December 20 2012 by Jason Fogelson
A lot of car guys trace their fascination with automobiles back to their Hot Wheels or Matchbox car collection from childhood. They learned to appreciate automotive design, and even to recognize different kinds of cars and trucks, from playing with the little die cast models.
I think one of the responsibilities of being a motorcyclist is to be an ambassador for the hobby. Every time I ride, I try to represent motorcyclists well by riding safely, gearing up properly, and by taking time to talk to people who are interested in my bike. I take extra time talking to kids about bikes, letting them look at my motorcycle. Sometimes I even let a kid sit on my motorcycle if I have time, and they seem especially entranced. I like to think that I'm helping to foster the next generation of motorcyclists, just like some cool bikers did for me when I was a kid.
Another thing I do with my nieces and nephews is that I give motorcycle-related gifts at the holidays and on birthdays. So far, none of my family's next generation has taken to two wheels, but I know that they are aware of bikes, and they don't have a negative feeling about motorcyclists. That's a start.
Here are a few ideas for motorcycle related holiday gifts:
Biker Santa Ornament: Who is a better ambassador for motorcyclists than Santa Claus himself? A little Santa on his Harley-Davidson will make the kiddos love motorcycles even more. $20.
Small Hog Bank: Inspire kids to ride, while inspiring them to save! A cute little piggy bank emblazoned with the Harley-Davidson bar and shield will hang around all year, holding on to Junior's hard-earned cash -- maybe saving for that first motorcycle. $40.
Fisher-Price Hero World Green Lantern Kilowog/Cycle: When kids can get their hands on a toy, it heightens their connection. Add in a superhero, and you've got a winner of a toy. The Kilowog is a tough, muscular alien, and his motorcycle is brutish and totally cool, sure to appeal to kids who like to use their imaginations. $14.99.
Big Wheel Racer: The original Big Wheel isn't quite a motorcycle, but it definitely gives kids their first taste of the motorcycle riding experience. Seeing one wheel in front of you while you zoom down the driveway and along the sidewalk develops a taste for choppers and cool bikes. Big Wheels are available in both "boys" and "girls" colors. $59.99.
Testors Motorcycle Models: Every car builder and every bike builder had to start somewhere -- and many started with Testors models. Yes, they still make the old fashioned plastic snap together 1/12 scale models, and the more elaborate paintable 1/6 scale models that can take weeks to complete. Inspire the next Arlen Ness with a challenging Electra Glide Model. $111.27.
There are tons of other motorcycle related gifts out there. Give one (or more) and you'll be doing your part to create and nurture the next generation of riders.