Grandma gets ride on a Moto Guzzi

January 18th, 20093 Comments »

What do you do when your 66 year old disabled mother-in-law, your kids’ Grandma, asks you to take her for a ride on your Moto Guzzi?  You may be thinking that it’s not a big deal, but this is a woman that can’t walk without using a cane or walker.  She has also undergone open heart surgery within the last decade and is disabled, but fortunately she is still determined to try new things.

For Christmas, she managed to make it through the airports from a very cold and snowy Syracuse, NY down to visit us in North Carolina.  She warned me ahead of time that she was expecting me to take her out for her very first ever ride on the back of a motorcycle.

At first, I thought she was a little crazy.  I was thinking why would a mobility disabled woman, even though she is my mother-in-law, ever want to go for a ride on a motorcycle, especially at her age?  I don’t consider 66 to be old, but why a mobility disabled senior would dare go for a ride on a motorcycle still puzzled me.

She arrived at the Charlotte-Douglas airport, a few hours late because of being re-routed on a different airline through Atlanta instead of Newark, but she made it.  I began to feel the pressure.  I kept thinking to myself, does she really want to go for a ride?  Maybe she will change her mind.  Maybe she won’t be able to get on it.  Maybe I can get her on the bike, but what if she loses her balance because she has problems with her legs?

Finally, I asked her: Do you really want to go on the Moto Guzzi for a ride?  She replied: Yes, of course I do!  She said, after all I’m 66 years old and have never been on a motorcycle before, so how many more years do you think I’m going to wait before I do this?  I told her, ok, but it will be tricky getting you up on the motorcycle and getting you off of it.  She told me not to worry about it, but I was worried.

I went down the street and visited my motorcycle riding buddy and borrowed his wife’s Harley-Davidson helmet for my mother-in-law to use.  He has a fancy Big Dog Pitbull chopper now, but until recently had a Harley-Davidson Road King, so he’s got a lot of neat Harley-Davidson gear.  I’m sure he thought that I was crazy to try to take a disabled senior citizen on my motorcycle, but after all, she is my mother-in-law and I like a good challenge.

A day or so later when the weather was better, the big day had arrived!  It was not Christmas day, but it was time for her big ride.  I put my black winter jacket on her to go with the black Harley-Davidson helmet (and her black cane).  Unfortunately,I didn’t have any Motorcycle Boots
for her. As a little coincidence, my motorcycle is an Italian-made Moto Guzzi California Vintage, and my mother-in-law is Italian-American.  I believe it was the perfect motorcycle for her maiden motorcycle ride.

After some instruction from me, we got Grandma suited up and ready to go.  I believe that riding motorcycles is very rejuvenating, and it appeared to be true with her also.  She even looked younger wearing her motorcycle gear.  One of my fears was being able to get her and off the bike without falling, but we just took our time and did it thanks to the decent size passenger pegs and generous seat that my California Vintage has.

My wife seemed pretty nervous about this deal, after all, her mom is a disabled senior, but she was ready with the camera and away we went down the street for about a 1 mile loop through the neighborhood.  For a very short stretch, we got on the main road and I got it into 3rd for a second before turning back home.  Mission accomplished.  A good time was had by all, and now Grandma had her ride on a Moto Guzzi and has some new bragging rights.   Not only can she say that she has been on a motorcycle, but she can say that has been on a Moto Guzzi California!  I am pretty proud of her for that.

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About John Clay

John Clay is the author of MotoGuzziCalifornia.Com. He and his family reside in North Carolina in the United States. A graduate of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Experienced Rider Course, he enjoys riding and maintaining his Moto Guzzi California Vintage.

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  1. Tim says:

    I applaud you for taking the time and effort to share the pleasure of our sport with your mother in law. I hope it was an experience that left her wondering why she waited so long. That story reminded me of the time my mom, then in her 70s was visiting and we loaded her and my young son in the sidecar and my wife behind me on our H-D FLH and went for a 50 mile cruise. Ride On!

  2. Danielle says:

    Great article. Kudos to you for undertaking the daunting double whammy of a disabled senior AND your mother-in-law!


  3. dominique says:

    I just bought a Moto guzzi California Vintage in Paris where i live. it is a wonderfull machine. Congratulations for yours and your mother in law.
    Dominique from PAris