Middle-Aged Born Again Bikers
Name: Alan Mcintyre | Age: 51 | Occupation: Telecommunications | Marital Status: Divorced
My name is Alan Macintyre and I’m a 51 year old superbike enthusiast with a grievance to air.
I’m writing to hit back at all those men-bashers out there. You know the type, the ones who never stop having a dig at middle-aged guys like me. And why do they do it? Because we enjoy life in the fast lane and they’re jealous, that’s why! See, way back in 1983, I swapped my then beautiful Suzuki GSX 750ET for a 4-door saloon as I settled down to raise a family. No regrets there.
Back Again, Not Born Again – Got It?
Just because I went without a superbike for over 30 years, that didn’t mean I’d lost my love for motorcycling. It just meant I was a biker without his two wheels for a while, that’s all. Never be afraid to speed up with age, that’s what I say!
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
Now that the kids have grown up, and the ex-wife has set up home with an ex-friend, I’m free once again to do as I please. As I air my grievance here on 50ish, I’m back in the saddle, only this time it’s a 2014 Suzuki GSX-R1000. How can any woman seriously compete with that?
Even Cyclists Can’t Escape the Mockery!
They call mature men who take up cycling and buy all the protective gear MAMILS. It’s an acronym that means Middle-Aged Men in Lycra. Even family, friends and onlookers think of MAMILS as a bit of a joke. We older guys who get back on the saddle of large motorcycles face similar ridicule, but it’s unjustified.
Meet the BABS, AKA Born Again Bikers
The MAMIL ridiculers are the same bunch of people who have a go at middle-aged motorbike enthusiasts. They call us BABS (Born Again Bikers). The British police even have their own acronym – BAMBIS! This one stands for Born Again Middle-aged Bikers. People always have to get the “age” dig in as if it’s an infliction!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being thin-skinned here. There’s nothing wrong in any of the above names if it was respectful and light-hearted, but it’s not. I wouldn’t even mind if it was just a bit of friendly banter, but it’s not that either. It’s just plain disdainful; contemptuous jibes at guys in the throes of midlife who love to live a little.
Dare any man over the age of 50 to maintain a little zest in his life. He who does has to put up with a lot of teasing. The kids tell them they’re an embarrassment and their partners tell them they’re annoying and that they should grow up. Well, I think life is for living, at any age. The day I sit in a rocking chair and can’t get it going is the day to hang up the bike keys once and for all. But I know that time isn’t now, and I’d like to think it’s not even close.
There Is No FOOL Like an Old Fool Says Ex-Wife
My ex-wife told me that I was making a fool of myself, so I said; “Compared to who?” That stopped her mouth. She could hardly say compared to her new lover. I mean, the bloke’s overweight, thin on top, does nothing, goes nowhere and partakes in no interesting hobbies or interests. And to think I used to drink with this guy! He is, by all accounts, just another Boring Norman, someone who likes to potter in the garden and watch TV. In other words, he’s ‘safe and steady’ which is what my ex likes in a man – apparently!
Now I don’t mean to knock the bloke – well okay I do – but what the heck. I heard that a night out for him is to sit on the patio with a glass of red. He’s the sort of man who’s proud of his lawn mower for crying out loud! That’s definitely not the kind of thing that lights my fire. The day I look forward to a dull evening in is the day to shoot me.
I’m into sailing, motorcycling, trekking and fitness. Society suggests that these are the pursuits of a man in the midst of a midlife crisis. I’m not quite sure where that supposition comes from. After all, these are my lifelong leisure pursuits and not things I picked up at middle age. And even if they were, so what! All I need now is a much younger partner to complete the “crisis” as some call it. But then I suspect that would invite more jibes than even I could put up with.
HEY! We’re Not Dead Yet!
So what is the over 50s man supposed to do when the sprogs have grown up? What should he do now that he has time on his hands at last, and perhaps a few notes in the bank? Maybe he should just sit in the garden shed and wait for the Grim Reaper. That would keep the deriders happy I’m quite sure. But I’m not ready to rot just yet. So for now, I will continue to entice the disapproving glances from those who think men my age should act more senior.
The Danger Aspect – A Sad Reality!
Road-age takes its toll against ‘SOME’ Older Bikers.
On a more serious note, there are a few legitimate arguments out there. It’s true that some older men jump in head first and buy the biggest, most powerful superbike of the moment. This kind of penis extension is never a good idea for anyone who’s spent the last 30+ years behind the wheel of a car.
Big bikes have advanced a lot since the 1970s and 80s. Most of these bikes are very easy to ride, but it’s vital that older bikers respect their muscle. The sheer power and thrust built into today’s engines occasionally results in middle-aged fatalities.
The UK, for example, is a biker nation (odd considering the amount of rain we get in a year). Unfortunately, the UK’s biker fatality statistics are pretty grim. The latest figures show that motorcyclists make up just one percent of all road traffic. Despite this low figure, motorcyclists account for 14 percent of all injuries suffered on Britain’s roads. Obviously a percentage of these accidents involve the older biker.
Accident Stats Aside
Accidents aside, most people have a pop at middle-aged bikers not out of concern but out of meanness. We become the brunt of jokes, all because others disagree in our midlife pursuit of happiness. Personally, I think such people are green with envy. They secretly wished they had the guts to do what we do, but they don’t, so they can’t. We’re a long time old folks, and an even longer time dead, so why not live a little why we still can.
Born Again Biker Training Programs
I don’t like the term BABS, but if people want to use it to identify us, then we’ll just have to put up with the label. But I do like the concept of these so-named Born Again Biker Training Programs. I think all men should enrol in one of these if they’ve been out of the saddle for a good number of years. I did, and I’m a better rider for it. It can also help lower BAB insurance (depending on the course), which can be pretty high for the first few years, in the UK at least.
Best Bikes for Rusty Bikers
I often see older guys on internet forums asking what the best bike would be for a rusty motorcyclist. To be honest, these are impossible questions to answer without knowing more about the person. It depends on what kind of bikes he rode in his youth. Other factors include how long it’s been since he was last in the saddle, the way he used to ride bikes, and the number of years he rode for. These are the kinds of things that we all need to take into consideration before we can make well-nformed decisions.
The best approach is to have a good long chat with a responsible dealer or training school. Remember, the longer you’ve been out of the seat, the more there is to think about.
Am I Ready to Get Back on a Bike?
When a middle-aged man um’s and ah’s about getting back into the seat of a big bike, he’s not ready in my opinion. And if any bloke finds himself looking both ways before crossing a room, perhaps he should forget the idea of a powerful new motorbike altogether. Motorcycling is hugely rewarding and immensely enjoyable, but you should never make a decision based on an impulse. Don’t let ego make your decision for you, and certainly don’t do it just to prove a point. Only you can know if you’re ready or not. If there is even a slightest doubt in your mind, my suggestion is to put it down as a nice idea at the time and move on.
I will end with this; what other people think about me and my kind is none of my business. I know that’s easy to say, but you can’t let the disapproval of others dictate your life. If there are any contemptuous types reading here then do a chap a favour, will you? Make your frowns a little less public and jeer quietly in the privacy of your own disapproving heads.
There, that feels better. Thanks 50ish for letting me air my views on your pages 😉
Please note: Some of the above has been formatted and edited by the site, but the accounts have remained largely unchanged and are the sole work of the contributor.