Start ’em young, or…
…the family that rides together…uh, rides together.
I think I was fourteen years old, my dad had just returned from a tour of duty in the Vietnam War. He was only going to be home for six months before heading back. He had a Honda 160 tucked away in the garage. After he settled in, he took the sheet off, put in a new battery and went riding.
A couple of weeks later, dad was washing the bike and asked if I would like to learn how to ride. I couldn’t say yes fast enough. After the basic..”here’s the clutch…here’s the brake…down for first…etc” I was ready???? Ok, I’m guessing that you are already getting a picture in your mind of what happens next…
Actually I did pretty good. Until…the clutch lever doesn’t work the front brake! Here’s the ‘Homer Moment’…DOH! right into the back bumper of my dad’s car. More damage to ego than motorcycle or car. I have been on two wheels ever since.
Fast forward a few years… I have been racing bikes out in the desert and lots of trail riding. My son Kelly was about 2 years old when I first put him on a motorcycle, he rode with me all around Kennedy Meadows, to the Speedway races in Costa Mesa and all around parts of New Mexico. But he never got the bug like I did. Sigh.
After Kelly graduated from High School I sent him off to Europe for a few months. He came back with great stories of course, but he also came back with a desire to ride motorcycles? Here’s how the story goes…On the Greek island of Corfu, he rented a scooter and rode everywhere for a few days. When he got home he told me that he never understood my love of motorcycles until then..now he wants to ride. Christmas day, while the turkey was cooking, we took out ‘The Mighty 350’ and rode all around our town. Kelly went on to roadracing, commuting and traveling around the country(9000 miles in 3 weeks) on two wheels. The seed was planted early on, it just took a really long time to sprout.
My good friend Erik is a hard core rider..roadracer, rally rider, traveler and commuter. He also has two little kids, Emma and Ethan. For Emma’s eighth birthday, Erik bought her a little Honda XR50. They live close to an off-road vehicle park so going riding is easy fun.
Here’s the catch though…she has to share the XR50 with her little brother once in a while. Anyway…Little Emma is totally hooked…the stories I hear from Erik are just great. She likes to brag that she’s ‘racing’ with the big kids!!??
Every time I talk to Erik, the conversation heads to how much fun he is having riding with his kids. I know the feeling, I’m sure a lot of us do. Emma is going to be the next ‘Star’ on The Motoworld Podcast”
I was still racing into my early fifties with my son, and my dad was still the ‘Crew Chief’ at the races. Dad and I traveled all over the Western U.S and Canada together. Lot’s of great memories, pictures and stories.
So, go riding with your kids and have two wheeled fun for years to come. Like I said,”the family that rides together has more fun than others…for a long time..”
Ride fast, ride safe and ride with your kids..
See you on the road,