When is it time to hang up the keys?

Discussion in 'Face Plant' started by Gerg, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. Gerg

    Gerg Gergy Bear

    Dec 25, 2001
    Left Coast
    I spent the day at the hosital with a friend yesterday. She was going home after a small rally in the foothills that I was unable to make. She was headed up Hwy 108 just above Strawberry, Calif. She went into a corner too fast she thought and blew the corner. Into the flora and fauna she went. Two broken ankles, broken clavical, small bone in her right hand.

    Up front a couple of things.
    She was on a Harley FXR. One of the better handling Harleys, however it's been modified for her short stature and it's now an ill handling beast.

    My friend is also in her upper 60's. She has thousands and thousands of miles under her belt and probably over 200,000 miles on this particular bike, ill handling and all.

    Myself and another friend of hers were talking about the "slips" yesterday on our way to assess the bike. We both agree it might be time for her to hang up the keys.

    How do you tell a good friend it might be time? How the hell do YOU tell if it's time for YOU to hang it up? It's going to come to all of us at some point.

    She'll recover. Docs are saying several months worth and then a few more before she be back on a bike so it's looking like spring or early summer.

    Things to ponder...

  2. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

    May 29, 2002
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    maybe a lighter and better bike for your friend, but honestly you have no right to tell your friend to stop riding. you don't own them no different a parent doesn't own their kids. people have full right over their choices. sure you can try, but you'll lose a friend if you do.
  3. FirstPath

    FirstPath Long timer

    Aug 20, 2008
    Formerly Shoreview, MN
    Suggest that all of you take a rider's course together to sharpen up the skills. Your friend will have to decide when to quit but you can always offer up ideas to make her and yourself better. I hope for full recovery and maybe the crash itself will speak to her about continuing her riding.... but in the end... it's up to her.

    Scott in Shoreview
    '79 Suzuki GS550
  4. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

    Oct 25, 2004
    India Wharf summers - Boulders winters
    Get her a Yamaha WR250R/X and she can ride untill she can't. It'll give her a whole new world.

    Not very stylish tho...
  5. devo2002

    devo2002 -Devo

    Nov 12, 2010
    Los Angeles
    If being immobilized with TWO broken ankles doesn't change her mind then surely you won't, no offense. Sitting here with a busted leg at 29 from dirt biking a few weeks back, I know if I live into my 60's and logged those kinds of miles I would consider dying on the road a natural death almost. I have no thoughts of quitting now despite every coworkers/family/friends judgeful and verbal opinions about danger blah blah blah, they can all fuck off. I'm going to reassess my gear even though nothing can prevent a twist fracture I'm aware of, and hone my skills, but not giving up. Again I'm only 29, but having to give something up I love would tear me up. Once you think you are old....you are old.

    I think just asking her what she is going to do and her thoughts about it in a non judge mental way will initiate an interesting conversation for both of you. Let the non bikers ask the judge mental questions and be written off.:deal
  6. lineareagle

    lineareagle philomath

    Jan 27, 2007
    Sunshine Coast, BC
    When it is not fun anymore.
  7. GusinCA

    GusinCA Been here awhile

    Oct 5, 2009
    Newport Beach, California
    I used to ride that road all the time. Now I ride mostly off road on my little WR250R. Still fun, without the dangers of the street.

    How did she crash? That's important, in my opinion. Gravel in the road? Panicking and only using a rear brake? Overcooked the turn, going too fast on a Harley is a recipe for disaster.

    At my age (42) I can already feel that I'm much slower than I was at 22, that's why I gave up the street riding after 33 years and zero crashes on the street. Everyone has their own comfort zone...
  8. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

    Sep 8, 2010
    Southern New Jersey
    Many people on big Harley's do the exact same thing as they have no extra lean angle for a mistake.
    There are lighter bikes with more lean angle out there, but a lot of people would never ride them.
  9. Wolfgang55

    Wolfgang55 Long timer

    Dec 24, 2006
    Only N flowin river emptying in an ocean
    I'm pushing 70.....soon enough. Love my wr250 x w/ or w/o knobbies. But my most fun scoot it my Ural, Gear Up.

    What a pure blast to run on the street or the back road full of pot holes & water crossings. I thought about quitting but not so long as I can keep climbing on board. I just started to add up all my down time from broken bones & rehab time for seperated shoulders & knees, etc. Don't have much time left & I really hate to think about stopping.....then I will be at a stop for everything.

    My dogs are my best riding buds now.

    Talk to her about a side car or a newish Ural. It is worth the time & effort.
  10. RidingAgin

    RidingAgin Been here awhile

    Mar 29, 2006
    Near Black Diamond, WA.
    I have no grandkids but have a grand dog..... I have been thinking of a sidecar more and more for him. LOL
  11. Gerg

    Gerg Gergy Bear

    Dec 25, 2001
    Left Coast
    She has a Harley Trike and we might try to move her towards that. She is MUCH more cautious on that then she was on the FXR.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  12. AceRph

    AceRph Affluenza Free! Administrator

    Jan 12, 2003
    Where the stupidest people on earth run things
    Bummer, Gerg. You're a good guy for helping out your friend. But I already knew that.
  13. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

    Oct 18, 2005
    Isn't there a possibility that she could have learned something from the incident, and hence in the future change a riding habit to avoid things that would lead to similar crashes?

    If that is the case, I would be more careful of the risk of being condescending as a reason to lose a friend. Although good friends are not lost for advice, good or bad, as long as your intentions are clear: it shows you care.

  14. scooteraug02

    scooteraug02 Dog Rancher

    Feb 18, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    Sounds like she needs to adjust her headwork, slow down, back off when tired or on a long day.
    Tell her to heal quickly.

    What time of day did the accident occur?
  15. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

    Apr 5, 2011
    Western Sierras
    Exactly. Just initiating the thought process is about all you can do. If she has that much experience riding, she will be the best person to make that decision. I'm sure she has been thinking about it while lying there already.

    I live on that highway, just a bit lower elevation. We have some decreasing radius turns that can even sneak up on those who ride it often. On top of that, it is fairly well travelled by motorhomes that throw gravel into the road as they cut corners too short. Crashing on Hwy 108 is in no way an indication that a rider is ready to hang up their helmet. I'll refrain from giving you the recent statistics.

    I wish your friend well, and as many miles as she can safely ride.
  16. ridingAK

    ridingAK On the Road Less Taken...

    Aug 3, 2006
    Spokane, WA
    It sounds like a combination of fatigue, a poor handling motorcycle, and target fixation ( maybe caused by fatigue?). I'm in my 40's and hate to admit that I get tired easier and sooner than I did when I was 20, but the fact remains that as we get older we can't push quite as hard as we used to. After two broken ankles, she may have trouble holding the weight of a motorcycle at all in the future. Maybe the HD trike or a CanAm would be an alternative.
  17. Chiriqui Charlie

    Chiriqui Charlie Been here awhile

    Oct 11, 2011
    Panama Highlands
    I'm 71, not very strong, and have a few minor health issues. But I'm currently planning to leave on a solo tour through Central America in less than two months. I figure if I don't do it now, I never will.


    Jul 31, 2008

    Well, I sure hope the OP shows his friend your contribution!!!

    Perhaps you could share a few more details, especially what kinda bike you're tearing about on? :norton

    And the countries you plan to hit?

    Really, all things considered, you are an inspiration to all of us here.

    Who the hell wants to "hang up their keys" before their time?

    I met Joe Katz when he was touring 6 months a year in his 80's.

    My life's goal, TBH.

    Rock On, Oldtimer!!! :clap
  19. RollingJ

    RollingJ The mud in your eye

    Jun 4, 2010
    Bastrop, tx
    It's time to hang up the keys when the exhilaration of facing fear headlong is overcome by the fear of the potential outcome.

    It's all personal.
  20. colodak

    colodak Been here awhile

    Jul 20, 2012
    two years at a 7-11, an elderly woman pulled up in a VW based dune buggy, the typical 70's style. I was amazed and stood in awe at how cool looking it was. When I asked her about, mind you this woman was in her mid-70's, she said she didn't want to buy it, but when she turned 70 her Dr. made her give up her Harley. She said all this with a straight face.