Rev Up: Tractor Tire

Rev Up: Tractor Tire

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Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Rev Up. A couple of weeks ago Carey Hart drew some skeptical publicity for riding with his daughter on the gas tank of his RMZ450. I thought the criticism was unwarranted. That is how it likely started for him, and I imagine it was one of the most fulfilling experiences of his life. Although, the omnipresent perception of the general public is that it was dangerous. Which it was, but none more so than gymnastics or soccer, in my opinion. I think that riding dirt bikes with your kids is fine, especially for the initiated.

Becoming a father is the best thing that’s ever happened to me, but before that I was an uncle, which ranks just as high on the responsibility scale in my book. I’ve been with my nephew, Lincoln, through his first words, first steps and now first laps on a dirt bike and it is all flying by so swiftly. Seeing him make laps around my brother’s dirt go-cart track made me go back to my first rides on a dirt bike in my backyard. While Lincoln is riding an electric bike that is mostly plastic, it has disc brakes and pretty much is the part. I had a PW50 which was way more moto. Some of my earliest memories are learning to jump the little braking bumps and rollers on the track where I started my riding. I can remember thinking my “Y-Zinger” had tremendous suspension and power and when you are four years old, those little machines are pretty good. But, even before riding myself, I can remember my Dad taking us on weekend excursions to the “Flint Hills” back in Kansas and putting me on the gas tank to climb what looked to me like mountains. Of course, Kansas is devoid of mountains but when you’re three feet tall everything is huge. Including the tractor tire in our backyard that our parents made into a sandbox for us. It didn’t take long for me to find some boards in our woodpile and construct a ramp to jump it just like my childhood hero Evel Knievel. But, not at first. I was quick to put the ramp up but wasn’t so eager to participate after I eye’d up the take off. Only after my Dad came out to “watch” did I finally send it.

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Lincoln doing some rippin.
Bowyer photo

I’ve been hurt a lot in my 36 years and it has rewarded me with an innate sense of safety around my daughter and my nephew. If there was a way to get hurt as a kid, whether it was smashing my fingers in a car door, or burning my leg on a muffler, or broken bones, I always seemed to figure out the quickest path to the pain. This has resulted in me owning a bit of natural hypochondria around children as an adult. It seems like I look for danger everywhere, like Spiderman. So, I'm almost as nervous as the little guy when we go ride. The way things would have it, my riding tenure with Lincoln got off to an inauspicious start when he struck a tree and fractured his clavicle when he fell off and slammed the ground. He was looking back at me to see if I was watching him. Lincoln learned that salty lesson the hard way. That said, it had been two months and I wondered if he was ready to get back on.

A beautiful fall day set upon the Carolinas and I asked Linc if he wanted to go ride. His excited “Yes” was a soothing reprieve but I was nervous to see how he reacted once climbing back behind a set of handlebars. I carefully put on his helmet, shin and elbow guards and we headed back to the circle track to see how it would go. Lincoln was previously fearless and we always have to scold him to not hold the throttle wide open, but in the wake of his big crash I found myself running beside him for a full lap before he would go faster than my legs would carry me. The “Nation” as we call him, (He’s been flying on private jets across the country with his other Uncle since he was born) pulled up to me and with his tiny southern drawl voice and said, “The track is all shaky Uncle Andy. It feels all weird.” I reassured him that the track was the same, but sometimes after a big crash things feel a little different. I couldn’t tell if he understood what I said or not, but he quickly sped off and within a couple of laps he was back up to his old prowess and quickly began holding it wide open again. Soon enough he was bored with the circle track, and the plastic, electric mini-moto. To my chagrin he asked me if we could go ride his quad in the woods. So on to four wheels and into the woods we went. It was a great day.

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That's Andy ready to go moto. The Bowyer family gets the kids out there early!
Bowyer photo

We're getting Lincoln a PW50 for Christmas and I texted my Pops to see if he had any luck finding one yet. I also told him we had finally had our first ride after the big crash and texted that he was a little scared at first, but was bored with the circle track after ten laps. Pops replied only two words. “Tractor Tire.”

Thanks for reading, see you next week.

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