Category Archives: Biker Daddy

That’s my girl!

Last Saturday, I had to drop my youngest, Mai, off at her swimming class, but my wife somehow managed to lose the car keys, so I had to take her there on the back of my bike.

Apparently, she had fun even just riding through the neighborhood, because she insisted that we take a real ride on Sunday. It’s still a little cold, but I can’t refuse a request like that.
Mai has never shown any interest in bikes until now, even when her older sister Lin and I come back from a ride with happy stories. Now they’ll have to argue over who gets to go.
Thanks for losing the keys, Yuri!
Father and daughter on a bike jaunt

Mother’s Day Camp Touring at Mt. Fuji

Since Yuri first got pregnant with Lin more than eight years ago, I’ve been dreaming of going on touring trips with the whole family on two bikes, and now we’re finally doing it!

This is only the second time Yuri’s had anyone on the back of her bike, much less loaded up with camping gear, and Mai’s never done a long ride before, so we picked a relatively close campsite in Susono, at the foot of Mt. Fuji.

So the ride itself wasn’t too exciting, but there was comparatively little traffic since it was the weekend after the Golden Week break, and the weather was great. The girls even got to surprise Yuri with a Mother’s Day gift of wildflower bouquets they gathered at the campground and a chocolate bar Lin bought the day before and hid in my saddlebag.

Even though this was mostly a practice run for later camping trips and rallies, we had an amazing time, the girls had lots of fun, and Yuri got a good chance to put her Sportster through its paces. Here’s to lots more to come!

Biker Blood III: Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen

Now that Lin’s on her way to becoming a full-fledged biker, and Yuri’s back on the road, it’s time to complete the circle.

Mai turned four last month, so she’s now almost as old as Lin was when she took her first ride around the neighborhood.

When Yuri got her bike last month, I gave Lin a ride on the back, and Mai had been bugging me ever since about getting her turn. We had a spot of sun this weekend, so we decided it was time.

Mai’s not as fearless or adventurous as Lin, so we were worried that she’d get scared and decide she never wanted to ride a bike again, but sure enough, she’s the daughter of bikers. She reacted pretty much exactly the way Lin did, laughing and screaming with excitement the whole time.

It’s hard to believe this is the same little girl who was toddling around when Lin had her first ride three years ago.

(Speaking of Lin, Lin and I went to the bike shop to pick up some parts for Yuri’s new bike, and Lin immediately noticed the 50cc offroad bikes. Now she won’t shut up about how I need to buy her one.)

Now that Mai understands the joy of the road, we’ve completed our biker family, and we’re on our way toward my dream of taking family camping trips on two bikes.
Welcome to our world, Mai!


Biker Blood part II

My little girl is becoming a biker even earlier than I expected.

I’ve tried to expose my six-year-old daughter, Lin, to bikes and biker culture as much as possible, and have been taking her on rides on the back of my bike since she was four. We’ve been building up to this for a while, with our short Father’s Day ride up Yabitsu pass and our camping trip to Nishi-Tanzawa, and last weekend we finally made the next big step: Lin’s first long-distance touring and biker rally at Matsumoto Camp.

As I’ve mentioned before, Matsumoto Camp is one of my favorite rallies. It’s smaller than many, with only 100-300 bikes, but both the location and the regular core of bikers that shows up are just the way I like them, and I thought it would be perfect for introducing Lin to the wider biker world. Unfortunately, most of the Takatsu-gumi group I usually ride with had other commitments, so only YOS was able to ride with us this time.

The weather forecast had been calling for rain all weekend, but I was pretty sure my usual understanding with the rain gods combined with Lin’s luck with these things would push away those clouds. Sure enough, the rain stopped by the time we woke up, and we headed out to meet YOS at Ishikawa under a gradually brightening gray sky, and by the time we got to Futaba, the halfway point of the expressway trip, we were riding under clear blue skies.

This was Lin’s first long expressway trip, and I wasn’t sure how she would deal with it, but beyond a few requests to stop and rest, she was fine. Of course, once we left the expressway and headed up the Venus Line into the mountains, she was more than fine.

I let her have the camera, and she got some good riding shots of YOS on his shovelhead, and even took a little video from the back of the bike.

We stopped for lunch, but Lin couldn’t wait to get back on the bike, and left most of her soba uneaten.

We rolled into Matsumoto Camp by mid-afternoon, finished greeting all our friends, and sat down to relax just as the downpour started. But who minds the rain once you’re safely under a tarp? It let up soon enough, and we went exploring around some trails near the campground, and then Lin went off to play with some of the other kids that local bikers had brought along with them. I went off to relax with beer and conversation, confident that I had successfully shown Lin how fun rallies can be, and that I could be sure she’d want to go to the next one too.

What I hadn’t anticipated was that Lin was about to take the next step toward bikerhood. The Heaven & Hell MC, who host the rally, had brought along a 50cc pocket bike to patrol the campground and run quick errands, but they were letting the bigger kids try it out when they didn’t need it.

One of the older girls showed Lin how to work the throttle, and after a few tries, she got the hang of it.
She and the other kids took turns on the bike for hours, and then started again first thing the next morning. By the end of it, she was riding like a pro.

It took me years on the road to learn to ride that naturally. Not bad for a kindergartener, huh?

So not only has Lin learned the fun of rallies, she understands the joy of riding as well. It’s too bad she’ll have to wait another ten years before she can get a license, but until then, it means I get a lot of biker-daughter quality time.Map view of this trip

First ride of the year with Lin

We had unseasonably warm weather today, and Lin insisted that we take a ride. I’m always looking for an excuse to fire up the machine, and Lin’s been a good girl recently, so I decided to let her pick the route and we went on our first ride of the year.
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