Sharing a passion with your significant other is truly a beautiful thing. In a world with so many responsibilities and so little time for ourselves, having something that we can both look forward to and enjoy together, often feels like a rare treasure. As someone who didn’t ride since childhood, I’m sure my experience is a little different. My husband was the one that introduced me to the sport rather than being already capable. So for me personally he’s been a pillar of strength and support when I doubted myself or was too scared to try. I needed encouragement and he was there to give it.
I feel that because I was first and foremost a passenger, I had to learn to trust someone else with my life. This may sound like a silly concept because, in reality, we trust our lives daily to other people — strangers at that. We trust that the bus lady won’t run off the road, that the other car driver doesn’t come flying into your lane, or that the pilot on your plane is doing his best. However, there’s something more serious about the notion of trust when you climb on the back of a bike with someone for the first time, even a loved one.
So I can say that this trust has built tenfold over the years and created an even stronger bond. But of course like with everything this can be a double edge sword. For some reason family always has higher expectations than friends or strangers. For my husband, it was a big learning process to be patient and understanding when I struggle. He has been riding his entire life, so certain things that feel natural or innate to him can be completely foreign to me. This is where learning compassion comes in and it’s important to remember not to measure others to your standard. The opposite is also very true. I tend to beat myself up and become overly critical when I struggle with technique or speed. I always have to remind myself that I am still earning and that 2.5 years is not enough time to be a seasoned rider like my husband. I will always be behind and that’s something I need to accept and be ok with.
However, even though there is a gap in our abilities, that in no way impedes us from sharing in the joy of riding. It’s always so exciting to plan an adventure together —whether it’s just a day trip to the mountains or a 4-day journey across 3 states. Our exact reasons and “whys” for riding may be varied, but in the end, we still enjoy the ride the same. The really odd thing about riding with your partner is that even though you journey together and experience the same sights and sounds, you are still alone in your helmet. You are still focusing on the input you give the bike and just observing the other rider along with everyone else on the road. I find it a very awesome way to experience shared couples therapy. It’s a crazy concept to explain because we can feel together and alone all at the same time and place.
A very similar thing happens when we do a trackway for example. Except there we are very much focused on our own training and machines. I find we don’t talk much. Sometimes the experience is great when things are going smoothly and we are having great fun. But there are times when we struggle due to unforeseen mechanical failures or personal frustrations. It’s important to remember to give the other person space in such moments. We help each other when it’s possible but sometimes the battle is our own to wage and there’s nothing the other person can do. But at the end of the day, there is nothing more rewarding than excitedly swapping stories and emotions of what we each took back from the day.
I think the best thing about sharing this sport is being able to talk about it and to learn from each other’s experiences. I’ve come to realize my husband and I ride for different reasons really; but whatever they are, we both benefit from it together. The confidence I’ve gained from riding has made me a stronger person, which in turn is more attractive for my husband. There’s an independence that comes from piloting a motorcycle and I believe that brings confidence and self-reliance into a relationship.
But partaking in such a sport comes with its own heartache. Sadly it’s a rather dangerous experience and we both must be very aware that anytime we get on the bike could be our last. It’s a hard reality to deal with when you really sit down and think about it. It shouldn’t be any different than when getting into a car or onto a plane, but for some reason, it feels more immediate. Every rider knows the risks involved, but those risks seem to double when your loved one rides as well. Not only do you have to consider yourself but also the other person. These foreboding thoughts always stick in our minds and remind us to say our peace. This little bit of added risk into our lifestyle reminds us to never go to bed angry, say sorry more earnestly and listen more eagerly.
In the end, I feel sharing this passion has opened up so many new opportunities for us to cherish together and enjoy. I find riding to be very unique in the concept that while it’s a solitary sport, it still can involve other people on many levels, whether you’re just sharing the lane with them or competing against them. It all builds character, trust and a bond like no other.
Dedicated to my loving husband.