My Husband and the Motorbike
When I first met my husband he was a motorcyclist. I’ve known him a long time, I was in my late teens and him his early 20s when we got together. His motorcycle was a big part of who he was. It was a passion as much as it was a hobby, at the time he didn’t even own a car.
If I was being truly honest it was secretly part of his appeal too. Perhaps it had something to do with my recent discovery of Grease 2 and ‘Cool rider’ (shh don’t judge!). But a boyfriend with cool leathers and a motorbike held lots of appeal.
Fast forward a few years and things had changed. Devastatingly he lost his best friend to a motorcycle accident and then went on to have a nasty accident himself that resulted in him getting something called brain shake and also required knee surgery. Not long after this point my husband decided to hang up his leathers.
Life whizzed by, as it does, and suddenly nearly 15 years have passed since he rode a bike. But at the beginning of this year he expressed a wish to get back into motorcycling. I think it would be an understatement to say I was nervous about it. Actually, at first I refused to point blank talk about it at all. A combination of that and googling what percentage of bikers had an accident, you could say I wasn’t really onboard.
There was an interesting post on the Dad Network’s Facebook page over the weekend where Al said his wife had ‘given him permission’ to get a motorbike. Reading the post the permission part was very much in loose terms, so this isn’t a criticism to him at all. But it really got me thinking to the discussions my husband and I had before we came to a decision.
Riding a bike is dangerous, more dangerous than a car certainly and that was of course the reason why it was such a hard decision. But the thing is our marriage doesn’t work on the belief that we each need permission to do anything either. I believe that if one of us has something that’s important, we should each listen to one another’s point of view. That we take into consideration each of our concerns before coming to a joint decision. The moment our marriage tips into permission and forbidden territory I would have serious concerns.
Just because I was trying to ignore a problem didn’t mean it was going to go away. So we sat down and had an honest, but not always easy chat about it.I expressed my concerns, he told me why it was so important to him.
It was interesting to hear his views on motorbikes 15 years on, where he can look back on his 20s with experience and real honesty. But also the fact he acknowledges that bikes are dangerous, but also that he whole heartedly admits to driving recklessly when he was younger. Driving beyond his limits because he was young and part of him thought he was invincible.
When I asked him for a quote about biking for this blog post and safety this is what he said:
“Sometimes cars don’t see us, sometimes we’re just not riding defensively enough. As a biker you have to think and plan ahead on the road you’re riding in a way you don’t have to consider in a car.”
I find it hard to let go of that fact it’s more dangerous than driving, that he’s vulnerable. He’s my husband but also he is now a father too. But I also could not reconcile myself with forbidding my husband to do something. We only have one life and I believe in living and enjoying it.
In the end we agreed on some ground rules: No commuting, no filtering, no riding in icy conditions. The bike is only to be used for easy, riding as a hobby only. My husband also agreed to go on a refresher riding course and improve his defensive riding skills. Additionally he has said to me if it ever got to a time that I was so worried about him when he was riding it it was making me unhappy he would give it up.
The first time he rode it, I had to follow him back as I drove him to pick it up. I have to confess I was kind of terrified of watching him get hit or something and getting knocked off. It’s been a few months now and the anxiety has reduced. There are times when he’s out on his bike and I haven’t heard from him in a while and I get nervous. But he in turn has stuck to his promises. I have watched him get so much pleasure over something that was important to him. I know in my heart it was the right decision for my marriage, even if I still have nervous moments.