How I convinced my motorbike-fearing mom to let me ride

Dad was my partner in crime
by Matthew Galang | Jul 27, 2018

Let’s admit it: Motorcycles are dangerous.

The whole concept of riding a motorcycle sounds ridiculous: You’re barreling down the road with an engine between your legs at speeds nature never intended, with most of your protection coming from what you can fit onto your person.

For mothers, allowing your child to get into any sort of danger is a huge no-no.

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So obviously, when I asked my mom if I could save up for a motorbike a couple years ago, I was instantaneously met with a resounding no. Then she followed up with questions like: Why not get a car instead? Why would you risk your life like that? Do you know how many motorcycle accidents I’ve seen?

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I did my best to answer her questions, doing things like citing all sorts of articles on how proper training and gear can help prevent accidents. But as determined and steadfast as I was, my mom was even more so.

Whenever I explained to her that I’ll be a responsible rider, she’d show me articles and news stories about motorcycle accidents. At some point, it felt like I was talking to a wall.

What drove me on was my desire to recapture the feeling of sheer joy I felt a while back when a friend let me play around with his Honda Mini Trail Z50 in an empty parking lot. I’m a pretty sentimental person, so I was determined to experience the joys of motorcycling once more, and hopefully, for the rest of my life.

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Things went on like that for a while, me walking up to my mom thinking I’ve found the perfect supporting material for my argument, and her shooting me down without hesitation moments later. However, my dad was on my side from the start because he rode a scooter back in the day.

My father and I teamed up to pester my mom about motorcycles, with either of us constantly bringing up the topic at dinner time. These discussions usually ended with my mom threatening to leave the house if we bought a motorcycle.

I thought about going behind my mom’s back and getting a motorcycle anyway. After all, my dad was on my side, so maybe it would’ve been all right. But defying my mom like that just felt wrong, and I knew that when I do end up hurting myself on a bike, I’d just be proving my mom’s fears right. 

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My dad and I decided to try a different approach: make my mom comfortable with me on a bike without buying a motorcycle first. Me, my dad, and my little brother went to Puerto Galera to camp out and rent a couple bikes. My mom was hesitant at first, but my dad explained it as just another trip with the boys with the added bonus of him teaching me how to ride a motorcycle in a not-so-populated area.

We ended up renting a Honda XR200 and a Suzuki Skydrive 125, and boy was it fun! The three of us spent a whole day just riding around the island, with me on the automatic Suzuki scooter at first, and my dad on the Honda with my brother riding at the back.

Once I got a bit more comfortable riding, we swapped bikes and I swung an uneasy leg over the intimidatingly tall Honda dual sport. I had a blast shifting through the bike’s five gears on the mostly clear and twisty roads of Puerto Galera, laughing to myself all the while because of how fun riding a 'real' manual motorcycle was.

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Of course, I stalled the bike, several times actually. I even got stuck on an incline trying to figure out how to start and launch the bike uphill. My dad and brother had already gone ahead, so I was left to my own devices, struggling for a good 20 minutes. Noticing my ineptitude, a bunch of local guys tutored me on how to get the bike rolling. With a bit of luck and the help of my newfound friends, I got running again, thankful that Filipino hospitality still exists. 

My beginner’s luck ran out though, and I fell over when I got the front and rear brake mixed up on a wet downhill portion. Two things ran through my mind in that moment: Is the bike okay? How will I tell my mom about this?

We decided to tell my mom about it, but of course I first sent her several pictures of me on the bike and the places we went to, in an attempt to show her how much fun we had before hitting her with the news of my little accident. Mom was upset of course when we got home, but surprisingly enough, she was glad we had fun, and didn’t ban me from ever touching a bike again.

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I took this as a sort of 'go' signal and ended up spending some of my saved-up allowance to buy riding gear. My mom may not have explicitly given her approval yet, but I thought that putting an emphasis on safety would help put her mind at ease after my slip up.

Over the next few months, my dad and I continued to go on rides with borrowed bikes, even taking my mom along on some of them to show her how much fun it is. 

Eventually, when I found myself with the needed funds, my dad and I started shopping around for a secondhand bike. My mom came along to check out a 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 250SL that would later become the love of my life. Despite being intimidated by its looks, she begrudgingly allowed the purchase.

I also believe the recent training I had in the Ducati Riding Experience (DRE), a formal riding course for beginners, made her sleep better. 

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My mom’s supportive of my hobby now, probably because of how relentless I was. She never really gave me her approval out loud, but I’ll take a begrudging 'yes' over a resounding 'no' any day.

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PHOTO: Matthew Galang
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