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bike and blackboardReturning Riders (Retreads)

Possibly the biggest social phenomonen among motorcycle riders is the retread group. There is even a club for us.

A typical retread is a biker who rode during his youth and gave up the motorcycle under pressure of family responsibility and budget constraints during his child-rearing years.

In the fullness of time, as children completed education and 'empty nest' conditions arose, many former bikers get back into riding.

We gotta admit, most of those responsible for this site are retreads.

Harley DavidsonRetreads have some advantages. We gan generally afford the motorcycles we always wanted, and we can also afford good gear, if we so choose.

The issue of training for retreads is a bit awkward. ET took the BRC and found that it was very helpful, but a shorter version, omitting a lot of the basic controls part, would have done as well. He also took the MSF Experienced Rider Course. This is shorter and has about the right amount of range exercises, but omitted a lot of the classroom work on defensive riding, which is essential for the retread.

We recommend that retreads take the basic training again, because a lot has changed since we rode in our youth, and we are probably starting out on a whole new type of riding. Our reaction times, eyesight and general health has changed, and we've been driving cages too much.

The bikes have changed, too. We will probably ride a bigger and fastel bike than you had when you were young, and road conditions, gear and almost everything have changed a lot.

We would like to see training organizations develop courses geared for the retread. The MSF has a 'Seasoned Rider' curriculum, which is a classroom-based offering not widely available, but it can be offered by any MSF-accredited training organization and would be if a group requested it.

If you are very motivated, you could maybe get by with studying Bikesafer and taking an Experienced Rider Course, but check your state DOT regulations which specifies what the licensing requirements are, and bear in mind that you need to own a bike for most ERCs.

Other older riders, who have been riding for a long time, overestimate their skill levels, and neglect training. Here's Jerry Palladino's take on older riders. Jerry, a former bike cop and trainer, thinks that skill levels have deteriorated in the last twenty years.