I tried on my motocross pants but they got stuck at about thigh level, so I decided I’d just have to ride in my jeans. My riding jersey was snug so I tucked it in tight in hopes it wouldn’t ride up. Then I put on my chest protector and felt it bump against my 6.5 month pregnant belly and I let out a laugh.
“I wonder if they make maternity dirtbike gear?” I said aloud and we all giggled. “Looks like you’ve got a nifty business idea there Misti” said Michael grinning before I put on my helmet, started the bike and rode off to join the others.
(This post is dedicated to the memory of Peter Lenz who passed away 2 years after this story was written. Rest in Peace Peter. We miss you so much!)
The others were 10 year-old Nicole Lenz, her 11 year-old brother Peter, my husband John Parker and my 2008 Slednecks roadracing teammate Josh Galster, and we were all enjoying a beautiful day of backyard motorcross riding. I was riding one of the many little bikes in the Lenz fleet. I chose the Honda XR 100 because it seemed a perfect fit for me as I was comfortable that I wasn’t going to crash it, or be able to ride it too fast if my competitiveness got the best of me, i.e., forgetting that I was “with child.”
Save for it being a little bit awkward having a big ol belly sticking out, it felt awesome for me to be back on a bike and the kid loved it too. As soon as I started off, standing up most of the time so that it wasn’t too bouncy, the kid started kicking and moving around in the belly. I’m hoping that he or she will get used to and enjoy the sound of motorcycles and grow up to love them as much as mom and dad do.
I had been thinking a lot about how there are fewer and fewer kids and families playing outside together these days. With video games, Ipod’s, DS’s, movies, and TV taking over, kids are staying indoors and becoming more and more independent, withdrawn, unhealthy, and fat. That is why it was so refreshing to be invited to the Lenz’s backyard mini motorcross track for a weekend of good riding fun.
Motorcycling it seems, is the perfect family adventure, complete with exercise, fresh air and a sense of camaraderie. Both John and I are looking forward to raising our kids on bikes and enjoying adventures and the outdoors as much as possible.
After a long and uncomfortable five hour drive down from Vancouver Canada to Vancouver Washington in the cargo van we arrived and were greeted by an excited Peter and his equally excited family members, mom Jennifer, dad Michael, and sisters Clarissa and Nicole, along with a recovered Josh Galster (who had broken his neck in a September race crash).
Gear was unpacked and laid out, bikes were oil changed and fueled and given the once over, and of course the bragging started. We stayed up late that night laughing, teasing and watching riding and racing videos.
In the morning John was the first one up and was certainly the most outwardly excited to ride that day. I swear he is more like a kid than the kids are. He was also the first one out on the home made track with Peter struggling to get his gear on as fast as possible so he could join him. He did one lap of warm up and then passed us on one wheel going downhill.
Michael said, “I think you’ve got some competition Peter, John is on his second lap of the day and he did most of it on one wheel!” Peter was out in a flash and you could see the competitive gleam in his eye as he tore off trying to catch up to John.
Next out was Josh. It was his first time on a motorcycle after his bad crash in September that fractured his neck and badly broke his wrist. He was recently freed of wearing a halo and a hard neck brace and was more than ready to go. It wasn’t long before the three of them were ripping it up while the rest of us watched and took pictures.
There was a lot of laughter and a lot of friendly competition. There were pretend race starts and some daring passing. There were riding tips and suggestions given, there were digs at form and speed, there was banter and teasing and there were even a few crashes.
Most of all there were two awesome fun filled days of family riding fun in which everyone took part.
After several hours of trying to convince myself that I shouldn’t ride, I decided that if I took it easy and was careful it might just be good for me to get back out on the bike. The gear didn’t fit at all but what the heck, I made it work and it was certainly worth it. I had a great time!
We spent two full days in the backyard riding and goofing around and enjoying the air and the sunshine and the wind in our faces. It was awesome.
On the way home, John and I happily discussed the way it made us feel to be a part of a large riding family and how we were excited to be starting our own family. We talked about how we were going to make play and the outdoors and a huge part of our child’s growing up and we talked about what “first bike” to get him or her. We laughed about how we already had a little run bike for when our kid is big enough to start learning how to ride.
Point of this post? Motorcycles are a great way to get everyone together, and outside! So, get the little ones involved, gather family and friends and enjoy a weekend of dirtbiking fun for the whole family!