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Old 04-23-2012, 01:04 PM   #31
markbvt
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Originally Posted by NoVa Rider View Post
You asked for input, so I'll weigh in. Dash across the US with your son on a new to you bike. Fifteen years old? Sure. Kid is old enough to manage the long days, weather and wide temperature swings you will encounter over the route you've posted, and his hydration. Might even stay awake for most of the ride. Five years old? No. No way. Absolutely freakin' not.
Seems awfully risky to me too...


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Maybe I've been in Asia too long- here motorcycles (scooters actually) are the primary mode of transportation for most people and I've grown accustomed to seeing entire families covering long distances on 2 wheels.
That may have skewed your perspective a bit. This is not Asia, and very few people use motorcycles/scooters as primary transportation. Certainly not whole families.

Furthermore, one thing I haven't seen anyone point out yet is that you could actually find yourself breaking the law. Some states have minimum-age requirements for motorcycle passengers, and some of those are greater than 5. Some others require that the passenger be tall enough to sit with feet on the passenger pegs; depending on how tall your son is, this may limit your choice of bike.

Even if you get the right bike and plan a route that avoids states with minimum age requirements greater than 5, be prepared to hear from strangers who think you're abusing your kid by putting him on a motorcycle, no matter how careful you may be.

Personally, I would wait till the kid's 10 or 12 before planning such a trip. In the meantime you could always do it in a convertible car. Or at least a hack, with the kid in the sidecar. But it's up to you how much risk you want to expose your son to.

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Old 04-23-2012, 09:09 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by markbvt View Post
Seems awfully risky to me too...

That may have skewed your perspective a bit. This is not Asia, and very few people use motorcycles/scooters as primary transportation. Certainly not whole families.

Furthermore, one thing I haven't seen anyone point out yet is that you could actually find yourself breaking the law. Some states have minimum-age requirements for motorcycle passengers, and some of those are greater than 5. Some others require that the passenger be tall enough to sit with feet on the passenger pegs; depending on how tall your son is, this may limit your choice of bike.

Even if you get the right bike and plan a route that avoids states with minimum age requirements greater than 5, be prepared to hear from strangers who think you're abusing your kid by putting him on a motorcycle, no matter how careful you may be.

Personally, I would wait till the kid's 10 or 12 before planning such a trip. In the meantime you could always do it in a convertible car. Or at least a hack, with the kid in the sidecar. But it's up to you how much risk you want to expose your son to.

--mark

Hi Mark,

Thank you for your input.

We could certainly do this trip in a car but I'm not convinced there's any compelling reason why we can't do it safely on a touring motorcycle. The safety of my son is my paramount concern and I'm quite confident that with careful planning and a sober assessment of the risks that this trip can be accomplished safely.

I expect negative comments from non- motorcyclists but am a bit disappointed to hear such criticism from fellow bikers. But it's all good, I welcome constructive criticism!

We're all used to hearing the same old alarmist comments from non-motorcyclists who go on and on about how dangerous it is to ride a bike when in fact it's the zoned out drivers in cars, yakking on their cell phones, oblivious to what's going on around them that make the roads dangerous in the first place. If people would stop talking on their cell phones while driving and engage their brains, the roads would be safer for everyone.

There's a great thread on advrider all about stupid things people say to bikers and our replies, but I can't seem to find it at the moment. The "Stupid questions" thread is close: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...53338&page=334

Life is all about risk. If riding a bike is safe enough for parents, why can't it be safe enough for our children?

I see there's already a thread dedicated to the topic of "Children as Passengers": http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=762337

If you like we can debate the subject further in that thread. I'd like to keep this thread focused on our trip.

I've checked the traffic statutes in all of the states we'll be traveling and can't find any state on our route, with the exception of Washington (minimum age is 5) that has a minimum age requirement for pillion passengers. The statutes that I keep finding generally read like this:

"No person shall ride upon a motorcycle as a passenger unless, when sitting astride the seat, the person can reach the footrests with both feet."

The AMA site has a fantastic state by state guide to motorcycle laws (http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/...ws/result.asp?).. I've just checked all the states on our route to confirm that there are no restrictions in any of these states on carrying a five year old child passenger.

And this is the reason I'm leaning towards the Goldwing GL1500; because it has such a secure passenger seat and the passenger footpegs can be raised 3 inches and in their top position most children should be able to reach them.

I've ridden motorcycles with sidecars and find them quite tricky. We had this great little rig in Thailand that we used for taking my son to and from pre-school and for local errands.

Don't worry- we ALWAYS wear helmets when we go out on the road!

Bike with sidecars handle, corner and brake completely different from a regular motorcycle and it takes a lot of getting used to. Good fun, but not something I want to take through mountain roads like this-
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:20 PM   #33
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Your choice, obviously, but step back and think about what you are proposing to do. Parachute in, put a 5 year old who presumably doesn't ride regularly, or likely at all, on a bike, put gear on him, a helmet on him, gloves, boots, etc, none of which he is used to, or the weight of which he is used to, and begin a dash across the US (a dash could be a 300 mile day to a child). Then wake up and do it again. And again. And again. In the heat, cold, rain, and dry. . ..

Applaud the concept, an epic ride perhaps, but simply can't see this working past day one, or two. . ..
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Old 04-23-2012, 11:43 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by NoVa Rider View Post
Your choice, obviously, but step back and think about what you are proposing to do. Parachute in, put a 5 year old who presumably doesn't ride regularly, or likely at all, on a bike, put gear on him, a helmet on him, gloves, boots, etc, none of which he is used to, or the weight of which he is used to, and begin a dash across the US (a dash could be a 300 mile day to a child). Then wake up and do it again. And again. And again. In the heat, cold, rain, and dry. . ..

Applaud the concept, an epic ride perhaps, but simply can't see this working past day one, or two. . ..
Ok, I guess you haven't read this thread from the beginning or my reply to your last post or you would know that my son has been riding and touring for a couple years now.

You're making a lot of assumptions and are obviously ignoring my replies to your previous posts. In fact you're starting to come off as a troll...

Again, if you bothered to read the thread you'd know that we're not going to "dash" across the country. We're going to take it nice and slow and ride out to California over a period of 5 or 6 weeks, always well under 300 miles and less than 5 hours in the saddle on riding days, and with plenty of multi-day stops along the way in fantastic places like the Black Hills, Yellowstone, Glacier, Walla Walla, etc.

If we run into bad weather we check into a hotel and wait it out, no worries. It's not a race and we're not in a hurry.

Before we leave on the "big trip" we'll do some local rides around the Twin Cities and up to the North Shore of Lake Superior to get into the groove.

Again, if you bothered to read the thread or look at the pictures you'd know that my son is used to wearing proper gear- He has been taught from a young age that he must wear proper gear if he wants to go for a ride and he takes it for granted that he needs to be geared up before we hit the road.

When he was younger I worried that the weight of a full face helmet would be too much for him so he wore a light weight 3/4 face helmet, but more recently he's been wearing a proper DOT certified XXS size full face helmet, kids FOX motorcross boots, childrens leather gloves and a lightly armored riding jacket.


He's growing like a weed so I plan to buy all new gear from him in the States. If you do a brief search you'll see that there is plenty of real motorcycle gear for children these days. I assure you he'll be wearing gear that's as good or better than what I'll be wearing.

If you want to debate the pros and cons of children on motorcycles there's already a thread dedicated to the topic of "Children as Passengers": http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=762337

I see that you started taking your daughter out for rides on the back of your VFR at the age of 8. Now THAT would make me nervous- didn't you worry about her falling asleep and falling off?


Fortunately there's no chance of that happening on a Goldwing!


Thank you again for your concern.

Happy Trails!

Tony
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Old 04-24-2012, 05:33 AM   #35
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Hi everyone!

I live in Thailand but will be coming to the US this summer to pick up my son from the ex-wife in New York and take him on a coast to coast road trip.

. . .

I'm thinking a big touring bike like a Honda Goldwing or Yamaha FJR1300 or Kawasaki Concours will be the perfect bike for us but I know nothing about touring bikes...

. . .

I'm thinking it might be better to try to find a cheap reliable touring bike that I can just donate to charity once we arrive in California...

Any thoughts? Advice?

I'm all ears!

Live to Ride, Ride to Live!

Tony
Troll, really? Look at your initial post. You asked for advice. You got it. Sorry it didn't fill your day with sunshine and butterflies. So that you'll know, I assumed from the quoted post that you live in Thailand and your son in the US. Was I wrong? I also guessed from that that he'd not been doing much riding lately, well, let's be honest, any riding in the US. So, the observation that you intend to drop in and put him in an activity that is new to his daily routine, was, well, correct.

No worries. Still believe that when you add up all the risk factors, long ride, new-to-you bike (described by you as a "cheap, reliable touring bike"), kid five years old, etc, the stack gets pretty tall. I wouldn't do it. And, as you've noted, I do ride with my kids. FWIW, in answer to your question above, yes, I was worried about my child falling asleep and falling off. And I was worried about other drivers, the weather, road conditions, etc. Which is why you see the full gear, the backrest, and while you can't see it, a decision not to take her on a 3,000 mile trip that she wasn't ready for. Glad to hear you believe that your 5 year old is.

Have a great ride.

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Old 04-24-2012, 08:06 AM   #36
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We're all used to hearing the same old alarmist comments from non-motorcyclists who go on and on about how dangerous it is to ride a bike when in fact it's the zoned out drivers in cars, yakking on their cell phones, oblivious to what's going on around them that make the roads dangerous in the first place. If people would stop talking on their cell phones while driving and engage their brains, the roads would be safer for everyone.
This is exactly the point. You admit yourself that you've been living in a country in which motorcycles are used as daily family transportation. People are used to bikes there.

In the US, most people view motorcycles as a dangerous thrill-seeking activity, if they pay any attention to them at all. The people yakking on cell phones are a major problem, along with all the drivers who are inattentive for any number of other reasons.

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Life is all about risk. If riding a bike is safe enough for parents, why can't it be safe enough for our children?
In theory I agree with you completely -- and if it were simply a matter of safe motorcycle handling, I'd be encouraging you to do it. But the trouble is that probably 80% of the risk here in the US is not your own ability to ride the motorcycle safely, but rather that the great many idiots sharing the roads with you could easily cause an accident and kill/maim your kid. And then likely as not blame you for it.

Personally, I'm willing to take on that risk for myself (and I've paid the price for it, including a broken femur from being broadsided by a car last year). But I could not in good conscience take on that risk for a child, especially one who's too young to make any of his own decisions.

Again, don't get me wrong -- I applaud you for wanting to take your kid on an adventure like this. In my opinion it's the sort of thing all fathers and sons should do at some point. I just think that you're underestimating the level of risk, and maybe pushing to do it a little too early. Besides, wouldn't it make sense to do some shorter trips now and save an epic cross-country one for when your son's old enough to really remember it? I only remember random little bits and pieces of vacationy stuff I did with my dad when I was less than 8 or 9.

Just my opinion, and just a reply to your request for advice. You can obviously feel free to ignore it completely, but in my opinion the stakes are high enough that I had to say something.

--mark
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:10 AM   #37
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I've got to add my 2 cents, though I don't have much advice on the logistics

I think this sounds like an unbelievably great trip with you and your son. You don't seem like the type of person who would willingly endanger your son. As long as you are aware of his limitations, and go into it with the realization that he simply might not be up for the entire trip, you might have to rest for a few days somewhere, etc...

Yes, there is more risk to you and your son when taking a motorcycle versus a car, bus or plane across the US. Something bad COULD happen. But as riders, we all have to accept that. If you make the trip (which may very well/will definitely be difficult at times with your son) you both will have wonderful memories that will last forever. How often does anyone get an opportunity like this?

Honestly, I think it would be better if he was a few years older for a lot of reasons I'm sure everyone is aware of. I still say go for it, have a legendary adventure that he will be telling his grandchildren about in 60 years...

Oh - and on your northwest/montana leg, do yourselves a favor and go over the Beartooth pass from Red Lodge to Yellowstone. You wont regret it (google it).
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:38 AM   #38
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Troll, really? Look at your initial post. You asked for advice. You got it. Sorry it didn't fill your day with sunshine and butterflies. So that you'll know, I assumed from the quoted post that you live in Thailand and your son in the US. Was I wrong? I also guessed from that that he'd not been doing much riding lately, well, let's be honest, any riding in the US. So, the observation that you intend to drop in and put him in an activity that is new to his daily routine, was, well, correct.

No worries. Still believe that when you add up all the risk factors, long ride, new-to-you bike (described by you as a "cheap, reliable touring bike"), kid five years old, etc, the stack gets pretty tall. I wouldn't do it. And, as you've noted, I do ride with my kids. FWIW, in answer to your question above, yes, I was worried about my child falling asleep and falling off. And I was worried about other drivers, the weather, road conditions, etc. Which is why you see the full gear, the backrest, and while you can't see it, a decision not to take her on a 3,000 mile trip that she wasn't ready for. Glad to hear you believe that your 5 year old is.

Have a great ride.

Cheers Nova,

I AM open to advice, suggestions and constructive criticism. I don't need "sunshine and butterflies" but hearing the same argument repeated over and over is a bit annoying.

The "troll" comment is because you made the same arguments in multiple posts despite the fact that I replied to, acknowledged and addressed your concerns the first time.

I hope we're clear- the ride is NOT a "dash" like you keep saying. In case you missed it before, we'll have 5-6 weeks for the ride. ~5000 miles over the course of 5 weeks averages out to mere ~150 miles/day. Do you really think that's too much for a kid who was doing 300 mile rides when he was 4 without any problems? Yes he's only 5, but he's a tough kid. That said, if he wants to stop we stop. No worries. If we have to modify our route or even cut short the trip we can do that.

My son has been riding on motorcycles since he was an infant. Yes, he hasn't been on one recently, but we'll ease our way back into the riding scene with some local rides around the Twin Cities and a test run with a weekend of motorcycle camping up to the North Shore of Lake Superior to make sure the Goldwing can carry all the gear we'll need for the ride out West. We'll arrive in the Twin Cities at the end of June. With any luck I'll have some Goldwings to look at and test ride and buy one and get it serviced before the 4th of July holiday. After the 4th of July we'll ride up to Duluth and the North Shore as a kind of test run and warm up for the ride to California.

I'm not going to force him to do anything he doesn't want to do. We talk on Skype twice a week and he's super-excited about the trip. If between now and late June he cools on the idea then perhaps we'll just do it in a car. Even in a car this will be an incredible adventure. But if he's keen to do it on a bike, then even better!

While it's all relative I consider the second hand goldwings I've referenced in this thread as "cheap". By all accounts a well maintained Goldwing GL1500 is a very reliable motorcycle. I will only buy one that has been properly maintained with full service records and I'll have it fully serviced before the trip.

I get back to the US and Europe once or twice a year and sure, there are some idiot drivers in the States and in the EU, but if you've ever ridden or driven in SE Asia or any other part of the developing world then surely you will understand that riding in the US is a piece of cake compared to surviving a ride in nations where most of the motorists on the road aren't even licensed.

I hope I've addressed your concerns and that we can move on now?

Looking forward to a fantastic summer and awesome ride with my son!
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:47 AM   #39
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I've got to add my 2 cents, though I don't have much advice on the logistics

I think this sounds like an unbelievably great trip with you and your son. You don't seem like the type of person who would willingly endanger your son. As long as you are aware of his limitations, and go into it with the realization that he simply might not be up for the entire trip, you might have to rest for a few days somewhere, etc...

Yes, there is more risk to you and your son when taking a motorcycle versus a car, bus or plane across the US. Something bad COULD happen. But as riders, we all have to accept that. If you make the trip (which may very well/will definitely be difficult at times with your son) you both will have wonderful memories that will last forever. How often does anyone get an opportunity like this?

Honestly, I think it would be better if he was a few years older for a lot of reasons I'm sure everyone is aware of. I still say go for it, have a legendary adventure that he will be telling his grandchildren about in 60 years...

Oh - and on your northwest/montana leg, do yourselves a favor and go over the Beartooth pass from Red Lodge to Yellowstone. You wont regret it (google it).

Thanks for the 2 cents! I'll add it to our trip fund

FYI, we won't be riding every day. We'll be making multi-day stops in the Black Hills, Yellowstone, Glacier, Walla Walla and more.

Go back a page and you'll see that Beartooth Pass is already on the itinerary-


Can't wait!


Happy Trails!

Tony
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Old 04-24-2012, 11:41 AM   #40
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I expect we'll spend several days in Yellowstone- hitting the trails early to beat the crowds, maybe riding some loops in the afternoons. Then, for a complete change of pace I'm thinking about riding to Thermopolis where we can perhaps take a break from camping, check in to a hotel and hit Hot Springs State Park and visit the Wyoming Dinosaur Museum. My son, like all little boys loves water parks and dinosaurs- perfect!

Yellowstone to Thermopolis. 196 miles from Tower Fall Campground. 160 miles from Yellowstone Lake-


From Thermopolis we'll head to Jenny Lake Campground in Grand Teton National Park. 209 miles-


I always loved Grand Teton as a kid. Stunning natural beauty and fantastic hiking. I expect we'll probably spend a couple nights here. Take the shuttle boat across Jenny Lake and do the short hike to Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls- haven't been there since I was a little kid! We'll have to hit Jackson Hole too!
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Old 04-24-2012, 11:52 AM   #41
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Itinerary 2:
D->E is not as interesting as it seems on a map, speaking from personal experience. I strongly suggest you head south into Colorado, then into Utah, maybe dip into Arizona to see the Grand Canyon, then head north to the Seattle area and head back south to San Francisco taking the US-1, which is some of the world's sexiest coastline riding imaginable. This includes Eureka->San Francisco along the US-1. Stay near that coastline as much as possible.

Don't skip out on any of Colorado, Utah, or that northern part of Arizona. It's some of the most unique terrain in the world and well worth the detour down. Wyoming/South Dakota... meh, just waypoints between where you have to be and all the interesting stuff, I say!
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Old 04-24-2012, 12:06 PM   #42
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From Grand Teton National Park will ride north up the John D Rockefeller Jr Memorial Parkway back through Yellowstone and on to Big Sky, Montana. 153 miles-


To be continued!
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Old 04-24-2012, 12:26 PM   #43
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I'm loving this! Its going to be a great trip.

Another suggestion for your route: When you get to Boise, head north through McCall and White Bird and Lewiston on your way to Walla Walla. Its a really beautiful route that takes you up over the mountians near McCall (which is a nice little mountain tourist town with some easy hikes nearby that you guys might enjoy), then through the canyon to whitebird and up the white bird grade, this area would be fantastic on a cycle, then you get to ride through some prairie/palouse lands to Walla Walla where you can taste some really good wine .

The route that you have from Boise is pretty bland, I've driven both routes multiple times and think you'll really enjoy this one. Hopefully things will still be green when you come through.
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:03 PM   #44
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I'm loving this! Its going to be a great trip.

Another suggestion for your route: When you get to Boise, head north through McCall and White Bird and Lewiston on your way to Walla Walla. Its a really beautiful route that takes you up over the mountians near McCall (which is a nice little mountain tourist town with some easy hikes nearby that you guys might enjoy), then through the canyon to whitebird and up the white bird grade, this area would be fantastic on a cycle, then you get to ride through some prairie/palouse lands to Walla Walla where you can taste some really good wine .

The route that you have from Boise is pretty bland, I've driven both routes multiple times and think you'll really enjoy this one. Hopefully things will still be green when you come through.

Cheers!

Thanks for the advice!

I think we'll arrive in Walla Walla from the northeast from Glacier National Park via Lolo National Forest, Clearwater National Forest and the Lewis and Clark Highway 12.

We're planning to stay at my friend's house in Walla Walla for a few days and do some day trips from there. He moved to Walla Walla less than a year ago, rides a V-strom and is keen to get out and do some day trips with us. He's got a baby at home so not sure if he can get away for an overnight trip, but we'll see.

I'll make a note to ride the route you've suggested- It's mostly Highway 95 yes?

Thank you very much for the tip!
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Old 04-24-2012, 09:20 PM   #45
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From Big Sky we'll ride 233 Miles to Seeley Lake via Helena-

Seeley Lake is dotted with campgrounds and looks like a nice place to spend a night.

Then on to Glacier National Park! An easy 111 Miles, plus a few more miles to one of the campgrounds on Lake McDonald-


We'll be meeting some friends at Glacier National Park who are driving out from Minnesota. Three families with kids my son's age- He might be getting tired of his old man by now so it will be good for him to be able to hang out with some kids his age. I think my friends are planning to stay 4-5 days in and around Glacier. We'll probably do the same.

I've never been to Glacier National Park and have always wanted to go- I hear it's spectacular!

After Glacier we'll start heading for Walla Walla, Washington via Lolo National Forest, Clearwater National Forest and the Lewis and Clark Highway 12 "A Long and Winding Road". It goes on like this for nearly 200 miles! Wow!


We'll break the ride in two, spending one night in Clearwater National Forest which is said to have many beautiful campgrounds.

Glacier National Park to Clearwater National Forest. 214 Miles-


Then another 235 Miles to Walla Walla, Washington-


To be continued!
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