When most people think about motorcycle riders, they think of young guys zipping by on flashy sport bikes or rugged mean looking dudes on Harleys, looking like they just walked off the set of Sons of Anarchy. But in reality, the older rider, guys and gals in their 40s, 50s and 60s, are the largest sector of motorcycle riders today.
More and more people who fall into this age group are discovering that it’s a great time to start riding. For the past twenty years or so, they’ve worked towards a career, paid their mortgages, maybe raised some kids and put them through college, and now for the first time in a very long time they are finding themselves with some disposable income and a lot of time on their hands. Retirement is still a little ways away and they aren’t the type to just sit on the couch all day, so they are looking to try something new.
Then they get bit by the motorcycle “bug”.
You might think that at your age it’s too late to start riding. However statistics have shown that about 50% of new motorcycle riders are over the age of 40, and 25% are over the age of fifty. There are even insurance companies that offer motorcycle insurance that caters to those riders who are over 50. Andie Takata, an agent with Canadian insurance company Grey Power, says “We like to reward our over 50 customers who have years and years of experience on the road. On our website we offer great rates, free extras and a policy custom fit for your needs.”
Motorcycle riding does require physical and mental competence, but is by no means out of reach for those in their 40s, 50s or even 60s.
Here’s a few tips to keep in mind as you get out there on the road for the first time.
Don’t ride more bike than you can handle
When shopping for your first bike, make sure you get something that fits you. Both you feet should comfortably touch the ground when you’re seated. If the bike feels too heavy for you, then it probably is. Smaller displacement engines like 200 or 300cc are great starter or commuter bikes.
Wear the right type of gear
Use your head. Don’t go out for a cruise in jeans, a t-shirt and sandals. Wind chill, flying debris and bugs are just a few things that you will encounter and that you need to protect yourself from. Not to mention a whole bunch of painful road rash if you wipe out. At minimum, go for a leather jacket (preferably with armor inside it), full length pants, gloves, and over-the-ankle footwear.
Practice makes perfect
Taking a safety class like those offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) is probably the best thing you could do when you’re learning to ride. This class will teach you the basics, as well as some advanced techniques like how to perform evasive maneuvers. Some insurance companies will even offer a discount for new riders who have completed the course. For more information on motorcycle insurance discounts, click here.