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Short rides and getting old

1205 Views 50 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  -Nate
Many years ago when I was an MSF Instructor, I worked with a fellow Instructor who asked me "Are you a long rider or a short rider?" I asked him what he really meant and he said that he prefers taking short rides, usually no more than 30 minutes over taking multi hour or multi day rides. He said that a few minutes on a bike was enough for him, and more than that was just work. That's why, he said, he enjoyed teaching the Basic Rider's Course because it only involved a bit of riding on the little training bikes we used in those days. I still recall how I thought him a real oddball, as nothing excited me more than the thought of taking a multi day ride across the country. But that conversation was about 30 years ago.

Now as I approach 80 in a few weeks, and I still love riding, I find that I have become that same "short rider" that I thought was so odd in the past. I'm not limiting myself to short rides, but I do find that longer rides become more of a chore and less fun as the hours go on. The other day I took a great two hour ride to a favorite restaurant about 100 miles from home where my wife and I have gone many times. I fully enjoyed the ride, and had a great lunch. But the two hour ride home was not as much fun. I found I just wanted that ride to be over with. I was tired and the tiredness was stronger than the fun factor at that point. Maybe its just age getting to me, or maybe its the thought of riding that has become as important, or even more important than the riding itself. So now a "short ride" of an hour or so is what has become ideal for me.

All of this makes me wonder if in a few more years I should buy a Harley cruiser and be satisfied with a two mile ride to a local tavern, have a beer or two, and then do the two mile ride home. I know folks who consider that a good day of riding, and maybe someday I will be one of those folks.
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I've ridden border to border and coast to coast .
That was when I was on the clock of a younger , more motivated guy .
These days I have nothing to prove and nowhere I need to be .
Admittedly , I don't have the once unlimited stamina I had as a young man , or the muscular build of that time .
My cushion-less butt gets a bit achy after an hours ride , but , a short break usually calms those aches .
Where I ride has a lot to do with the length and pleasantness of the ride , obviously .
I'm still willing to do what it takes ... ;)
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Freeway is boring for me so the bike goes in the truck but rides out in the country are fast and you can cover a lot of ground.
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I'll be 76 in less than a month, and still do multi-state rides a couple times each year. Getting to the Rockies or the Appalachians is a bit of a chore.... 600 miles or so on the interstate is a full day, and 250 to 300 miles in the mountains is about all I can handle. Yeah, it used to be more than that, but I'll take what I can get. How many more years I have left.... we'll see.
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Many years ago when I was an MSF Instructor, I worked with a fellow Instructor who asked me "Are you a long rider or a short rider?" I asked him what he really meant and he said that he prefers taking short rides, usually no more than 30 minutes over taking multi hour or multi day rides. He said that a few minutes on a bike was enough for him, and more than that was just work. That's why, he said, he enjoyed teaching the Basic Rider's Course because it only involved a bit of riding on the little training bikes we used in those days. I still recall how I thought him a real oddball, as nothing excited me more than the thought of taking a multi day ride across the country. But that conversation was about 30 years ago.

Now as I approach 80 in a few weeks, and I still love riding, I find that I have become that same "short rider" that I thought was so odd in the past. I'm not limiting myself to short rides, but I do find that longer rides become more of a chore and less fun as the hours go on. The other day I took a great two hour ride to a favorite restaurant about 100 miles from home where my wife and I have gone many times. I fully enjoyed the ride, and had a great lunch. But the two hour ride home was not as much fun. I found I just wanted that ride to be over with. I was tired and the tiredness was stronger than the fun factor at that point. Maybe its just age getting to me, or maybe its the thought of riding that has become as important, or even more important than the riding itself. So now a "short ride" of an hour or so is what has become ideal for me.

All of this makes me wonder if in a few more years I should buy a Harley cruiser and be satisfied with a two mile ride to a local tavern, have a beer or two, and then do the two mile ride home. I know folks who consider that a good day of riding, and maybe someday I will be one of those folks.
Hope you don't turn into one of those ... Maybe you need a new riding partner ... Going it alone can bring on boredom ... Find new places to ride to . See the local sights ...
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Hope you don't turn into one of those ... Maybe you need a new riding partner ... Going it alone can bring on boredom ... Find new places to ride to . See the local sights ...
A riding partner with a 2-way comm device, so you can chat (helps with the short stops at the toilet). When we cross the country, we try to limit it to 150 miles or so per day. Takes longer to get to the Smokies, but we also are ragged-out tired when we get there. Also, we stay off the Interstates, or highways like them, as much as possible.
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I'm 56 and 350-400 miles max a day on the slab is plenty for me. 250 or so in the twisties is about right when traveling, but I can do 300 on familiar roads when I can start out from home and then sleep in my own bed at night. (y) I did two 500 mile slab days back to back and thought I was going to die. But I figure that if I'm not going to get at least an hour of seat time, then it's not really worth all the gearing up, etc, unless I'm just running into town to the car wash or to gas up for a long trip the next morning early.
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I am close to your age and find the 1 hr rides to be enjoyable, I often circle the city using highways and rural paved roads..... about 50 miles and then I go to a diner for a burger. Or ride a triangular route to a burger joint in the adjacient town, and then back home.
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At 70 , I can still ride almost all day .. Usually riding 8 - 10 different bikes and scooters . I would prefer to ride more , but have other things to consider at the moment ....
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I will be 69 in a few days and so far my health and outlook are pretty good. I still ski (downhill), hike, snowshoe, canoe, fish, etc. but I have noticed I don't have the energy I did a few years ago. If anyone is still riding for 2-3 hours a day at 80, I say good for them. I did encounter a couple who stayed all winter in a chalet and skied every day. They were both 84 and although they were not speedsters on skis, they skied very well. Keeping as active as possible makes our older years more enjoyable.
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I'm 70 and just returned from a 2 week 7,000 km trip to Mexico and back and I must admit I'm pretty bagged right now.
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Are you setting up and adjusting the bike to fit you? As someone who has to adjust everything to fit myself it seems odd how common it is for riders to not even do basic adjustments on their bikes to work better for them, Dave Moss has a lot of fantastic stuff on this.

As someone who grew up doing upholstery I would say this definitely includes the seat and making sure it is raised/lowered to the right height for you and that the padding is sufficiently firm enough that you don't end up bottoming out on long rides. In my experience people most often think they need softer padding because of soreness issues, when in reality it is MUCH more common that their padding was already far to soft and they were bottoming out. I liken this to suspension: the harshest ride is when your suspension is so soft that you are constantly bottoming out and getting hard locked, stiffen up the suspension to where it should be and suddenly the ride is much less harsh and far more forgiving.

Honestly as long as my bike is well setup to me and I have reasonable wind protection longer rides are one of the least exhausting parts of riding, but obviously there are a lot of variables there so YMMV.

You dont have to answer here, but have you had your hormone levels checked? Seems most normal doctors have to be practically threatened with violence before they will check basic hormone levels, but that is a huge part of what makes us who we are. I know age is a big component here as well, since I am just over half your age, but a few years back I found out my testosterone was tanked to a level of around 200ng/dl total testosterone and pretty much 0 free, which isnt terribly abnormal for an 80-90 year old man. After starting on HRT mine is now more like 800-1,200ng/dl total with about 50ng/dl free and my endurance is TREMENDOUSLY better. I also just stacked on a fair amount of muscle passively in about the first 6 months on HRT and feel WAY better.

As a bonus tip for those of you that are either with or are women around middle age or later: while it is even harder to get doctors to admit women need testosterone, let alone check it and adjust it, it is very VERY much worth it to get it checked and adjusted to the higher side of normal feminine levels. As much as adjusting my testosterone made a difference, if my wife and I could only afford to keep on of us on HRT it would DEFINTELY be her. I am not going to go into specifics, but trust me on this, it is 100% worth it! :whistle: (y)(y)(y)(y)
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Are you setting up and adjusting the bike to fit you? As someone who has to adjust everything to fit myself it seems odd how common it is for riders to not even do basic adjustments on their bikes to work better for them, Dave Moss has a lot of fantastic stuff on this.

As someone who grew up doing upholstery I would say this definitely includes the seat and making sure it is raised/lowered to the right height for you and that the padding is sufficiently firm enough that you don't end up bottoming out on long rides. In my experience people most often think they need softer padding because of soreness issues, when in reality it is MUCH more common that their padding was already far to soft and they were bottoming out. I liken this to suspension: the harshest ride is when your suspension is so soft that you are constantly bottoming out and getting hard locked, stiffen up the suspension to where it should be and suddenly the ride is much less harsh and far more forgiving.

Honestly as long as my bike is well setup to me and I have reasonable wind protection longer rides are one of the least exhausting parts of riding, but obviously there are a lot of variables there so YMMV.

You dont have to answer here, but have you had your hormone levels checked? Seems most normal doctors have to be practically threatened with violence before they will check basic hormone levels, but that is a huge part of what makes us who we are. I know age is a big component here as well, since I am just over half your age, but a few years back I found out my testosterone was tanked to a level of around 200ng/dl total testosterone and pretty much 0 free, which isnt terribly abnormal for an 80-90 year old man. After starting on HRT mine is now more like 800-1,200ng/dl total with about 50ng/dl free and my endurance is TREMENDOUSLY better. I also just stacked on a fair amount of muscle passively in about the first 6 months on HRT and feel WAY better.

As a bonus tip for those of you that are either with or are women around middle age or later: while it is even harder to get doctors to admit women need testosterone, let alone check it and adjust it, it is very VERY much worth it to get it checked and adjusted to the higher side of normal feminine levels. As much as adjusting my testosterone made a difference, if my wife and I could only afford to keep on of us on HRT it would DEFINTELY be her. I am not going to go into specifics, but trust me on this, it is 100% worth it! :whistle: (y)(y)(y)(y)
While you make good points in having the bike set up for each individual rider, I would suggest that your suggestion on medical advice only be followed on the recommendations of a health professional. What you say may work for some, it may be detrimental to others. The reason is that we are all different. Diet, age, genes, physical makeup, history, etc., etc.

My wife has medical issues and you'd be surprised at the different suggestions she has been given over the years; most of them wrong, some bad and a good number of them out in left field.
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While you make good points in having the bike set up for each individual rider, I would suggest that your suggestion on medical advice only be followed on the recommendations of a health professional.
You dont have to answer here, but have you had your hormone levels checked?

while it is even harder to get doctors to admit women need testosterone, let alone check it...
I am not sure what part of that seemed like I was suggesting treatment on your own without a health professional, but that was not my intention.
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Let's just keep this about bikes , and riding .... Health , politics , and other personal subjects are in bad taste on a Motorcycle forum ... Thumper Talk is a very good example of how things can get out of hand .....
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At just 65, about 5-6 hours is all that I can ride due to back issues. And that 5-6 hours includes several stops to get off and stretch. But, this limitation suits me just fine. Since I just recently retired, I don鈥檛 seem to be in a hurry to be anywhere in particular 馃お
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I am not sure what part of that seemed like I was suggesting treatment on your own without a health professional, but that was not my intention.
This part.

"As a bonus tip for those of you that are either with or are women around middle age or later: while it is even harder to get doctors to admit women need testosterone, let alone check it and adjust it, it is very VERY much worth it to get it checked and adjusted to the higher side of normal feminine levels. As much as adjusting my testosterone made a difference, if my wife and I could only afford to keep on of us on HRT it would DEFINTELY be her. I am not going to go into specifics, but trust me on this, it is 100% worth it!"
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At just 65, about 5-6 hours is all that I can ride due to back issues. And that 5-6 hours includes several stops to get off and stretch. But, this limitation suits me just fine. Since I just recently retired, I don鈥檛 seem to be in a hurry to be anywhere in particular 馃お
On trips in the car. my wife doesn't like going any more than 2-3 hours without stretching. Since being married to her, I found it is a good idea even when I was much, much younger. So your idea to stop a number of times during that 5-6 hours is very good advice, no matter what our age.
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This part.

"As a bonus tip for those of you that are either with or are women around middle age or later: while it is even harder to get doctors to admit women need testosterone, let alone check it and adjust it, it is very VERY much worth it to get it checked and adjusted to the higher side of normal feminine levels. As much as adjusting my testosterone made a difference, if my wife and I could only afford to keep on of us on HRT it would DEFINTELY be her. I am not going to go into specifics, but trust me on this, it is 100% worth it!"
See where I said: "it is very VERY much worth it to get it checked and adjusted to the higher side of normal feminine levels."

I dont know what you had in mind, but by "get it checked" I meant by a health professional.

See where I also didnt say it was a cure for your wife's medical condition I know absoutely nothing about or that it even existed when I posted that?

You are not the main character, or even the OP, not everything is about you.
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