If you’re reading this, you’re either cheap or broke, but you still want to do right by buying a Father’s Day gift for Dad. I’m proud of you, son. So, let me give you a few tips on how to let your old man know that you care while still leaving enough money in your wallet to put gas in your bike. The trick is – and this is true of moms, too, only to a slightly lesser extent – your parents care less about how much you spent on a gift for them than how much you thought about the gift you gave them. Just because you are struggling to afford your artisanal coffee habit doesn’t mean you can’t invest some time thinking about your father and what present would accurately represent your love and respect for him.
So, while most of these gifts are pretty general, they offer enough variation within their ranks to allow you to tweak the specific item you choose to suit Dad’s personality. Remember who coached your Tee-Ball team and listened with feigned interest to the crap pop music you thought was so cool when you were ten? Yeah, you owe him…
Before you start saying that getting Dad a T-shirt is the blue collar equivalent of buying him a necktie, I have a question: What motorcyclist doesn’t like bike-related T-shirts? What sets the T-shirt you’re gonna give Dad apart from other, lame-assed gifts is the way you find one that meshes perfectly with his love of motorcycles and what he likes to do with them. A quick web search yields thousands of options from which to choose. So, while you’re sponging off your local coffee house’s free wifi (because your smartphone’s data is almost maxed out), spend some time finding the perfect T for Dad. The “Wherever there is sin…That’s where I must go” shirt can be found at Aerostich.com.
Replacement Tools – $5-$25
Come on, admit it. On more than one occasion, you’ve either lost, broken, or simply stolen a tool (or five) from your father’s garage. That’s okay, we’ve all done it. He expected it when he taught you how to use them. Still, you’ve probably been around when he was looking for that “misplaced” tool. Well, now’s the time to make up for the past deed(s) by giving Dad a replacement for that tool he can’t seem to find. It’s the perfect gift. He doesn’t have to wonder what happened to the tool. You look like a loving kid who pays attention to a father’s needs – and nobody needs to be any wiser as to what happened to the old tool.
Detailing Supplies – $20
Okay, so Dad’s a neat freak who’s spent tons of money on polishes and waxes for shining up his motorcycle. While buying a special kit might be out of reach of your budget, you can sneak into his garage and look at what polishing products he’s low on. Then go buy a replacement. Although the gift may not be very original, it shows initiative (through your investigation) and the fact that you actually pay attention to what Dad likes. Both good ways to tell him how you feel about him.
Funny thing about motorcyclists, even those who aren’t big readers still like reading about motorcycles. So, with just a little cash and some research, you can find the perfect book for Dad. If he’s interested in travel – and philosophy – there’s always the standard Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, or perhaps self-discovery through motorcycling as evidenced by Neil Peart’s Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road. If he’s more inclined towards wrenching, there are repair manuals – although they’re just a bit above the $25 limit set for this article. Personally, I feel Melissa Holbrook Pierson’s The Perfect Vehicle: What It Is About Motorcycles is always a good choice.
Motorcycle Movies – $10-$25
Sitting down with Dad, a movie and a cold beverage sounds like a good time for all. There are tons of motorcycle movies to suit the tastes of various moto-Dads, but Why We Ride ($13-$25) may very well be the quintessential motorcycle movie of the current era, combining a broad swath of the motorcycle sub-culture with beautiful photography and music. If Dad leans more towards the action genre, perhaps you should take a look at our Top 10 Motorcycle Chase Scenes In Movies. Then there’s also our Top 10 Motorcycle Movies. With movies ranging from 1953-the present on our list, you really can’t go wrong. In fact, the only real way you can go wrong with a motorcycle movie is to buy Dad a copy of Biker Boyz.
Framed Photo of Dad’s Favorite Motorcycle Picture – $25
This will require a little subterfuge on your part. Everybody has a favorite photo of themselves. You may already know what Dad’s favorite motorcycle photo is, or you may have to do a little detective work. Once you know what the photo is, you’ll need to get the digital file of the negative either from Mom or by sneaking in to Dad’s photo storage. Costco and other discount retailers are making prints as inexpensively at $10 for a 20 in. x 30 in. photo. Then buy a frame from another discount retailer for about $15. Put them together, and you’ve used up your budget. Plus, you’ll make your Dad very happy.
Motorcycle-Focused Maps – $13-$15
Two brands of motorcycle maps are widely available online and at motorcycle dealerships, Butler Motorcycle Maps and Mad Maps. These two brands deliver motorcycle-specific information about points of interest and sample loops to ride. Anyone who has taken a long tour by motorcycle knows that planning the route is half the fun. So, give Dad the pleasure of armchair traveling in advance of his next tour and the opportunity to learn about some great roads. Regardless, he’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Ancra Tiedowns – $8-$25+
When you were a kid, Dad probably made sure you were buckled into your car seat. Now, you can repay the favor by giving him a pair of the industry standard, Ancra Tiedowns, for his bike. If you’re really strapped for funds, you can just get him a set of two or four soft-tie loops for $8-$14. Basic tiedowns start at around $24 for a pair, with those including built-in soft tie loops going for $30. The ratcheting variety are out of the price range covered here, but they’re, not surprisingly, quite good.
You want to protect Dad’s hearing. Without it, he can’t enjoy the sweet sounds of his motorcycle’s engine – or your requests for a little spending money. Depending on the type of plugs he prefers, you may be able to buy a box of 50 disposable foam ones for less than $20. If he’s new to earplugs, perhaps you should try the Aerostich Disposable Earplug Sample Kit for $15. Many reusable options are available, but one of the newest on the market are the Etymotic ER–20XS High-Fidelity Earplugs. The ER–20XS offer 12db of noise reduction with a flat frequency response for more natural hearing out on the road while helping to prevent leaving loss.
We all know that you’d love to give Dad the bike he’s dreamed of owning, but that’s just not within your $25 budget. Or is it? While the H2 and the R1M aren’t available, yet, you could give Dad a Desmosedici for $20 or a 2002 Harley Davidson FLTR Road Glide for $25. Think of the joy having his dream bike will give Dad, and every time he looks at it, he’ll think of you.
A Ride with You – Priceless
What Dad would probably like more than anything else is to spend some time doing his favorite activity with one of the most important people in his life – riding motorcycles with you. When you were younger, Dad probably spent tons of time doing things he was only moderately interested in, but doing them nonetheless because he wanted to spend the time with you, his child. Don’t let this Father’s Day pass without giving back to him just a little of what he gave to you. Besides, you’ll get to ride a motorcycle and spend some quality time with one of the most important people in the whole world, your Dad. Just go do it.