My Motorcycle My Wife… for Better or Worse!

Story by Carl Hildebrand// Photos by Carl Hildebrand
August 1 2009

I love reading the motorcycle forums online. I am partial to the ones that cater to the dual sport or adventure-riding crowd, but really they are all much the same. A virtual gathering place to meet up, swap stories, ask technical questions, and impress one another with adventures that usually start with, “This one time me and my buddy…”.

Nicknames are always a place to start analyzing a member, and of course what kind of picture do they have for an avatar. I have a buddy (see how all stories start out?) who is mild mannered, a bit of a dork, and rides a KLR, but his avatar is a busty blonde shaking her booty in a short sequined cocktail dress. No doubt this says something about his flawed character, but hey…the guy is almost always free to go riding with on any given Sunday, and that is what counts.

What got me thinking about the role that our significant others play in our alter ego life as a motorcyclist, was a forum thread that started off with, “My wife gave me the OK to buy a new motorcycle!” I don’t remember what the rest of the thread was about, as my mind was already envisioning some poor schlep sitting in a child’s chair in the corner of the kitchen with his wife standing over him. “Now Dwight! You can buy this KLR you talked about, but you must promise not to go riding on any days there is a family get-together, or when I need to take you shopping for new dress pants”.

I quickly fired him an email suggesting that he was giving us macho adventure seeking riders a lame image by starting off his thread with that statement. He saw my point. I just hope his wife didn’t.

Our wives, or husbands for that matter (there are certainly many more women riders these days), play a significant role in how we are able to conduct our motorcycle lives. The majority of wives and significant others are content to send their husbands out on their little rides, offering themselves a free afternoon or weekend away from the endless talk of big bore kits, suspension mods and upcoming rides or rallies.

I am extremely lucky in that my significant other is a rider as well, and we have found our niche in the motorcycle world. We started off riding cruisers. I had a Roadstar 1600 and she had a V-Star 650. Somewhere it is written that the man’s bike must possess at least 500 more cc’s than his woman’s bike. Anyway, we discovered that the leather-clad scene was not really to our liking. Not that there is anything wrong in riding around in leather jackets, leather chaps, leather bandanas, leather fingerless gloves—we owned all the gear, but never quite felt comfortable in that lifestyle. We have since gravitated to the dual sport side of motorcycling, and absolutely love it. She rides a V-Strom 650, and I try to keep up with my KLR 650. Note, the dual sport world does not adhere to the unwritten rule of engine size that the cruiser world does.

So back to my original thought of motorcycling and the role our partners play. I always have a willing and capable riding partner in my wife, and we have enjoyed some truly epic adventures and journeys in staggered formation around this Canadian landscape.

Most of my riding buddies leave their beloveds behind, belching smoke through their neighborhood as they head over to the designated meeting place. On one of these hastily organized weekend rides, we met up at a gas station and I was pleasantly surprised to see a lone woman rider on a GS 650, very cool. She had a great ride and we didn’t have to worry about her, although there was never a shortage of big brother or fatherly looks and advice given to her as we ventured further and further off the pavement. She proved herself very capable, and it was a lot of fun to have her join us.

I think the motorcycle world is very much an equal opportunity society, and I personally would love to see more women riders out there. Hey, if your significant other rides, like mine does, you never have to worry about riding alone, and blowing off Uncle Fred’s 60th Birthday bash is all that much easier.



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