by Victor Wanchena
Like most of you, I’ve spent the bulk of my riding time solo. It was not often that I would carry a passenger and being a bit of a solitary creature that suited me just fine. I enjoyed riding solo. I enjoyed the time I spent pondering all of life’s little problems and even a few of the big ones. Now skip ahead a few years and I find myself logging as many miles two-up as solo. What changed?
The biggest reason seems to be that I now find myself married to a special someone. We ride together quite often. We love to take trips on our bike and even honeymooned on it. She enjoys riding about the country almost as much as I do. The fact that we ride together is beneficial to our relationship in several ways. Now before you get the idea that I decided to scrap my usual editorial for a Dear Abby style “The couple that rides together, stays together” self help piece, guess again. I instead intend to give a little insight on how to find a new riding buddy in your own home and how to help your better half understand your passion.
When I first met my wife she was rather afraid of motorcycles because her first introduction to riding had been by an old boyfriend who gave her what I like to call “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride”. Instead of a gentle cruise along a romantic river parkway “Mr. Toad” decides to show his companion just how fast his bike could go on a crowded city street. The end result is most often someone who grows up deathly afraid of motorcycles and cautiously views all riders as dangerous. It took a long talk to convince my wife that I was in no way a “Mr. Toad” and talked her into a gentle ride along a parkway to a coffeehouse. After a few minutes her anxiety faded and she started to enjoy the ride. By the time we got home she was asking when we could go again.
The rest is, as they say, history. We began to ride frequently together. Eventually we upgraded bikes to a large touring bike that was better suited to the length of ride we like. The fact that we ride together has two major benefits for us. First, I almost always have a riding partner available. When we feel like taking a ride together we just hop on and go. Unlike my other riding buddies who seem to be as busy as I am and who have the annoying habit of knowing where I hide the beer in my refrigerator. I realize couples with young children are less flexible, but the kids won’t be three forever.
The second reason to share your riding with your spouse is that if your spouse enjoys riding she (or he) will understand why you go riding. I do take trips without my spouse and the fact that she knows that I’m a safe rider and understands why I love to ride allows her to let me go without undue worry and with full approval. Too many times riders have found their chosen pastime maligned simply because their spouse did not understand or has some prejudice towards riding. But a spouse who’s been included in the fun will usually want you to enjoy it.
Finally, to all of our women readers, please know that all of the above applies to you as well. This was not a “trick the little lady into letting me ride” article. The same logic applies to you. If your spouse is uneasy about your riding make him a part of it. I realize that not many men are comfortable enough in their manhood to climb on the back on their wife’s bike, so you may have to convince the lug to first try riding your bike and then after a little coaching you might even let him buy his own.
So ride fast, take chances and this month try it with the riding partner sleeping next to you.