For many of us, our passion for motorcycles is a gift from our parents. In fact in a recent blog post, J&P’s Harley-Davidson motorcycle tech Jake Herring said this about his introduction to motorcycles:
“A couple of days after I was born, I was zipped up inside my old man’s leathers and cruising around Southern California.”
An evaluation of our interests and hobbies would probably reveal that much of what we do for fun is likely influenced by our parents, grandparents or guardians. We’ve all heard the saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” and for the most part, this is true.
Some of my favorite memories from my childhood are the times I followed my dad around the garage as he worked on projects. I watched him work on various machines and I’d stand as close as possible, making note of his every move, like a dog waiting for scraps to fall from the dinner table. Occasionally he’d look at me and ask me to help, passing me a wrench or a screwdriver. In those moments I felt six-feet tall and would often brag to mom about the man I was.
It should come as no surprise then that many of us want to share our riding passion with our children, whether it’s working in the garage or breaking in a new riding partner. With bikes made for even the youngest child, and safety an ever-growing concern, we have to wonder just how young is too young? Is there an appropriate age to introduce children to riding and the world of motorcycling? Do you take your son/daughter on as a passenger? And at what age do they get their own bike and ride solo? One eager J&P Cycles employee has already purchased a bike for his son who is only two years old. He’s just waiting for the day he’s ready to ride.
Motorcyclists know that riding comes with inherent dangers — made worse in recent years by cell phones and iPods stealing the attention away from drivers of automobiles. As parents we are charged with the care and safety of our children. With the changing environment, it’s more important than ever for parents and guardians to instill in their children a respect for the road. Motorcycling’s next generation will likely be taught and inspired by the current one, and that means we must train them right.
For those of you who have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, at what age did you introduce them to the riding? What do you teach them about the bike, motorcycle parts and the passion that can go into a bike? Send in your comments and share your thoughts on motorcycling, kids and safety from the perspective of a motorcyclist and parent. I’d love to hear your thoughts.