Newbie Riders In Their 40's and 50's
by Sue Zuki
2006 Suzuki Boulevard S40
I got my motorcycle endorsement and my first bike shortly after turning 50. Apparently there are many like me who didn't pursue riding until after turning 40. It would be great to know your thoughts and reasons for doing something so "outlandish" at this stage in life. Was it a mid-life crisis or was it a case of empty nest syndrome? Was it the influence of a significant other? Please share your motivation for shunning the rocking chair and knitting needles.
As far as my own story goes, I had the opportunity to get my endorsement and a great deal on a new bike when I was a 21 year old new recruit in the USAF over in Okinawa, Japan. Just a day or two after I formed my plan to go pick out a bike and make inquiries about how to enroll in a riding class, I saw a fellow airman walking down the street of my military base, on crutches, with the lower half of his leg amputated. I quickly found out that he had survived a motorcycle accident that cost him his leg. He was being given a medical discharge and forced out of the military when I saw him.
I spent the next 30 years thinking that motorcycles were too dangerous and that people who rode them were taking too much risk with life and limb. It wasn't until shortly after my 50th birthday (just a few months ago) that I awoke one morning from a glorious dream of myself cruising down the street enjoying the wind in my face and the power of my bike beneath me. Later that same day, I saw a colleague at work who has been riding his whole life and before I knew what happened, I heard my voice gleefully exclaim to him that I wanted to start riding. It was almost as if someone else had said it! My friend quickly and enthusiastically referred me to the MSF for training and then helped me locate a great deal on a superb beginner bike which is now the love of my mid-life. Indeed, for the few friends and acquaintances that I've dared to reveal my motorcycle riding to, I claim it's related to my mid-life crisis which I'm thoroughly enjoying thanks to the Suzuki. They'll REALLY be surprised when I get that beautiful tribal tattoo for my upper back that I've been lusting after!!!!