July 24, 2020 5 min read
Most dirt bike riders or people who participate in motocross racing events are bikers who started young – during their late teens or early 20s. However, more than a handful of riders started much later and continue to pursue their passion. So how old is too old to start motocross?
If you are in good health and shape, then you can learn motocross at any age. There are Motocross racing classes for older ages including 30+, 40+, 50+, and 60+ year old riders. Many racers started Motocross during their 40s & 50s and are doing great.
Age is not as big a deal as it’s purported to be to learn motocross. If you’d like to know what is more critical, keep reading.
Motocross is off-road motorcycling done on enclosed circuits. The racing involves a dirt bike, and dirt bikes aren’t necessarily identified with safety. Not everyone riding motocross breaks bones, but the majority of them do get physically injured. The lesser you know how to ride a dirt bike on motocross tracks, the greater are your chances of hurting yourself. In other words, understand what you’re truly getting into.
Motocross is usually identified with younger people because they are likely to do it full time or pursue it as a career. As an older person in their 40s or 50s, you are likely to be working or running a business full time and more passionate about it. Motocross isn’t something you can do on the side or pursue as a serious hobby if you cannot take time away from work and/or have your weekends dedicated to family and friends.
Even if you manage to hit the tracks despite your schedule, consider the repercussions on your work life if you were to get hurt on the track. If you injure yourself while practicing rides, you could be out of work for weeks (if not months). If you cannot afford to stay out of work for so long, motocross is probably not what you should be looking at.
On the other hand, if you have a significant amount of time to spare and are passionate about off-road biking, motocross is certainly not out of bounds. You should then be more worried about other things and not your age.
Since age is the focal point of discussion here, let’s make it very clear that it doesn’t matter as much as your general health and fitness levels do. There have been several instances of younger dudes (the ones in their 20s or 30s) who cannot do motocross due to their “couch potato” status. And then there are many older guys who’ve taken care of their health and have been in good physical shape overall all their lives simply breezing past on the track.
Dirt bikes are physically demanding, particularly when doing motocross stunts. If you want to learn motocross riding but are not in relatively good shape physically, work toward getting a fitter and leaner body first. When you’re not physically fit, you simply cannot maneuver the tracks, even if you happen to be the slowest rider out there.
Riding on the streets and learning to do motocross are two different things. If you’ve never done motocross before, it’s recommended you start by seeing how it’s done. Observe the stunts motocross riders resort to and ascertain if you are up for it.
Head to the track on practice days and get a feel for the place. Start slow and small. Don’t worry about speed too much already, as you can pick it up later. Focus on the basics first, which include:
Things can be a bit intimidating at first, especially the sight of high-flying dudes. But after having spent some time on the tracks, you should feel comfortable and at ease. However, do not become overconfident and continue to tread with caution.
The key to learning motocross is to not hurry through the process. In other words, never ride beyond what your skills permit. Go slow and build confidence. If you jump the gun too soon, you risk injuring yourself. Needless to say, the likelihood of bones breaking is greater when you’re older.
If you’d like to know the common mistakes to avoid when learning to ride motocross, watch this video:
Building motocross skills is not just about learning to do various stunts but also about learning to ride dirt bikes safely. Right motocross skills basically mean knowing:
These are a few skills you must learn to ride safely on the tracks. As you develop your skills, you will be at ease with yourself and enjoy the rides more.
While we are on the subject of safety you will absolutely want to have all of the motocross gear to keep your body safe including but not limited to:
Taking private lessons from a professional comes in quite handy as you would then be able to work on your basics much more effectively. If you take to the tracks right off the bat, it can be hard to learn things. Your focus would then be more on jumps and other fancy stunts that you may not be up for yet. Another important thing is to mix things up or try different tracks. When you work with a professional, you are likely to ride on a variety of tracks and track conditions.
Professional guidance is recommended over self-learning. It quickens the pace at which you learn different skills, which makes you a better and safer rider in a significantly shorter time period. If you are thinking about the dollars you might have to spend for the tutelage, you must also think about the money you may have to spend on treating your injuries, in the event of an accident. Those would be much more than what you’ll pay a riding coach.
Not to mention, the pain and suffering you would go through due to the injuries would be pretty significant too. The bike may get seriously damaged, too, and require major repairs. It just doesn’t make much sense to spend thousands of dollars on a bike and not spend a few hundred dollars on learning how to ride that bike safely. Remember, lessons and structured practice go hand in hand.
To conclude, learning motocross is more about how healthy and fit you are than how old you are for the sport. If you are obese or not in the greatest shape, you are not fit for motocross riding even if you’re in your early 20s.
Riding motocross has got more to do with your thoughts. If you are not mentally ready for it, you will not be able to learn motocross irrespective of your age. And do not worry about getting judged on the tracks.
Motocross tracks are not just for the professionals. Generally, riders with varying levels of experience and speed can be seen riding on the same track simultaneously. Just focus on your riding, and you shall get in the groove fairly soon.
And if you’re still not convinced about your age being appropriate for motocross, just check whether your hips break while you raise your leg to hop on to the bike. If they do not, then you’re good to go.
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