I was also twelve the first time I rode a motorcycle (my cousin Jeff’s¹). Hunter practiced a little around the house — as much as we imagined the neighbors would tolerate — and briefly in the open dirt south of the Idaho State Correctional Institution,² but this was his first point-A-to-point-B ride.
Hunter is behind his peers on the growth chart. We know his day will come but for now it has been hard for him to feel successful at team sports. “I’m not good at anything,” we’ve heard him insist. While I’ve been cautious about pushing the kids to enjoy the same things I do, the dirt bike posters appearing on his walls suggested he might like to ride, that it might be something he could feel he was good at.
Not surprisingly, dirt riding is not as easy as the pros he’s watched make it look. I think he felt deflated after a couple spills on the trail.
Like his mom, Hunter can’t be kept from a good scramble on the rocks. He climbed in search of pretty souvenirs and soon had a pile that I’d somehow need to stow.
We lacked the light to delay too long. Hunter was hesitant so I assured him the way back would be easier. I wasn’t positive what the trail would look like but knew I could help with anything alarming. He needed to push through some fears but I didn’t want to make him loathe riding.
I rode up some of the steeper hills for him. He experienced what his mom has enjoyed these past years: walking the hard parts.
Hunter did great! I don’t think he felt that way but he tried things he didn’t want to, fell down, and kept going. I hope he realizes how well he did and will be excited to ride again.