At, we care deeply about all aspects of motorcycling, and one of the most important issues facing our recreation and transportation is how to reach the next generation of riders. Our love for motorcycling is hard-wired into our beings, so it’s vexing for us to imagine fun-loving youth not being enthralled by the thrills and benefits of riding on two wheels. And yet we’re seeing troubling statistics that point to a disinterest in motor vehicles, an issue I highlighted in an editorial a couple of years ago.

Duke’s Den – Kids On Bikes

Stats say that children aren’t riding bicycles nearly as much as previous generations, spending much more time indoors with screen time of some sort. That avoidance of two-wheel fun and freedom can naturally have a crippling effect on the desire and confidence needed to embark on a motorcycling career.

That’s why we’re thrilled to introduce you to Luke Colombero, who has written about his newfound passion for motorcycles. Luke is a SoCal surfer kid who until recently hadn’t fully succumbed to the allure of motorcycling. Crossing paths with a Ducati Panigale awakened desires and set the course for his path into riding.

Below is young Luke’s introduction to a series of articles we’ll be publishing as he makes the necessary steps to build his two-wheel skills, beginning off-road, of course, as he’s only recently turned 15. We’ll follow along with him as lessons are learned and and talents are nurtured on dirtbikes before one day transitioning to street training and learning new skills on public roads. Eventually, we want to be able to get him his dream ride on a Panigale and know he’s taken the smart steps to get him safely to that stage of higher learning.

We’re stoked to bring you a fresh perspective on motorcycling and hope you’ll pass this series along to the kids you know who might need a nudge to kickstart their interest in two wheels. —Kevin Duke

I should let everybody reading this know that I am a 15-year-old boy. I know, it’s kind of odd for an inexperienced kid to be writing an article about motorcycles and why they are so awesome. However, that’s what I want to talk about.

I am the only guy at my school who even knows the difference between a Ducati Panigale 959 and a Multistrada 1200. The motorcycle industry is starting to lose its audience of youths around my age. We millennials have such a vast array of entertainment, news, and action at our fingertips that the sport of supercross is almost forgotten. So that begs the question: how can the youth of today ride tomorrow? Well, ladies and gentleman, I have found the way to bring back riding. The answer is simple: Find the passion.

In order to help demonstrate how easy it is to gain a passion for metallic beasts, I would like to tell everybody about how my surprising lack of interest for motorcycles grew into a fiery passion. My dad started exposing motorcycles to me when I was four years old. During supercross events and bike intros, he would show me how spectacular bikes really could be, but since the sport did not initially interest me, I paid no mind to a new Kawasaki or a freshly tuned Honda.

That was until I started developing my own interest in motorcycles about a year ago. My dad, my mom, and I were shopping in our local town center when a car show was occurring in the parking lot. Vintage sports cars were surrounded by folk of all ages. Heck, even I ogled a few. There were some very awesome motorcycles, including vintage Indian Chiefs and Honda Shadows. Yet none grabbed my eye more than the Ducati Panigale 959. It was beautiful. Something about the red wheels combined with the white body just screamed “ride this forever.”

Luke aboard his dream ride.

Luke aboard his dream ride.

Luckily for me, the amazing owner of the Panigale struck up a conversation with me and my father about the awesomeness of his bike. He stated that he used to do a lot of street racing in Europe, and that his new Panigale 959 was his favorite motorcycle. He showed me how he customized the Italian stallion. I knew right then that I needed this guy’s Panigale and I’ve wanted one ever since.

I currently practice dirt riding as much as I can so I can be ready to ride street when I get my license, and once I have the skills, I will ride that Ducati (FYI, I’m not sponsored by Ducati in any way. I genuinely did just discover my love of motorcycles from that day in town center).

But enough about me! That story was simply how I discovered the love of a sexy Italian beauty. To be honest, anybody at any age can find a love for motorcycles through a range of sources. Acclaimed off-road racer Gary Sutherlin told me that while he was growing up in Montana, he would watch the motorcycle races near his town; now he competes in them for a living. Cooper Abbott, son of the legendary off-road racer Destry Abbott, did not really have a passion for racing until he was 16 years old. Before that, he’d partake in other sports, but found his calling after deciding to race; now he is a rising star in the racing scene. A high school friend of mine watched the classic film On Any Sunday with me and is now also inspired to ride dirt bikes. There are so many ways to discover a love of riding.

However, there is one thing with these stories that ties everything together: people. So many of the people in the industry are here because of people. Not to say they were forced in or born into the industry. I mean that the riders in motorcycling are some of the friendliest people in the world. Contrary to the belief that the pros will stomp on the little guy, all of the racers that I have met have a smile on their face when they hear I want to ride, and some have even offered to help me.

All in all, if a person around my age is not inspired to ride because of a parking lot encounter, or a local race, or watching a movie, they could definitely find the passion for riding through the kindness of other people. Society works well when it works together. Now, I send a message to all of the youths who dislike motorcycles, the millennials who are too afraid to gain saddle time, and the parents of said youths who fear for their baby’s safety: riding a motorcycle can be the most exhilarating, pulse pounding, zen moment of a lifetime.

You just have to find the passion to ride …and then practice and get a well-paying job if it’s a Ducati that tuggs at your heart strings!

The 959 Panigale is Luke’s carrot as he makes his way into the world of motorcycling. Follow along with us as he makes his journey.

The 959 Panigale is Luke’s carrot as he makes his way into the world of motorcycling. Follow along with us as he makes his journey. His father, Joe, is an experienced motorcycle journalist and will help to guide Luke through the safest path from first ride through getting his license, then his first motorcycle, his first professional riding school(s), gaining valuable experience, and eventually to Luke’s first superbike track day!

  • Pook

    How does this compare to VOLO lights? I feel like that allows you to keep your stock lights or upgrade to an LED tail light of your choice. This Admore light is pretty ugly, too.

  • kenneth_moore

    I had one of the original Light Bars for 7 years and 80k miles on my DL1k, and it worked perfectly. I saw this new one at Daytona Bike Week and ordered it a few weeks ago for my FJ-09. It’s an order of magnitude more sophisticated than the original. It’s smaller overall but puts out more light. The case is aluminium, the LEDs are much more intense, and you can program the functionality via a laptop and USB cable. I thought about replacing the entire factory setup with it, but decided “more is better.” It installed nicely on the license plate bracket in less than 2 hours.

  • allworld

    Some of my favorite quotes:
    ” I genuinely did just discover my love of motorcycles from that day in town center”
    “However, there is one thing with these stories that ties everything together: people.”
    “Society works well when it works together.”

    I really like this kid.

    We owe it to our youth to introduce the sport or motorcycling in a positive and enthusiastic manner.

  • MyName

    It is absolutely the previous generation that has the biggest impact on the next when it comes to motorcycles. My dad never was into motos, in fact, it’s safe to say that he dislikes the idea of me riding them. It was my uncle and his Harleys that hooked me in. That said… I’m 32, I love my bikes and I love riding, but I don’t really like the idea of my unborn children riding… I got my first when I was in my late 20s, had I gotten one at 16 I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have made it to 20.

  • Starmag

    Nice story and interesting writing Luke. Glad to have you aboard.

    It’s not hard to get the feeling that iCrap is ruining our youth, many of which see Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, etc. as superior to having real experiences. How much time is spent on it?

  • Old MOron

    “…and then practice and get a well-paying job if it’s a Ducati that tuggs at your heart strings!”

    Har har har, our young padawan is wise beyond his years.
    Welcome aboard, Luke! I look forward to following your progress.

  • Sayyed Bashir

    I am sure his mother doesn’t like it.

    • cdw

      Don’t be so sure both my kids had motorcycles licenses as teens. One at 15 (restricted license in Texas, no passengers, 250cc limit and no riding after midnight) and the other at 16. Made them both into better car drivers and more respectful of other vehicles on the road. As a mom I’m all in favor of kids learning to ride especially when they are respectful of the power and work on skills – not being idjits or hooligans.

  • JWaller

    Wow! As a high school teacher, I know what a typical 15 year old’s writing looks and reads like….. Nothing at all like what I just read. Great job, Luke. If you’re writing like this as a 15 year old, you don’t need to worry much about finding a good paying job to be able to afford that Ducati tugging at your heart-strings. If you can’t find that good paying job, you’ve got a head start in moto-journalism, where you’ll be riding new Ducatis, among other things, all the time. For all I know, moto-journalists make good bank but they always seem to write about not making much.

    • Johnny Blue

      I also noticed Luke’s writing skills. It is hard to believe he’s only 15.

  • Gee S

    Luke — Welcome aboard, Son.

    If you ride as well as you write, you should be just fine. 😉

    You tell your Dad Joe, that at least one other guy understands what it feels like to put your son on two wheels – – its heavy, man.

    So get good riding gear, get instruction from pros, and ride with your head and your heart.

    And maybe save the Panigale for your second bike.

  • Randy Young

    Great story! Best of luck to you Luke!

  • hasty hughie

    When I was a teen, I wanted a Vincent. Later, Richard Thompson wrote the song. Now, we have the quest for the red stallion. Will there be a ship wreck in this story? Luke, use your voice, make it real, but entertaining too!

  • Rick Germain

    The Force is strong in this one…