The Son(ny) Okanagan Ride

Discussion in 'Trips & Events' started by zoom-zoom, Jun 30, 2013.

  1. zoom-zoom

    zoom-zoom Member

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    Well, though it is certainly not as epic a story as some of the ride reports I have had the chance to read and enjoy on this site, here is the story of my son's first EPIC ride.

    Starting off the story must begin with a little bit of background I suppose, so here we go. My son has been riding with me on as pillion on the back of my trusty 2000 VFR for what is now his third season. His first season was short lived as it started late in the year for the first piece of gear required was a helmet. My son Liam had been wanting to go for a ride on the bike with "Dear old Dad" from the time he could put together said words and say "Honda" (not his first word incidentally but certainly close).

    The first rides on the bike occured at age four, and all were quick (time wise) and usually involved taking him a couple of blocks to the park so he play in the sand, go down the slide and enjoy time on the swings. As winter approached a couple months later, his first season came to an unceremonious end when the dreaded VFR regulator issue reared it's ugly head. Ah well, "Bike is broken, dad" he said with a frown, "Guess we'll have to fix it." Truer words were never spoken.

    Fast forward to his second season, and literally his first full season as passenger. Well, this season (last year) started a bit late, for him at least, as it would appear my son, at age 5, was a bit of a fair weather rider. Most all trips occurred with him as passenger on nice days, blessed with sun and blue skies. Were there dark and even remotely rainy looking clouds present, riding pillion it would seem, was just not in the cards. I grew to understand that this was more to do with playing in the park, than riding on the back of the VFR. That and he didn't want to show up at the park, to the amazement of the other youngsters crowded around the various park apparatus' when he rolled into the parking lot aboard his shiny steed. Liam seemed to be forever the "Kid to be" when he showed up at the playground on the back of the bike as not only did he show up with JUST his dad (an oddity it would appear, for dad to come alone with his young child, whilst still being married) but the fact that he showed up riding a motorcycle made him cool kid #1. The fact that he got to go somewhere with me all by himself ("Mommy and my sister can't ride with us because there are only 2 seats." as Liam used to enjoy telling his friends at the park) was icing on the cake and both my son and I grew to really enjoy the one on one time we shared while biking. As the summer progressed, our rides grew in length (both time and mileage) until he was up to about 50 miles from home by the time his first full season had come to an end.

    Time warp ahead to this year. When riding season started he was well into his year in kindergarten and though he had shown up a couple times the previous year at school on the back of the VFR (school is only 4 blocks from home) he wanted to increase the frequency. Over the winter I had purchased a Givi top case rack so that I could hopefully find a used Givi top case for adding extra storage. This addition, my wife and I thought, would give me the ability to commute to work in the morning after dropping my son off at school. This would give my son and I more time together (always a good thing) and I could also commute to work with his helmet and jacket in the top case without having to return home to drop it off or without my wife having to carry it home when she picked him up from school in the afternoon. A friend offered me the use of his Givi E52 top case off his V-Strom as he was not going to be using it much during the year due to a broken collar bone and ribs suffered during a downhill mountain biking incident. This addition to the VFR allowed me the ability to surprise him with a lift home from kindergarten whenever my time at work permitted. Being self-employed doesn't always give me the opportunity to cut out in the middle of the afternoon, but every once in a while I found the afternoon schedule open to just this sort of activity.

    While increasing Liam's level of comfort on the back of the bike immensely (the addition of the top case allowed us to carry snacks and fluids for the addition of picnic rides to the schedule, another favorite past time) he still wanted to stick relatively close to the comfort of home. Well Saturday morning arrives and my son awakens and decides he would like to go for a ride. Tis barely into the wee hours of the morning and I find myself unable to sleep any longer so I get up and sneak out of the bedroom so that my wife can sleep in. My son hears me roaming around in the kitchen and he suggests that we go for a ride. The time at this point is barely 6 am, and though it is early, the forecast for the day is to be hot (high 80's to low 90's Fahrenheit) with a possibility of showers in the afternoon. I gaze out the back window and though there are a few threatening looking clouds (remember, until now, my son has been a fair weather rider only) my son says lets go anyhow daddy. "All right then my boy," I say with a grin, "Let's get ready. Go grab your gear and let's get changed, but do so quietly so as not to wake your mom or sister." My wife has absolutely no issues with my son going for rides but his little sister Chantal, is starting to realize that perhaps she is missing out on something and always gives this pouty look when Liam and I take off on the bike. She knows she is not big enough yet to ride with me, but the look she gives me, well,......................... ever seen a Cocker Spaniel with those big droopy sad eyes. If you're a dad and you have a little girl, you know exactly the face to which I am referring. My daughter has certainly got me wrapped around her little finger, and frankly, I think she knows I can't say no to that face. One day when she is old enough, the plan would be for my wife to get a bike and then we can do rides as a family. For now though, well............... You get the idea.

    I scribble a short note for my wife to say what we are doing, and that we will be back in a while, and we head off to the garage. As we are donning our respective helmets, my son looks up at the sky, sees the clouds and says, "Hey daddy, are those rain clouds?" Hmmm, could be but Liam is still putting on his helmet so let's see what happens. "Looks as though we could get wet at some point," I tell him, not wanting to be untruthful, "You still want to go?" "Oh you betcha," he responds so off we go.

    We head out on to the open road (ok, the city streets, but it sounded better as the open road) and I go for our usual morning loop and as we get to the first corner I feel a tap on my shoulder. "Can we go for a longer ride this morning," is the request I hear from the masked marrauder sitting behind me. After stopping at the side of the street for a minute he decides he wants to head to Vernon (this is a small town north of where we live in Kelowna and it is about 80 km's away. There is no real way to get there other than venturing out at highway speeds for a long distance and this is something I have yet to bring myself to do with my son on the back as I'm not sure he is ready (nor me for that matter) to be doing highway velocities. I offer a compromise and say we can go for a more circuitous route that may be just about to Vernon (not really, but it is on a road that he has never been on and a nice quiet road that I have not done myself in quite some time. Liam nods in agreement so off we go. The road I have chosen is blessed a few tight corners and some long gentle sweepers and a few good straight stretches and has a speed limit of 70 km/h since it is a rural road through some agricultural areas. Since it is not exactly filled with tourist destinations it is relatively free of traffic and the ride is great. About half way up the road (now at over 30 km's from home) I stop for a short bit on the side of the road to ask how my son is doing. He responds that everything is fine and he wants to keep going and he is not the least bit ready to go back. The sky is starting to turn a bit darker and I suggest that perhaps we turn back for the house once we get to the end of the road and maybe we could stop for some breakfast at Burger King. They have a great bacon, egg, toast and hashbrown breakfast that is really inexpensive and we have yet to try it so he agrees.

    I get up near the end of the road and there is a construction sign that leads toward the highway. Apparently some of the heavy rains and creek run off we have had in the last month has washed out a section of the road ahead and traffic is being diverted to the highway. Hmmmmm, not what I was hoping for, but we have to get home some how and the weather on the road we just went down is looking a little ominous. I decide that since the stretch on the highway (a 90 km/h zone) is fairly short at less than 10 km's, I can handle that amount of highway time. Off we go. We get to the highway and I look in the rear view mirror and I can see the rain clouds looming not far behind and the sun disappearing quickly. No worries I think to myself, we should be able to make it home before the rain starts, even if we stop for breakfast. WRONG. The clouds start following us and as I glance back in the rear view mirror I can see the sheet of rain quickly approaching us from behind like a dark ominous wall. One second there is the odd splatter of rain drops on my visor and I think, ah well, here we go, things are about to get wet. Little did I realize we were about to get doused by a torrential downpour. One minute we were warm and dry, then a light smatter of rain drops and DUMP. WE GOT WET. I haven't ridden in a downpour like that in quite some time.

    I pull in to the parking lot of the local strip mall, where the Burger King is located and find a parking spot under one of the huge trees adorning the parking lot. As I dismount the bike and my son slides down the seat to get off in his own, I stop him and remove his helmet so I can put it in the top case before we go in to the restaurant. As I remove the helmet I expect to see this horribly sour look on his face and to my great surprise, there is this beaming, pardon the pun, ear-to-ear grin on his face and he exclaims with great brovado, "WOW dad, did you see all that rain. Holy cow. Well, I think we're wet now. That was FUN." Not at all what I expected to hear.

    We went in to the restaurant and enjoyed our breakfast while my son took the opportunity to tell me just how much fun his first ride in the rain had been. After we finished our breakfast, I look outside just in time to see the sun streaming through a hole on the clouds and the rain had ceased. Well, at least we won't get to wet on the short ride home. When we get out to the parking lot there sits the trusty Viffer, bathed in a patch of warm sun with steam rising off the seat and fairing from the warm engine and from the surrounding asphalt.

    Perfect I think to myself. We started in sun, we end in sun. We arrive home to my wife tending to some of her flowers in the front yard and my daughter runs over to say "Daddy, did you see all the rain, did you see it." Oh yeah, we saw it all right. The rain never did quite make it to our house but she could see it in the distance. She puts out her hands to give me a hug and says "Daddy, you're ALL WET."

    Yes, yes I am I tell her as I peel off my riding gear and help my son out of his. What a ride, and oh soooo much fun.

    Sorry there aren't any pics, but REALLY it did happen. JUST ASK MY SON.
     
  2. rjgti

    rjgti New Member

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    well put zoom-zoom, enjoyed that story:)
     
  3. 34468 Randy

    34468 Randy Secret Insider

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    Never let a little rain get in the way of a perfectly good time/ride with the boy. My son was never interested. Then again, when I got my bike, he was a little older. Was hoping he would learn to ride then get his own and we could go on joint rides. Nope. You are a lucky man.

    Where the hell is Vernon!? Sounds familiar. I may have ridden through there myself.
     
  4. Scubalong

    Scubalong Official Greeter?

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    Awesome :bravo::bravo:
    Great write up Bill, always nice to read about father and son ride :thumbsup:
     
  5. zoom-zoom

    zoom-zoom Member

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    Glad you all enjoyed the little (eeer, ok, not so little) story about our adventure. As father and son moments go, I'm sure it will be one that will stick out in our respective memories for many years to come.
     
  6. Scubalong

    Scubalong Official Greeter?

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    Yup they will remember for the rest of their life. I cannot wait to ride with my oldest son. Trying to sign him up for MSF but DMV said he must be 18.......:mad:
     
  7. zoom-zoom

    zoom-zoom Member

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    Well, don't worry about it too much yet there Long. The DMV might say your eldest son is not yet old enough to ride (streetbikes anyhow), BUT I believe you doctor would slap you upside the head if you were to even think about throwing a leg over anything on two wheels.

    Soon enough the time will come my good man.
     
  8. 34468 Randy

    34468 Randy Secret Insider

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    Shit. I will ride on down there and hold you still while the doc slaps you up the side of the head if Long doesn't follow docs orders. Seem to recall Long being quite the supporter of the notion of follow doctors orders for others here.

    Ah....Long....I wouldn't do that really. But I would watch!
     
  9. Scubalong

    Scubalong Official Greeter?

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    :Cry:..................I am so lost with out my bike :pout:
     
  10. RubErDuckee

    RubErDuckee New Member

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    Excellent story!

    My son just turned 7, he wants to ride with me badly, i just picked up and installed a Givi top rack/case and now need to pick up some gear for him, cant really find jackets or pants, and i think i have a helmet narrowed down. We are both excited for the adventures to come together!

    Of course the Daughter (4) is upset she cant ride yet, all in time.

    Thanks for sharing your story
     
  11. zoom-zoom

    zoom-zoom Member

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    I was able to find only one company that made jackets small enough when I looked for a jacket for my son. His jacket is from a company Tourmaster and is sized as youth small. My son is about 4 feet tall mad though the the jacket is about large it should fit him foracoupleuears. The waist is adjustable for size so you might want to check it out. HJC also makes some nice kids helmets that are not overly expensive.
     
  12. 34468 Randy

    34468 Randy Secret Insider

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    They make nice fitting stuff but do not expect their claims of water proof to hold any water.....so to speak. I like my jacket but get very wet very fast.
     
  13. zoom-zoom

    zoom-zoom Member

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    Definitely true Randy. The kids Tourmaster jacket was listed as water proof, but I would think more like water resistant. You may not get REALLY wet in a light drizzle but Liam and I were both soaked to the bone. Since Liam was rriding behind me his chest and shoulders were pretty much dry but the sleeves on his jacket were soaked through.

    The kids Tourmaster jacket does fit Liam quite well in the torso and at his age fits more like a 3/4 length jacket similar to the Joe Rocket jacket I have but the sleeves are a bit too long. The padding in the elbows, shoulders and back seems designed to be a bit larger in comparative size to the jacket (probably to fit a wider range of body sizes) and the stitching is interwoven with reflective stitching and reflective piping, so it shows up really well at night. Liam loves to wear it in the dark in his room while his sister shines a flashlight at him so he an see himself glow. Way too funny actually. Overall quality of the jacket is quite impressive and price was reasonable but certainly not cheap. Being in Canada we pay a LOT more for biking gear in general and the jacket was no exception. Total cost was around $240 Canadian tax included. I did see the kids Tourmaster jackets for sale on a few US sites for less money (think the lowest was $149) but by the time it was shipped to Canada and I paid the taxes and duty not much was saved over buying local. I might have saved $40 by buying and shipping but a local bike shop had one in stock so I decided to get it since it was quicker and he was able to get riding faster.

    Here is a link to the Tourmaster website for the kids jacket that I got for my son. From what I saw when I looked, the Jett series jacket was the only one available in youth sizes.

    Tour Master :: Textile Jackets :: Jett Series 3 Jacket

    I was unable to find any street riding pants that would fit Liam since he has long legs and a tiny waist (even pants are hard to find) so for now he rides wearing thick denim jeans. We also got him a pair of dirt biking gloves that have armoured plates on the back of the hands, knuckles and fingers.
     
  14. Scubalong

    Scubalong Official Greeter?

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    Kids gears

    BMWmotorad do sell gear for kids
    Check on ADV forum I have seen them from time to time
     
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