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Thanks to the generosity of a good friend, earlier this afternoon I was able to ride with my 19 year old son on several different bikes including a CBR600 and a SV650. My son just got his permit to be able to ride on the street after several years away from bikes (we owned trail bikes when he was much younger).

I must admit it was a blast to ride with him - I've been dreaming of sharing this great sport with him for a long time. I know how incredibly exciting and exhilarating it can be, and I want him to be able to enjoy it as I do, and for us to enjoy this great thrill together.

He had a blast too, which was awesome.

Here's the part I'm conflicted about. I was constantly stressed out about his safety as we rode. He's a smart kid and a pretty capable rider, but I couldn't fully enjoy it because I was too worried about what might happen. I'm not a natural worrier, it's just a parent thing I guess.

The question for the parents of riders is this - Did you have the same feelings when you began riding with your kid? Does it ever go away? Do you want it to?
 

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B,
As I have no children I can't offer any 'experienced' advice but remembering how I was at his age...I'd never let the sucker near a motorcycle or a car! But...he can't grow without experience. I'm guessing your worries will be somewhat relieved after he becomes 'very' proficient on the street and that riding with him will be a HOOT...but I also think, you'll never stop worrying. FWIW Best of luck and I'm happy he's home where he belongs.

J
 

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Bwhip, I don't belong in this thread 'cause I've never been a parent. However, by going by my life experience, I say let your son share your love of motorcycles. You will definitely NEVER be comfortable with it, because you are a parent. Parents worry. 'Nuff said! It's natural! But as I've posted before, life is too short as it is. Enjoy your time together with your son and don't stress too much. This is where you have to make the sacrifice - you worry a lot, and your son enjoys his youth and fun times spent with his Dad. I really understand your concern, really, but I think you have to loosen the reins at some point. (God, I'm glad I'm not a parent!!&#33.
 

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Not a parent here either, but I taught my best friend of 21 years (Im 23) how to ride a motorcycle because he saw how much fun my Dad and I were having riding. Since I didnt want him to learn from the wrong side and end up wearing a tshirt and shorts I took him riding when I went and taught him all the right ways. Before he bought a pipe or started modding the bike, I convinced him to buy gear from head to toe. Even though he wasnt my flesh and blood, he is like a brother to me, and when I would go into a corner, and not see him come out as soon as I thought he should, I would freak out. After taking him to the Gap last fall I could barely stand it anymore. I asked my Dad how he dealt with it teaching me to ride, he told me that he just had to trust that I had listened to him, and I would make it though just fine. I knew that I had done well when I took my pal to the track this summer and watched him blow by everyone on the track with a smoothness like that of a 10 year rider that knew what he was doing. Now I get to watch him race and enjoy the look on peoples faces when they ask how long he has been riding and my reply is a year and a half.... He has gone from a newb who I taught the basics to in a parking lot before he took his MSF course to this in a year and a half...


Good Luck BWhip, just start with the basics and go from there. Work on smoothness and speed will come.

Chris
 

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I've been riding with my dad, offroad and duelsport, since I was 13. Its about the only thing we have in common and luckaly, we have it as something to bring us together on a regular basis. I doubt you can ever get over the worry, hell, he's probaly worrying about you as well, but at least he will be learning and gaining experience under your supervision instead of 20 year old squids on gixxer 1k's. Just remember that the fact he is your son, has no bearing on the fact that riding on motorcycles more risky than not, and you may very well have to witness him hurt, injured, or killed someday. And vice versa. Its the risks of the game, accept it or take up golf. Good luck!
 

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I haven't got kids I can ride with yet but that feeling is
with me every day.I still don't know how my wifes mum would
let her get on the back of the bike with me all those years ago!
teach as best you can the set them free even if it is very
difficult.(try not to watch to closely! you'll get a ulcer)

Good Luck and enjoy his company

Coxy
 

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A longer reply will follow later when I'm home from work. Hoever, having just invested some money in my son's first big bike, a 1994 BMW F650, the answer from me is that I worry all the time. Terrified. You'll just have to find a way to deal with it.
 

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Yeah, it's the same feeling as when you ride with your SO, wife, husband, etc. I don't think you get over the fear that something will happen, so you have to learn how to manage it. Make sure (as you are) that he gets good training, wears gear, and starts on an appropriate bike. Worrying about loved ones is natural and will always be present to a degree. He could also get hurt doing lots of other non-motorcycle activities, even driving a car. Just instill in him the sense of respect that risky activities deserve.
 

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I couldnt do it. Would not have gone as far as you did. I guess Im an even bigger worrier.
 

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When I was 17, I wanted to get a motorcycle. My mother went balistic! She was head nurse at the Intensive Care Unit at the local hospital, and proceded to relate the sad stories of every kid that had been killed, crippled, or otherwise injured while riding a motorcycle in the previous ten years. Those stories took a while 'cause it was a long list... A motorcycle was absolutely forbidden, end of discussion.

Well, when I turned 21 I was home from college three days before I bought my first motorcycle (Honda 350CL, does that date me or what?). She didn't like it, but LEGALLY couldn't do anything about it. She never said anything to me about it, much to her credit, but I knew that she worried everytime I rode the thing which was all the time.

More than 30 years later she still worries, probably more now than ever because she knows I take my machines to the racetrack for trackdays. She still has never said anything to me, but she has to my wife (looking for an ally no doubt).

I don't have kids of my own, so can't speak from personal experience, but I believe it's just human nature to be concerned about the welfare of your kids. That's a good thing! The hard part for you now is to step back and watch them make their own choices, trusting that you've raised them such that they have the necessary skills to negotiate life's challenges, thrill in the experience, and live to tell the tale!

Courage.
 

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I can't speak as a father, but I can speak as a son. Having said that, you have no idea how much I wish to be able to share the joy of this sport with my dad. Instead, I get the opposite. Constantly get ragged on, yelled at and discouraged as much as possible. And all this because of horror stories that some friends/neighbors have told him, and keep telling him, none of whom have ever ridden a motorcycle. It bugs me to no end. When I go drag racing, I can't tell him, and I have to get the numbers off the bike before I get home. I couldn't tell him when I went to Beaver Run a few weeks ago because he would've gone berserk on me.

In my opinion, you're doing the right thing. Educate him as much as you can, and with the holidays coming up, it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to get him enrolled in some safety schools next year.

Best of luck, and let him get started on a smaller bike. He'll have more fun.
 

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I felt the same way riding with my dad. I've been riding for years and finally convinced him to get a bike last year. I'd feel responsible if something happened to him since he wouldn't be riding if it wasn't for me. Strange huh?!
 

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well, being a new dad myself and all, I can honestly say that teaching my son(and my daughter if she is so inclined ) to ride is one of the things I am looking forward to the most...I have only been riding for close to two years myself, but I have found that it is one of the few things I can do to truly escape life worries and troubles....I even worry about my children now and they are only a month old!!! imagine my worry when teaching them to ride!!!....so I say all of that to say B, I think worrying is a part of being a parent...all you can do is teach him to proper skills, pray he takes them to heart and trust that employs them when riding and if he does, the rest will take care of itself....
 

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As a father of a 'to be' rider and a son of a motorcycle hater, I can try to give you two perspectives.

As my father's son, I was NEVER allowed on or near motorcycles of any kind growing up. Kinda strange because I was always told I could do whatever I wanted (drugs, tattoos, drinking, whatever) EXCEPT get on a motorcycle. As a result, I grew up pretty much on the straight and narrow (no tattoos, no serious alcohol/drugs, etc) but now I own a motorcycle. So, if you look at it from that perspective, the thing you tell your child they can't do is probably exactly what they are going to do. My dad and I have a great relationship, but to this day, he hates the fact that I ride. He never says it to me, but my mom tells me on occassion what he says to her. I try to get him involved (trying to get him to come out to a trackday) but I think it's too much for him. However, he never pesters me about it.

As a father to a 1.5yo, my boy will most likely ride someday. He's always pointing out motorcycles to me when he hears them, he's always pointing at my bike in the garage....he seems interested, and I will foster that interest. And that (to me) is the key to being a good father. Foster the interest...teach them what you know (even at 19 when they know 'everything' like I did when I was 19) but in an unpreachy manner. Ride with him and lead the ride to control the pace and the route. Talk about the ride afterwards (did you see that moron in the red car? Can you believe what they did? That's why I try to stay out of blind spots and always give myself two avenues of exit from any given situation.....etc). Try to convey your experiences to your son so that he'll be better equiped to handle riding situations.

But there's only so much you can do, so it is paramount to insist or require that your son wears gear at all times. You can't protect him from life, your worrying is natural (as mine will be), so the best you can do is prepare him mentally for the situations that may occur and prepare him physically for the situations that do occur. Do these well and he will come to know the enjoyment that you get out of motorcycling...and it's something that father and son can share in a day and age where common bonds are harder to come by. Good luck......
 

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Well I can't speak as a parent on this one YET as my little one is only 9 but I can add something as a daughter!
I grew up on the back of a bike and was taught from the get go how to be a responsible rider. Both of my parents enjoy riding and passed that along to me BUT when I told them I was going for my license they both had reservations. Although they've been through their fair share of good and bad experiences on a bike, they both immediatly focused on the bad and what could happen to me. The worry will never go away! Guess that's just part of being a parent. Try not to let it get the best of you and just enjoy the fact that you guys can share something you both love!!

Good Luck
 

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I taught my son, whom I love more than life itself, to ride when he was 19. He's 23 now. We've had a couple of great trips (2-3 days) together.

When he rides, it's always with me.
He rides my well-maintained VFR.
He took the MSF course before I showed him anything else.
He rides fully armored.
We evaluate how he's doing throughout the ride.
He's really good at riding at his own pace and not trying to keep up with me in the twisties.
I ride interference for him in the few cities we've ridden in, practically directing traffic.

Even with that excessive amount of control, It scares the absolute sh!t out of me.

Maybe now with the realtively tame SV I can get him a day with Reg at CLASS.

But I am SO ambivalent about this, that despite all the fun we've had, If he said tomorrow that he didn't want to ride anymore, I'd secretly rejoice.
 

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As others have said, you probably won't stop worrying. My suggestion, however, is to alleviate as much fear as possible. Make sure he has taken an MSF course and then sign him up for a couple of track days. At least then you can be sure that he has gotten all of the proper training and has honed some of his skills to be as prepared as possible for the street. The track will allow him to develop his skills, start learning the limits of the bike, and teach proper responses to panic situations (i.e. the bike *can* lean farther and you *will* make it through the turn so don't stand it up and hit the brakes).

My wife has her license and will eventually start riding with me (right now she is concentrating on your private pilot's license). When that time comes she will attend a refresher MSF course and will be going to the track with me a few times before she starts hitting the street a whole lot.
 

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Another perspective from a non-parent, but I have a lot of those feelings when riding with my younger brother. He's a good rider, but I find myself watching him in my mirrors and worrying a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Great guidance, all - thanks very much. I knew I could get some great input from the cool people in this forum.

We'll see what happens with his desire to continue to ride. It may be derailed by what his insurance costs would be (he doesn't have the cleanest driving record, being a bit of a speed freak like the old man).

For now I'll just enjoy the common bond as has been suggested and do my best to supress the anxiety!
 

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Well here goes with an extended reply.

My son started riding a Honda Melody 50cc moped at 16. Used to get the mickey taken out of him by his 'cool' chums but he didn't care, he was mobile nad fee as a bird whilst they queued up waiting for parental lifts all over the place. At seventeen he was legally entitled to a 125cc bike and that was what he got on his birthday. A neighbour has a GN125 Suzuki sitting unused, so a deal was done. Very uncool bike but made slightly cooler with his skateboard strapped to the back. (He's a skateboard fanatic). All this riding was on a 'provisional' licence with L plates displayed i.e. he hadn't needed to take his full test. He came off the 125 twice (that i know of! ). Both very slow speed spills, on in a car park, another on a rotary intersction. No damage to him or the bike in either.

Last November he took his full test and failed. Retook and passed early December. So now he can ride a bike of any capacity as long as it puts out no more tha 33 bhp. ( I kid you not that there 33 bhp Hayabusas out there! ) This restriction lasts for two years, after that it's anything goes.

He's really loved his bike riding, just loved it and seeing all the bikes in my garage over the years, my trackday boasts, going to races, riding is now very much in his blood. However, most of his riding has been local, around town on little commuter bikes. My wife and I worried all the time but gradually came to the conclusion that for Alex there was no going back. He just loved his bike too much and wasn't going to stop just because we were concerned parents.

Now Alex is a pretty smart young fellow. Just spent seven months on his own travelling around the globe, US, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia. He came back a much more mature individual. Happy with himself. He's grown up.

So he's off to University started late September. Really didn't want a car, nowhere to park it, expensive, just hassle but the idea of a bike really appealed. So we talked a bit and we agreed that we'd help him buy a bike. We split the cost between us. I found a BMW F650 that looked good and persuaded him that it was a good 'proper' bike for him to begin with. He really wanted a race replica or something faster looking, but as anything would have to be restricted to 33 bhp performance wasn't really an issue.

So now my son has all the tools he needs to do irrepairable damage to himself. And Mum and Dad have helped provide them. We'd concluded that by this time whatever we had done Alex would ahve gone off at got a bike somehow. Nothing we could do would ever stop him.

We tried to minimise the risks by sourcing what we thought was an appropriate machne. We took a trip to the local Heine Gericke shop and kitted him out properly - armoured jacket and trousers, good boots and  gloves, Arai lid.

I booked him some advanced rider training with a very highly respected outfit, all Bike cops and the very, very best. His Instructor (who rides a streetfighterd TL1000s, and he's a cop!!! ) He learned agreat deal from that but needs loads more training which he'll get in his vacs. Riding lines. observation, palnning overtakes, gearing. Everything you need except experience.

So do we worry. Oh yes. I watched him (he didn't see me) hurtle through an intersection at a silly speed, overtaking as well. Made me feel physically sick. Went home and seriously though about taking the keys off him. Gave him the biggest and hardest lecture of his life. I think it made a difference. Maybe not. A week later we get a speeding ticket through the post. 48 mph in a 30 zone. If he gets another one in the next thirteen months he's back on a 125 and he'll have to retake his test. The boy is completely paranoid now and that might be the wake up call he needed. Hope so.

So do we worry? Oh yes indeedy. But he's an individual. old enough to fight for his country, vote and do all those big adult things. Whatever we do he'll ride a bike sometime so let him get on with it and just say a few prayers. You've got to let them go some time.

BWhip, let him ride, do your worrying in private. Do the right thing and train him, buy the right gear, then get him some more training.

Let him fly.

Sorry for the rambling.

 
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