9 yr olds first Harley Ride!

Discussion in 'Road Trips/Touring' started by softail41, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. softail41

    softail41 Active Member

    I have been taking my kids around the block on my bike since they were toddlers. Usually after returning from a weekend ride with the guys, as I would pull in the drive, both of my children would be on the front porch awaiting my arrival and their customary ride up the driveway. I always took this tradition as more of "daddy's home" than a real desire to ride.

    Fast-forward to a couple weekends ago. I was out in the garage cleaning 'Ole Jeb' (2012 Heritage Softail Classic) and my 9 yr old son took an interest in helping. Youngsters are notoriously curious and I think my son has that trait in spades. "Dad, what is this? What does this do? Why is this here?" This child quizzed me on every visible component on the bike! Then comes the big question. "Dad, when can I go on a ride with you?" Thinking this question was just another random inquiry, I responded with the normal parental answer..."we'll see." To my dismay, his interest in this matter never subdued. Over the last two weeks this has been a consistent request from my son. So, I gave it some thought and decided that this weekend I would grant his wish.

    Like every parent, my obvious concern was his safety. I also expected his mother to veto our plans, but to our surprise, she was all for it...so long as she followed close behind in the cage. After some thoughtful consideration, my son and I decided on a destination of our favorite Mexican Restaurant located in a small community only 30 miles away. The route we would take was void of any high traffic areas or large towns. So, after a thorough rider brief and bike inspection, we suited him up in jeans, boots, and DOT approved helmet and hit the road.

    Leaving out of our neighborhood, everything was as expected. No surprise as he had made many a 'short' ride with me at slow speeds as mentioned before. However, as soon as we turned east on HWY 134, things changed.

    Switching thru the gears, I was constantly aware of my precious cargo, despite the ever-present helmet bump as I pulled the clutch. Ever mindful of the non-suspecting cage at a side street – the enemy, I caught myself slowing down as I approached intersections…possibly confusing other traffic of my intentions. Every road deformity was like a land mine as I maneuvered the bike around each one with grace and ease that would’ve impressed the most uncompromising MSF rider coach. I was oddly aware of every vibration and sound coming from ole Jeb’s strong 103 engine. What was I thinking? This is not fun at all! In all my years of riding, I have never been this paranoid! All the videos and accident reports of motorcyclists being hit by left turning automobiles were playing through my mind as if they where happening in real time.

    Just then I felt the firm grip of my only sons’ small hands loosen a bit. “What’s wrong?” I shouted against the wind. While swiftly scanning left and right looking for a place to pull over, I happened to catch a glimpse of his image in the mirror. Under his rather large looking helmet, he was sporting a grin from ear to ear, taking it all in and was obviously much more relaxed than I. As the wind noise dyed down from my deceleration, I asked if he was ok and he replied with a exuberant “I love it!” From that point on, only 8 miles from my driveway, I had more fun than on any ride I have been on to date.

    We arrived forty-five minutes later to a delicious Mexican lunch and celebrated the birth of a new Harley rider! This kid could not eat his cheese enchilada for talking about the sights, sounds, and sensations of his first bike ride. He informed his mother and I that he never wanted to ride in the car again and had developed a plan that involved me picking him up at school every day on ole Jeb. I couldn’t help but get caught up in his enthusiasm. It took me back to the same feeling of excitement and passion I had for riding long ago. In a weird way, today was like my first ride all over again.

    The trip home was just as nonchalant and thrilling as the first leg. Ole Jeb did well, too. It was if the bike was aware of our young passenger and my angst. Effortlessly gliding around the soft turns with unwavering grace and ease, the FLSTC’s rumbling twin-cam steadily purred as if saying, “Relax, I got this.”

    We pulled in our driveway as I have many times before, but with a different feeling. I now have a new infatuation with riding and someone new to share it with!
  2. tubguy

    tubguy Active Member

    Fabulous story your a lucky Dad to have a great son that youll be able to share something special with....

  3. Rubyred

    Rubyred Senior Member

    Just think in the future you will get to do the same thing over again with your other children! I'll bet they are already asking to take them for a "Ride!" Great story, Thanks for posting.:)
  4. Adamal47

    Adamal47 Active Member

    Congrats and great story. Now instead of buying him his first car at 16 you can buy yourself a new scoot and pass Jeb down to your son and have a new riding buddy. Win-win situation
  5. oldhippie

    oldhippie Senior Member

    Great story. Glad to hear you've got a new riding buddy.
  6. softail41

    softail41 Active Member

    Thanks :s I like to write and keep a journal of most of my rides so when I get the bike taken away and sent to a home I can read about my adventures and re-live them in my golden years! My daughter is 11 now and I can only pray I am as lucky as you are in regards to her wanting to ride with me.
  7. softail41

    softail41 Active Member

    Great idea! I let my son read your reply and I wish I would've video'd his response! He ran to the other room and told his sister and mother that Jeb was his now. I had to set him back down and re-read the part about being 16. Now he is wanting to go out and clean and polish his "future" scoot! You were right...I am winning Big Time!
  8. EnjoyingTheRyde

    EnjoyingTheRyde Junior Member

    Sweet! Both our son and daughter ride and it's always a blast when we ride together... :)
  9. lorne

    lorne Senior Member

    Great post.. there is something to special about the first ride, something that you both will remember forever. i still remember mine at 8 yrs old on the back of dad's 55 Honda........hope your saving up for that mini bike he has his eye on. :newsmile036:
  10. softail41

    softail41 Active Member

    Yep, I've created a monster!