Family Riding

A wolf pack of one. . . acceptable. A nameless face amongst others tearing down the pavement on two wheels . . . acceptable. But having a support vehicle containing  two kids, a recyclable grocery bag full of snacks and two kids? Well . . . that starts to get a little too Wild Hogs.

Many guys give up riding when they get married due to spousal pressure. I was one of the lucky ones. When my first wife, as I affectionately call my one and only wife Beth, and I were married there were implied vows. She didn’t want me to cut my hair and I never intended on stopping my life-long love affair with motorcycles.

In the beginning before kids I would still disappear for days at a time with little guilt. But as time went on and kids entered the picture things began to change. Thankfully, for me there was no family pressure. But finding the time to do things as a family, the demands of work and seeing my motorcycles banished to the garage were taking a toll on me.

Beth and I rarely rode two-up so she wasn’t feeling left out when I did ride. She even took a riders course and eventually got her motorcycle license and a Honda Shadow. However, when kids came along she chose to temporarily give it up. I can say from personal experience that balancing two little girls can be just as tough as balancing 600 pounds of steel between your legs. As for childbirth I refer you to any mother out there. That is one territory that this male is smart enough not to ride into.

My need to continue riding, my terminal disdain for “someday” and my love of family time inspired me to create our family biker gang. We don’t have patches or cool jackets but we do have a shared sense of adventure. So several years ago the idea of the “family car” support vehicle was born. Our families would follow close or far behind depending on the route. Sometimes those of us on two wheels would peel off and take the long way through some dirt roads and meet them all later. Following my motto of, “if you can get there in an hour, why not take 3?”

In the beginning it can be tough. I mindlessly assumed Beth would enjoy endless loops of Mary Poppins on the kids DVD players as she drove for hours on end. Additionally, it was giving her time to learn more than the first part of the chorus of “On the Road Again.” For the record, I did buy the kids headphones when their little heads were big enough to support them. Additionally, I supplied Beth with rare import only copies of various STING recordings . . . thank you Internet!

Living in one of the most beautiful places in the world, Colorado also means lots of visitors. Riding frees up room in the car. Riding means we don’t need to rent an additional car. Some previous rides have included Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta, Estes Park’s Scottish Festival and some amazing trip through Southern Colorado. Each ride was unique. What was similar was how we balanced riding time and family time.

Sometimes it means getting up early and getting out before everyone else. Sometimes it means rolling in to a restaurant just before being seated for dinner. Sometimes it means spouses are taking the brunt of taking care of the children. Ok, let’s be honest they are taking on more of it; but we are all together. I only see two other options; sitting at home crying in my coffee or heading out by myself leaving my family at home. These are simply not options for me.

Lest, I get hate mail from the legions of amazing lady bikers out there this works for you as well; although perhaps Tom Petty over Sting would be preferred. I’m just saying. If you have a bike that you are both comfortable riding you can switch back and forth. Lastly, you can tow each others bike and take turns getting outside of the cage. Family Riding really works for everyone. Additionally, a trailer helps if something goes wrong.

This happened to us a few years ago when we were returning from a trip to Taos and Sand Dunes National Park. Hitting a nail at 80 miles an hour shredded the rear tire of my VTX 1800. Had it not been for our trailer, I would have been in for a long wait and an expensive tow out of one of my favorite places . . . “the middle of nowhere.”

Recently we all enjoyed a 4th of July trip to Fairplay and Breckenridge, Colorado. Leading a caravan of “soccer mom” like SUV’s over Boreas pass may not “feel” cool. But in the end we were doing it, while others sat at home dreaming about doing it “someday.” Occasionally, we would even ride ahead, briefly securing our cool factor before the family caught up and the kids yelled out the window, “Hi Daddy!” Reducing our cool factor from early Travolta to “look who’s talking” Travolta.

But for every one-man wolf pack we passed that might be might be snickering in their helmet . . . I know there were scores of other guys trapped inside the aforementioned SUV wishing they were us. They don’t know, as they see us riding by and waving back to the kids in cars that we are really their dads and not some reincarnation of Dennis Hopper.

I still love to ride alone. I find that getting up very early on a weekend I can put in a good 6 hour day and still be home by lunch. It’s not always ideal, but my family is very important to me. Motorcycles are very important to me. I want to have my cake and ride it too! I encourage you to do the same. Someday might as well be today.

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Balloon Fiesta Slide Show
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Estes Park/Scottish Fest Slide Show
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Southern Colorado Slide Show
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Boreas Pass, Breckenridge and Fairplay
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Sand Dunes and Taos
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Locations referenced in this story

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Comments 3

  1. We are riding as a family as weel. My wife and son ad meriding and three daughters as passenger. It is fun to have the same interest. we ride on the road both our own XJR1300 and oof road we ride both our own XT600

    1. Post
      Author

      Peet and Janny – thanks for the comment. I have been enjoying your site for a couple of weeks. Looks like an amazing time!

      Please consider joining the free Adventure Hermit Community Site and telling people about your great website and amazing family adventures. http://community.adventurehermit.com

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