When I consider every adventure I have ever had in a lifetime on two wheels, what I find when watching my 5-year-old son ride is that all those adventures come to life in his actions on a motorcycle. All the beauty, wonder, and surprise I have felt spark in his eyes when we ride together, and it forges a bond like few other activities can.
We’ve been fortunate to have a yard big enough for him to ride his Yamaha PW50 in since he first tried it when he was 3 years old. He’s spun countless laps since, but this spring when he’d just turned 5, we went to the desert to ride in the open for the very first time.
He crashed hard in the first 10 minutes. And cried right in my helmet since we were connected by bluetooth headsets. It was a pretty big crash for a little dude (check out the video—full props to filmer Mom for getting the shot and not screaming!), but he wasn’t hurt, thanks in part to full gear. He was back on the bike in a few minutes and we rode the rest of the day.
My experience talking with him via bluetooth while we rode was so good on so many levels, we made a video in partnership with Cardo to show the benefits. To film that, we hit some local trails with a lot of new obstacles, so it was wonderful to see how his riding had advanced and what a good little adventure rider he had become.
Which leads us to the Ford Transit Ultimate Motorcycle Hauler we built for Cycle World and Dirt Rider. We definitely wanted a van to give us a great basecamp for taking dirt bikes into the wild for testing, and to have a great support vehicle for trackdays.
But wouldn’t it be nice to take your family moto-camping too? Yes, I pulled rank on this build, and worked directly with Sportsmobile so our Ford Transit van would be fun and comfortable for taking my wife Jen and son Ian out for long weekends riding and sharing time around the campfire.
And those are really good times. But the real benefit of riding motorcycles together is what I have observed in my son’s growth as a person and in his perception of the world. Every time we make a hard ride or conquer a new trail, I see his self-confidence rise and I see his ability to think critically evolve. Riding is also part of an overall active life he wants to pursue naturally.
We consider the van and the motorcycles that go inside it a worthwhile investment in experience, vehicles to see, explore, and share our world with the most meaningful people in our lives. We had our first big moto-camping adventure in the van and my son’s first long dirt-bike ride in Ocotillo Wells SVRA in Southern California, with the goal of reaching Pumpkin Patch, a super-neat collection of pumpkin-shaped rock formations. It seemed like the perfect destination for a 5-year-old’s first off-road adventure ride. Check out the video and come ride with us.
You can read the complete build story here.