Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Blue Biker Family

This is my daughter sitting on her own Ninja sport bike, wearing a pink motorcycle jacket. (I tried to raise her better!) She should be riding a Harley Davidson. Instead, she chose a "rice grinder".

I can not be surprised that my daughter purchased and rides her own motorcycle. When she was a girl, she rode behind me on my 1979 Harley Davidson Superglide. About the time she discovered boys, she became too cool to ride with me any longer. She grew up, moved away from home, eventually got married. Almost two years ago she surprised me by announcing she had her own motorcycle! I am very proud of her independence. When I tease her about not riding a Harley, it is all in good fun.

This summer she traded this red Ninja in for the same model in the 2009 edition, and it is blue. Her husband rides a big sports bike, also blue. My current Harley, a 2006 Street Bob, is blue. We are the Blue Biker Family.

Now that my daughter has been through the rider safety course and has over a year's experience riding her own motorcycle, I let her ride my latest Harley one afternoon when we had ridden to Lawrence to visit my son. She rode smoothly down the street on a REAL motorcycle, handling a 1442 cc engine - that is, 88 cubic inches - of American iron. No mother has ever been more proud!

My daughter sitting on my Harley.
Watching his sister take off on my bike, my son wanted to ride her Ninja. I was certain she would just say no, but she gave him the quick tour of the controls, and off he went. We held our breath as we watched him roll down the street. This is the same guy who has wrecked every single thing he has ever ridden or driven with wheels, starting with his little toddler ride-toy with handle bars when he was two. Luckily, the day he was trying out his sister's bike, he came back in one piece. Naturally, he then wanted to ride his mother's Harley. That was a difficult parenting choice, let me tell you.

My son preparing to take my bike for a spin.

I insisted that he wear a helmet and made him go over all the controls and repeat their function back to me. He was a bit nervous, but I was more nervous! He took off down the street and disappeared around a corner. He was gone longer than I expected. Just as I was beginning to panic, he came back into view, still riding conservatively. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and thanked the universe for not punishing me for breaking the cardinal rule of motorcycle ownership: never let an inexperienced rider take your motorcycle for a ride.

My son has since tried to talk me into riding my Harley again, but I flatly refuse. After he has taken the safety rider course, I might consider it. He is currently saving money to buy his own motorcycle. What self-respecting young man would not want his own motorcycle when both his mother and his sister ride? As much as my daughter and I worry about one another's safety out on the road, both of us are absolutely terrified of the idea of my son riding. He is too impulsive and fearless. But, once you have had the wind in your hair, it is only a matter of time before you are on the open road on a bike of your own.

Now I understand how much my own mother must have worried about me when I first started riding. No one expected me to be able to ride such a big bike. I am not 5 ft 2 inches tall. Back in those days, I only weighed 95 pounds. But nothing was going to stop me from riding. My son rode with me a few times as a little boy, but he would not sit still and would not hang on very well. I was very much afraid he was going to get hurt, so eventually I parked my bike. Now that my kids are grown, I am riding again. 80 miles an hour down the highway on a big rolling hunk of Milwaukee iron is just as wonderful now as it was when I was younger, maybe even better. And to be out there riding with my daughter again is the best!

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