Motorcycling and Menopause

How women handle hot flashes, fatigue, mood swings, and more while riding their motorcycles

By Genevieve Schmitt, Editor
motorcycling and menopause genevieve schmitt
Ahhh, the innocence. Me at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally with my 2008 Harley-Davidson Street Glide, one day before I’d experience my first hot flash.

I remember the incident like it happened yesterday. I was test riding a Victory motorcycle during the Sturgis Rally one afternoon a few years back, cruising Interstate 90 to gauge the power and comfort of this new model. Suddenly, a rush of heat rises up from what seemed to be coming in the direction of the motor. I glance down to make sure the engine isn’t overheating. All looks OK and the bike is running smoothly. A quick gaze upwards tells me it’s not a blast of heat form the sun making an appearance through overcast skies. So what was going on?

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The warmth, I figure out, is inside my body—my torso to be exact—and now I feel it spreading north to my neck. The heaviness of the heat is like nothing I’ve ever felt before. My left hand struggles to grasp the zipper pull so I can vent my leather jacket. Ziiiiiiiiip! Ahhh!

My 57-year-old friend riding staggered behind me pulls up alongside motioning, “Is everything OK?” I nod a perplexed yes back to her. Moments later at a gas station my friend quizzes me further. I explain that I have no idea where all the heat was coming from. She grins and says, “Honey, the bike’s running fine. I think you had your first hot flash!”

I didn’t want to believe it. But she was right.
motorcycling and menopause hot flash sign

A month later while attending a Harley-Davidson new motorcycle launch in Milwaukee to members of the press I experienced my first menopausal migraine. The debilitating pain pounding in my head was far different than any other headache I’d had before, and my Excedrin wasnt working. A female Harley rep handed me a prescription pill for migraines she happened to have in her purse assuring me it would do the trick knowing I was suffering the signature symptoms of the super-duper of headaches.

I was 45 years old, and as the months and years ticked by I’d go on to endure (OK, suffer through) at least 20 of the 34 most common symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause listed on a website of the same name,, including the aforementioned migraines and hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, joint pain, hair loss, memory lapses, irregular heartbeat, and itchy skin.
“Certainly I can’t be the only female motorcycle rider suffering like this,” I’d say to myself time and time again.

motorcycling and menopause sign

Menopause on the Highway!
While there’s anew generation of younger women taking to the roadways on two wheels, statistics show that the majority of women riding motorcycles today, and taking it up for the first time, are between 35 and 55. Most women enter peri-menopause in their forties, then move on to menopause four to seven years after that for a total transition time lasting 10 years on average.

This means of the women riding motorcycles today a large majority are somewhere in that 10-year transition timeline. One out of three will sail through menopause symptom free. The other two will experience some of the long list of ailments that plague a woman when her body goes through “the change.”
With these facts in mind it’s baffling to me that a woman would choose to learn to ride a motorcycle in her forties—an activity that requires extra physical strength and mental focus—at a time when her body, as she knows it, is going through, or about to go through, drastic physical and mental changes.
motorcycling and menopause over 40 riders
At the 2012 AMA Women and Motorcycling Conference in Carson City, Nevada, that I covered most of the women participating in the parade were over 40. Perhaps this woman was having hot flashes, hence the lack of a jacket.

My Journey

My motorcycling life began when I was 26 years old so I cannot speak to what it’s like to learn to master a motorcycle when one’s clear, sharp mind has bouts of foggy-brain, a symptom of peri-menopause that starts when a woman’s periods become irregular … let alone the loss of strength and fatigue that sets in for no apparent reason.

I can, however, speak to the emotional changes that occur when a woman hits her forties. For me, entering my fourth decade signaled a “coming into my own,” feeling strong with who I was and about my place in this world.

motorcycling and menopause genevieve schmitt bmw
I started in my early 40s with an abundance of mental and physical energy and enthusiasm to fly all over the world test riding motorcycles, often being the first woman ever to test ride a particular bike. Here I am in 2005 riding the BMW’s F 800 S in Hawaii.

motorcycling and menopause victory vision street
In 2007 I was invited to Minneapolis to test ride the groundbreaking Victory Vision Street, the first female journalist to do so.

Many women say the forties are a decade of claiming one’s life back … back from years of doing for others at the expense of herself. Oftentimes the children have left the nest and a woman finds she has more time to do what she loves. This self-rediscovery often sparks the flame of long-held dreams deep within one’s soul. One of those dreams for so many ladies is learning to ride a motorcycle.
This decade of self-realization pushes others to take stock of their life, evaluating what’s working and what’s not. This is why divorce is so common for people in this decade. Women finally have the emotional fortitude to walk away from relationships that aren’t bearing fruit. Many ladies change careers in their forties, move to a new home, or escape from the rat-race. I did all three at age 40. 
Full Steam Ahead in the Forties!
This decade of change is also where the phrase mid-life crisis comes from because the physical, mental, and emotional changes women go through can be so strong that they thrust people into “crisis” driving them to making drastic course corrections.
So, while this season of self-rediscovery, that includes learning to ride a motorcycle, is good for the soul, it’s also a time of crazy changes for one’s body and mind. Just how does a woman handle the hot flashes, mood swings, migraines, fatigue, joint pain, insomnia, and depression just to name a few of the debilitating menopausal symptoms, while embarking on one’s newfound passion of riding a motorcycle?
My friend Ronna Snyder fought back with all her mental and physical might while the hormone rewiring wreaked havoc on her body. “As estrogen leaked out of me like a bad oil change, I realized I’d reached a fork in the hormonal road,” she says. “I could cave to the aging process, or tackle the antithesis of that. An 800-pound motorcycle proved to be the perfect vehicle for doing so.”
motorcycling and menopause ronna snyder
Ronna Snyder started riding in her forties. By age 50 she owned a purple Harley-Davidson Road King to match her meno-mood. “I read Proverbs in the Bible and found that strong, gutsy, royal valued women wore purple, so I decided that was the meno-color for me,” explains Ronna. “One thing led to another and my wardrobe exploded with metallic grape leather jackets, purple python pants, boas, even stilettos and KISS rock group-style boots which, yes, I actually rode my Road ‘Queen’ in.”

motorcycling and menopause ronna purple road king
Ronna adds, “My riding buddies made me ride in the back of the pack because the purple glitter coming off me would get embedded in their skin and boring black leathers. I knew I was truly over the edge when I found myself on my belly in my garage hand painting my whitewalls sparkly purple. By then, I flat-out simply didn’t care. I was having the time of my life goin’ just a little bit meno-crazy.”

For me, stifling peri-menopause and menopause symptoms have dominated the last seven of the 10 years I’ve owned and managed this website, Every test ride, every rally, and every event I’ve ever spoken at have all occurred during these physically and sometimes mentally challenging times. If I wasn’t such an experienced rider and super-focused individual, I’m not sure how I’d have handled some of the instances where I was test riding an unfamiliar motorcycle when my hormones were at war inside of me. 

Mixing Motorcycling and Menopause
So, just how do you mix menopause and motorcycling? Ladies? Men? I’m sure the male riding partners of women have their two cents to this question as well. For me, despite my best efforts at management and preparation, menopause and motorcycling came crashing into each other two summers ago on my ride home from Sturgis.
Leaving the rally, smiles still on our faces, my female riding buddy and I barreled along I-90 in an effort to cover the 450 miles back home in one day. Two hundred miles in, it hit me. The mental fuzziness and aura that precedes a menopausal migraine began to overtake my happy brain. My smile turned sour while I motioned to my friend to pull over at the next opportunity so I could take an Imitrex, the medicine that zaps these types of headaches in me. If I don’t take the pill at the onset, it doesn’t completely getting rid of the crippling pain.
I swallowed the Imitrex, that I never leave home without, and then rerouted us off the highway at the next town so I could sit for an hour and let the medicine go to work. Fortunately, my 60-year-old friend was sympathetic to my situation. An hour later, watching the clock, still feeling a little nauseated and “heady” I rallied to get back in the saddle of my loaded Harley-Davidson Street Glide and bolt the remaining 200 miles home. 
I had to really dig deep mentally and physically the rest of that day to stay alert, focused, and physically strong on my motorcycle. Imagine my angst when the skies opened up the last 50 miles with a powerful rainstorm with winds to match. It was pure will and determination that kept me going safely … and my Pilates-breathing—in through the nose, out through the mouth—kept me calm. I slept for two days. 
motorcycling and menopause genevieve schmitt street glide
This shot was taken on that last trip to Sturgis, in 2014 (after an 18-year run of it), the year that debilitating menopausal migraine delayed my trip home. If projections are right, I’ve got three more years before my hormones level out. I’ve opted not to take hormone replacement but instead engage in natural and homeopathic remedies, which have alleviated the frequency and intensity of my symptoms.

It’s been seven years since that initial hot flash, the first physical manifestation for me of the rewiring job happening inside my body. I’ve been a fitness junkie my whole life so it was quite a shock that, in spite of my good health I still got hit with a long list of symptoms. Believe me, I fought back using natural remedies and alternative healing methods to alleviate the discomfort, in addition to lifestyle changes to accommodate my mind and body’s new rhythm. I’ve always had hope, and I do see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

My goal with opening up about my story is that I’m providing others the opportunity to share their experiences, and start a conversation I believe needs to happen. So please, I’d love to hear from you on this subject. What have you experienced with peri-menopause and menopause and motorcycling? Leave a comment below. Thank you.

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96 thoughts on Motorcycling and Menopause

  1. I’m so happy to be reading an article on my favorite website about this very life changing event we ladies experience. I am 53 and am in my third year of riding. I have been having peri symptoms for several years. I chose Progesterone therapy with my ND and additional food, herb, and food applications. I have just been chugging along wading through the physical pain, mental fogginess, hot flashes, night sweats, and headaches, etc. I am very strong willed and forget that I can look to my Maker to carry me through and to others, who have experienced my same symptoms and challenges—like right now, reading what is being shared in this article.My husband and I were just speaking about him utilizing our spare room to sleep since year-round our bedroom has been like Antarctica (lol). Thank you so much ladies for sharing your heart with me. I feel so blessed right now and have confirmation that I am in good company. Thank you Genevieve for your authentic responses, I’m loving every one.

    1. Hi Julia,I’ve found that when we are transparent about the challenges we’re facing in our lives we tend to help more people. Our testimonies are what draw people in and give them hope. I’m glad mine did with you. I know you’ll get through this. I did after 10 years and feel better than I ever have in years.

  2. The only time a hot flash worked out well is riding in the fall in chilly Alaska. I told my boyfriend at a stoplight it is a bit chilly. He suggested stopping and putting another layer on. I said, “No, a hot flash will happen.” It did, and it was the only time it felt good. The sweating from the blast furnace in my body every two hours, emotional mood swings with crying, to happy, to wanting to strangle my boyfriend for suggesting green beans for dinner. Where did this crazy person come from? All the crazy symptoms add stress. I did take a prescription to help, but I was always on edge at work because I would feel angry for no reason. Now I still get hot flashes on occasion but the emotional roller coaster is over. Thank heavens for my boyfriend, my friends who listened, and my bike. The peace from riding always helps.

  3. I have made me an herbal cannabis cream that helps me stay off of medications and hormones. I am a horse lover and didn’t want to do pmu Premarin so I’ve been fighting hormone therapy. I won’t ride under the influence but I sure will wear it!

  4. I wish I had read this article sooner as I’m already forgetting details of my experience.I was 43 when perimenopause hit. I thought what an awesome gift after stopping taking the pill! Not sure I’m out of the woods yet but I think I had maybe six months of hot flashes and then it stopped. Like most women, I did not sleep well because of this.I vaguely remember having a few hot flashes at the beginning of this riding season. It was this burning heat on the front of my abdomen that would creep up my chest then head and arms. It was an odd feeling to have the top of my head get hot like that. They didn’t last long. I’d usually open whatever sweater I had on, maybe briefly fan myself, then it was done. I don’t recall headaches thank goodness! I may be one of the lucky small percent who do not experience a lot of the symptoms. My body goes through a different monthly cycle but again very fortunate that it hasn’t affected my riding.

  5. Thanks for this article. I just started my riding journey this year at 56, which also happens to be when my body began active menopause. I’m struggling to get in my time and experience on the roads due to all the fluctuations in my body. One day I ride with confidence, the next it’s like I’ve never ridden before. My grip strength is challenged. I’ve upped my exercise from tai chi to include strength bands to help. My boyfriend, a lifelong biker, only says, “ride more.” I know he is right, but I’m trying to get my hormones kinda straight at the same time. But I’m not giving up! I ride mostly alone locally as I get more experience. I’m glad to hear my new challenges can be met head on.

  6. I just turned 50 this past March. So far I’m perimenopausal and thankfully no hot flashes yet. But the mood swings, depression, headaches and general blah feeling hit me quite often. Still having my periods, semi-regularly but the pms is 100 times worse than I ever had before. I got my motorcycle license via a MSF course when I was 30 and would ride with my hubby all the time. We had a son at 40 so I took a year off, but after he was born we never rode as much as we had. But those times we did were great.Recently my hubby has hurt his back and isn’t as much into riding as he used to be and we haven’t really ridden in a year. Maybe it’s the perimenopause, but I decided I needed to ride alone vs. not at all. Hopped on my Sporty a week ago and went for a long ride and it was the most amazing feeling. I had forgotten how much I loved it. And my bike ran so perfectly once I got some fresh gas in it. I went to ride two days later and it wouldn’t start. And let me tell you those peri symptoms were coming to a head inside me. I wanted to scream, but I held it in and hubby (who is an auto mechanic—very nice to have one of those) figured out that I wasn’t getting spark for some reason. He’s working on fixing it right now God bless him!I think he knows that it’s good for me to get out and clear my head.Thank you for the article. It’s nice to see I’m not alone.

  7. Thanks for sharing. I finally understand why I’m feeling this way! I’ve had this obsession with learning to ride my own bike this summer after more than 25 years riding behind my husband. I couldn’t understand why I’ve felt this way.At the start of summer I thought I was going to die with all the hot flashes I was getting. I couldn’t sleep at night due to hot flashes waking me up, but thanks to the fan on a stand next to my bed, I’m sleeping much better. Oh and those migraines! I thought they were normal migraines, as I’ve had them since I can remember, except, they were worse.Foggy-headed, yes. I had to stop going to school again because I couldn’t focus. I’ve had aches and pains every day for 20 years or so, from a bad back and arthritis, and have recently been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.And I know now why I don’t take crap from anyone. I speak my peace and don’t hold back. It’s been a kind of freedom for me in that sense. Thanks again for your eye-opening article.

  8. I started perimenopause at age 42 and finished up at age 48. My doctor said there was no way anybody has it that early. Well, my mom and sister both finished at age 48. All I know is that I was even stronger after that.I joined karate and got my black belt at age 50. Then I heard two ladies in the locker room talking about buying Harleys. My husband rode since he was a teen. I had only ridden scooters at our campsite. So I decided to take the test on my scooter and passed. The next week I had my first motorcycle.Now, five motorcycles later, I have a beautiful yellow Can-Am Spyder touring machine. I think I had all 34 symptoms. Best part is I am no longer cold in the harsh central New York winters. I walk into work with my coat open during snowstorms. I had a T-shirt and shorts on today when it was only 60 degrees. Everyone else had coats and pants on.

  9. At 52, I just experienced my first hit-me-in-the-face-this-is-for-real perimenopause symptoms. After doing some research, I realized I was having mild symptoms for the prior year or two but nothing like what I just went through.For three weeks I had the worst hot flashes and night sweats so frequent that I was waking up every 60 to 90 minutes to throw off the blankets. I’ve been having the strangest, “I just lost my thought” occurrences (and then I’d get irritated). Random headaches, super-duper-have-you-lost-your-mind mood swings, and lots and lots of tears at every little thing that tugged at my heart.They leveled off for now but I know they will be back. Fortunately, I have a supportive husband and my bike. Looking back, my husband and I took the MSF course last fall (we were both first time riders). The two days of intense training with 10 other much younger students damn near did me in. I passed my test but barely. I think my instructors had more faith in me than I deserved at the time. After that, I was determined to keep going and bought a Suzuki 250 to build up my skills and confidence. I put almost 800 miles on that little bike before it got too cold to ride. I got back on this spring, put another 200 miles on and then upgraded to a Kawasaki Vulcan S. I am so glad I stuck with it. It wasn’t easy learning to ride at 51 years old and starting perimenopause, but I did it. And I am super proud of myself and love to ride! I love this website and thank you for all you do to support women riders.

    1. Thanks for the great feedback Zan. All the best to you as continue enjoying the motorcycling journey.

  10. Thank you Genevieve, for your response and words of wisdom. I have now packed in my job and taken a relaxing break away from everything including the bike, friends, internet, and phones. My only companion was my partner, who loves walking so I agreed to go with him if he rented a cottage for a week. I’m not exactly a walking fan but found that I enjoyed being surrounded by nature with not a soul in sight, only animals. I am now feeling a lot more relaxed and anxiety free (for the moment anyway.) I will follow this site with much interest over the next few months just to see how other people are dealing with their day-to-day challenges.

  11. I am 45 years old and been in full blown menopause for two years. Mine was early onset from surgery. I have ridden motorcycles since I was 17 years old. My mother and my grandmother rode with the Motor Maids so it is in my blood. Riding my bike is the only thing that helps with my depression but the first year was extremely hard and I was borderline suicidal because I was beyond emotional and the pain was unbearable. During the winter months when I could not ride, my depression was horrible but once riding season rolled around it helped a lot with my depression. It is into year 2 and it is a ton better I still get hot flashes but the pain and the depression has subsided. My new challenge now is I just had a double mastectomy and not being able to ride I am falling back into that depression. For all of you just starting menopause the only thing I can say is “this too shall pass.”

  12. Oh ladies, I have been there! I’m 54 now, and going through menopause was a whopper! I’m usually a very upbeat and happy person. Bubbly is what most people say. But when I went through the change, I didn’t know up from down. I couldn’t remember anything. My brain was totally foggy. I just didn’t know who I was any more! Hot flashes, hair loss (that one was tough to deal with), anger (no idea why!) just a mess. Kudos to my hubby who stuck by my side and didn’t put me out on my tailside. Ha! During those years, I wasn’t riding a bike. I don’t think I would want to sit on anything that generated heat because God knows I generated enough on my own. But all I want to say is once you come out the other side, you will find peace and yourself again! I’m riding again and feeling much more like myself. Even better! So don’t lose hope, and you really aren’t losing your mind. Stay focused on getting to the good stuff!

  13. Wow, I wish I read this article before I got rid of my bike. My menopause has been horrible. I think I have most of the symptoms and I suffer. I’m 49 and been suffering since my early 40s. I fell off my horse and broke my back and both arms. Got better, but couldn’t pick up my bike anymore, so I felt it better to get rid of her (beautiful purple). It broke my heart, but I just thought I was too weak now to ride. I’ve ridden all my life, but started getting scared. I miss my bike every day. I feel so understood for the first time in my menopause challenge. Thank you all, and God bless you. I will pray about getting another bike someday. I just don’t have a lot of people to ride with. Thanks for listening.

    1. Hi Jennifer,Thanks for sharing your story with us. Try not to live in regret over getting rid of your motorcycle. You did what you felt was best at the time considering the circumstances. Today and tomorrow are a new day! And it will only get better. I’m now 52 and have been “suffering” from these symptoms for seven years now, but! … they’ve gotten much better as I “move” through this bodily transition. Statistics say the change lasts 10 years—10 full years for your body to “rewire” itself to the new post-menopausal you, assuming no hormone treatments. I can honestly say after seven years I am no longer “challenged” by all the body-assaulting symptoms that were attacking my body in my 40s. Jennifer: it WILL get better! And when it does, ask God what He thinks is the right time to get another motorcycle. He will guide you. The best part is that when you do get another bike, you will have all the newfound knowledge and wisdom that comes from being the evolved post-menopausal you; the YOU that’s going to embrace this next chapter of your life head on, full speed ahead on a new steed!I’m so inspired by the women who are riding on two wheels in their late 50s, 60s, even their 70s. So do all you can now to nurture yourself, embrace the change, and look at all that you have, instead of what you don’t have. Blessings to you my friend,

  14. Never really had any hot flashes, headaches or anything while riding. Off the bikes, yes. Excessive bleeding, though… that was always a problem. Always happy I was wearing an Aerostich suit, and that I always had a change of pants. Never failed that sometime during a ride that I would leak through my pants. Grrr… Oh well, couple trips to the doctor got rid of the offensive uterus and started using a hormone patch. Life is good! No more leaks, and hot flashes are a thing of the past. Mood swings… well, I’ve had those since I was 12. Hahaha!

  15. OK guys, I need your help. I posted on here before about menopausal symptoms and I didn’t think they could get any worse at the time. How do you cope with the anxiety and depression? I don’t want to give up biking but at this moment in time, my whole world feels like its capsizing around me. My brains aren’t working properly anymore. I forget the simplest of things and I can’t write or put a sentence together properly. I don’t know about you in the USA, but all I’m offered from the doctors is anti-depressants. Help!

    1. Hi Janice,Thanks for continuing to seek our input here. I believe I addressed the depressed feeling we get when menopausal symptoms hit in another response so be sure to scroll through the comments and my responses. But I will share a few thoughts for you specifically here. Motherwort is a herb I took as drops under my tongue that helped calm my nerves. Be sure to ask your health practitioner to ensure it’s OK to take based on your health conditions. But I know it provided a sense of calm when I was at the point of gritting my teeth certain time. There are other calming herbs you can look into that may help. St. Johns Wort helps with depression.In the end, looking back, the two biggest things that I did that helped combat my “depression,” (and I put it in quotes because I’m not a depressed person, but would certainly have “gray” emotional days now and then before menopausal symptoms hit) was lifestyle changes and learning about the truth of who I am by reading the Bible. Here’s my list.1. I slowed down because my formerly very articulate self was having issues too over forming sentences and remembering words. By moving at a slower pace, both physically and mentally, I created a new “rhythm” to my life that enabled me to stop, take a breath, think before speaking, etc., ensuring I had the words I wanted to say when I needed them. 2. I stopped giving of myself to everyone who didn’t appreciate it. Realizing I was in a transitional time in my life, I went into self-preservation mode, not out of fear, but more because I needed to rid myself others’ stuff that wasn’t serving me. 3. I purged activities that drained me. Like I always enjoyed throwing dinner parties, but later realized that a) I don’t really like to cook and b) I’m so busy fussing I don’t enjoy my guests. So, I stepped back from things that weren’t “feeding” me (excuse the pun).4. Lastly, I picked up the Bible and began reading verses about who I am in Christ. Depression, if it’s not a neurological imbalance, comes mostly from a warped view of self. I decided to go to the source, to the one who made me, to learn exactly who I am in the universe, and where my source of strength comes from. Reading God’s has been and continues to the best antidote for any depression and anxiety I feel. Knowing God is control when we do things His way gets you on the path to freeing one’s self of the confines of this life and the perverted thinking of the world that leads many of us to a depressed feeling during “the change.”Hope that helps.Regards,

  16. For the past two years I’ve dubbed my travels, “Hot Flashes Across America.” I’m thankful I don’t have the headache issue. But the rising flush of heat when it’s already 90 is challenging. I am a big fan of mind over matter, and I try to look past the flash. It will be over soon. What interferes more with my riding is depression. Weekend after weekend goes by and I can’t manage to care enough to go for a ride. This from a woman who averages 12,000 miles a year. “Just let it go,” I say to myself. The urge will come back. I pay attention to the one good week a month I have, and try to jam my interesting life into that week. The other three are me pushing to look normal. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    1. Gail,Thanks for sharing your experience. I was told, “You will get through this. It will pass.” Those words were hope. And I hung onto them. I am now seven years into what is a 10-year change cycle, according to statistics, and can honestly say it has gotten better and I used no HRT. Hang in there my friend. Look at what you do have instead of what you don’t have and don’t let feelings rule what you know to be true. That you are blessed, loved, and a unique woman created by God. And motorcycling will always be there for you when you’re ready to get back in the saddle.

  17. Good to share this info. Surely many will benefit from the discussion.

  18. I keep coming back to this article—so timely and also inspiring to see how others are overcoming the symptoms. I am in the middle of a cross country trip, fortunately with a trailer in tow in case the symptoms would slow my progress. I did finally have to give in but not give up! I ride when I can and trailer when I can’t. It’s been real eye opener for my husband who did not realize all that this can take out of you—except my stubbornness!I am 59 —but going strong, just slower!

  19. My first hot flash happened in my mid 40s. They became more regular and frequent almost to the day of my 50th birthday.Ages 51 and 52 have been killer years with loss of so much basic body stuff like upper body strength going while my middle is expanding. I was having a lot of trouble riding my standard FZ6R, especially in slow maneuvers, so much so that I don’t think I did more than 600 miles in three years. Last summer I changed back to a cruiser and the lower center of gravity. I’ve got 1800 miles already and plan to add another just over this summer on my first solo road trip. I really wanted a bigger bike but had so much trouble with the front end in my difficult driveway. I opted for the Vulcan 900 and decided to custom the hummy out of it with the saved cash. I’ve added cardio exercises and yoga to my week, which certainly helps. I’ve also cut back on the amount of food I eat and processed sugar as much as possible without feeling like my life is completely over. Is it possible to reject ice cream in the summer? At 50 when I sent my youngest off to college, I started a PhD program. I certainly feel the loss of mental acuity, especially compared to all those youngins in my classes. And I’m sure I stick out like a sore thumb when my face turns red and the sweat starts rolling down my face when the hot flashes hit. But I’m also the cool student with the motorcycle in the parking lot.

  20. Like many women who ride bikes out there I am also at that age where the menopause is starting to impact on my life. The brain fog I find the worst as I cannot physically ride my bike when I have this as it just wouldn’t be safe for me to be out there on the bike. I suffer from all the symptoms the menopause throws at me and have been doing this for more than 10 years now. I started riding when I was 18 and I am now 49 and I love riding my bike and the extended family that I have through the lifestyle. I have found that the art of just getting out on the bike whenever you can can help reduce some of the symptoms even if it means that I can’t go as far or as fast as I would normally be able to go. I think it’s just the feel good factor that helps.

  21. Great article Genevieve! I turn 50 this year and have been riding menopause and peri-menopause for about the last five I think it is (if not more). I have only just returned to riding motorcycles this year (have a wee Street 500), after many many years, and see it very much as a way of reclaiming myself and who I am and who I want to be. I have to say I have actually used riding as a way of managing some symptoms, when that menopausal inner rage has hit me or I feel, going for a ride and being present in the moment and just focused on riding has helped immensely. Given I am only just back into riding I can not really comment more, but was stoked to see the article and really appreciate your honesty and openness. PS: As a side line – your website has helped me so much from gear to riding tips and as a newbie is just awesome. Thank you.

  22. It was so good to read this article that I can relate to on so many levels. I received my license, then purchased my first bike in 2015, a brand new Kawasaki 650 Ninja. It made me excited every time I got on it. I was 52 years old. I was so excited and ready to go. I rode a good four months every weekend and then Mom needed help so I stopped riding for the rest of the year. In 2016 I’ve just started back over again but the excitement is not there. I still want to ride but was not motivated. Then the hot flashes started. With the grief of losing my mom and the change I’m fighting everyday to get back to the passion. I rode for a comfortable short ride on Mother’s Day because I’m still very new at it. Thank you for saying it’s OK to ride alone because you can ride at your own pace. Thank you for saying I want to be in bed by 9:30 p.m. I get up at 4 a.m. Thank you for letting me know that everything I was feeling and thinking is OK. Keep me in your prayers. Learning at this age I’m being very cautious but it’s coming.

    1. Hi Nan,Thanks for sharing. I will keep you in my prayers. In fact, I pray for everyone who asks me on my website because I believe that God heals and wants us to be whole, and out there enjoying our passion.All the best to you my dear,

  23. Really enjoyed the article and it’s nice to know others are going thrust this.I got my license when I was 49. I love riding. If I’ve had a bad day, everything gets fixed with a bike ride. I started getting hot flashes when I was 53. Nothing like being all bundled up on a cold day and getting a hot flash. Mine were coming every 15 minutes, day and night. Ugh! Had a lot of the other stuff too. Fortunately my migraines went away as mine had come every month. I had a Suzuki 800 Intruder for 11 years. Loved that bike but it got so I worried about dropping it. (Strength loss despite exercise and a health life style.) So I sold it last month. I also have a Yamaha 250 dual-sport. It’s my favorite. We ride the dirt roads in the foot hills and mountain roads in western North Carolina. No traffic, wonderful scenery. The roads can be challenging to ride, but it clears any brain fog, takes your mind off aches and pains when you are concentrating on not going off the side of a mountain. Rewarding sense of accomplishment. The dual-sport is light, easy to handle, stops a lot faster. I had an idiot pull out in front of me at a gas station. I had just left the bike shop where they put new rear brakes on. When I applied the brakes the rear ones didn’t grab like the old ones so I ended up applying to much front brake and went down, Fortunately we didn’t collide. Broke my brake lever and I got some bruises. If I had had my big bike I would have run into the guy’s truck. Bottom line, the bike has helped me cope with the stress on menopause.

  24. I started riding in 2010, at the age of 43, after taking the MSF class and passing with flying colors. I immediately hopped on my bike and started riding. Eight weeks later I totaled my bike when someone pulling a trailer changed lanes into me and I put my bike down. Unfazed and uninjured, I bought number two, rode for a year and several thousand miles before buying my current 09 Yamaha Raider. A month or two after my purchase, another idiot pulled out in front of me. This wreck left me with an overnight observation stay, but I was relatively uninjured again.Fast forward from that day in May 2013. I started slowly riding again, but with caution. Unrelated health issues kept me down for some of 2014 and peri menopause hit about that time too. Part of my symptoms: near-paralyzing anxiety that carried over to car driving too. The bike became almost impossible, especially in traffic. My racing mind thinks everyone is going to take me out. I’ve overcame most of my driving anxiety, but as a car passenger, I’m still nervous at times. My poor bike has set for months. I’ve recently gone for a few short rides, but I don’t know if I can ride with confidence. My husband and family wants me to sell my bike. I am very sad and frustrated. I know I am capable, but this stupid anxiety gets in the way. I don’t know if I can even ride as a passenger on my husband’s Street Glide. I hate what this “change” has done to me.

    1. Hi Cathy,Thanks for sharing. I’m sorry you have anxiety that is affecting you this way. And it’s funny … as I read all these comments some of what you are all sharing is reminding of things I went through when I was in the thick of it, and this is one of them. I distinctly remember a season when I became “deathly” afraid while riding my motorcycle, meaning my mind would go to the “dark” side while riding and I’d see myself going down; or I’d think things like “all it takes is one wrong move, and bam!” … crazy stuff that I’ve never thought of before. Highway speeds seemed very, very fast to me. And it seemed every car driver was out to get me.One thing not mentioned here yet is that a lot of my senses got heightened during peri-menopause so loud sounds seemed annoyingly louder to me; the wind rushing past my body when riding a motorcycle accentuated the “violence” of our bodies pushing through space at 75 mph to me; commotion around me increased my anxiety to the point of aggravation (which then brought on a hot flash!)So, all that to say that anxiety in this way is common, and is one of the symptoms of menopause. Unfortunately, you have your two wrecks and being a relatively new rider adding to it all. I’d been riding for 25 years so was able to “manage” the anxiety directly to riding the bike somewhat.I’m sure others can weigh in here, but here are my thoughts: if you really want to still ride but want to keep the anxiety at a minimum find roads with little traffic on them. If you have to trailer your motorcycle, or have someone ride it to a quiet countryside location, then do that so you can ride your motorcycle without distractions of traffic.If it’s general anxiety about the motorcycle, stay off the motorcycle for awhile while working on the anxiety. I would suggest any of the relaxation techniques that are out there. I learned meditation; I practice TM. I got an essential oil diffuser and use relaxing scents in it. I learned to take long walks. I started doing Yoga more. It was also recommended to me to take the herb Mother Wort for peri-menopausal anxiety, and it worked well. Ask your healthcare provider if this might be an option for you.It’s OK to pull back on your motorcycle riding for a “season” in your life to manage your physical and emotional symptoms. As you move through the change, the anxiety should dissipate, assuming it is a symptom of peri-menopause. Once you have more “control” over the anxiety (meaning you’ve learned techniques to manage it, say like through breathing techniques or supplements) only you know if and when you can “safely” get back on your bike. Hope that helps.

  25. Such a great article and the feedback has been enlightening. I seem to be the oddball out, I was in peri-menopause by my early 30s and full blown before I turned 40. I went through all the ugly symptoms and came out the other end only to have breast cancer rear its ugly head and now have to take an estrogen blocking agent that causes all those symptoms to reappear! lucky me! Like others, I find that riding helps me to be present and stay in the moment. I started riding in my 40s, so am having to relearn to listen to my body. When I get fuzzy, we take a break, always keep migraine meds available, and utilize both vents and layering to try and keep hot flashes under control. Regular yoga is helping me to keep my strength and endurance. I do have a bike with a low center of gravity. Thank you for this wonderful site where we can learn from each other!

  26. Wonderful story and thank you for sharing! As you shared, the majority of women riding are in menopause years and yours is the first article I’ve seen covering what it means to ride while dealing with the meno-symptoms. I wasn’t blessed with hot flashes. Yes, I did just use the word blessed when referring to hot flashes as mine where hot “hours.” I remember thinking, “Hey, I heard they where suppose to be flashes, so what’s up with these hours!” I’ve never heard of anyone having them last longer than a “flash.” It was a good thing I lived alone as clothing was not my friend during those times. I experienced mood swings too but thankfully I didn’t have the mean streak that can come, instead Johnny Depp’s movie “Cry Baby” would better explain my mood swings. You remember the AT&T commercials where the daughter would call her Pops, intending to pull at our heart strings and get us a little teary over the sentimentalism of them? Well imagine that on steroids. Oh and please keep me away from any Hallmark commercials. Haha!I don’t like putting chemicals in my body so I tried the natural HRT first. They were not effective and I did end up giving in and am using prescription HRT instead. I’m happy to share that I have been able to enjoy life without being on fire for hours and even more very happy to say, I am no longer considering buying stock in Kleenex. Thank you again for your story and I look forward to sharing it with others.

  27. I’m so glad to read this article! I actually thought I had completed the “change” a few years ago, but reading some of the responses reminded me of things I had forgotten were part of this journey. Lately I’ve experienced much more fatigue, mental fog, and sleeplessness (in spite of my CPAP machine to alleviate sleep apnea). I retired a few years ago, but in order to support my Harley addiction I teach after-school science programs to elementary kids, and lately I feel exhausted after a session of teaching. I spend most of my riding time alone (solo trips to Yellowstone, Canada, and lately Florida) because riding with others for long distances or many days seems to cause anxiety. The women I ride with on some occasions always seem to have more energy than I, being up and ready to roll out while I still seem to be waking up all the way. So if I ride alone, I can pull over when I feel the need, I can stop for the day if I have to, and I don’t feel pressured to ride a zillion miles in one day. I just don’t have the stamina for that. I also agree that on days the ride doesn’t feel right I stay off the bike.I also appreciate the comments from other readers about size of their bikes. I hear so much about how great the touring bikes are that I test rode a Road King last Saturday. The seating posture and foot controls were all wrong for me, so I said a definite no to that. A few years ago I test rode a Road Glide, but decided against that one as well. I’m glad I took the test ride because now I know that my Heritage Softail is the right choice for me with its low center of gravity, 100 pounds less than the touring bikes, and being outfitted for my comfort. I’m one of the women who didn’t start riding until my 50s and have felt the liberation of traveling solo for long or short distances on my purple iron horse!

    1. Thanks for sharing your story Shelley. You bring up a good point about riding alone because of how the rhythm of your body is different than others. I can certainly attest to that. I have pulled back on a lot of trips with other women because they simply don’t get that I need more sleep, plus I’m not a partier anymore like I was years ago so staying out late is not appealing to me. People say that “understand” but I honestly feel like I let people down because I want to be in bed by 10. So, I have adjusted my riding “life” accordingly. And it is OK to do that. I appreciate you sharing your insight into this.

  28. Thank you so much for this article. Peri-menopause has hit me like a brick. I also suffer from migraines and have had the added joy of painful and erratic periods. I appreciate you sharing your story.

  29. I got a smile out of your article. A few months before my second marriage at age 42, I got hit all of a sudden with hot flashes, night sweats, loss of libido, PMS three out of four weeks a month (never knowing when it would hit) so I felt I had no control over my moods, and a bunch of other unpleasant symptoms. Due to a bad ulcer, I couldn’t take any of the natural pills or herbs suggested by friends and HRT was out since I was not menopausal yet. Twelve years later my husband asked when this peri-menopause, that they say lasts up to 10 years, was going to end! The moods got so bad I ended up eventually taking prescription Sarafem for a number of years which helped me feel normal again. I didn’t go through menopause until 56, and while the night sweats and flashes were helped a lot in peri-menopause by wicking sheets and eating soy products, when menopause hit NOTHING helped and the bad flashes were much worse, keeping me up all night. Finally gave in and started HRT and this past year it’s helped – no more flashes or sweats or moods etc. They say three years is OK for HRT so I hope by then the flashes will be gone or better. My friends mother is in her 70s and still has them. I can’t say any of it affected my riding, but then I never had the headaches. I did a lot of long distance touring those years, went through a stressful job, retirement, and 10 years caregiving for a parent – a lot of stress. I have to say that the idea that peri-menopausal years, 40s to 50s are freeing seems odd to me. In my experience and that of friends, right when the kids grow up and move out, the parents begin to have serious health issues that can last many years and you see and friends and family and maybe yourself facing cancer and other very serious health issues. I know that isn’t true for everyone, but has been what I’ve had in my life and that of most of my friends. But riding is a break from it all and touring is a blessed get away! The supposed golden years are not for sissies. After the parents are gone you deal with your own health stuff and the results of aging, but being a biker seems to keep us young, interested, and enthusiastic for the next adventure. PS My denim jacket for many years sports the nickname “Hot Flash.” Now that I don’t have them, maybe I should pass it on to you!

  30. I don’t know how I was blessed, and please don’t hate me, but I went through menopause at age 56 (later than my mom at 52) and just turned 59 without a hot flash, night sweats or weight gain during the many years of “the change.” I’ve always suffered from migraines, but they practically disappeared in my 50s. All the women in my family suffer and have suffered terribly. I don’t, and will not take any hormones. The only thing my OBGYN can figure is that my diet has been a “clean” one. I don’t smoke or drink alcohol, and due to my migraines I have avoided many foods that also trigger menopausal complaints. I get plenty of exercise, and my horses and motorcycle riding are my therapy. I sympathize with all of you ladies who are going through this rough time because I have seen what my sisters and mother went through. Get as much information as you can and try an approach that you feel comfortable with. Try to stay positive and don’t forget to be good to yourself!

  31. Great article! Although I have been experiencing hot flashes for the past year, thankfully I’ve not had one while on the bike. I also appreciated your frank response to Brenda’s “bashing” of you and your article [dated April 29, 2016]. I find it refreshing to read a response that has not been “sugar-coated.” Love the magazine; it’s been so helpful to me as a new rider in my mid to late 40s. Keep up the great job!

    1. Denise,Thanks for your feedback. Glad you like what we do. It means a lot to hear from people that what me and my small team are doing is helpful. All the best to you,

  32. Oh, how I can relate. That feeling that you are being microwaved from the inside out! Mine began at 46. I was staying with some friends in Wisconsin in June and kept thinking, MAN! These people are crazy for not having the air conditioning on! I was going nuts. Only thing was: I was the only one who was hot. I was easily irritable, said hateful things to my husband and was very impatient.Fast forward several years, I had been on hormone replacement a couple of years and finally weaned myself off without the flashes returning. Yay! Flash free. But only for a few months, when ovarian cancer came knocking. The removal of the plumbing meant the return of the flashes. Ugh! And I can’t stand my hair to be on my neck (after being bald … hair is of little concern).Fast forward two more years … I can’t be on hormone replacement, so they placed me on Effexor — an antidepressant that has a secondary use for hot flash suppression. At my first follow-up visit, the doctor asked how the Effexor was working for my hot flashes. I said, “Well, I don’t know that it’s working much for the hot flashes, but I’m HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY all the time!” I wonder if they will ever end? Thank you for a wonderful article!

    1. Thanks for sharing your story Sara. What a roller coaster you’ve been on. I will pray for you for continued healing. All the best to you,

  33. Stress seems to make my hot flashes more intense and more plentiful. Since riding my bike is my favorite stress reliever, I don’t have a lot of hot flashes while riding. I purchased a jacket with multiple vents so when I do have one, I can vent my jacket and helmet to relieve the symptoms.I’m 60 and have been having hot flashes for 15 years, but no migraines. Fatigue and weakness come and go. I make sure to get enough sleep at rallies so sleep-deprivation is not a factor. I party at night, but skip getting up for breakfast runs.Thank you for bringing this up for discussion. I’m posting a photo of my friend and I. We rode from Sturgis to Parker, Colorado, after the 2015 rally in one day.

  34. As a woman who routinely experiences hot flashes, I loved the message of this article. As a woman who is a MSF RiderCoach, instructor for GWRRA, and all-around safety nut, several parts of this article left me deeply concerned. Many women look to these pages for help, guidance, and fellowship. Reading about how you took someone else’s prescription medication, showing photos of women riding without safety gear (one woman with no jacket, and another riding with “KISS style boots”), and riding a long 450-mile day, despite your body doing everything it could to tell you to stop, is beyond irresponsible. None of these examples will help other woman – only guide them into possible making life ending decisions. You (and the women in the two photos I mentioned) were lucky. Taking someone else’s meds and riding a long day with the symptoms you listed, are irresponsible and very dangerous messages to send.

    1. Brenda,Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns. Let me first address your concern about showing photos with riders not dressed from head to toe in safe riding gear. In our FAQs section, our policy on posting photos with riding gear is this: When we have control over the photo shoot we insist on full riding gear, helmet, jacket, boots and gloves. As our site has evolved over the years, we post more reader-generated content so that means not everyone is wearing every piece of safety gear. On a case by case basis, we will post photos where the rider has some gear on and looks like she is riding responsibly. We’ve had to relax our ATGATT rule for photos, or else we’d never be able to show any photos submitted by our readers. That said, the photos you mention that I chose to use for my article are all there to illustrate a point, and by posting them we are certainly not advocating riding with your jacket tied around your waist, or wearing KISS boots. Really?As far as my taking someone’s prescription medicine: I was making a point, not offering advice. I, for one, am not a pill popper and have never depended on any prescription medicine my entire life. When my friend offered me her migraine medicine I certainly hesitated knowing all the possible implications of it. However, I was committed to a motorcycle test ride event the next day and considering the debilitating pain I was in knew I could trust this woman with her suggestion of this migraine zapping medicine. Certainly, Brenda, I’m not advocating taking other’s prescription medicine! I was illustrating the “desperation” of the situation that menopausal symptoms can sometimes put a woman in, especially in the early days when one is not fully aware of what is going on with her body. I’m sorry you missed that point. I appreciate your concern for me and my ride home from Sturgis, but it is not for you to judge my decisions on my 450-mile day. I’m getting the feeling you breezed through my article missing key points and then filled in the blanks with your own agenda, because you clearly misread that part of the article. I was fine for 250 miles smiling and feeling great with not one symptom. But here again I was speaking to the premise of my article, which is how do riders mix motorcycling and menopause, especially when the two come crashing together. I appreciate your critical eye and concern for safety and safe messages, but I feel you missed the premise, which is how does one mix motorcycling and menopause, with illustrations from my own life. I say nothing about this article offering advice and give absolutely no advice to others in this article. The story from the outset was designed to get the conversation started with encouragement, help, and guidance coming from the readers in the comments section. I even state that clearly in the last paragraph. And I think the readers are doing an awesome job with what I’ve asked of them.

  35. Thanks for the article! I am 57 and have been slogging through menopause for about five years now, which coincided with getting back into riding. I’ve found the necessary mindfulness of motorcycle riding to help with my concentration and focus, and when I have a hot flash while riding it’s much easier to handle than when I am at my desk or at a meeting. Your headaches sound really awful and I am sorry that this has been one of your symptoms. I have avoided hormone therapy too and have found that eating soy, avoiding caffeine, and practicing yoga to be of some help. I’ll be glad to have menopause behind me and truly believe that my HD Sportster 1200 Low has helped as much as any therapy in getting me through it!

  36. I rode with my husband for 32 years and didn’t think I would ever ride my own bike, but at 50 I decided it was time to learn. I’ve been riding my own bike for 10 years now and have moved up to a 1700cc Kawasaki Vaquero, which I love. I choose to take the estrogen because of my memory issues and having what I would call a total meltdown while on our way home from Sturgis one year. I completely lost my cool and it almost seemed like I was looking down at myself acting like I would have never acted if I hadn’t been menopausal. I had to apologize to several people that I care for, especially my husband. Needless to say once I started taking the estrogen I haven’t had any more issues. Even with the estrogen I still have more migraines than in the past, but I had never thought about them being from menopause. It’s like a light bulb went off after reading your article. Thank you for your insight.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story Sharon. That is awful about your meltdown. I responded to another reader exactly what you said about how you describe watching yourself from the sidelines wondering if it is indeed you making all that mayhem. Good thing you had the foresight to apologize. I did that a lot of during the worst part of my monster days. Thanks for also sharing about how estrogen has helped you. I want my readers to know that I certainly considered HRT and every other hormone formula in light how “heavy” all my symptoms were, but having migraines was the reason I didn’t and don’t. I read many reviews of HRT formulas, and all say headaches or migraines is one possible side effect. I get them as it is and would expect the extra hormones to take them away, not add to them. I feel the situation with my migraines is so tenuous that I do what I can to keep them under control and this point, seven years in, I’m cautious about upsetting the new “balance” that my body is trying to achieve on its own. I would like to go on record that one supplement I’ve been taking for five years that has helped mitigate the frequency and intensity of my migraines is called Migraine Supplement Formula found at The formula is just the right mix of all the vitamins and herbs we read about that help reduce migraines. If anyone wants to ask me questions about this, feel free to email me. All the best to you Sharon,

  37. Thank you so much for writing this article! I cannot even begin to tell you how helpful it is to know I am not alone in this journey. When I started riding, I was going through pre-meno and it took me awhile to figure out what was going on. Here I am, at 54 now, and I feel like I’m starting to come out on the other side, ad have been through hell and back. I was just saying to my husband the other day, “How are so many other women my age and much older able to not only just ride, but to ride such big bikes?” I’ve only had sportbikes so far but recently sold them to get something with a lower center of gravity; i.e., a cruiser, so that I feel more comfortable, more planted and not feel such crushing fatigue at the end of a ride. My husband just got the Honda CTX700 DCT (the dual clutch so it is automatic) and he let me ride it. (He gets arthritis in his hands so this has been a huge boon for him!) Anyway, it was very comfortable and I may just get one for myself. Very weird to be so low to the ground and to not use a clutch but at the end of a long ride on that bike, I felt great!The tips you shared in several of your replies are some things that I’m sure will help me…with the headaches, crushing fatigue, anxiety, brain fog, night sweats and demon-possessed inner biatch…you get the picture. My poor husband; thank goodness he is so patient and doesn’t take things personally!Anyway, I started to let the whole menopause thing get me down but I didn’t want to just give up. I have been trying everything I could to help me on my journey through this chapter in my life and giving up riding is not part of that. It is my therapy.

    1. Hi Alice,Seems like you asked the same question I did about how could there be so many other women out there riding these big bikes (and motorcycles in general) and not experiencing the same meno symptoms? I’m so glad my article and and all the comments have resonated with you. Just reading all the responses from you and the others has been “therapeutic” to me in an interesting way. I’m so glad you found a solution to your fatigue on the bike by getting a lower center of gravity motorcycle. We have to find ways to alter our “ride” to enjoy the ride. Thanks for sharing yours. Love the photo by the way!All the best to you,

  38. I have found that my new passion for riding has helped with my problems due to menopause and wish I had started a year earlier. I was in my early forties but the doctor said I was too young, so when I really started to get symptoms I didn’t realize what was going on. I felt like I was losing my mind and my spouse thought I was having a midlife crisis. I was having intense mood swings, anxiety, insomnia, and was really tired all the time. I tried counseling, which helped me realize that I needed to do something for myself and that I wasn’t going crazy.I took my motorcycle course and started to save money for my bike. I believe that having something to look forward too helped. Riding has helped me feel better about myself and about going through “the change,” and it makes me feel younger. Thank you so much for your article and your website. It was the first site I went to regularly to learn everything I could about women riders!

  39. The timing of this article and comments thread is perfect for me. I’m 52, starting motorcycle riding two weeks ago and have been menopausal for about four months. I think. I’m not actually sure when it all started because most symptoms I was ignoring and just putting down to life. But then the hot flashes started. And the night sweats and insomnia. From what I’ve read here I think I’m actually getting off relatively lightly, but I will definitely be taking more notice of my focus and how I feel before and during rides. Now I know I could be compromising my safety by ignoring what’s going on in my own body and head. Thanks for the great article Genevieve, and all your comments everybody. Lots of great advice that I will be following. PS: Could have done with a hot flash on my last ride; I was freezing!

    1. Congrats on being a new motorcycle rider Dana! Hope the menopause doesn’t get too much in the way of things for you. I’m glad this article and comments were helpful. All the best to you in your future motorcycling endeavors!

  40. Thank you so much for this article! Not only is it comforting, but I learned some things. I was the first person among my friends to start menopause symptoms, so there was no one to commiserate with, and even now there is such a reluctance to talk about what is going on. I think for me partly because unknowingly I had absorbed society’s ridicule for “women of a certain age” and such rubbish. So silly to take that on, and am working hard to not be embarrassed by what is natural.Like you, Genevieve, I have gone the natural therapies route. After various doctors telling my I was not in peri-menopause because the blood tests were normal – despite all the other symptoms ARRRGH – I decided to trust my own body awareness. I got my learner’s license at age 45 and now at 47 love riding my little Harley-Davidson Street 500. Riding keeps me in the moment, which makes the moods much easier to let go. The challenge has been a good distraction from feeling the changes to my body, and learning this new skill and enjoying it is helping me ensure that the new picture I develop of myself is not of a woman who is “past it” but rather who can do anything and be anything I set my mind to.

    1. What a fantastic attitude to have Fran. I love it! You are so right on! Knowing we can embark on this relatively unique endeavor called motorcycling (unique because a tiny fraction of women in today’s society actually do ride a motorcycle) provides a balance in a way to the downsides of experiencing all the menopausal symptoms. Simply put: mastering a motorcycle and enjoying its sweet adventures is the ultimate antidote to peri-meno and menopause. All the best to you dear,

  41. Thank you for writing this! I started peri mid-forties. About 10 years in periods ended. I am now 59 and still flashing along with headaches, fatigue, etc. I started riding fives years ago to get my focus back and it has been a great source of strength for me. This summer I will be going cross country and back- flashes and all! I too have gone the natural route vs. any replacement hormones. Not an easy road, but definitely longer than what I had been told. Seems that no one really knows how long the process takes, but, bottom line, not letting it stop me, just making me a little slower!

    1. Thanks Coral for this insight. Now I know what I have to look forward to, that is because I’m also going the natural route. Sigh.

  42. Thank you for sharing your story. I have been dealing with these “personal tropical moments” for more than 10 years now. Although I have had a complete hysterectomy (2000) I still suffer. I chose to do HRT for five years. Did not work. When I am riding I to feel foggy and must stop for my safety and others also. In 2003 I donated my kidney to my mother. Although she died 10 days later, my hot flashes on the other hand became worse. I have not tried tried any type of herbs yet. I have found several things that work. For me it was cutting caffeine, spicy foods, and smoking (35 years a smoker, two years as a non-smoker woohoo) have helped tremendously. I tend to carry a spray bottle with icey water for a quick fix when I’m having one of my “moments” while riding. As my boyfriend of five years often tells me, “Baby you;re hot.” My usual response to this is, “And sexy too”. Maybe one day these hot flashes too shall pass. Until then ladies, enjoy every moment you can on your ride. Peace out.

    1. Thanks for your feedback Linda. I use to carry a little personal fan in my purse for a long time but it created a lot of stares from people. I now just use any paper or sturdy object nearby to fan myself when it gets really bad. People might just think the room is hot and not me.

  43. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article. I am 43 and just started experiencing the hot flashes. I am also just starting to learn to ride and planning on getting a bike in the next year or so. I see all these women out there enjoying their bikes and the open road and my best friend just got her own. I’m keeping the faith that menopause goes easy on me and 10 years from now I can look back at where I am today and say that was one great journey. Thanks for the article. I’m looking forward to my journey to come.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Michelle and all the best to you in your new motorcycling journey through life.

  44. So much yes! I almost couldn’t believe it when I saw that you had written this article! I am 52, and have had hot flashes and night sweats for two years, now. With a little anxiety just to keep it interesting. I rode for three years prior to that. Thank goodness I wasn’t just starting out when the symptoms got really annoying! I find that I have most of my issues later in the evening and at night, so I mostly ride earlier in the day. I am fortunate enough to have a choice between a Scout and a Chieftain, depending on how I feel. I tell people I ride the Scout when I don’t need to haul anything home, but you can guess what the real truth is! I, like another reader, don’t make a lot of plans due to the unpredictability of it! I mostly ride alone, or with my husband. Nutrition and fitness play a huge role for me as well. I avoid sugar and processed food. I drink a lot of water. It has helped a lot. Riding, I think, has also helped me stay sharp, and makes me feel otherwise empowered. It gets me out of the house, when I think I might opt to stay in if I didn’t ride. I could never give it up. Thank you for writing this. While I am not happy there are so many of us struggling with the symptoms of peri-menopause, it is helpful to see our stories here. (reference the photos… we never seem to remember to take photos on our bikes, just photos OF our bikes! haha)

    1. Karen,I’m so glad the article resonated with you in the way it did. It so warms my heart that I took a leap of faith and wrote this article. Like you said, it stinks a lot of us are going through this, but it’s nice to know we’re not alone. Lucky you that you have two bikes to choose from. I may go that route as well. All the best to you,

  45. Love love this article. When I was young my older female relatives didn’t talk about menopause or maybe I was too young to be interested, but I have nothing to fall back on now in my fifties. Your article is very informative and full of great advice. I bought my first bike at 50 and I am now on my second Harley. I’ve experienced a majority of the symptoms you’ve listed many times on my bike, and now I carry a small arsenal of products to alleviate the issues. Thank you.

    1. Lynn,You are so right. If we are to continue riding and feeling good, bringing along our arsenal of products is a must. Good for you!

  46. This is definitely a subject more of us should talk about. It helps to hear other women’s challenges and successes. I had just turned 50 when I had my first official hot flash. I’m now 65 and they are still going strong. Apparently, there is a small percentage of us who get to experience them for the rest of our lives.I was 62 when my husband and I bought our first bike, a Harley Tri-Glide. Thankfully my husband thought we should start with a trike due to our age. When I took the Rider’s Edge class—in the hottest month of the year, July—I realized that I no longer had the strength, stamina or balance I thought I had in order to ride a two wheel. Fortunately, the state of Florida offers a three wheel endorsement. My husband now rides a Road Glide and the trike is all mine. You just have to persevere and do what works for you.

    1. Hi Dorothy,I sure hope I’m not still experiencing hot flashes at 65, although you’re not the first woman I know who has them still in her sixties. Every woman is different in a similar sort of way 😉

  47. Great article, thanks for writing it! I took up biking in my forties; hitting 50 this year. It’s the nights sweats and waking up half the night that do me in. Love getting out on the bike (have moved to new country, so working on that now) but agree, if I am not 100 percent, I don’t head out for the day. You really need to be in the whole of your health and faculties when you’re on the bike, otherwise you are hazard to yourself and others. But when in form, absolutely nothing like it for clearing the head and feeling focused! Can’t wait to be done with the heat thing though!

    1. Love this photo Anne Marie! Thanks for sharing your perspective on what is being shared here. There is strength—and comfort—in numbers; makes us feel like we’re not alone in this journey. All the best to you,

  48. I am 52, next month, and have been dealing with menopause since about 48. Last couple years it has really taken a toll on me. I have had to miss a lot of rides because of the menopause, and I cannot make any plans because I do not know how I am going to be feeling from day to day. I mostly ride alone now, so I can just turn around and go home if I start feeling bad, and I do not have to ruin everyone’s day. Some days I feel like selling my bike, and then I will have a great weekend of riding. It is nice to know there are women out there with the same symptoms, because there are also a lot of women out there that think I am crazy, mostly the young ones.

    1. Hi Tina,Love the photo of you on your Road King! Yes, I have many young friends who look at me cross-eyed when I speak of my menopausal ailments of that day; I actually can’t believe I’m THAT woman now as I remember the times when I looked at my older riding “sisters” and thought the same thing. “Just get over it! You’re stronger than that.”It was a huge wake-up call when I couldn’t just “get over it” and when no amount of mental and and physical strength could push the symptoms away. I just smile now and say to these gals, “Someday! You just wait and see.” And if they want to know more, I give them tips on what they can do in their thirties to prepare their body for the onslaught, assuming they are one of the “two out of three” that will get hit with it badly.

  49. I am 54, I injured my knee two years ago and haven’t been able to ride. This month I am getting my bike back on the road. But I have been a little apprehensive because last year I finally hit menopause and I’m worried about the lack of strength and especially the trouble focusing and staying alert. You girls know of any natural remedies to help?

    1. Ida,Great question! First off, I highly advocate exercise, getting your heart rate up at least three days a week. Walking at a brisk pace a couple miles every other day is good for post menopausal women. Incorporate strength training using resistance bands, light weights, or my favorite, Pilates, which uses your own body to build strength.I learned meditation, particularly TM (Transcendental Meditation) to clear my mind of the clutter helping me to stay focused on what I’m working on at the moment, including motorcycling. I try to do it twice a day, but right now if I do it once a day, I’m happy. Be sure you’re getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals your body needs, including Vitamin D, which tends to drop in a lot of post-menopausal women.Drink lots of water, like a super amount of water. You’ll have go to the bathroom more often, but it is by far the best cleansing agent around and dehydration is the source of a lot of gut issues. Get plenty of sleep. I now require nine hours a night, and I’m proud of it! I feel more rested and alert throughout the day and have no need to take naps. Naps just make me drowsier in the day.Start eating lots of super foods, kale, berries, avocado and other good fats, and cut out the bad stuff. For those interested, because I suffer from migraines and have had acne all my life, I finally said enough, and would do whatever I needed to diet-wise (something I had control over) to fix these two. So I eat only foods that are gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, and grain-free, the last one when I need to lose a few pounds. When I get back to my ideal weight, I introduce gluten-free grains back into my diet. My adult acne has cleared up and my migraines have mitigated in frequency and intensity. We are what we eat, so I can’t say enough about how good eating habits throughout the day affect our mood and our energy level. Hope that helps. Readers – feel free to add to this list by posting a comment. And by the way Ida, you look awesome on your motorcycle! Thanks for the photo.

  50. Now 60, I first experienced symptoms around 40. I found an excellent doctor whose specialty was bio-identical hormone therapy and seemed to get it under control quickly. Having said that however just recently I started to experience a lot of anxiety on my big Street Glide especially at highway speed. The weight was cumbersome and handling it seemed to be a chore, not a joy. I recently made the decision to do a trike conversion which was good in that I feel much safer but I also feel like a bit of a fake. I’m so glad you have the courage to write about all of the various ways this can affect your life. Yes I have much less strength but I also have a newer more vibrant spirit about life that I think age has provided. I’m also lucky to have a second smaller bike, a Softail Slim and I enjoy the two wheels that I can handle easily. I hope to keep riding, but at my pace and my way: the trike when it’s called for it, and the Slim when it’s right. I used to worry that people didn’t understand the physical and emotional turmoil inside, but now I know that’s not true. Thank you two-wheeled sisters.

    1. Sue,Thank you for sharing your story and for showing us how to listen to the needs of our body and how to adjust for that in motorcycling. That’s great you have a two-wheeler AND a three-wheeler to pick from. All the best to you,

  51. I have been dealing with more overt symptoms of peri-menopause and now full on menopause since about 2015. During that time period I was taking a 130-hour course and there were lots of technical aspects, memorization and learning techniques, it was the hardest thing I have ever done. I found that I was having difficulty retaining information. At times during practical physical testing, which were also times of high emotion, the fatigue and hot flashes would hit with a vengeance. I also get the hormonal migraines and they are worse than the ones I am accustomed to and, like yourself, I need to get the migraine medication on board or it’s a long 12-hour day of yuckiness. I have found that Imitrex nasal spray is miraculous, particularly if you are feeling nauseous, it gets into your system faster. I learned how to ride in my late 40s and don’t ever regret it. It has given me so much pleasure and many adventures. I do find however now that owning a heavy bike isn’t optimal anymore, I find sometimes the sheer physicality of riding can be hard to deal with, so I have opted for a lighter lower center of gravity bike which is a little easier on the sore achy hip and knee joints. I don’t have the stamina I once did and I can honestly say 1,000 kilometer days are beyond my endurance, so I just make allowances for long distances and make sure I get rest. I am looking into natural ways of dealing with the symptoms. But honestly I have to say where some of my female friends are bemoaning the loss of their youth, I am reveling in this new stage. I am certainly not going to miss my menstrual cycle at all (which I had for 40 years). I kind of also feel like a “wise woman” and celebrate this stage, even with all the physical symptoms that come along with it. The insomnia, hot and cold bouts during the night is not much fun and I am either toasting or freezing my husband out of our bedroom at night. He sometimes doesn’t understand the fatigue and I find that it really hits hard about the time my cycle would have started. Brain fogginess – oh yeah – now if only I could remember where I put my bike key.

    1. Great comments Laura! Thank you for encapsulating even more of what menopausal women go through — and why we have reason to celebrate. I couldn’t have said it better. I remember the time when I realized I could actually throw away the box of left over tampons that had been in my bathroom cabinet for a few years after I my periods stopped, or the time I observed a woman in front of me in the grocery line buying a box and realizing I will NEVER have to do that again. Was surreal … for a moment. We are wiser — isn’t it called the “wisdom” of menopause. We can either lean into it and embrace the changes, or fight it kicking and screaming and let it take us down. Thank you for commenting about downsizing from a bigger bike. As one who works in the motorcycle industry full-time riding all sorts and sizes of motorcycles, admitting I need to downsize to a smaller bike for my own personal ride is a big thing. But again, menopause has taught me I have nothing to prove … anymore to anyone. See my further comments on this in my response to Anitra Chew’s post on April 25, 2016. All the best to you,

  52. First, thank you for bringing this to the forefront. It is an issue that we have no choice but to live with. It’s how we choose to live with it that matters the most. Second, I have been peri-menopausal since the birth of my twin girls at age 37. I just burned 55-who knew it would go on for this long! It has been a road of ups and downs, both physically and mentally. For me it has felt like my body was possessed by a demon. Statements would come out of my mouth I swear was not me. I would have brain farts and forget to put my foot down at a stop. Gravity is not our friend in so many ways. I commute for a large part of the year, March through Oct/Nov depending on ice. I have not worn heated gear for the last 10 years. All I have to do is amp up the anxiety a notch and I’m hot as Hades. I’m not complaining at all. What I am saying is we have to figure out, and accept what is going on during this “time.” I knew I needed help a couple of years ago when I could no longer communicate with my teenage daughters (3 each) and I was so stressed out I was striking out at my husband, who is the nicest person ever. I saw our family doctor. Luckily she promotes natural versus chemical and we were able to work out how to get the migraines under control, curb the weight gain and calm the nerves through herbs and vitamins. I still have moments where I feel fuzzy, like a new rider with no confidence. I just take deep cleansing breaths and remember why I ride. The other thing I have learned through all of this is if you get up in the morning and you feel a little off, it’s probably not a good idea to throw a leg over the seat. You have to be 100 percent in the ride.

    1. Anitra,Thanks for being so open with your symptoms. Oh … and great photo by the way! You look so comfortable on that motorcycle. I laughed at your words about being demon possessed. I so get that! I’ve heard from many women about this, and I explain it this way: We become like an audience watching ourselves fall deeper in the hole, and then the anxiety and angst we feel from watching ourselves being so awful, and then trying to stop it (and can’t) only fuels the anger and unrest more. It’s a vicious cycle. When I explained this to one woman who was coloring my hair once, she said, “That is it exactly!” Then she called her husband to come over to the salon right then and there so I could explain it to him because she said he was not understanding her explanation of why she gets so snarky and ornery. Regarding feeling fuzzy on the bike, and feeling like a new rider with no confidence, that is a great way to explain it. I have been riding for 26 years and the last few years I’ve felt more uneasy in the saddle of my big touring bike and have had to back off on speed (to now just going the speed limit that apparently is too slow for my riding buddies) and being a little more methodical and slow when doing anything with my bike. I’m actually considering downsizing to a smaller size bike so I can enjoy motorcycling more as I believe the big size of the touring bike is a contributor to this uneasy feeling. If I’m not feeling 120 percent that day, which for me is needed to handle the big touring motorcycle, I have to muster up extra mental and physical might to enjoy the day — and that is really no fun. The energy should flow naturally. Food for thought for those also considering downsizing. Thanks again Anitra. I love how your comment and others allow me to expand on all the facets of this diamond in our lives.

  53. Thank you for writing this. I started riding in my forties and loved every minute of it, but as I have gone through peri and menopause I wondered why everyone else seemed to have so much energy and was it only me feeling tired and sore and down? Anyway, the best way to keep going is to keep going!

    1. Rhonda,Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You are so right about keeping going, but the key is finding a new normal pace. I had to slow my Energizer-bunny pace because it was getting me physically ill more as my menopausal symptoms raged throughout my body. The biggest lesson for me was giving myself permission to move slower through life, say no to the things that didn’t bring me joy, and move away from people who were resisting the course correction on which I found myself. All the best to you,

  54. Learning to ride and buying each of us a bike at 54, my husband would say this is my midlife crisis. He is still joining me on this ride though. I’m on the tail end of menopause, my worries are endurance, fatigue and physical strength. I’ve started a training schedule of lifting weights and aerobics.

    1. Good for you Lisa for incorporating exercise into your life. By far it is the number one thing we can all do to alleviate these types of symptoms and fend of diseases. Find a pace that works for you though. Exercise, post-menopausal I’ve learned, is all about truly listening to the inner wisdom of your body, what it needs, when, and how much or how little.Thanks for sharing. All the best to you,

  55. Great read! I’ve been dealing with some of these symptoms for years for other reasons (joint pain, especially in the knees, migraines, sleeplessness, and my cycle has almost always been off). I recently turned 41, and started getting what I think are hot flashes, and sometimes feel too tired to safely ride. This article made me put it all together. Might be time to make a doctor appointment for some tests.Thank you for sharing your experience. I think this is a subject that we should be talking about more. “Women” things are too taboo, and it’s dumb.

    1. Jen,Thanks for your feedback. Our culture is funny, in that in some respects we can be so open about things like child abuse and sexual abuse, etc., (thank you Oprah) but women are still cautious to talk openly about their menopausal symptoms, at least in an environment like motorcycling where “strong” is the mantra all around. I’ve been very open about it to my friends and family for years. I believe just as we share about what motorcycles we ride and what customization we’ve done, we can certainly add in what health and wellness plans we’ve incorporated into our life and why. This can get the conversation started among female riding friends.As far as tests at a doctor’s office, it is nice to get definitive confirmation that you’re in peri-menopause to rule out any other issues—and a number of tests will do that—but my article, and websites about menopause can show you that vague symptoms like fatigue, join pain, and foggy brain that you think should be causal related (meaning you did something to bring them on), might actually just be your body going through initial hormonal fluctuations. Peri-menopause is sneaky because you’re just going along strong through your life, and the bam these weird physical issues start to present themselves. The worst part is the mental rewiring that hopefully you’ve not experienced yet. Many women talk about unexplained feelings of anger and mental unrest. I had this big time. I’ve always said that I became the worst version of myself in the thick of it. Thank goodness for meditation and acupuncture, along with prayer, that helped shift things around in my brain, but I was literally fighting physical changes in my brain to try and change my view on life during my body’s critical rewiring time. Thanks again for sharing all the best to you,

  56. I learned to ride at age 40 and have already been experiencing hot flashes and other symptoms. My husband (the reason I learned to ride) wonders why I sometimes I decline going for a ride because of being tired and such. I shared this article with him so that he can hopefully understand a bit better, but I do look forward to sharing this activity with him as our children are leaving the nest.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story Katryn. Men do need to be sympathetic to our cause. I would often put articles about the change on my husband’s desk to show that I wasn’t a crazy woman, that it was peri-menopause. He eventually got it, but there was a steep “learning curve” for him. Great picture by the way!

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