How many of you would like your spouse to ride their own motorcycle? This was a question I faced as our kids became teenagers. I wanted my wife to experience the sense of freedom and excitement that I feel when I throw a leg over the saddle and twist the throttle. This is how I transitioned my wife from the back of my bike to her own bike.
First, if your spouse hasn’t been around motorcycles it is important that the ride experience as a passenger is enjoyable and not scary. The rides have to be pleasant and provide a sense of exploration and comfort. Deciding to roll through turns at excessive speeds to demonstrate your skill as a driver is not going to help her gain confidence. In fact, it may end any chance of her wanting anything to do with motorcycles. Ultimately, this could actually reduce the amount of time you get to spend on the bike.
The early rides should focus on pleasant destinations and enjoyable scenery. Comfort is also important so spend the money for a touring seat so there is enough cushion to keep the circulation system in the lower extremities flowing.
Encouraging participation in a motorcycle safety course is an excellent next step. In suggesting a safety course, focus on the importance as a rider and potentially as an operator. This course will teach the rules and safety tips to do well on a bike. In many cases, the course will also provide rider training on a smaller bike. Being taught by someone else is often a good approach for a marriage or relationship. In addition, the courses often provide the testing necessary for a person to obtain their motorcycle license by completing the course and exam.
For many new riders, the nervousness of riding doesn’t leave until the first 100 mile ride is completed. On the first long ride, choose a familiar destination so the newbie doesn’t have to be concerned with navigating unfamiliar roads. Confidence will increase with the completion of the long ride and many will now be ready for new destinations to unfamiliar places.
Be ready…. A new larger bike may be necessary as experience takes over and an increasing skill set requires a more versatile bike.
Learning on back roads allows a person to ride without the fear of traffic and congestion. Back roads offer a more relaxed ride so that the new biker can concentrate on learning how to ride and the bike they are riding. Start off with short rides of 10 miles of less to build a sense of confidence in handling the bike and traffic. Gradually increasing the length of rides will build the skill set of the new rider as the rider faces different scenarios along the ride.
Start small. The biggest obstacle to riding their own bike for spouses is the weight of the bike. The fear of dropping a bike often prevents folks from riding. By acquiring a small bike, below 350 pounds, the fear of dropping the bike can be reduced. In my situation, my wife started on a 250 cc bike, moved up to a 650 cc bike and now rides a HD Sportster 1200 Low. The process started in 2003, then on to the 650 cc bike in 2004 and the Sportster in 2018.
Go have some fun out there!