Jump to content

Searching For Balance - Riding With Kids


Recommended Posts


I don't know if I've asked this before, but I want to poll this group and get your thoughts on the issue of riding with kids, as in riding when you have them (as opposed to riding with them).


In 2009 I wrote an article about it which was published in MCN - see http://www.mklsportster.com/Articles/mcnbalance.pdf Perhaps some of you MCN fans read it. If not, there it is if you're interested. It's a complicated topic, and as most of you are older than I am, you have more wisdom and experience in this area than I do. I want to hear from you, in as much detail as you can reveal, your thoughts and actions. Flip-flops and final decisions. Everything.


As I've mentioned a few times, my wife was my main riding partner. We went everywhere together after I spent the first 7 years of my riding career riding solo. Since that article was written we've had 2 kids, now almost 3 and 1. I also have a 10 year old from my first marriage. My wife's sold her bikes and as given up riding entirely until the kids are grown. She is firm on this, for herself. She doesn't give me much crap but is not encouraging, either. I can see her point very clearly - it has all the reason on its side and I have emotion on mine.


I'm curious how some of you dealt with the issue in the context of the last paragraph of my article:


"Every one of us must find a natural balance of how much risk we are comfortable assuming when suddenly there are other lives dependent on us, and I’m guessing my vacillations will continue until I find my own. The balance involves not just risk, but personal freedom and identity. Just how much does being a conscientious, responsible parent impact being an avid motorcyclist? Beyond the obvious constraints on free time, when one is truly addicted to the cathartic release that riding provides, sacrificing any more than absolutely necessary to achieve the balance can be potentially unhealthy. Riding is in our veins, as compulsory as eating, breathing, and sleeping. To eliminate it entirely is for some essential part of us to die. To continue as before is selfish and unfair to the growing family. Somewhere in between these two extremes lies the equilibrium we are endeavoring to discover. Where was yours?"


When baby #2 came I continued on, a little less than usual. When baby #3 came I'm down to about 50 miles a week. The war inside my head rages on....



Link to comment

When Gleno was killed a rider on this board sold his bike and put more money into his life insurance policy and chose his young daughters over riding.


Question, When you have children do you live for them or yourself? Not a question I will ever have to answer...

Your wife clearly made up her mind on the matter.



Link to comment

Shortly after my daughter was born in '88 I sold my Yamaha 750

and used the money to buy a riding lawn mower.


No riding at all for 15 years. When my son turned 10, I bought a dualsport bike for myself and a quad for my son. My son is developmentally disabled and riding the quad was about the best therapy we could provide for him, helped his coordination, motor skills and self esteem. Later I got him a dirt bike and soon he was clutching, shifting and schooling me on how to ride the gnarly



He's grown now and on his own. My old riding buddies have re- entered motorcycling too, both streetbikes and dualsports. I'm single now and I buy and sell bikes at will and ride all I want.

I don't miss the 15 years I gave up riding and coached soccer and did many other rewarding things instead.


Link to comment

My son rode with me thousands of miles in his younger years. I used riding as a reward for good grades. The better the grades the further from home we went. Once he grew into the teens it was not as cool as it once was so the miles decreased.

Safety was not as big an issue as it was for some due to us living in West Texas. We could ride for days and only see a few cars. When we did make it to larger places such as Dallas or Phoenix, I would worry a bit. I would say that he has well over 50k on the back of my bikes and we have many great memories from our trips. I don't know if it was bad parenting or just wanting to share the experience with him that drove me to let him ride.

Gleno's death hit me pretty hard and I probably have less than a few thousand miles since then. I am not scared, I just don't have the same feeling as I used to when I ride.

Knowing what I know now, I doubt I would ride with a child again. Maybe selfish, or maybe just a touch wiser.


Link to comment

Every situation is unique and there is no true right or wrong.


I have been riding bikes on and off since the age of 15.

It was never the priority in my life as it is/has been for some here, but certainly an enjoyable part of my life.

Didn't get onto a "real" bike (bigger then 250) until I met my wife who comes from a bike family.

She talked me into purchasing my first larger bike, a BMW K100RS. Being German born and her brother In Law had the same bike, there was no question that it had to be a BMW.

As we both were on lower wages and she did finally get pregnant, priorities shifted more due to financial pressure as we both worked at different times of the day and in different locations.

This meant that either of us had to look after the baby or at least take them to child care/ family etc.

So I selected to sell my bike for a car on the promise of her that I will get a bike again, once our kids are "old" enough.....famous last words LOL


Of course the 2nd and third child came along with rather large gaps in ages, i.e about 6 and 4 year gaps.

By that time we were close to 20 years since the last bike and I had all forgotten and lost any real urge for motorbikes.

But life has always a funny way of throwing a curb ball.


As my wife's sister now rides her own bike, including her friends (no pillion for them anymore), my wife decided to have another crack at getting her license. She got her Learners and as financial situation had changed years ago, I promised to get her a bike.

Well that was all fine, but she didn't want to ride by herself or just with her sister and friends, she wanted to mainly ride with me.

I told her that I wasn't really interested and that the only bike for me would ever be another BMW, which for the ones I would be interested in were around $20,000-K 2nd hand by the time you add riding gear insurance etc.


I said this in a half ass way as my wife is a true money pincher and thought this would be the end of the conversation for good and she would leave me in peace as I was doing something else at the time.

I couldn't believe it when she said "yes go ahead"and she had to say it twice as I thought I didn't hear her correctly the 1st time.


So I ended up with a 04 1150RT, farkeled it out and made it run like a Swiss watch and replaced it with another 05 1200RT less then 12 months later which brings us up to date, as far as time line goes.


In regards to the kids now:

My just turned 14 year old daughter was eager and determined to come along on my bike. So after borrowing a helmet/jacket etc, I took her along. Since this day she is bike mad and loves coming with me as pillion and mum in front on her own bike.

My 10 year old youngest son now is just as enthusiastic to come on the bike with me.

Both kids now have their own proper riding gear.


As the old and new bike are/were both RT versions, I always have/had both side panniers and top box on when they come with me, as these will really "snug" them in, making it next to impossible to fall off sideways or backwards.

The R1200RT with it's large 49L top box is particularly suited to keep pillions snuggled in.

With any of my kids on the back, I ride a lot more sedated and will take next to zero risk.

I take my daughter (when we ride in a group) to a more twisty famous road around here, to give her a bit more of a thrill but still ride controlled and quite sedate (which she is not aware of).


The only reason my 10 year old son (being the youngest) is allowed to come on my bike, is due to the R1200RT's brilliant protection for a passenger (as far as bikes go).

The side panniers prevent the passenger to be trapped under the bike should it ever slide and also makes it next to impossible for them to come off.

The large back top box keeps them cocooned on the back seat.


Not that long ago I had to take my daughter to school on her insistence using the bike, so that all her school friends could see her coming on a bike. She had me hang around there for 20 minutes just to makes sure that "everybody" saw her :grin:


Just this weekend my youngest son was on an overnight stay at a friends birthday party and he "insisted" that mum and dad come and pick him up on our bikes.


So for us it has become very much a family affair, to do something that the whole family enjoys.

Another 6 months and my wife will be on her black license (unrestricted), at which stage she is allowed to take a pillion. Then we can take both kids at the same time and might organize a longer overnight trip.

At the moment it's always a bit of a fight who's turn it is to comes with dad.

Link to comment

Not to hijack the thread, and I say this respectfully, but I'm not too aware of Gleno or the circumstances surrounding his passing. I assume he was on a bike but I don't know the details. Would it be OK to fill me in here?



Link to comment

I could not imagine not riding but my family always came first. There were some busy years with my sons in scouts, sports, etc where 1000 miles was a good year but it was amazing what an hour ride on a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon could do for my mental health.

As they got older I took my two boys camping with me on the bike. I was a great way to spend some individal time with each of them. I know it is a dangerous sport but not riding would have been worse. On another note, life insurance is cheap and I have always have had it and disability in case anything happened to me.

Link to comment

My Dad gave up riding not long after my older Sister was born. I don't know if it was a financial thing or a responsibility thing, but just a few years before my Sister was born, he had a really bad motorcycle accident that was 100% his fault. He was lucky to be alive, and I know that changed his outlook on life a little.


He ended up getting back into riding when I was around 8-9 years old or so when he bought his first Goldwing and never looked back. So I guess he took a 10-12 year break. Now, pretty much my whole family rides there own bikes. First me, then my Sister and Brother in-law, then even my Mom decided to start riding on her own. My Mom has kind of given it up, but she claims that is because my Sister took her bike and won't give it back. I'm not getting involved in that :)


I don't have any kids of my own yet, but I do have a 14yr old step daughter. I feel the responsibility of taking care of her due to raising her for the past 10 years, but I can't say it has ever effected my riding. I have backed off the amount of commuting I do on the bike for two reasons. Safety and wear & tear on the bike. After two years of commuting 600 miles a week rain or shine before the sun came up, I figured it was only a matter of time before I got tagged by a cage. I only ever had one real close call, and that was more road rage aimed in my direction, not a potential accident. I now have a beater car than gets almost the same MPG as my bike, runs on cheap gas, and the tires last a lot longer. So it was somewhat safety, and somewhat common sense that made me dial back my riding.


My wife has shown an interest many times in starting to ride herself. I am supportive, but I have not encouraged it or helped expidite her urges. If she really wants to ride, I want her to take the inititive of getting her permit and signing up for the safety course on her own.


I can't see myself ever 100% giving up riding, even for a couple of years. The 2-3 month gap I had between my RT and GS just about killed me. I may have to give up some of the long distance touring due to home requirements, but I am assuming I will always have a bike in the garage ready to go when I get a window. I'm interested to see if my outlook changes once my wife and I start having our own kids.

Link to comment

For the first eight years of marriage, our kids did everything with us. It really didn't matter what we were doing, our kids were there. When we would take the Jeep off-road into the best trails the east coast had, my youngest, would be strapped into her five point booster seat on the trail with us and her sister would be sitting right next to her. One time, we had a near roll-over, a near end over actually, where I stood the Jeep vertical on its nose, and not a whimper to be heard from the girls, the older laughed it off, the younger just enjoying the ride. I did crush my windshield frame though bouncing it the Jeep off of a tree.


To me, the kids have to be part of everything that you do and intermixed in the dangers. That way, they learn. When I met my wife, she had a daughter(which is now my oldest), four at the time and for Christmas, the fist present she got from me was a helmet. I'd put her on the back of my Nighthawk and ride her along the country roads.


We have never really curtailed our adventures because of the kids, the kids have actually added to it.

Link to comment
Bob Palin

My ex had kids and we rode with them all over the western US (her decision and with their father's agreement), I see no reason not to ride after having kids and no reason not to have them ride with you.

Link to comment

I have not changed my riding habits since having Amelia join our tribe.


I do expect that to change as she gets older because I will be taking her along. My mileage will then increase.


I do not view changing who I am and giving up my passions, hobbies, or other as a good example or selfish. I do feel a responsibility to do what a good parent should do by providing a good, strong, and responsible example of the habits, hobbies, and passions I have, the risks associated with them and the strategies used to manage those risks along with the benefits I gain from pursuing that endeavor. Then, she can use that information along with our resources to decide for herself whether or not to pursue it.


I haven't stopped crossing the street, driving my car, or fighting fires for a living so why would I stop riding a motorcycle?


If she chooses to take on motorcycling for herself, great. If she chooses to do something else like fly a fighter jet or solve the age old question of dino vs synthetic, great. I will support her passions, whatever they may be in a positive and productive fashion with an understanding of managing the risks involved with her chosen passion.


Jamie chose to get rid of her motorcycle along with take an approximate two year sabbatical from riding. She wanted to immerse herself in Amelia and based on what we went through to get her where she is, good on her for choosing the path for her that she did. In so doing, she has set an example and provided Amelia a positive role model. The "itch" is growing in her to start riding again and, guess what, 2 years is this October.

Link to comment

Beth stopped riding when kids came along except for infrequent outing.


She did not want both of us involved if a situation developed but encouraged my participation and ATGATT.


Eventually girls old enough to ride.

Did some limited day rides w/them in gear.


After proper documentation, wills, insurance etc and girls becoming older (teens) Beth began riding on daytrips, then weekends to the mountains, then longer rides and weekend camping.


Risk management is a personal choice, but chosing not to mitigate the risk by training/gear etc is short sighted IMO.


We've done 700 miles 2up in a day, not far but allowing plenty of opportunity to work together to make the ride memorable.


I'm basically off the bike going into homestretch of a long medical issue and hope to be in the saddle soon.

I wanted to sell my GT, see what came down the road wrt interest/health/etc.

She absolutely refused to go along with that and I'm glad it is there for the day I can roll it out again.


Kids are grown, haven't ridden in a while but they were exposed to it, and the concept of ATGATT, being responsible. If they go down that road eventually I feel they've had a decent example to follow.


That's really all one can do.

Link to comment

First, as anyone who knows me will attest, cowardice is one of my defining characteristics. There have been a couple of periods of time in my life when I've taken vacations from riding because a confluence of events cut into my time and enthusiasm for two-wheeled transport.


Coincidentally, our son, Alex, arrived on the scene during one of these vacations. When he was three, the itch to return to riding was strong enough that I bought another motorcycle. Alex's first rides with me occurred when he was five years old.


As any parent knows, one's love for his children is so great as to be indescribable. If there's any person for whom I would go to any length, enduring any pain or even death, it's my son. But, among life's imponderables is the moment and manner in which any one of us may be clobbered by the mighty hand of Fate, something that became evident to me over the years, as I happened to occasionally find myself at the point where I saw others die . . . and sometimes cheat death.


So, understanding that death or disability can come at any moment in almost any way imaginable, from a bee sting to a scaffold falling out of the sky, I pressed on with my riding. But, I did do what I could to try to minimize the risk. Looking back, now that Alex is 25, I'm content with my choices. I think that through my example I showed him that a degree of adventure, excitement and risk, when managed wisely, can contribute to a full life. I also hope that he learned that it's important to convey your love to those whom you care about every day of your life, knowing that there are unknowns that can alter everything in an instant.


It's all an attempt at achieving balance. Sometimes you get it right. Sometimes you don't. And sometimes, even if you get it right, you get clobbered.


Today, Alex starts Army Airborne School. :thumbsup: He called yesterday to check in.

Link to comment

If you can't leave 'em, let them join you. When My kids were the right age I sold my street bike and bought an XR200 for myself, an XR100 for my son and a PW80 for my daughter. Some of the best times of my life were spent herding my kids around dirt roads and trails throughout Oregon. Eventually they do grow up and out, and that's when I went back to a road bike. Now if I could just get mt wife to join me like she did before we were married...

Link to comment

It's a little messier for some people. Some of you are lucky enough to live in areas where you might not see another car for hours. I live in NJ, which is far and away the most densely packed state in the country. It's a different situation out here, and I would never take my kids pillion around these parts. The state is mostly ugly and always crowded, so there is really no reward for the tremendous risk involved.


I remember a riding friend of mine, who shall remain nameless. An older gentleman who still rides the R60/2 he bought in the 1960s, he explained that when he was a young father he made the choice to give up riding entirely. In his case, although he loved riding as we all do, his divorce a few years after his boys were born was a contentious one. If something were to happen to him, the boys would be entirely without his influence, or his family's for that matter. They would be cut off from anything that had to do with him.


So when they were old enough to learn what their father had sacrificed of himself, it influenced their decision to petition the court to live with him as the full custodial parent. And he started riding again.


So there's a lesson there too. A good deal has to fall into place to make this decision easy for the individual. Rural atmosphere and the presence of a loving and capable wife should something happen to you sure don't hurt!



Link to comment



I hear you and acknowledge the points you put out there. I don't agree with them but I hear them.


I live in the Sacramento area. Hardly rural though I do ride in the rural parts more often but the traffic density is not at issue for me.


Riding is about what it provides and gives. It provides an enjoyable experience that I like to share with myself and with others and do so as often as is possible. It gives me great pleasure and it also is a part of who I am. To "give that up" is to give up part of who I am and, IMO, sends the message that you should give up something you love for someone else. I don't want my daughter to grow up with the idea that to get a mate, a job, or 'fill in the blank' you need to give up something. That's giving up on yourself.


Whether single or married does not define your influence over your child. Setting an example of doing the right thing for the right reasons does. Dying tomorrow of a heart attack removes the same influence you speak of had this individual lost his life in some motorcycle accident. Heck, he could get hit crossing the street, fall down a well, etc. Life is not meant to be absent of risk. It's is meant to be lived with a balance and understanding of risk, it's cost, and strategies to manage it. If one's ability to manage risk is not possible in an endeavor then, yes, the endeavor becomes too risky. But to single out motorcycling only is just not reasonable, IMO.


Your first paragraph, to me sounds like nothing other than an excuse or a justification to not do something you purport to love. This may sound harsh and insensitive but I can assure you it is not meant to be anything negative. You and and I have never met other than through this board's electrons. I just don't agree with your reasoning or the example you give your children in this example.


Again, I will love you, hug you, buy you a drink tomorrow and we will be the best of friend's but on this topic and on the idea of giving up one's passion I see it as a negative all the way around and fail to see any benefit in giving up on yourself and giving that example to your children to live by.

Link to comment

Phil, your arguments are noted and I respect them. It's an individual thang, for sure. I'm looking forward to hearing more experiences.



Link to comment

I thought a better lesson would be to never give up on the things that you love and to include those that you love in with your adventures.


To completely dump a hobby, to me, is a loss, both to yourself and to those around you. There will always be a part of that person that desires to go back to that hobby and may, in an underlying way, hold some sort of resentment against the objects that took the hobby away.


As I've said, we include our kids in the things that we do, in all the things that we do. Nothing spells learning like experience, even at a young age, the experience can sink in.

Link to comment

My shift away from motorcycling was almost painless. A couple of years after my son was born, I started driving a company car for work and working on my first house, a fixer upper. So, most weekends I drove a pickup truck to Home Depot and learned plumbing, home wiring, etc. Also, I had a second job as a student sucking up my G.I. Bill money. When I did get away, I felt guilty about using time I should spend with my wife. Seldom did I have time to even think about a ride. As my son got older, Cub Scouts, school activities took up a greater part of my free time. My interests changed also; I took up woodworking, sailing, and backpacking which we could enjoy together to some extent. The bike sat in my basement, only ridden once a year to get a new battery and an inspection for the last couple of years I had it. Also, my wife had started nagging me about it being in the way and not being used.


So I sold it without really missing it except on that one week every Spring when the weather is perfect, trees are in bloom, and the Blue Ridge was calling. Fast forward to my son getting too big to enjoy being around his uncool, stupid father, work pressure building and needing a relief valve, the sailboat capsizing, and my knee not coming back 100% after surgery. I started daydreaming about all the good times I'd had on the bike and remembering what a badass independent rebel I'd been. Of course it was in the Spring and I was watching others with envy as they rode past my family sedan on their way to adventure. Maybe it was just a late midlife crisis and I should have found a forty year old airhead blond for an affair, but I figured I'd have fewer problems with a motorcycle. And I could probably ride it more often for less money.


So by Christmas that year, I'd stirred myself up into a buying frenzy and bought my dream bike as part of my retirement plan. I didn't really miss having a bike for those 17 years, but now that I'm back, I'm enjoying riding more than ever. It's nice to have the privacy and spend a day or two just talking to myself.


The point of all this is that if you give up riding, you probably won't miss it. Other things will fill the void. But one day it may hit you again and, if it does, don't fight it. Just go with the flow and enjoy it all over again.







Link to comment

Speaking for myself, I had not planned to give up riding entirely. That's not possible! Not for me. But 200 miles a month, when I used to do 2,500 a month, has me topsy-turvy. I'm still searching for that balance....



Link to comment

"It's a little messier for some people. Some of you are lucky enough to live in areas where you might not see another car for hours. I live in NJ, which is far and away the most densely packed state in the country. It's a different situation out here, and I would never take my kids pillion around these parts. The state is mostly ugly and always crowded, so there is really no reward for the tremendous risk involved"




I agree with Phil, a bit fishy IMO.


Make a choice based on what you, you and your wife want to do and later include the kids.

But don't blame it on your neighbors.


And don't say that because someone doesn't live there they

have it easier.

Each situation has pros and cons.

There are many causes for motorcycle incidents, and most recent data shows a spike in accidents in rural areas.

Link to comment

Moshe, I have an eight and a twelve year old. When the first was born, available time took many of my hobbies/past times away. At that time, I wasn't riding 2,500 a month. Instead, I was riding locally, riding an ATV, riding a dirtbike, shooting rifle competitions, brewing beer, woodworking, skiing, camping and working on my house (just to list a few). Now I commute on my bike with a ride to the hills maybe three times a season. 2-5Kmi per season.


My wife doesn't ride and wouldn't mind me loosing the bike. My other hobbies are almost completely gone (except working on the house). But as my kids are getting older, I'm considering bringing them back to life. Time is still not abundant, but I want to teach my kids to ride, shoot and use their hands and work. I have a strong desire to ride my bike cross country, it will likely have to wait. Maybe my son or daughter will ride with me some day. :grin:


Having a family changes life. For better and worse. Be positive and view family life with things you too will enjoy. Make it happen.


For me, without a wife with the same vision, it is hard. But I have found that simply doing it by myself plants the sead. Both my kids like a ride once in a while and we go for short (<10 mile) rides. But my son has really shown interest. So, he gets more rides. My daughter has taken interests in other things where we can spend quality time together. So, that's how its been going. So far, so good. :thumbsup:

Link to comment

I'm almost over the guilt feelings of "should I really be doing this when I have five kids?" I'm not over the guilt feelings of "should I really have my kids on the back of my motorcycle?" I very much dislike having them on the bike and the gravity of the what-ifs. My oldest son now rides his own bike and I sometimes find myself feeling guilty that I introduced him to riding and wonder how I could emotionally handle the ramifications if he were to suffer a serious accident.


When Larry Grodsky was killed on his bike I really felt as if none of us were safe. Larry Grodsky, Christian Neuhauser, Gleno...guys who rode better than I do and yet still got bit. Sometimes I resolve within myself that its fate and sometimes I wonder if that's just an excuse to fool myself into thinking I'm not really hurting anyone by riding.


Moshe I'm with you on the rage within my head. It is an almost constant struggle with me.

Link to comment
"It's a little messier for some people. Some of you are lucky enough to live in areas where you might not see another car for hours. I live in NJ, which is far and away the most densely packed state in the country. It's a different situation out here, and I would never take my kids pillion around these parts. The state is mostly ugly and always crowded, so there is really no reward for the tremendous risk involved"




I agree with Phil, a bit fishy IMO.


No, not really. What we used to do, when we rode together, was to ride anywhere but NJ. We don't like riding here too much. It's crowded, and it's not pretty for the most part - all the risk, none of the reward. Our day trips or weekends away were spent in NY, PA, and other surrounding states which have more to offer the motorcyclist.


At this stage with two babies I'm not taking an entire day or weekend away. The rides are short - for us, neither one of us would consider riding our kids pillion around here. That hasn't changed since we had kids - we don't like riding around here ourselves. It's a necessary evil to ride here in order to LEAVE here. That's how we feel.



Link to comment
There are many causes for motorcycle incidents, and most recent data shows a spike in accidents in rural areas.


Quite possible. You tend to ride further and faster on rural roads. Stop and start traffic tends to have more fender benders, but fewer deaths.


I too ride in a very busy, traffic area. But there are short rides that always bring a smile to my face. One road is on my way to work.

It is short relative to my commute, redundant and lengthens the ride, but fun. Early morning (crack of dawn) rides is another way to drastically improve conjested roadways and improve the quality of riding in areas as this.


As you may have noticed, I have not mentioned the risks. I have upgraded my gear to a high vis roadcrafter. Before that I rode with a FG black leather and jeans. With this and the lesser miles riden, my risks have lowered greatly from that in my younger years.


I'm not sure any of this is helping, but this is how I have dealt with a crampt for time, father role lifestyle.

Link to comment
Dave McReynolds

I'm in a different stage of my life, and have voluntarily given up some of the things I loved most. Ten years ago, my main interests outside of family and work were rock-climbing, mountaineering, and motorcycling. I could conceivably still be doing all three of them; instead, I'm not doing any of them anymore. I simply did a self-assessment, and decided that given the changes in my body and slowing of my reflexes, I was becomming an accident waiting to happen. So rock-climbing and mountaineering morphed into backpacking, fishing, and archery, and motorcycling morphed into a Heb electric bicycle (and vicariously hanging around this board, I guess).


I'm content with the changes. Not that I wouldn't like to shave 10 years off my body and climb more mountains and ride more motorcycles, but since that isn't likely to happen, I'm happy to be able to do what I can, albeit slowly. While your reasons for cutting back on motorcycling are different from mine, once you decide to do it for whatever good reasons you might have, you can find other activities to fill the void, if you look.

Link to comment

Dave, if there were 48 hours in a day, I could fill them with activities I am passionate about. There is so much I want to do (sadly, none of it involves career or anything productive, and ALL of it costs money!) but I'm not worried about that.


Motorcycling to me is in my blood. I will never give it up completely unless I am dead or physically incapable of riding. Nothing makes me feel more alive than riding does. It's more than just a hobby. I hope when I'm older I have half the energy of older guys I see still riding. Look at Paul Mihalka - I've not had the pleasure of riding with him, but I have been coached by Jim Ford, who mentioned Paul as an inspiration. When a master rider like Ford looks up to someone, that, to me, speaks volumes. I can only imagine how good Paul must be to have Jim Ford praising him like that, and I don't think Paul is a young man anymore.


This for me isn't about riding with kids on my bike, or about giving up riding entirely. It's about finding that balance. It's a very hard thing to do.



Link to comment

Moshe, I guess it's hard avoiding all those gardens in New Jersey. It sounds like you need to buy a trailer and start having camping weekends where you can sneak in a bike ride after finishing your camp chores. Kids love camping (or anything else that involves big fires and smores).






Link to comment

That IS an idea we've been kicking around. Perhaps a hybrid Winnebago is in the works! :rofl:



Link to comment
I'm in a different stage of my life, and have voluntarily given up some of the things I loved most. Ten years ago, my main interests outside of family and work were rock-climbing, mountaineering, and motorcycling. I could conceivably still be doing all three of them; instead, I'm not doing any of them anymore. I simply did a self-assessment, and decided that given the changes in my body and slowing of my reflexes, I was becomming an accident waiting to happen. So rock-climbing and mountaineering morphed into backpacking, fishing, and archery, and motorcycling morphed into a Heb electric bicycle (and vicariously hanging around this board, I guess).


I'm content with the changes. Not that I wouldn't like to shave 10 years off my body and climb more mountains and ride more motorcycles, but since that isn't likely to happen, I'm happy to be able to do what I can, albeit slowly. While your reasons for cutting back on motorcycling are different from mine, once you decide to do it for whatever good reasons you might have, you can find other activities to fill the void, if you look.




That right there sounds dangerous to me...

it does have a pointy thingy on the end, right??


Just keep it pointing in the correct direction.


Link to comment
Skip the Winnebago......go for a toy hauler and buy them all electric dirt bikes :grin:


:thumbsup: +1


There are bike schools in our area offering e-bike courses for families w/ adjacent camping. It's a growing family activity - that begs someone to write about. ;)


Moshe, ride your own ride. I appreciate Phil's reply but it's from his vantage point and his comfort level. I live in a rural area (a county that rivals the size of some states with a population of <15,000) and when I ride, my direction typically takes me even more rural - that's my comfort zone.


The comment (I think Tim's) about higher accident rates in rural areas my have more to do with urban riders riding into that rural area than it does with 'locals'. I know that is the case in our area. On a typical summer weekend there is at least one accident reported in our local paper and typically it's a rider from the Toronto GTA many of who, believe it or not, really don't know how to negotiate a curve. They can ride fast but their experience is doing so on a straight line. We've grown up in these curves.


The reciprocal situation might be me trying to negotiate traffic in the city dealing with pedestrian on demand cross walks, bicycles, doors opening from parked cars, cobble stoned streets (especially wet ones), street car tacks and not to mention aggressive drivers. I identify with your concerns riding in NJ.


The worrying about your family is a no-win situation. When my kids were growing up my son rode snowmobiles on public trails from time he was 12 (the legal age here after passing a course). You bet I worried. My daughter, who has become a world student / traveller has presented another whole set of worries and yet when she was home for a visit ie. back in my comfort zone, she was involved in a car accident on her own terra firma. You can't win for losing sometimes when it comes to worrying.


I like Keith's solution of trailering to your (in the plural sense of your family) comfort zone.



Link to comment

Besides motorcycling my other big passion in life was soccer. I started playing when I was in fourth grade, small town in southern Oregon. We had to go 80 miles over the mountains to play another team.


As it worked out my daughter shared that passion, my son not so much but he was crazy about quads and motorcycles. So it worked out.


My two old riding buddies from college days, we gave up motorcycles after we got married and had kids but as the kids got older all three of re entered the sport and we all got sport touring bikes and were having alot of fun reliving the glory days.


I continued playing adult soccer but there was a point in my late forties where I had to give up playing, my knees and ankles just would not take it anymore. I filled the void with riding.


One of my buddies and I were returning from a great weekend at a rally in eastern Oregon. I was about 150 feet behind him when a deer jumped out. He had a bad get-off, flew through the air, slid on the pavement, bounced down an embankment, tumbled and narowly missed hitting a metal signpost. His life flashed before both of our eyes and I still have a nightmarish little video clip that plays in my head. Fortunately he just suffered a broken rib and a totaled RT. For a couple weeks afterward we both figured we would give up street riding. I would walk in my garage and see all my gear and the bikes and mourn the fact that I already had given up soccer. I resolved that no way in hell would I give up riding, not yet anyhow. My friend came to the same conclusion. He got a vanity plate for his new RT "DOE TAG".

Link to comment

Yep, I think Phil has really nailed it here. The concessions I have made to riding since my son was born have been more schedule related.


I used to get up early (yes, sometimes Bernie...) and ride a half tank returning home before my the rest of the family woke up. I made my travel plans a little shorter and a little less frequent but I did not quit going on bike trips. Where possible, I made my family part of that travel. Look into the ride tales from the BRRs and UN Rally 10, My son and now ex are there as part of the festivities. Making time to take my son riding while in these places helped make them special to him.


To strike balance, look for ways that you can be as responsive to your family as possible, and then look for ways that you indulge your passion without impacting them, like my morning rides. Up your insurance to the point that they will be provided for if you wad up your bike on a back road. Find ways to involve all of the family, taking turns with the girls as they are old enough, keeping your wife around the bike if she chooses to. Best recommendation I have for you would be to avoid this being seen as a way to separate yourself from them, but instead of a way to replenish yourself FOR them....

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...