One Year Older and Still Riding
Spring is almost here. As you read this month’s letter, Glenda and I are hosting 53 Smiles for Life volunteers serving the poorest of the poor in the Dominican Republic. We take three or four of these expeditions each year and serve together for three or four weeks on each trip. As we return to our home in the mountains above Provo, we always seem to look at each other and say, “I think we are getting a little older each year.”
In riding, as in all aspects of life, there are good and bad aspects of aging. The good part is we are able to benefit from our years of experience on this earth. We have encountered a myriad of issues and been able to figure out how to manage them
The bad part is, we suffer from what those years do to our minds and bodies. I am now approaching my mid-70’s. Without question, this is older than most riders on the road today. I am recognizing that my limits are different than when I was younger. I try, but my body often reminds me of the realities of my age.
One of the real blessings of Learning Curves is that it gives Glenda and I opportunity to surround ourselves with young people and this makes us feel younger. So far, my age has not prevented me from riding at a high level. For this blessing, I am most grateful.
As I age, I try to stay healthy. I also want to stay safe, not only for my own well-being, but just as much so for the well-being of Glenda and for all of you who give support and trust to all of us at Learning Curves.
Because our limits decline slowly, it may be difficult to recognize that your reactions or eyesight are not as sharp as they once were. So all this said, here I share my thoughts on what I feel is important to stay safe as a rider to go along side all of my diet and exercise efforts at staying healthy.
- Eyesight: Even though my eyesight is quite good, I always wear prescription eye protection when riding and my protection has a foam rim to prevent wind exposure.
- Reaction time: I strive to never relax my peripheral vision and distance focus in looking for danger. I know that without me realizing it, my reaction time most surely is getting worse and I want as much leeway as possible. I also do not ride at night when my ability to see danger at a distance is severely limited.
- Use proper gear for safety: If, in fact, you do go down, you want to be protected. Safety gear is designed to prevent injury in the case of an accident. As an older rider, we are much more prone to injury and healing time is significantly extended.
- Play it safe: As spring approaches each year, go to a parking lot and make sure your skills are sharp and up-to-date. Don’t ride beyond your skill level.
- Rest: Get adequate rest. Our ability to concentrate on our task of riding is diminished through fatigue. It is best to reconsider getting on your bike until your mind is up to the task. Take frequent breaks to help insure that fatigue doesn’t become a problem. At Learning Curves we are committed to this on all of our rides.
- The right bike: There are many options in bikes as to riding position, center of gravity, rake, seat, bars, and so forth. Make your bike “You.” As an example, for my bike to be me, I want 16-inch ape hangers and a low seat height with a back rest. When I find it necessary to ride any other configuration, my fatigue level is compounded rapidly.
- Keep it exciting: Plan now to ride new routes, new scenery, be with new people, ride with people you love to be with. As I age, I become fussier about how I use my time. I am looking for excitement and adventure in my riding and I want to be with people who share that same dream.
- Share your wisdom: With my 58 years of riding, I have made almost every mistake possible. I love to share my wisdom and knowledge in riding, or in dentistry, or in business, or most importantly, in relationships and family. When you teach, you learn twice and I love to learn.
Thanks for listening! I am so grateful for the opportunity that Learning Curves gives me to share the adventure I love and the beauties of the world around us from a vantage point that only a motorcycle can provide.
Sharpen the Saw
Steve Covey was a patient and friend in our dental office before he passed away. One of his well-known commitments was that we need to consistently take time to “Sharpen the Saw” in all aspects of our lives. In our dental practice we need to schedule time to not only work in the practice, but time to work on the practice.
My challenge to you now is that as our new riding season begins, we each pick an area of our riding skill that we will work on. For me, that is going to be to work on my slow speed turns. This last fall my good friend Lance gave me some pointers. Many of you have met Lance on one or more of our rides. He is a light in my life and “Oh man, can he ride.” He was at one time director of our Riders Edge course here in Provo. I need to develop that skill of feathering the rear brake while slightly turning on the throttle during that tight slow speed turn. What is going to be your skill to sharpen this spring? Loose surfaces? Smoothness? Cornering? Pick just one, write it down and pick a date to make it happen.
We can’t ride the fence on anything in life. We are either getting better or we are getting worse. I know which way I want to travel.
Go to LearningCurves.net and pick a 4014 ride now while there are still a few spaces available. Contact Angel@Learningcurves.net for more information