View Full Version : Sharing this sport with your children?

10-31-2009, 11:47 PM
Your thoughts on sharing this sport with your children?

I have had mixed thoughts on this. On the one hand, I am second generation motorcyclist. My father contracted THE ILLNESS in his early days as traffic officer for Portland Police Bureau (btw, his first bike was a airhead in the 1960s). Still have vivid memories of him mounting and kicking his HD PD bike in the garage headed to work. I, and my two brothers, followed suit; and my younger brother was also a motor-officer. However, I am older parent (47) with a 6 year old (only child); and both think of his (likely) future on motorbikes with joyful anticipation and FEAR. Anxiety to point, I have thought about hanging it up to prevent the spread of this obsession.

Have others struggled with this or am I just OCD?

11-01-2009, 12:25 AM
I am too a motor cop with the illiness, have two children, also 6 yoa. I would not give it up. There other things that could "hurt" your child. The leading cause of death is what we eat..............

So I would continue what your dad had started. Just teach the correct way of motorcycling. Just my opinion...........

11-02-2009, 03:57 PM
Your thoughts on sharing this sport with your children?

Have others struggled with this or am I just OCD?

OCD. Ride. Teach him to ride ... properly.

11-02-2009, 05:59 PM
I think my #1 job as a parent if to share my values with my child.
And that's what I'm doing. :)


11-02-2009, 07:49 PM
I'm looking forward to the day I can share riding with my son. He's only a year and a half, so I've got a few years to wait. But, I will. Right now I'm staring at a photo of the guy as the happiest purple and green dinosaur ever. I expect-hope he will have the same grin when he's old enough to ride with me.

11-02-2009, 08:30 PM
I answered this question a few years ago on another forum, here is my answer.

Having raised three boys and teaching them all to ride, and having a wife who rides, I have asked myself this question more than once. The boys were a good excuse for some dirt bikes, which turned into street riding for them. My oldest son had his motorcycle license as soon as he turned 16, and had it for 6 months before he got his car license. All three boyÔÇÖs got there motorcycle licenses at 16, and have been riding since, youngest is now 25, and knock on wood, there has been only one minor street incident from the oldest in his first year, caused by a tank-slapper.

Others said it and I agree, teach them well and never quit teaching them. I started the boyÔÇÖs road education long before they were old enough to get a license. When we would travel in a car, I would frequently point out potential situations and challenge them to do the same. In fact after a while, they would recognize and point out potential hazards before I would see them. This game is much more educational than looking for license plates from Alabama.

Now all my boyÔÇÖs and wife ride regularly, and for the last seven years all of our vacations have been either motorcycle or ski related, it is a bond that keep us together as a family. Even though they are adults now, we still enjoy track days, day trips, and we all did a Europe trip three years ago.

If he wants to ride street, it is better to let him start now while he is still young enough to learn from you. Do I worry, yes, but I have to trust their knowledge and skill. I never quit teaching them and reminding them of their mortality. Point out hazards and talk about accidents and fatalities that happen in your area, discuss ÔÇ£what ifÔÇØ scenarios. This hobby can be one of the best things you share.

Now I will add a P.S. to this, as our family suffered what most fear, we lost our oldest son to a motorcycle accident, or I believe the 16" wide tar strip running down the middle of the interstate, a month ago at the age of 29. Do I still stand by the above, yes I do.

The following is what I wrote after the fact, on a local board where he and I had many riding friends.

I have had a few PMÔÇÖs from people that are concerned for our family, so I thought I would check in. Again we thank everyone for their concerns, thoughts and prayers.
I truly believe that funerals should not be about the passing of the person, but a celebration of their life. So I was in charge of searching through the thousands of pictures, including the old slides, to make a digital slide show of his life, to show at the calling hours and services. We ended up with a couple of boards with snapshots attached, and three flat screens scrolling over 350 photos of his life.

It was hard at first, but as I began to find more and more pictures of his life, good memories flooded in to reinforced my belief that it is all about the life, not the passing. I truly believe Kevin lived a good one. As a family we traveled frequently taking annual and numerous other vacations. Kevin, his two brothers and the wife I spent a month traveling the Rockies in the ÔÇÿ94. We had traveled all over the east coast and Canada numerous times. As a family we skied and motorcycled, we even took the entire family to the Alps to ride in 2004 for two weeks. I reflected and realized that even though he was with us a short time, we squeezed out more than many would in several life times. No, we were not wealthy, but we were frugal and rather than spend money on the material goods, invested in the family. The wife and I both agree, particularly in retrospect, that this was one of the best decisions we made in our lives.

Those here know the dangers of riding, in fact a few times when others have expressed concern about letting other family members take up this sport, I was always an advocate. In spite of living through what people fear most, I still am. I will say it again, motorcycling was, and still is, one of the threads that bind the fabric of our family. I truly believe that in spite of the recent events, I still am ahead.

Kevin was the eldest, and as children inevitably do, set out to start his own life. Many times contact with the family diminishes greatly, as they forge their own life and pick their way through life, and although this was the case at times, we stayed close because of our shared affection for riding. Kevin had his motorcycle license before his car license, and always loved riding. In his adult life we took numerous day and weekend trips, did several track days together, shared the social aspect of riding with a bunch of people from the area, and of course took our last ÔÇ£Family VacationÔÇØ when we all went to Europe to ride in 2004. None of this would have happened without the shared interest in two wheels.

Bottom line is I would not change my decision to teach them to ride, enjoy life to the fullest, and cram as much living into life as you can, because you never know how long or short it will be. And it is an undeniable fact that no one gets out of life alive.

11-03-2009, 06:20 PM
although i can't imagine the ache that losing someone so young, and my heart reaches out to you and your family....

that the shared passion and love of riding enrichened your family's lives immensly. You are blessed to have them share your passion. There are many people who are not so lucky.

I chose to not live in a glass house and wait for my demise, but instead chose to sqeeze every ounce out of every day that i am given with my family and friends on this here spinning rock.


11-04-2009, 05:31 PM
I agree with you all. What makes it better - I marride a woman who rode before I met her. I / we started at 9 years old at the time - All quaility gear as well. We live in a City - So we started out in the counrty at first - out on counrty roads - slow speeds. We then moved to fatser speeds / vacations, bike meetings / breakfast, ect. Start out slow - JEFF

Gail & her daughter I met in Johnson City,TN - we talked on this issue & the mother / daughter (kid) bonding is important for any family.

Richard / pffog - I've known for a couple of years now- 2 to 3 group rides a year now with him (not on the track) Amazing rider - A kid who has not grown up ! He's told me some good stories and should teach rider safty classes or track riding. Again - we're sorry for your families lose.

We trust our kids & teach them right - it's others who do not ride I have problems with

11-05-2009, 05:42 AM
I have no difficulties imagining the pain of losing a child (got 4: 4-7-9-11), but still would do the same as you did, teach them well.

That's what I did, started last year with my oldest daughter when she told me:
''dad when you get bored with your motorbike (1150GS...very unlikely:nyah) and you're old (I'm 41!!), I want to have your bike!!'' , ''and when I turn 14 I wnat to have my own scooter...''

I answered :''Sure no problem, but you'll have to take a course and wear protective equipment'' and other conditions like day riding only at first, maybe a few rides with dad and so on.

But yeah I think kids should start young.

11-05-2009, 10:47 AM
Have others struggled with this or am I just OCD?



my son raced motocross for over 10 years and now races cross-country.

when he got his license, i let him ride my R100RS... after appropriate on-road training by a private instructor. (pretty funny.... he thought that since the bike was 1,000cc that he could whip his buddies riding japanese 600s....)

i couldn't believe the panic i felt as we rode together... i was always checking my rear view mirrors.

he subsequently decided that street riding just wasn't for him.

now, i can watch him fly triples, but the thought of him in traffic still scares me. i don't think it will ever be different.


11-05-2009, 08:14 PM
I have two kids, 6+4yrs. If your 6 yr old is like mine, he is already infected with the motobug. I gave in three years ago, and converted from two wheels to three. What a blast! And the kids love it!:kiss Took William to a rally when he was baby, but we have not been since. Summer 2010, I have two rallies planed.
So GoNoPo, here are my thought on sharing the sport with the family...to each his own, but it works for me!

<a href="http://s878.photobucket.com/albums/ab345/angysdad/?action=view&current=BMW1985.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i878.photobucket.com/albums/ab345/angysdad/BMW1985.jpg" border="0" alt="1985 BME/EML"></a>

11-05-2009, 09:15 PM
Here we are early this year (mom's taking the picture)


Then last May the 4 of us packed up for a few days in Maine


11-05-2009, 10:18 PM
Hey all; Both of my son's ride. The older, now 26 has a Ninja, while his "little" brother has a Suzuki 500. Both only got their bikes AFTER taking the MSF course, and both (and their very proud papa) have completed the ERC as well. I didn't realize how good they were until we took a family ride to the U.P together. It was all I could do to keep them in sight, as the two of them went off ahead, playing like a couple of... well... kids!! Lot's of scary moments for dear OLD dad, watching these two young men dragging foot pegs and dicing it out on M.22. Both the kids have had crashes and dad continues to pray for them daily. I couldn't imagine what it must be like to lose a child in this fashion, but I realize that it is possible, I hope that they outlive me,but you never know... My condolences to you and your family pffog. Vaya con Dios, Dutch

11-05-2009, 10:23 PM
My son Eric has logged a few thousand miles with me over the past three years, starting when he was 8. My 9 year old, Samantha just started riding with me this Summer for the first time. They both have been bitten big time, and I wouldn't have it any other way. What a great experience to share. By the time Brandi and Laci are ready, I might need a bike with TWO sidecars!


11-06-2009, 01:01 AM

11-07-2009, 10:45 PM
Five years ago I bought a Honda 650 dual sport with two ideas. Something to ride off-road (I had an 1150RT at the time) and a starter bike for my 17 yr old.

He took to it like a duck on water. His summer job is at the local BMW shop and he and I have taken trips to Colorado, China, Guatemala an places in between. It's a share passion that we both love.

This is us at about 14,000' on the Silk Road from China to Pakistan.


11-09-2009, 05:36 AM
Motorcycling was not part of the equation when I was young and so I started to ride in my mid 20's. Our kids were 9 and 10 when I got my first BMW and I got them gear and would take them out riding. My son came to the Missoula rally in '84 as a passenger when he was 14 and my daughter rode with me to local events. I got them mini bikes when they were 12/13 which they rode on our acreage with minimal injury but gained lots of great experience. They both took the road riding courses at the local college when they were old enough and both purchased bikes and rode.. he at 17 and her in her 20's. Both were proficient riders. I had the heart stopping experience of watching my son take his first "offroad" adventure. As he was a new rider I had him following me and we were riding well within limits. It had been a long day and it was heat, fatigue and a lack of concentration that took him off the road. I believed him when he told me he was not tired when I really should have stopped for the day. Luckily he only suffered a bruised ego, a few scrapes and scratches and his leather gear was scuffed. It made me wonder if I had made the right choice in letting him ride but he knew what errors were made and we both learned.

Neither "kid" currently ride or own bikes because of family needs.. both are married with young children and mortgages etc but both hope to own bikes and to ride again. My son has had me take his daughters aged 9 and 11 out for their first riding experience and hopes he can ride with them in the future. My daughters boy is just under 3 and spends as much time as he can around my shop and motorcycles. I'm sure he will get out when he is big enough.

It was difficult to let our kids get into motorcycling but both had the desire, followed by the appropriate training, good gear and they had shown good common sense in other activities we pursued as a family. It was wonderful to watch them mature as riders and it gave us another activity to pursue together. When I started them skiing I noted that they were watching everything I did on and off the slopes. This brought me to the conclusion that "do as I say and not what I do" was not a realistic expectation especially with with riding and driving. Motorcycling is a dangerous activity... however if you give your them the opportunity to learn properly, you demonstrate good skills/practices and you work with them as they learn their skills you reduce (not eliminate) the risk of serious injury. It's not for everyone but hopefully this gives a little insight and helps with your decision.

11-09-2009, 09:24 PM
Not having children, I can only read this thread with fascination. I applaud all of you for your conviction and dedication, both to your families and our sport.

Be Safe. Ride Well...

11-09-2009, 11:43 PM
You can either be an example to your kids of doing all the risky things you love to do responsibly, or you can be a boring twit of a dad, shelter them from everything mildy dangerous for as long as you can, and then they learn to do all those things from their friends when they're teenagers.

I'm teaching my kids not only responsible riding, but also how to paddle a canoe, woodsmanship and navigation, how to shoot and handle firearms safely, how to hunt, how to use hand and power tools...

They will end up making their own mistakes along the way, but my responsibility as a dad is to teach them as much as I can to enable them to become responsible adults. If I can instill some basic skills, understanding, and safety rules in them before they reach their teens and I become too stupid to listen to, then I figure I've given them a better chance of surviving those years where their friends become smarter than me and they learn more from their own mistakes than what I try to teach them.

Rocketmanli, impressive article from your son a couple months back. Well written for an 11 y.o. Good job, Eric!

11-10-2009, 03:53 PM
Thanks for the kudos on Eric's article. He actually entered that story in his local Middle School's essay contest, and won locally, but was beat out regionally by some other kid who entered some sort of artistic photograph. Just on a whim, I submitted his article to Mandy and Vince at ON, and to my friends, Brian and Shira from Backroads magazine. To our delight, they both published it. My son was grinning from ear to ear for months. Its easy for him to write about something he feels so passionate about. From our first rally when he was 8, he's been my best riding buddy for many thousands of miles since. He wears great quality safety gear, some of which was imported from BabyBiker.com in the UK. His jacket and pants rival my Olympia and TourMaster gear in quality (and in price!). But safety is primary. His riding with me has met with some unfortunate negative comments and publicity, from of all folks, other local BMW riders. But he's my kid, and if I'm safe, I know he'll always be safe. Eventually, he'll be riding solo, and I can only hope that some of the values for riding safe, cameradery and enjoying this beautiful country of ours, will stick with him when he's on his own. He already has great plans of turning 16, and hopping on a GS for an Alaska run; but that's still 4 years away. Boy, they sure grow up quickly! My younger girls (9, 7 and 5) have a great interest in bikes, and Samantha (9) just started crusing locally with me this Summer. She's still a little young (maturity-wise) to do the long trips with me, but she's getting there a little at a time. All in all, its great to share something this enjoyable and unique with my kids, and I only wish my dad and I did this when I was younger. Our relationship might be a lot different today, than it is.

11-18-2009, 08:57 PM
Just teach the correct way of motorcycling. Just my opinion...........

I think that's the most important point right there. I have a 2 year old and a 4 month old and already the elder loves saying "motorcycle!" Any anything that's scary in life - bikes, drugs, or even the birds and bees - it's best to learn it from us. Otherwise if you never address it or try to avoid it who knows what will happen.

Enjoy your kid no mater what you decide! :thumb

11-20-2009, 06:43 AM
My 8 year old granddaughter on her first ride. I pick her up from school, and the boys think it is Sweeeet she gets picked up on a bike. I make her sing "I don't want a pickle..." before I give her a ride.

11-20-2009, 10:03 AM
[QUOTE=rcryan;513991]Five years ago I bought a Honda 650 dual sport with two ideas. Something to ride off-road (I had an 1150RT at the time) and a starter bike for my 17 yr old.

He took to it like a duck on water. His summer job is at the local BMW shop and he and I have taken trips to Colorado, China, Guatemala an places in between. It's a share passion that we both love.

This is us at about 14,000' on the Silk Road from China to Pakistan.

11-21-2009, 09:18 PM
Thanks to all for your comments, particularly the comments from Richard / pffog.

Part of what I needed was to hear other parent bikers share their thoughts on this topic. The communal musing is comforting in a way and appreciated. I do see the value in my role as mentoring him through risk reduction (in all aspects of his life); versus the alternative, and fear based, recoiling from life.

peace and safe riding to all.


11-22-2009, 12:16 AM
Took my son to Max's Thanksgiving Party today - no other kids there - sad to say.
But did he get noticed by everyone - It me feel good. He even thanked Max personally - which I think got Max choked up as well. I even got a picture of my son with our new Cities R12RT-P bikes.
Thank you

11-22-2009, 02:05 PM
Doh how did I miss Turkey at Maxes? Glad you enjoyed it!