Riding While Parenting

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Ccceric, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. Ccceric

    Ccceric Been here awhile

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    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I come here today looking for advice, and I hope that you will listen to a bit of my rambling. I know that many of you are in the same situation as me so I am hoping for some thoughtful answers.

    I have a family consisting of an 8yo boy and a 4yo girl, and I don’t have to tell any parents how much my kids mean to me. My wife and I just returned from a trip together, and for the first time in a long time we left the kids at home with grandma and grandpa. We had some serious anxiety about leaving them, and all of the thoughts about what would happen to them if we didn’t return. This is the first time we have had thoughts like this. We actually almost canceled our trip because we were so worried about their well being in the event of our death. I wonder if it just because as you grow as a parent you realize just how much you enjoy your kids, and if it is because they are getting older and easier to be around.

    So to bring this back around to a motorcycle subject, I am starting to get these same feelings of anxiety whenever I get on my motorcycle. I find that I feel guilty that I am not spending the time with my family rather than on my own. I also worry about getting in to an accident and not coming home to them. It just seems like the risk vs reward is shrinking every day. I have had a motorcycle and have been riding consistently since I was 10 years old, and I think that I am a relatively competent rider, but that means nothing when somebody else hits you.

    Have any of you felt like this before? I can’t believe it but I am thinking of selling my bike. I don’t know if that makes sense, but that is what I am thinking. I have to assume there will be times that I will wish that I still had it, but I am wondering. I also assume that my desire to ride will return as they get older, but then I’ll be older too so who knows. Maybe a nice long ride would get my head on straight! The real inconvenience is that I just got my current bike a year and a half ago and it is literally my dream bike. I wish I would have thought about it before I spent all of that money!

    Thanks for any insights I really appreciate it. This isn’t a subject that can be brought up to just anyone. If you don’t ride then your clear answer will be just sell your bike and be done with it! But I know this is a more understanding bunch.
    #1
  2. doc moses

    doc moses fearlessly flatulent

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    You post up some rather valid concerns. I am sure some folks will respond that you need time for yourself even as a parent. I am also pretty sure some folks will respond that your riding days are over for a few years. Give it time. From what you've written your children will always come first. And from what you have written, your heart might not be so much into bikes now. give it time sir.
    #2
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  3. tlub

    tlub Long timer

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    Well, I can tell you what I did. And my wife. We continued to ride. As soon as our soon could reach the passenger pegs, he got rides up and down the street, to the park, to school, or other short distance places. We also made sure to limit our exposure to the high-risk situations, like commuting, whether on the Illinois Tollways or surface streets (too many folks in a hurry, and this was before a lot of cell phones); did not ride Fridays during happy hour times or near holiday venues where there were likely to be lots of drunks.
    It did cut down on the miles, to be sure. When he was older, he helped me put one of our older bikes (an R69US) back together, and took the MSF course. We (my wife and I) shepherded him a lot on easy rides, with a lot of stops to discuss what we had seen and experienced. He rode the R69US to high school and his first year at college, 300 miles away, then to Quebec City with me on my R75/5. He always has had a bike since college, variously the R69US, an R60/6, an R1100GS, and now an R1200GS. He doesn't have a car though he lives in the Twin Cities. He rode out to California with me just last month.
    It's been great to see him experience what I experienced. Yes, we worry, but we do about other things too like all parents.
    At work a co-worker asked me and another guy (a former rider) how we would react if one of our kids wanted to ride a motorcycle. I told her essentially the above. The former rider said he discouraged his daughter, but then he has a wife that keeps him on a VERY short choke chain leash.
    I really think the trips to Quebec and CA were priceless.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    And it was a lot cooler riding back to your senior year at college with your parents than going in the Accord:
    [​IMG]
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  4. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    Only you can make that decision.
    I'm a parent - 2 boys, 19 and 13. I started riding before I met my wife of now 20 years. She is not a rider but has been supportive of my addiction.
    I didn't give it up while raising kids. The younger one is pretty good on a dirt bike by now. Older boy wasn't as interested.
    Maybe it isn't the same for all riders, but the commute and the occasional get away for a few days keeps me sane.
    Hell, life is dangerous. My other favorite sport (skiing) reminded me of that this past winter. Lost a friend, one of the best snowboarders to ever grace the slopes of Telluride died doing what he loved the most.
    #4
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  5. Sugra

    Sugra Been here awhile

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    I sometimes think about getting in an accident and not being there for my just-turned-three year old son, but it's fleeting. Just a recognition that riding with a young child may not be the pinnacle of responsibility, nothing that rises to worry or consideration of giving it up. Because I commute on my bike I'm not dealing with the guilt of riding when I could be hanging with the family that you mention; it's just how I get to work. Not to add another thing to worry about for you. . . because my son has seen me ride off every morning and ride up every evening since he was born, motorcycles are probably already ingrained in him. He talks about them all the time. I have this fear that he's going to hurt himself (or worse) someday. And, I'll feel responsible.
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  6. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Long timer

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    When my kids were little, I had the same anxieties about other activities (car racing, which is far less dangerous). Looking back, if I were in that situation today, knowing what I know now as a father and grandfather, I'd see it like this:

    On one hand, there would be certain chances I simply wouldn't take for a while. I'd be more selective about how and where I ride. It would play a reduced role in my life, both for the time it consumes and for the stakes involved. I'd also make sure I had whatever insurance I felt I needed so that I could at least fulfill that parental responsibility if something went wrong. Being a dad involves some sacrifice, which is part of why it's such a profound experience.

    But on the other hand, I wouldn't stop, and that's because I think it might be good for them that I ride. Good for them that I invest in myself a little, at a time in life when so much is expected of me. Good for them to see what passion looks like, and what it takes to have it in your life. And maybe even good for them to participate somehow, whether or not they actually ride. My close relationship with my adult son would never have been what it is were it not for mountain biking, and the time we spent together doing it, talking about it, and fiddling with our bikes. My late dad never shared his motorcycling life with us, and I think we were all poorer for it. You can't imagine how important it will turn out to be that they saw you happy.
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  7. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore The Real Deal

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    If you love riding, if it's your passion, keep doing it. If it's just something you do, maybe take a break.
    #7
  8. JGT

    JGT Been here awhile

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    Ccceric -- your kids are in the magic age (at least based on my own experience) when they want to spend time with you and spending time with them is valuable and important. My kids are both out of high school now and I love them and they are great in every way and I still do a lot with them. But they don't want or need me (or my opinions) around all the time anymore. That happens to every parent and it is the right thing. But you have another 8 to 10 years maybe when you really are needed -- it sounds like that at least from your posting there. Feeling needed like that is a powerful thing and one of the most important parts of being a parent.

    I don't know how old you are, but what if you did put riding on hold (or almost on hold) for a while? It might let you enjoy the opportunity of these years that you will never have again, and not spend time worrying about getting hurt when you are riding. Motorcycles will still be there in a few years if you need them back. As everyone here says it is a personal decision and that is correct. I'm just putting out a few random thoughts.
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  9. Ccceric

    Ccceric Been here awhile

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    This is just what I needed thanks guys!
    Maybe I should downsize to a couple of dirt bikes for my son and I so he can start sharing the experience.
    If I were commuting I don't think I would think twice about it. When I have an errand to run I'll take the bike and never bat an eye, but getting up on a nice Saturday morning and leaving the kids at home breaks my heart.

    I suppose I can just put it on hold, I don't owe any money on the bike so its just the insurance. It is a pretty large chunk of change just sitting in the garage though.
    #9
  10. tlub

    tlub Long timer

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    Interesting that you bring up this aspect. I wholeheartedly agree. My son has commented several times how he recognized that his parents were different, and that he felt closer to us than his friends did to their parents. And my niece, daughter of my brother that died when she was in high school (sudden cardiac arrest while on a bicycle) told me that she really looked up to me because I had the courage to not give up the fun things in life. I had no idea she even noticed, but she obviously did. BTW, that trip to CA was for her college graduation.
    #10
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  11. Cuttlefish

    Cuttlefish Riding to disappear.

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    Your bike is a material object. It's replaceable.
    Why not sell it and get some bikes for your kids to learn on and one for you to follow/lead them around with?
    Riding with your kids is a blast...!
    You can still go for a solo spin.
    Later on when they are older you can go back to road rides if you feel like it.
    Check out the proud parents thread in this sub section of the forum.
    I was becoming bored with road riding and spending a lot more time off road riding.
    But I wanted to share that with my boy who's now 9yrs old.
    He'd ridden pillion with me on a few different bikes (sv1000, Triumph scrambler, roadliner) and I'd ridden super conservatively with him so he wasn't scared at all but he would only want to go a couple of times on each.
    I traded the roadliner in on a Honda Forza 300 scooter and he absolutely loves it. Any time I have to run errands or go for a ride hes keen to come too.
    Lately we go most afternoons to ride around my parents rain forested yard with him on his TTR 50 and me on the AG100. I enjoy riding with him much more than I do solo.
    #11
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  12. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    My paid for motorcycle sat in the garage a lot of great weekends while my daughters were small. The park was more fun for me at that time. They're only around at that wonderful age of wonderment for about 10 years, after that they start wanting to spend their time with friends and all. Then you get to ride a bit. Plus they can go riding with you if they want to do so.

    My bike sat for a couple years with minimal use, then it was there when I was ready to go again. It wasn't eating any oats.

    I wasn't ever concerned about my own safety, I was old and mature enough along with off and on road experience of about 12 years previous, to ride fairly safely. I didn't ride like an idiot.
    #12
  13. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

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    Once you have kids, you really have to think twice about getting up and leaving the them home while you zoom off for a few hours. Probably not all that fair to their mother, either. Not saying you can't or shouldn't - it's your ride to do with what you want. I felt like I couldn't really bail out on a weekend with the family when the kids were in that age range. It sucked, but that's the way I approached it. I got pretty good at jumping on the bike at 0500 and taking a quick jaunt for an hour or so, then back home when everyone was awake.

    My bikes didn't accumulate much mileage, nor did my guns get shot that often, for many years.
    #13
  14. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    I went through a little of what you felt and my kids are now 16 and 11. Many ways to skin this cat if financially able. Go RVing and bring a couple mini quads.
    Take one of the kids (when old enough) with you and make a plan that way.

    That said, if you like motorcycling, there's nothing wrong with just getting away solo and enjoy what you do. Whether that's a couple hrs, overnight, or weekend vs a month, so be it.

    Life is about comprises, but I've found that if I include the kids vs not doing it at all, it makes it much more fun in the end.

    I'm planning an overnighter with my 11 yr old this weekend.

    Good luck.
    #14
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  15. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority

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    Is your will up to date? Do you have a family trust? You will have much less to worry about once you have your "house" in order. To think that you will die only while riding is more than a little short sighted. You could all be in the same car crash and only the kids survive.

    My kids grew up riding as we went out camping and riding as a family. We would all go out to the desert where I was racing and my kid would ride around camp all day long. As the kids got older and Little League and Soccer started cutting into family riding time we would have to choose among all of the different sports everyone wanted to do. Sometimes it was kids sports and sometimes I raced and they rode. Things did get rather hectic for a time and I did spend more of my free time with the kids than with the bike, but that's OK, it's part of being a dad.
    #15
  16. bigdog99

    bigdog99 Weaned and neutered

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    I've been riding since the late '60s continuously except for about 5 years after my sons were born. Then started back in and bought various small dirtbikes for them (they never got too interested). Did Pismo, desert and local off-road park with them while I got back into street riding as well.

    I think it's up to you an what risk you want to take. However, if you continue to ride with a young family, you need life insurance. $500k minimum. If you're self-employed you need disability insurance. If you can't afford these these things then you can't afford to ride, IMHO.
    #16
  17. abhibeckert

    abhibeckert Long timer

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    Don't sell the bike, take the kids riding with you.

    Aside from being fun for all involved, it's also your chance to teach them there's more to life than computer games and facebook.

    My dad taught me to ride and gave me my first bike (first a bicycle and years later a motorbike). Best two things he ever did for me as far as I'm concerned — the rides we've done together are some of my best memories.

    Ride a bit slower and avoid traffic* to be safe, but don't stop riding entirely.

    * if there's heavy traffic where you live, consider putting the bike on a trailer or in a van to get out of the city.
    #17
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  18. ToothDocJay

    ToothDocJay Been here awhile

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    I quit riding for awhile after a big accident (did my best bird impression for about 100 feet) that I got up and walked away from in my mid 20's. Only reason at the time that I stopped was that my folks would co-sign for a car loan but not another bike.

    A few years later I got married and we had kids so money had other more important uses and I honestly decided that the kids needed to have a father around. Never quit thinking about it but didn't act on it until my kids were in their late teens at which point I figured that since they acted like they had had enough of me that it would be OK to start riding again.

    That was about 12 years ago and I'm still riding today. If something unfortunate were to happen I know my wife and kids would be taken care of and have lots of good memories about their husband/father.

    What you do is a very personal choice based on a lot of subjective feelings and I don't think anyone wants to tell you what to do. Maybe going off road like you suggested is a great compromise that you can share with your kids while at the same time taking less risk?
    #18
  19. 1greenmachine

    1greenmachine Long timer

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    Maybe on those nice Saturday mornings you can wake up early and squeeze in a couple hour ride which to me is safer and relaxing to clear the work week out. Then on the way home stop at a bakery for some treats for the family that can become a routine possibly.

    Don't sell the bike, you worked hard to get it and even if it's used sparingly that's better than selling and regretting it. Your son is a few years out from being able to ride behind you, also dirt bikes are cheap used...you can have just as much fun on old iron as new.

    You sound like a good guy and a great dad, parents need their own time to and if you love riding as a hobby then find time here and there to enjoy your hobby.
    #19
  20. schmik

    schmik Been here awhile

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    Avoid cars... go play in the dirt.

    Higher chance you’ll get beat up a little but less chance you’ll leave us all.

    Damn good excerise too. Makes it easier to keep up with the kids.
    #20
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