of a bigfoot. For the last 20-odd years I've worn either 13W or size 14 steeltoe Caterpillar boots, and no puns intended, they work for riding a Himalayan at least:

Size14bootOnPeg.jpg....Size14bootUpshift.jpg

These crapkickers measure 13 5/8" long (34.5CM) and allow me better control actuation and feel on my motorcycles than any other shoe or boot I have. Helps that they also excel in allowing a Muhammad Ali-sized 40-something fella keep moving on foot quickly keeping up with coworkers half my age :D

You're a great inspiration, @GJC so stay spry!
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
Today (10/14/22/) makes exactly 6 months since the bike arrived and I started riding. I now have 2,274 miles on it. I've come a long way but I still have plenty of room for improvement. But I think I've made a case for 75 not being too old to learn to ride a motorcycle.
 

LIGuy

Well travelled
Today (10/14/22/) makes exactly 6 months since the bike arrived and I started riding. I now have 2,274 miles on it. I've come a long way but I still have plenty of room for improvement. But I think I've made a case for 75 not being too old to learn to ride a motorcycle.
Yes sir you have. The title of your thread and all of your posts should be an inspiration to anyone who wants to learn to ride a motorcycle.
I came to this forum as a new rider myself but 2 decades younger than you I picked up my Classic 350 on July 26th and as of today 10.14.22 I now have 3826.5 miles on her and I couldn't be happier.
Happy trails and Safe riding
 
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GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
Yes sir you have. The title of your thread and all of your posts should be an inspiration to anyone who wants to learn to ride a motorcycle.
I came to this forum as a new rider myself but 2 decades younger than you I picked up my Classic 350 on July 26th and as of today 10.14.22 I now have 3826.5 miles on her and I couldn't be happier.
Happy trails and Safe riding
3800 miles in about 2 and 1/2 months! Now that is an inspiration!
 

GJC

Well travelled
Location
Mobile, Al
FOG. I learned something new today.

When I left this morning at 6:25am it was still dark and somewhat foggy. Not a really heavy fog but within a mile from my house my glasses had fogged up to where I couldn't see shit. :confused: Not good. I pulled my glasses down around my nose so I could look over them and I could see a lot better. My distance vision has gotten a lot better in my old age. Apparently whatever changes to your eyes that happen with age and causes you to lose your near vision also partially corrects your nearsightedness. So I could probably almost, but not quite, pass the vision test for my license without my glasses. Anyway, note to self. Next time it's foggy, I'm going to ride without my glasses.
 

LIGuy

Well travelled
Last time that happened to me, I went home took off my glasses.....then had more coffee and breakfast. Went out 2 hrs later . :D
I've had my share of fog experience on the boat to last me and a battalion of men
 

chippychip65

Getting there...
When I started on a motorbike lessons or a course were not required in Holland. I could go to the police station, appley for a 'learning-permit' , pay a nominal fee, put an L-plate on and practice within the city limits. I had (I think) three months to practice before I had to do the test which I passed.
Then I got my license and was allowed on any bike of my choosing.
Legislation has changed the last few years and you now have to to lessons first and after passing your test you are only allowed to ride low capacity bikes (I think up to 350 cc or 20 bhp?)
I rode and I learned. Did stupid things and survived.
People still kill themselves on bikes despite the rules that gov's come up with. Just two or three weeks ago a young couple in their teens got killed in a one-sided accident. Was no mention of driving without a license or helmet, so I presume that the rider was complying with the rules.
Kinda reminds me of when I passed my bike test on a Honda SS50, way back in 1984. In those days, in England, the examiner asked you to read a number plate at a pre determined distance, if you did that correctly, you were then asked to drive along a pre-set route (usually around the block) with the examiner waiting for you at the end of the road. I could have popped in a café, for a cup of tea, or something, he'll never, know, but nevermind, I carried on the route, and when I saw the examiner, he held his clipboard high ( to signify an emergency stop) I braked hard, came to a stop, and he passed me!
These days, I couldn't pass the UK riding test, as there's so much more to do and to learn- the roads these days are far faster, and with a lot more traffic. That's not to say, I've never had a crash- two broken collar bones, and a broken leg reminded me to keep up with new laws, so I often take refresher classes, to keep up with changing outlook on motorcycling.
Soon after passing my bike test, I bought a Vespa 100 scooter, and have been on scooters since, my last was a Vespa GTS 300- fully automatic, twist and go, before trading it in for a Meteor 350. I'm slowly getting used to changing gears, using your feet, instead of your wrist, and braking using your foot instead of the right lever. The weather outside right now is awful, and winter is fast approaching, so I might lay the bike up during the winter, and try again in the new year. I'm afraid these old bones doesn't like the cold and damp of the UK winters!!
Graham
 

Splinter

Well travelled
Location
Buenos Aires
Great to see that your confidence and experience are on the up @GJC
I started late in life as well and it's a learning curve where the learning never ends; in my case from the mistakes I've made. I also remember that fateful day when I had to take my first foray on the public roads. To say I was crapping myself would be an understatement. There are no moto riding schools/courses where I live, so I practised on private roads when I lived in a gated community.
I also discovered that going for day rides and increasing the distance every time was a huge help for confidence.
Stay on the horse!
 

puttbutt

Well travelled
Location
NY
This is what I was originally taught in the 1980's
View attachment 6683


The first time I was out riding and a passing motorcyclist gave a "wave" by pointing towards the ground with his left hand I was scanning the road ahead for hazards. Finding none I was left wondering what kind of #&^@ rides around signaling other riders about non-existent road hazards. :unsure:
where's the "birdie" sign? 😁
 

puttbutt

Well travelled
Location
NY
but my pride is hurt
there's a saying, it's not "if you're going to drop it, but when." everyone at one point will drop their bike, either due to something unexpected, or doing something wrong. heck, I've drop every one of my bikes, some times more than once. one time my 2 day old brand new kawasaki zg 1000 was dropped twice on the same day because I hadn't gotten use to the 7 gallon fuel tank which makes her extremely top heavy. as long as you don't get seriously hurt other than your pride, and you get back in the saddle, that's all that matters.
 

AnalogRider

Finally made it
Location
Phoenix, AZ
GJC,
To the excellent advice will share, got onto bikes later in life, off for six years to start over. I took MSF basic and advanced for my first bike.
This time, I bought the lighter RE bike to take more classes and push myself to learn more. Will third and fourth how important it is to
take classes and practice. It's like learning the piano or guitar with the need to repeat and repeat to get the actions into muscle memory.

If cost is an issue - check with your city for local free classes. I took one two days after I brought up the bike - and yes, dropped it on the right,
going over cones which can loose traction. I'd be a lot better at that a month later, so the real deal is practice and practice in that lot.
Just as I felt after dropping it, welcome to the club, of knowing how it feels to drop the bike. Have to know that and learn how to lift it!
Some folks (like me) like having engine guards on the bike, or sliders, and I have chair rubber protectors I put over the handlebar and shifter/clutch
balls in the parking lot to reduce the cosmetic scrapes with pushing my training - so far only one drop. Maybe the protection relaxes the mind.

There was a motor officer down the street from me and every day I'd see him doing figure 8's in the street out of his garage for practice and
he was a daily riding professional. He didn't stop practicing and taking classes to learn how to handle that machine.

I was at a fairly empty lot today to practice right hand turns from stop.
I too find right turns are not as tight. My theories are being right handed my left hand and foot and not as strong,
and while my left hand swings away and I'm trying to feather the clutch, I'm not as comfortable with the fine clutch control as I am with turning left
where my clutch hand is close to me.

Another insight - we don't have right u-turns as much here with our right hand roads is another idea a motor officer shared with me.
It takes practice on the right.

What I've been doing - and before practicing right turns from stops, is find a larger enough lot and ride a large box with all slow right turns and
get used to just right turn leaning the bike - or ride a pattern in the neighborhood that is mostly right turns. Let it lean. It will not fall over when
there power to the wheel, especially for lighter RE bikes at very low speeds. I practice to stay upright during the bike leaning, vs the sportbike
riders and others who like to lean with the bike. I tend to feel more stable counter leaning myself to keep upright.

Also for clutch practice, just riding slow, no turns, as slow as you can go in an empty lot with just working clutch and rear brake. That is handy as in today when I'm a half
mile from a stop sign and riding below the traffic to slowly follow and not bump into them, but not put my foot down until rarely needed.
This helps me with balance practice and refreshes memories of the old first bike.

The idea of a friend to ride together is a great tip. I'd ride with one in CA to biker joints for a burger and sometimes see Jay Leno out there on his
jet bike - otherwise it was a great time and cigar afterwards. It helps to have a friend watch in the lot and also to watch your friend for comments.

I like both the video sources cited above for YouTubes.

To that, I found these two videos immediately helped me with right hand turns and not run into someone - mitigation while learning.
Cheating it for a while can help avoid running into a car with come into right turns at an angle to not have 90 degrees to turn.
That helps to not swing out as wide until getting the clutch control and lean figured out.
I like this fellow's videos - Ride Like A Pro - I've seen his video. He has an extensive YouTube channel. I'm taking a refresher class with his outfit.

When clutch control is more comfortable, I found this video -really- helped with tight right hand turns with the idea of turn the handlebar, lean the bike,
press the foot down on the other side, look and turn. That pressing down on the other side helps - for me - to feel I can counter the lean of the bike.
Look is like with riding horses. But is both look and turn the torso a little. The hands will follow. The bike will follow.
So this is next step ideas:

Riding gear, yes, third, fourth and fifth for at minimum, rider's jeans, that are stronger then regular jeans for non-highway rides and a pair of proper riding pants
with CE 2 (level of protection) padding for longer trips and highway speeds, as well as a good jacket with CE 2 elbow padding. They are a lot cheaper to
replace or repair than the body. Those folks in the photos I suspect either have rider jeans and/or years to decades of experience to feel comfortable as dressed.
Me, I gear up, and it helps to be noticed on the road.

Some right-hand turn and starting fresh thoughts from an older fellow who sold his car and bought a bike to challenge himself to ride everyday.

Ride safe.
 
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