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Old 09-15-2014, 09:57 AM   #1
Eddy Alvarez OP
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Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Chester,VA. Growing on me or getting used to it?
Oddometer: 2,089
Riding with kids

Without giving it much thought yesterday, I asked my 8 year old son Gabriel, "Hey buddy, would you like to go for a motorcycle ride with me?" He has been riding dirtbikes for three years now and he has a KTM 50 that he rides really well. It was my intention to simply ride around the neighborhood to give him the thrill of his first ride on a streetbike while my wife was away at church with our daughter. I took my little BMW F650ST as it is the most docile bike that I own and it has a topbox with a backrest pad to give him support and me the comfort of knowing that he isn't going off the rear end of the bike. Outfitted head to toe with his MX gear on, we left the house and were headed off on our ride.
At the front of the neighborhood, I stopped to ask him, "do you like it?", "do you want to go further?", "are you warm enough?", "can I go a little faster?", all to which he responded "yes". Again, without giving it much thought, I left the entrance to our neighborhood and headed out towards the country roads near our home. Within a couple of miles, we were out on a beautiful, two lane road with gentle turns cruising along in the warm breeze. We passed a couple of small farms, we saw horses in the pastures, deer in the fields and traffic was very light. I was having a great time. I recalled the adventures of another semi-local ADV rider that just returned from a month long trip with his son to Alaska and I thought, how great that would be. It would be something neither of us would ever forget.
Then a few cars passed us going in the opposite direction, followed by a big farm truck and then a young couple on a loud sportbike did a fly-by in the left lane and passed us going at least 80 mph, which startled me a bit. I began to feel a little less nirvana and a more anxious about the dangers of the cars and bikes whizzing by in the other lane and following behind me.
Fortunately, the ride was incident free and less than an hour later we were home safe and he gave me a big smile, a hug and a high five. It was obvious that he liked it and he said that he wants to do it again. The problem is that I began to wonder if I did the right thing. If anything had happened to him, the crushing weight of guilt on me would have been unbearable, not to mention the wrath of the wife, grand parents and friends. I can already hear them wondering "how in the hell could a healthcare provider with so much ER and ortho experience have done such a stupid thing!?" I consider myself a very safe, experienced and professionally trained rider with over 150,000 miles of accident free riding over the last 30 years. I wear the best gear money can buy and I will outfit them with proper street gear as well. In my heart, I want to take one of them out riding again tonight! Heck, I don't have to do Alaska for a month, I'd love to take them on a overnight trip to camp in the mountains next to a river, make a fire and talk about the days ride over some s'mores and spooky ghost stories!

To the dad, and moms, who ride with their kids or grandkids. How did you deal with the stress of riding with your children or grandkids? Does it get easier? Did any of you find yourself in the same place that I am currently in?

Me and my boy at the MX track: Oddly, speeding along and launching his bike through the air on the track doesn't bother me at zipping by and following behind us on the street make me nervous!

Me: BMW F800GS, BMW F650ST, KTM 525EXC. Gabriel: KTM 50. Elena: Honda CRF70. Lynn: Official Gatorade and snack girl!

Eddy Alvarez screwed with this post 09-15-2014 at 11:25 AM
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:26 PM   #2
B.E. Coyote
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Joined: Jul 2004
Location: Virginia Beach, Va. / Sugar Grove W.V.
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If you weren't asking yourself those questions about riding with your kid I would be worried.

Brian started riding with me on short trips when he was about 6. He liked it and wanted to continue. It grew from there.

I had all the same concerns as you and I still don't take it lightly at all. It is no doubt more dangerous than riding in a car, or playing video games or baseball. I have family members that don't like it and even here on ADV someone called me an irresponsible parent because I also pull a small trailer.

The thing is that the boy is a different person because of these trips and the relationship between us is so different because of these trips. He is 11 years old and and believes he can do anything with his life that he wants to. Go any where, do anything.

I have in my life a few examples of people who take 0 risks and do nothing but play video games. I firmly believe that an xbox is more dangerous to a kids' quality of life than a motorcycle but you have to think this out on your own. Your son can't comprehend the actual risk.

If you do continue to ride with him I would probably go with a bigger bike, some driving lights left on 24/7 and an auxillary LED brake light that will really wake up cagers.

This thread tells a little bit more about Brian.

I started this thread with kind of the same intent as your thread. There are some links to other father with younger son ride reports.
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:45 PM   #3
Rerutnevda ylranG
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Joined: May 2009
Location: Shenandoah Valley VA
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I'm in a very similar situation. I've taken my oldest son (8) up and down the neighborhood and finally this spring, I took out to the Scout fun day on the back of the Tiger. He was holding on so tight, he couldn't even turn his head to look around.

Next ride, I showed him a couple other things, got the chatterboxes hooked up so we could talk and he was able to sit back and take things in. Since I don't have all the proper gear for him, we haven't done too much exploring yet. I'm still a bit hesitant for the same reasons you are.

So the thing with me is that I absolutely don't trust anyone else to be aware to watch out for me on my little motorbike. Flashy lights, loud exhaust, etc is almost false sense of security that I don't like to depend on. It's not going to hurt anything, but I definitely don't stake my life on it.

My heads on a swivel all the time, especially when I've got someone on the back.

All that aside, big smiles and high fives are pretty cool

There is no kill switch on Awesome-Dilbert

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Old 09-15-2014, 12:56 PM   #4
B.E. Coyote
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Joined: Jul 2004
Location: Virginia Beach, Va. / Sugar Grove W.V.
Oddometer: 5,236
Being as conspicuous as possible is a great plan but doesn't mean you can let your guard down.

Running my super bright LEDs up front decreases the chances of a left turning cage "not seeing me" and I can't imagine the rear tail light I use not getting the attention of someone behind me if I have to come to quick stop. Those two situations are the ones that make me the most nervous as there might be little you can do about them.

That being said, Brian probably has 25,000 miles on the bike with me between our 3 big trips and weekends in WV. I can't recall any close calls.
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Old 09-15-2014, 01:00 PM   #5
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Very good comments have already been posted. Started riding with my son a few years back when he was 6. Very short rides first, longer ones later. Now, he is 10 now, he has developed a natural movement on the bike and is a joy to ride with. We communicate over the Scala g4 which is an absolute need, to have good comms, since the only danger I encountered was the threat he would doze off and fall asleep. Which never happened, because I pay good attention. When I think he starts to doze away I always have him start singing. Works very well. It keeps him awake, and I have instant control over it. I use a belt with 2 handgrips on my back so he has handles to grip on. Also he has a full outfit. He always takes care of 'the waving' while on the road, and the first thing I taught him was, to never ever be in a hurry when with the bike. So he takes his time and checkes his equipment well before he gets up.
Yes, there are risks. And you don't have a 100 percent control. But then again, that is life and good preparation gives a very acceptable risk. When your son drives to school on his bycicle he might run a higher risk.
I was visiting my young friend last night when I asked if I could borrow a newspaper. “This is the 21st century, old man,” he said. “We don’t waste money on newspapers. Here, you can borrow my iPad.” I can tell you, that fly never knew what hit it...
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Old 09-15-2014, 01:51 PM   #6
I'm better now.
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Joined: May 2007
Location: Central Virginia
Oddometer: 1,745
Yeah tell me about it. My father told me about his worries when he started most of his kids (4) on motorcycles. Whether they are riding on the bike with you or not, it's all scary. I started my boy on the John Deere.

Then the Triumph on the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Seemed safer.

Then he started riding on his own. This summer in Taylor Park he crashed with a pinch flat.

Got a rod and screws. He's working on his DRZ right now. Just got off the cane and he wants to ride again.


We want to ride across Canada next summer, then I'll turn him loose for college. I feel your pain Eddie, I do. Please Lord save our kids from motorcycles. Failing that, please don't let them get hurt too bad. Amen

Hope that this isn't a hijack. It's all the same issue, our children might get hurt on a bike.
I ain't a going without my hog, my gun, my whisky and my Bible.

Greenflyfarmer screwed with this post 09-15-2014 at 02:01 PM
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Old 09-15-2014, 02:00 PM   #7
chuck smith
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Location: Glen Allen Va (N. Richmond)
Oddometer: 901

My daughter started riding with me when she was ten. At 23 she still rides with her dad. She rode on the back of my GS to Alhambra and Scat Rd last month. It's something we do to spend time together ... Priceless.

I took her skydiving when she was 15. I gave her a kiss in freefall going 122 mph. Priceless.

When I owned my own airplanes she spent every minute standing on the front seat trying to touch a cloud. Priceless.

Take advantage of every moment you can have with them. They grow up fast.
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Old 09-15-2014, 02:16 PM   #8
Sic Semper Tyrannis
Joined: Aug 2009
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Just wait until you see them in the mirror as you take him out on the street with a learners permit one day.....

My dad takes my kids flying.

I used to take them riding when they were smaller.

They all ride dirtbikes now.

The oldest got his street license but the bug has not bit him....yet. I am ok with that. I think back to the crap I did at 21 and survived.

Live life, manage risks....have fun!

81 XT/TT 500 83 BMW R80S (RT with S bits)
00 ZRX 1100 XR 100 XR 20
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Old 09-15-2014, 05:58 PM   #9
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Location: Yorktown, Va
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When my kids were much younger, I used to let them ride with me, not an epic trip, but we were together on the bike. I loved it and they did too!
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Old 09-15-2014, 07:46 PM   #10
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Location: Lexington va
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My dad used to ride me to elementary school on the back of his bike with no helmet, I was instantly one of the cool kids. Raised my kids the same way kinda like farm kids they came to respect and understand risk but not fear it. You got him started on dirt bikes just wait until he is jumping doubles it's going to scare the crap out of you and make you smile at the same time. I think I said it before but thats one lucky kid. AB:-)
Just joined for the sticker.
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Old Yesterday, 05:51 AM   #11
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Location: South/central Va
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Used to ride my kids on the street bikes a fair amount when they were smaller. This 10 years ago when they were 8-12 yrs old. I was less of a worry wart then so no it didn't really bother me but I think it would now. Also had several small trailbikes during those years. We enjoyed it then but by the time their mid-teens rolled around they just weren't that into it and drifted off into other interests.

Honestly - glad they never really got into motorcycles. I was nervous watching them start driving off in cars, can't imagine if they had made the jump to street bikes. Knowing what I do, just can't encourage anyone to get into street bikes. If you don't have that bug - good for you.
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Old Today, 07:04 AM   #12
Studly Adventurer
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I have to agree.

Originally Posted by ddlewis View Post
If you don't have that bug - good for you.
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Old Today, 07:22 AM   #13
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Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Bealeton, VA
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Donovan started riding his own motorcycle at age 4, started racing hare scrambles at age 7, supermoto at age 9... you get the idea...

He started riding as a passenger with us probably around age 8 or so. Now he's 17 and has been street riding for 2 years. I will forever and always worry.

First and foremost, MX gear is not going to cut it for street gear.

It's not hard to find an inexpensive XS woman's jacket and XS women's gloves at a minimum. MX boots will be OK as long as you're ok with the scrapes the hard buckles are going to make on the bike.

Donovan wore my extra gear whenever he rode with us. We also picked up a plain white HJC kids street helmet. Plain white so that he could decorate it with whatever stickers he wanted... funny, he never did decorate it.

We also forked over the money for a BMW Stoke kids jacket. I'm not sure they make them anymore, but if you can find one, awesome. There used to also be a Baby Biker distributor here in the US but it appears they've gone out of business. It's been a long time since I've needed to find kid's sized gear so hopefully someone else out there has some links to share with you.

Oh, one other thing to watch out for... Donovan often fell asleep on the back of the BMWR1150RT we had at the time. Talk about scary. I thought he was just looking at the clouds... didn't realize he had his head back on the topcase because he was passed out!
Mom of Donovan,
a GNCC and VCHSS racer
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