Aches and Pains
(South of Ottawa, Ontario)
I'm an older woman taking up riding for the first time. It is something I always wanted to do and I decided it was now or never. I don't know anyone with a bike, so I took a three-hour course (it was essentially the first morning of a 2 day license course) to see if I really wanted to continue. I decided the only way I could learn to ride was to buy a bike. I purchased a Yamaha TTR 125 trail bike to ride on our country property, as I felt it was the safest environment in which to learn. I've been enjoying the whole process. I set up an intersection, a cone-weave pattern and a u-turn to practice slow moves. I also ride up and over our raised septic bed to get the feeling for slopes, and I counter-steer at greater speed around our grassy open area (like a large parking lot). I do have to keep changing gears and covering the clutch and brake as the area isn't that large. I've been riding for a half to one hour every day that it hasn't been raining for three months.
What I have discovered is that I have various aches and pains which are not going away. My first problem is a groin strain which first occurred during the class. They didn't like us "paddling" the bikes and made us get off and on to turn around (taken in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada so the classes are not identical to the MSF). My flexibility is not what it once was, and strain to lift my leg over the back was too much. Like the bike I rode in the class, the seat height of my TTR 125 itself is fine, its raising my leg over the raised part of the bike behind the seat that's my problem. I'm going to get a prescription for physio from my Doctor, but I wonder if anyone has suggestions as to how to get off and on the bike to minimize the stretch. I'm planning to buy a Ninja 250 next summer to go on the road and its rear raised area is much higher than my current bike although the seats heights are identical. I may have to get it lowered just to get on!!
My hands also get sore and sometimes numb after about a half hour riding. The ground I'm riding on is a bit rough, so I do get a lot of vibration particularly when going faster. I expect that on a straight ride on a road I could relax them more, and I have thought of getting a wrist rest for the throttle when I get my street bike.
I also tend to get a sore shin on my right leg from covering the back brake, holding my foot up so as not to apply the brake unless necessary. I don't want to wear out the brakes by applying them unknowingly.
Are these aches and pains normal when starting out or is my age causing most of my problems? Any suggestions as to causes or treatments? My riding season is probably finished due to the rain we're now getting (the grass is too slippery for safety) and the temperatures at night are cold enough to cause frost. Is there anything I can do over the winter for specific physical fitness - I'm thinking of doing strengthening exercises for my hands using a ball or those spring-loaded things you can buy.
Thanks for any suggestions you have.