Don’t take riding for granted

An oldie but a goodie – a bunch of mates from a few years back, most of whom still ride, despite advancing years.

I have mates still riding in the 70s… blokes who have been motorcyclists for decades, probably since they were kids or teenagers. Blokes who never stopped riding because of a wedding, mortgage or kids. Blokes who never took riding for granted.
They are probably all slower riders than they were, but they aren’t slow, and that’s because they riding seriously, understand they won’t be able to do it forever and keep their skills up.
So it was a bit of a shock a few weeks ago when my ability to ride was threatened… I developed a detached retina in my left eye.
Luckily I didn’t hesitate to get what seemed like a bubble of water in my left eye which wouldn’t clear up checked out… I had surgery the following day. Then a week lying on my side as part of the recovery process. How I couldn’t see anything except shade of light and colour with that eye for over a week. How I wasn’t allowed to drive or ride for over two weeks…
And yes, you can have a licence with only one eye, but the reduction in depth perception is a significant barrier to being able to safely process what’s ahead.
Losing your eyesight is a relatively rare reason motorcyclists are forced to give up riding… heart attacks, muscle/ligament/bone issues, and general fitness would be far more common.
Phil James tells me lots of his friends – many former blue collar workers who played hard and rode fast in their youth – have stopped riding because their bodies cry out in protest to much at the end of a day in the saddle.
If you’re significantly overweight the pressure put on your back and knees, in particular, can make motorcycling tough. It really does pay to exercise regularly as you age – so you can keep riding. I’ve started doing yoga, core and strength training in the comfort of my own home, following along with online trainers – they don’t judge, don’t look askance at your pot belly and if you can’t stretch as far as they can nobody cares.
But I think the best training you can do to be bike fit is ride. Too many of us simply default to the car for short journeys or of the weather is cool or if the weather is hot… and then wonder why the arse hurts and the back complains an hour into a 6-hour ride.
Get on your bike for shorter rides and both your body and battery will thank you for it.
My surgery turned out to be very successful and my sight is back to where it was pre surgery. I’m back on a bike and loving it. But it’s reminded me to look after my health so can continue to ride for another couple of decades…