Make Motorcycling a Family Affair

How to get your loved ones to join you on two wheels.

Sandy, Terry, and Jack Borden with one of their GS bikes they use to travel around the world.Photo by Sandy Borden

For many years, husbands and fathers have approached me with the same question, “How do I get my wife/son/daughter to take off with me on a motorcycle ride? ” I tend to follow up with, “Have you involved them in the idea of motorcycle travel or are you just hitting them up out of the blue?” More often than not, they shoot me a quizzical look and ask, “What do you mean?”

Too often we as motorcycle riders tend to assume that our spouse or children will jump at the chance to take off on an all day ride through the mountain or down the coastline. Where we most often fail in this assumption is that they, too, desire the same as we do. This is not always the case. Remember, you aren’t riding with your buddies who want to do 500+ mile days without stopping. It’s time to learn the art of communication and compromise.

Terry carries their son Jack on the back of his BMW 1150GS Adventure.Photo by Sandy Borden

When it comes to our family, we need to make them a part of the process. If they become involved in the planning, you are making them a part of the experience, not just a passenger. What do I mean by that? I mean asking what they want to do, where they want to go, what they want to see, etc. Maybe your son or daughter loves to spend the night in a tent though you’d rather credit card camp. Looks like it might be time for you to suck it up for a night or two and enjoy an experience that is on their terms. Who knows, they might have an idea that you never thought of. Maybe they’ve heard about a tucked away locale that, lo and behold, includes a fabulous two-lane road that satisfies your need for twisties and their need for a particular destination. In fact, make a weekend out of it. Why not?

Sandy and Terry at the Las Vegas sign before Jack started joining them on their adventures.Photo by Sandy Borden

These are the times where you as the pilot have to take a step back from your usual routine and listen. No, don’t interject! Listen. If you want them to come along for the ride, it’s time to compromise. You may have to give up a little more in the beginning if you want to help get them into the saddle. So, you didn’t ride 400 miles that day. That doesn’t matter because you got to spend that time on a motorcycle ride with your lovely wife or loving child, something you never thought would happen. And that’s much more important than making the miles.

Like any successful relationship, there is a bit of give and take. All participants must be willing to move a bit out of their comfort zone, making sure everyone is a part of the process. Compromise, communicate, and most importantly, take the time to enjoy these moments together. I promise, you won’t regret it.