This past weekend, the Motorcycle.com staff participated in our third UMRA 24 hour endurance race, which you’ll get to read about in the near future. However, my experience of the weekend got me to thinking about how life can interfere with motorcycling. I can say that I happily missed three-fourths of the 24 hours to have some special time with my youngest daughter, driving her to Las Vegas so she could participate in a gymnastics meet. Because of the confluence with high school homecoming, my wife would stay behind to handle our teenager’s dance prep needs, which gave me two full days alone with my youngest only a few short years before she too becomes a teenager and I turn into an idiot. With this special trip planned, missing the 24 hour race didn’t seem that onerous.
Back in my younger, single days, the rules were much simpler. I worked all week, and when the weekend came, I rode my motorcycle as much as I could. Often, both Saturday and Sunday were devoted to nothing but riding. Laundry and bills could wait. I had roads to explore and friends to meet up with.
Since I worked in the film industry, I often had weeks in between the low-budget movies that employed me. In those times, I hit the road. At one point, I was going through a set of tires every 3-4 weeks. This wasn’t because I was riding some fire-breathing superbike, either. Initially, it was my beloved EX500 and then I moved up to a CBR600 F3. I lived on my bike and in my faded Aerostich. Motorcycling was my life. Almost all of my social activities revolved around it. And, as they say, life was good.
Then as often happens to young people, I met someone. We fell in love. We pledged our lives to each other in front of family and friends. We bought a house and began to put down roots. Now, this isn’t one of those tales of woe where our motorcycle riding hero is asked to give up one love for another. Quite the contrary, I gladly took on the tasks that cut down on my motorcycle time. After all, the house needed painting, and other adulting needed to be done. During all that, I still managed to find the time to club race for five years. So, I can’t say I totally neglected riding.
And then came the kids. While I’d discovered motorcycling in my 20s, I’d known since I was a teenager that my life’s ambition was to be a father. So, when, in my early 40s, I finally got to be a dad, making my weekends family time wasn’t a compromise at all. The Sunday morning hike with other families simply replaced the ride up the Angeles Crest Highway.
I am lucky, though. I still get to ride motorcycles as my job, which keeps two-wheeled adventures part of my regular life. Lots of other married folks do the same thing but by commuting on a bike. Motorcycling remains an integral part of our lives even if it isn’t the primary focus it once was.
Still, this summer, I began to feel a familiar itch, one that I hadn’t scratched in a long time. I began to crave a Sunday morning ride. I wanted to go for a ride just for the fun of it. You see, while riding during the week is still time on a motorcycle, it’s also work. We’re either testing or shooting stills or doing standups for video. There’s always a job to be done as we ride.
When I realized that I hadn’t been making time for motorcycling for just me – for years – I decided to do something about it. These occasional Sunday morning jaunts with no agenda other than enjoyment revitalized my love of motorcycling. And, here’s the great thing, my family was willing to accommodate my desire to chase apexes. They saw that I came home refreshed and more focused on them. So, it was a win-win.
It was with that thought in mind that I told my daughter we’d be getting up before dawn this past Sunday morning. We would head to the Grangé Motor Circuit (which just so happened to be on our route home) to support the MO team, and hopefully, I’d get a chance to ride a stint. Racing our little Benelli TnT135 for two hours was a blast, but what I’ll most remember of the time in the saddle was having my daughter wave to me on almost every lap as I went by. She also got to see some kids that were her age racing, too!
Too often, as adults, we put ourselves second for all the best reasons, but there’s something to be said about being a little bit selfish from time to time. Make time for motorcycling. It’s important, and you’ll be glad you did.