How to Introduce Your Children to the World of Motorcycle Touring
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It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking your children must be older to enjoy the fun of motorcycle touring. While this is true, to a degree, many options are available to help build their interest and confidence.
Children love adventure, and to be fair, there’s nothing more adventurous than setting out on an epic motorcycle tour. Young teenagers and children might not be old enough to take part in the “real thing”. However, there are ways to help your children take their first steps into this amazing world. Check out some ideas:
Summer Camps and Family Day
All over the globe, organizers set up fantastic events for children and families to experience motorcycle riding. Realizing how fun (and safe, for that matter), motorcycling is, can come as a surprise for many parents. However, the feeling of seeing your child climb onto a bike for the first time and turn into a confident rider in less than a day is exhilarating.
So, what kind of events can you look out for? In the US, companies such as Iron Horse hold annual summer camp events where children aged 8 to 15 can learn and take part in motorcycle riding. During these events, children get to learn about bikes, how to ride them and build their confidence. They provide all the motorcycle gear needed and teach the children on off-road Honda motorcycles ranging from 50cc to 150cc.
In the UK, you’ll find family days offering motorcycle experience to children as young as four. This is thanks to an initiative by the Motorcycle Industry Association, which launched a campaign back in 2010 called “Get On”.
Although they have been around since the 1800’s, motorized bikes are only now becoming popular. When you hear the term “motorized bike”, it may be referring to one of the following two types:
- Electric Bikes (or e-bikes, as they are often called). These have a battery, and in many cases, look exactly like a normal push-bike.
- Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) powered bikes. These tend to look a little different to a standard bike, but they still have pedals.
There are a few reasons for the recent increase in popularity. Firstly, they are a greener form of travel than cars, for example. Even models with internal combustion engines are more environmentally friendly than cars, given their smaller engine size. Secondly, they are convenient; users can park easier, there’s no tax or other things to sort, and in many cases, no license is required.
Regarding the law, many countries allow children younger than 16 to ride motorized bikes.
When it comes to touring, a motorized bike will be nearer the real thing than a normal push bike. For example, routes with steeper hills can be tackled and you can also travel longer distances. If the children begin tiring, they can switch the motor on to help them.
Standard Bike Riding
Of course, summer camps, family days and motorized bikes are not cheap. Entertaining your children with such events once or twice per year might be possible, but buying a motorized bike or paying for camps and family events regularly might get costly.
To save on costs, remember this: the principles of motorcycle touring can be applied to a simple bike ride. Selecting a destination, planning pit stops for a break and refreshment, listing items to take along, budgeting and time planning, can all be practiced on a normal bike ride. This way, once your kids are old enough to go on their first motorcycle tour, they’ll just have to focus on riding, the rest will come naturally.
In addition, this is a great time to teach your children the art of map reading. In an age where smartphones and satellite navigation systems are doing the work for us, map reading is becoming obsolete – which is a shame. There will be times when phones run out of power, or you encounter areas with no signal or even areas which have been incorrectly mapped on the device. Learning how to read an old-fashioned map for these occasions is something that all children should do with their parents.
All the excitement of a well-planned, multi-day motorcycle trip is something that teenagers and older children can, and should, take part in. They’re not going to do it on a full-sized, powerful vehicle, just yet, but let’s be honest – the journey, scenery, excitement and planning conform most of the fun. All of this can be experienced by youngsters either using push-bikes or if you can invest in them, a motorized bike.
When you think about it, the ideas discussed here can also apply to those new to motorcycling, or those looking to get into it. You might not know if motorcycle touring is for you, so before investing in an expensive motorcycle, you might want to plan a little trip on a push-bike – as kind of a mini, low-cost version to test the water. That said, nothing can compare to the real thing!
Are your children ready for their first motorcycle tour? Sign up for a motorcycle adventure and enjoy a great riding time with your family!
Robin is a guest author from Fitness Savvy.