by Kristin Machacek Leary
About eight years ago I was introduced to motorcycling. Like most motorcyclists, I have grown to appreciate the sights, smells, and touches that come along with motorcycling: traveling through beautiful mountain ranges, passing a farm where the hay has been freshly cut, feeling the pelting sensation of rain and bugs hitting me on the face. I appreciate what motorcycling has introduced to me: the thrill of twisty-curvy roads, the excitement of pushing your bike to a new level, touring unfamiliar roads and developing lifelong friendships with other bikers.
All of this is so wonderful–so why would anyone want to give up this sport? Is it because their spouse or significant other doesn’t like to ride? Or have children now entered into the picture?
Spouse/Significant Other Doesn’t Like to Ride
Far too often, I have seen old friends give up this sport that they once were passionate about because their spouse/significant other doesn’t like to ride. When I hear this, I go absolutely crazy. If you love the sport, take the time to help your spouse/significant other become comfortable with riding. Take them on a short day trip to Stillwater or Red Wing. Don’t immediately get them on the back of your bike and blast off for a three-day trip full of riding and camping. If you choose to introduce them to this sport gradually, most likely, they’ll fall in love with it in no time. If you decide to take them on the three day trip, nine times out of ten the weather will turn sour, you’ll have to camp in the rain, and you’ll have forgotten to pack the rain gear. Needless to say, they won’t have the most positive impression of motorcycling after this trip!
If you’ve tried to break them into biking and they still hate it, ride without them! Nowhere is it written that you need to be joined by the hip with your spouse/significant other. Take the time to bike after work or on some weekends with your friends. An understanding and supportive spouse/significant other should encourage you to continue motorcycling with or without them.
You Now Have Children
If you decide to use the excuse, “Now that I’m a parent, I need to be responsible,” I will shake my head in confusion. I hope that before you had children you were a responsible and safe motorcyclist! Why the sudden change? Do you think that now that you are a parent you won’t be safe? Is it that you fear that you might crash on your bike and die? If that is the case, I hope that you never drive a car during rush hour traffic, fly on airplanes, use power tools or swim in the ocean where there are undertows, sharks and big waves.
Some of you are probably thinking, “Just wait, Kristin. You don’t have children yet. They will change your lifestyle!” There is no doubt in my mind that children will somewhat change my lifestyle, but I am confident that when we do have children we will continue riding. Yes, we may need to slightly alter our bike (i.e., add a side car) or find a baby-sitter for when we’d like to enjoy an evening or weekend motorcycle outing. It can be done if you make the effort.
Some of you reading this may think that I’m trivializing many things that may very well be legitimate excuses. Well…I’m not. However, I’m very thankful to have seen some of our well-rounded friends continue to ride despite high-pressured jobs, busy travel schedules, spouses/significant others, families and houses to care for. And they ride often. As with every choice you must make in life, it’s all about priorities. Yes, there are times motorcycling won’t be at the top of the list. But it should always be on your list if you truly love the sport and enjoy how it fulfills your life in many different ways.