When do you call it quits?

Here is the story guys, I am 35 got back into riding a little over a year ago and have loved every minute of it (well almost). I am somewhat competive and like racing and riding mx.I do try to use my head and not get too caught up in the moment and get too dangerous. Lots of friends and family think I am insane and have a death wish for riding and racing at my age.

Back in March I tore my ACL on the bike had surgery rehab and all that suff. I said after that one more injury within the next year and I am done. Well got back on the bike for 3 weeks (being cautious) and had a hell of a crash, setting here now with 5 broke ribs and a broke back (burst fracture of L2). While I was laying on the ground wating on the ambulance I told my wife and riding buddys I am done this is it. Now I am 2nd guessing that decision.

I have all my stuff up for sale now and it really depresses me, I dont want to quit but I cant take many more injurys like this and have a normal life. Luckly the doctors think my back will heal pretty good but I will have to stay active and keep the abs and lower back fit.


Im sure some of you have been in this situation and would like thoughts about it. Should I give it up and if I am still itching in a year or so go back to it or what? I know their is more to life than MX but its just hard to get out of the head.

We share a similar story. I'm 37, father of 3, and have had my fair share of accidents over the years. My most recent, about 2 weeks ago almost left me paralyzed with a fractured L3 and herniation of L2 constructing my spinal cord. I still don't want to stop riding, in fact I putted around my cr250 today. Riding mx is a calculated risk, sometimes you're right, sometimes you're wrong. Sometimes you get hurt, sometimes not. I can't tell you what to do, but I'm not stopping riding mx. I'm going to be a little more cautious because I don't want to end up paralyzed or dead, I love my family too much. But I think you can ride without being irresponsible. Good luck in your recovery and decision, I wouldn't sell until your healed and the shock factor of the accident is gone.

Sounds like you guys should stick to trail riding and keep your wheels on the ground. Especially at your age.  Got rid of my mx bike because i could see something like that happening to my self.  its real easy to blow off the top of a coal bank.  I never crashed but i realized a 38 year old with a young family has no business being 15' in the air especially after a 15 year hiatus.  now i ride 3 times a month with my kids and still in one piece. Knock on wood.

I hope you guys recover  well and are not in chronic pain. after you heal. good luck

I have to say, I am 31, and just got back into MX this year. But I always thought if I had kids...I wouldnt be doing it. I mean...for me if I crash, well..is what  it is. Then again I am not hitting anything too big at the track. I know its easy to say hey just go trail ride. Lemme tell ya, trail riding isnt a lil cruise through the woods for me, or my ridin buddies (also around my age). Not sure a tree is going to be a helluva lot more forgiving. Nothin wrong with makin it a family thing, and taking the kids etc. But there is a big diff between what I imagine a ride like that being...and what we currently do. lol.

Yea thats part of the deal also. I have a 12 year old daughter and my wife. She told me this eve she would not bitch at me if I still ride but it breaks her heart to keep seeing me hurt. Im sure she is a bit wore down from taking care of me also. She has done a super job. I hope this disease will leave my head lol. Its not really fair to my family. It appears I just have crap luck..

I think I will just hold off on selling everything and even after I recover still take some time off the bike. Either way if I sell all my stuff now or a year from now I am still going to loose my hind end on how much I have invested. Maybe start riding again next spring and take it down a level or two even thought in these two injurys I was not pushing myself but honestly I have been very lucky on some close calls when I was pushing hard.

Edited by edge22

I'm a 47 yo mom and not sure I could ever stop riding. At 43 I had to have my shoulder rebuilt and took almost year learning how to use my arm again and building the strength back. It was mx'ing, and I sort of promised the hubby and kids no more of that, but we do hare scrambles and poker runs and I find it more satisfying now and a little less risky. My fam fed me enough pills and soup and they suffered at my expense, so I understand the family aspect (acutely!).


Claim you were under duress due to a knock on the head, give up the mx and race the scrambles. And list your mental health without bikes in your life as an important reason. Be honest tho and make sure they understand there's always a danger, either straddling a bike, or sitting on your couch clogging your arteries. Life contains a particle of risk either way.

I'm 48 and just really got started riding a few years ago.  I 've owned street bikes most of my life and have had a few trail bikes that didn't see a lot of use. I decided to race my first race a couple years ago and have raced a few times since.  With the exception of the Desert 100 race I ride mostly tight technical terrain because it is what is available in Western Washington.  I am often riding with a lot better riders than me so am often pushing myself right at my limit of control.  I have been very lucky because until a little over a month ago, I never took a bad spill.  Even my bad spill didn't result in broken bones, but I was out for about a month.   At any rate it was enough to make me reconsider my riding and to at least realize that I don't have to push it every second of the ride.   I want to be riding when I'm 70 so my goal is to not destroy myself.  Luckily the terrain I ride is challenging enough that I spend most of my time in second gear, and the real thrill is usually when I tackle something where I am probably going less than 10 mph.  It is still possible to get hurt, but less likely to be as serious as when you case it off a triple (not that I've ever jumped a triple).  Before you sell your stuff go find the nastiest section of woods you can and see if you can have fun when its slow and nasty.  There are lots of us old guys still doing it, and even if its not the same thrill as MX you will still be on two wheels.  

If its in you're blood, its in your blood. People who don't ride will always make you feel like crap. For me life isnt worth as much without motorcycles in it. And put putting around dosent do it for me either, some do drugs drink alchohol, or smoke ciggaretts or all above. I just need my two wheels, its my fix in life.

I would look into Dual-Sporting..... much safer with the ability to explore new areas and hit the moto track every so often.....

You dont stop riding because you get old You get old because you stop riding!I am56 I ride a04 250x &08 450x . We ride woods  we dont just putt around .We ride outlaw because of stupid laws and rules about public land use. I say stay on the ground it takes a lot of skill to go fast in the woods and ride for ever!!!!! I have diabetis  and      R/A I hurt everywhere all the time accept when I ride.

It shouldn't be an all-or-nothing decision IMHO. By all means quit MX, but as others have stated that still leaves plenty of other dirtbike activities for you to enjoy: Trail riding / dual-sport, etc.


I turn 40 next year. I've been riding/racing MX for 15 years, and I've been lucky to have only had one concussion, some bruised ribs, and minor cuts and scrapes. But regardless, I know at some point within the next 5 to 10 years I am going to quit MX and just focus on trails. It's undeniable that as you age, your reactions slow and you also take much longer to heal from injury. Motocross is not the only way to enjoy dirtbikes, but it's one of the most dangerous.

Edited by pace

I've been riding since I was 12, racing from 14-25. I still ride and have had a lot of hard "get-offs" that have left me in chronic pain. In less than 2 weeks I'll turn 60.


There's an old saying that "4 wheels move the body whereas 2 wheels move the soul". There's a lot of truth in that saying. Bikes are in my blood and have been for many years. I'm at a point now that I'm praying about giving riding up. It has been a big part of my life, but health wise I've just been through a terrible experience that has given me a different perspective.


My beautiful Bride doesn't want me to give it up but I want to spent the time and funds I have left on her and my grandkids (#5 due in about 5 weeks).


I guess I'm advising that you do some deep introspective searching and make a pro and con list. I have and I will still show up at races and watch.



I trail ride with several people (male and female) in their 50s and 60s. None of them are put to shame when riding with those in their 40s & younger. The secret is- well no secret really- generally high speed causes more severe injuries. I know know more people with big injuries on Dual Sport and Baja rides than technical Trail. For me, if the choice was ride slower and more technical, versus flat out that'd be a no brainer decision but I suppose others need that thrill.

If you do want to ride (or do any sport to a high level) older, I think it's even more important to stay fit (year-round) if you want to up your odds of a good safe ride. Lastly, allowing proper recovery time is smart. properly fitting good protection helps a ton. For trail I wear a padded jacket style, versus a roost.

I always tell my friend Maureen, who is 62, that I intend to keep her on her bike until 70 as I, the younger and theoretically improved model, should then make it to 80. Now, that was what I said before I found out about the hip arthritis. So, in the end it won't be the crashes (probably) that'll get me to stop riding before 80 it'll be plain old genetics.

BTW- I have ridden with a guy in his 70s and it was a nice flowy single track. Very inspiring.

Edited by lilGirl

Have asked myself this same question. I'm 44 and love the rush of sailing over huge jumps after hard acceleration. Two months ago I came up a little short on a triple while racing a 20 yo. I was tired after two days of riding and should have known better. Luckily i fared well in the crash and have healed up without going to doctor.

I'm going to try to use my head a little more, but i have no plans to quit anytime too soon. Get all of the best safety gear. I wear knee braces and neck brace

I rode offroad last weekend and had a blast even without big jumps. Bought a trials bike early this year with some buddies and have been having fun going slow too. Have been interested in getting a dualsport. I will be airing it out thisweekend. The streetbike guys keep riding even when they regularly hear about deaths.

After my crash i was a little apprehensive about riding tracks again. But once i was on the bike i was loving it again.

It's really cool to hear all the different stories and how we have all been affected by this "addiction" we have to motorsports. I'm 52 years old and have been racing since 1982. I also injured my lower back in 1989 but continue to race today. I found that you have to decide between what you CAN race and what you SHOULD race (or ride). I began racing MX and this is where I fractured my back. I moved to Road Racing and did that until my first (of 2) grandkids was born and decided it was too risky with the speeds involved. I then moved to quads and raced scrambles until last year when I decided I was going to try and race bikes in the scrambles. Bought a nice '06 RM250 (2 stroke) and did 3 club races and 1 GNCC race in which I crashed in ALL 4 races. I just sold the bike and now I am back on quads again. Although my heart wishes I could ride bikes but my brain (and body) tells me 4 wheels are where I belong.

This thread is hitting close to home. I'm 48 and keep wondering if riding is worth the risks. I ride mostly mx, but trails occasionally. Due to my work schedule this year, I have only ridden a few times in the past 6 months. I had actually talked myself into selling my bikes because of lack of use, but the real reason is I feel guilty for putting myself at risk, with a family to support.

I got back on the bike recently, after not riding for a few months. It was a blast, even though I was riding like a spaz.

I wear knee braces,neck brace and all the other stuff. I ride well within myself, I could actually push it much harder, but it is not worth it.

I really was ready to sell everything, but now, I would like to keep riding.

I mountain bike (some really nasty terrain at high speed) but I am really comfortable on a bicycle. I ski, I even jumped on my skateboard earlier today while the wife was running errands. But moto has the biggest penalty points.

My luck would be that I quit riding, and then I would trip on the sidewalk and jack myself up. Nothing in life is guaranteed.

To the OP...injuries really suck, and hopefully you heal quickly. You need to do what is right for you, maybe you can back it down a bit.

Maybe ride some trails, even though trails can be just as dangerous in my opinion. At this point, I am not ready to hang it up.

I have been down this road many times.  I am 42 as I write this.  I broke my metatarsals in my foot 3 weeks ago at a race.  I had surgery to repair last week.  It was  a dumb deal cased a double and the bike fell over on my foot.  Not a jump I expected to get hurt on.  Past experience for me says it is easy to say you are going to quit when you are fresh from an injury.  Wait to you are healed up to decide!  I have said I quit many times in the past only to always come back.  I hope to be back at the track when spring comes around, if not I have enjoyed my 20+ years of racing! 


So I can relate. I'm 51, I dont know if my opinion will help or hurt.  So I have had many injuries, car accidents, military injuries, skiing, dirt bikes, mountain bikes and been hit by a car twice on road bike (the pedal kind).  I started with the serious stuff in 1986 with a knee surgery. Ankles in the 90's, including more knee and neck vertebrae stuff with the military.  Three years ago a tibial plateau fracture that changed everything.  I was never to have a normal day again for three years, pain everyday, but I still rode, couple scopes to clean it out and in-between a shattered collar bone that required a plate. In April of this year I had a knee replacement, sure glad I did it. 3.5 months later I rode again.  I even sold my bike after the knee replacement but ended up borrowing one from a friend.  Two weeks ago I had surgery on my hip for FAI, not a huge deal but will lay me up for 4-5 months. OK so enough about me but I want to set the stage. I swore I would quit but I know now Ill be buying another bike next spring, my wife thinks I am nuts, my kids are supportive and love the fact I never quit, my mom thinks this is normal since I was a kid.


You have to figure it out, how much do you love it, will taking it way change anything, will you be searching for something to replace it, I can assure you it is unlikely you will find it, I tried.  Now you had a back injury so that might even make me think twice but then again I dont know.  Doctors are typically p...ies (exception Dr. Mark and  few others I know)  and cant advise you to do something risky but my new doc is a rider so he gets it. My buddy broke T7 last year with me behind him ( though he would be paralyzed when I saw it and he is back at it, we just rode three weeks ago.


No one on here can tell you what to do. It doesn't matter MX or trail, FYI all my dirt bike injuries where on the trail, although some racing. Does the immediate family support you?  What will life be like when you quit, will they see a difference in you?  Wow I am sounding weird but it is true, after my knee fracture and quitting then for 6 months my kids told mom that dad had to ride again because I wasn't the same person.


Tough call but again it is up to you. I quit three times in the last 3.5 years,  in that same time had 5 surgeries and still cant officially quit....


I aint quitting but Im going to slow down and enjoy the ride and measure the risk reward so I dont get into trouble.


People get injured and die everyday from stupid sh..t so who the hell knows whats going to happen next...

Edited by obgod3

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