So much has changed since I was a kid, but the benefits of dirt bikes have stayed the same.
Sure we had video games when I was a kid, but we never stayed up all night playing them. We certainly didn’t waste a sunny day staring at a TV. At best, we used them to cool down during the hot part of the day, or kill time between outdoor activities. What is sad is that what kept us out in public, socializing and learning life skills, are things that most adults and kids no longer participate in. The thing that had me excited to come home from school and give my mom a hurried kiss while heading out the back door was my dirt bike.
Every parent wants the best for their children. We all want our kids to grow up smart, kind, capable, and curious. With the abundance of screen time that this generation has, between virtual schooling, online homework, and kids messing around on social media, I think many parents share the concern of our kids becoming vitamin D deficient NEETs. The question is, how can we convince our kids to go get into trouble outside?
Personally, I think the answer is pretty obvious: make them do cool shit.
I have been teaching my daughters the foundations of dirt bike safety and maintenance for practically their whole lives and I love being able to share this with them. It’s exciting to watch my daughters’ riding skills improve and I’m proud of the responsibility they’ve demonstrated by riding safely. I would encourage any family that has the means to invest in the benefits of dirt bikes for a few reasons.
One of the most obvious benefits of dirt bikes for the family is that they are a really fun way to spend time with your kids. Let’s face it, most parent/child activities are incredibly boring for either the parent or the child (or both). I don’t mind driving my daughters to lessons and practices for things I don’t personally enjoy but it really makes me value the activities we can equally share all the more. You’ll be able to spend afternoons with your kids teaching them about bike safety and maintenance and spending weekends finding new places to ride. The maintenance is important the and the riding is an absolute blast.
You don’t the biggest or fanciest (or most expensive) bike to get started. The bikes and go-karts we played with when I was young were not the fancy four stroke (sometimes even fuel injected) toys of today. Most were kits that we found in magazines and involved stealing an engine off of a lawn mower. Even the factory stuff some of us had was far from reliable and you’d better know how to mix 2 stroke oil and gas. All of them required us to get our hands dirty and make them work. Getting something cheaper that will require a little TLC to get running can be a great project as long as you have the time and space. I know the more work I put into one of my franken-bikes, the sweeter the ride.
Introducing your children to motorsports definitely teaches them complex problem solving skills and perseverance. When I was younger, there was never a moment where we just gave up on a ride because it didn’t have spark. That would have sent us back inside and closer to homework. I know I always approached my backyard like a guy about to scratch a lottery ticket. Was it going to start? Was there a pool of fluid under it? Did it have gas? Did that repair I made yesterday hold? The joy that came from being able to kick a bike or cart alive and drive away is something I still remember today.
What I also remember is the ingenuity that came with the desire to ride and attain the freedom of the road. It didn’t matter that I could not leave my neighborhood; I was free. And that meant finding fuel, and changing tires, pulling apart starters and engines. And I remember the pain too like the time I blew out an overfilled tire and took off a bunch of skin from the top of my right knee. Talk about getting your hands dirty! My mom beat the crap out of me while standing in her blood splattered shower, but I took my licks and rode the next day. The tinctures and bandages were put in place by yours truly.
Those lessons have helped me greatly in life. Running a successful law practice and representing accident victims is as difficult as it is fulfilling. The lawyers and adjusters that oppose me often try and hinder my progress, just like the engines on my old bikes. But with thought, and ingenuity, coupled with grit and willingness to skin my knees and elbows in the effort, I help my clients get the justice they deserve. Check out the testimonials page at MotoJustice.com; the stories illustrate what perseverance brings to our cases.
If you want to do all of us a favor, pass the virtues of motorbiking on to the next generation. I get that we won’t be able to keep them away from electronics, but at least introducing them to what we enjoy(ed) is a great diversion. Break the cycle…. Get them outside. Teach them how to get their hands dirty, fix stuff, and that the smell of gasoline is a good thing. Let them know that if they fall off, they can pick themselves up and continue on. That’s called life and there is no better tutor than a grassy field and a kick start dirt bike!