Who ARE These Wives That “Let” Their Husbands Ride Motorcycles?!

Who ARE These Wives That “Let” Their Husbands Ride Motorcycles?!

While sipping my first cup of coffee this morning, I cracked open the February edition of the AMA magazine.

While reading the Members Letters pages one in particular titled “In This Together” from Travis in Montana stood out for me.

Two articles in the December issue had a common sentiment: whether purchasing a bike or going for a long ride, each fellow had to get his wife’s permission to do it.



Permission always sounds to me like two people aren’t in an equal partnership. I’m certain that the shoe must be on the other foot quite often, where husbands don’t “let” their wives do things, too. Either way… I just don’t understand it. Respecting your relationship and its boundaries should come from within.

Over the years because most of my riding companions have been men, I’ve heard all sorts of flavors of reasons why men had to go home from a ride or couldn’t take a trip. In many cases there has been a perceptible feeling of underlying resentment through a look, a gesture, a tone of voice when the news came down that they had to go home because their wife wanted them to.

If a partner chooses to withdraw from an activity because they would rather be at home? Awesome. But when they’re stricken with guilt or worried about having to put up with the cold shoulder or getting shit from their mate? Forget it.

Let. Just stop it.

Let people be their best, happiest selves. Let yourself be happy to do that.

Do you have any riding friends with mates who don’t “let” them ride whenever they want to?


19 Replies to “Who ARE These Wives That “Let” Their Husbands Ride Motorcycles?!”

  1. I never understand the response “I’d love to ride a motorcycle but my wife / husband / partner won’t let me” either.

  2. An uncle of mine (he died suddenly at 50 years old from H1N1 Flu in 2009) was a fun-loving, vivacious outdoorsman when I was a kid and a teenager. He wouldn’t hesitate to join me, my siblings, and my dad (his older brother) on trips camping, backpacking, fishing, downhill skiing, you name it.

    After he got married and as the years passed, his wife would either deny him those pleasures or sabotage the situation while he was gone by calling him constantly on the phone, making purchases they couldn’t afford, or tearing up a room of their house and demanding that he remodel (fix) it upon his return. In the last twenty to twenty-five years of his life, he was unrecognizable from the guy I’d known when I was a kid. His compounding misery and depression was especially hard on my dad, as they were best friends.

    I know that not all relationships are fated so, but unfortunately, there are countless similar examples. I’m sure that all of us could cite plenty, and I know that those I’ve witnessed have led me to be especially cautious and–so far–remain a lone wolf.

  3. I hesitate to question anyone else’s relationship compromises, but I’d suggest that resources (cash!) might play a role here. Time and money are limited for most everyone I know, and allocating them is a frequent area of disagreement (even within our own heads). People have also been known to blame their partners for things they’d rather not do themselves …

  4. Yup, when I first brought home my BMW R100GS my neighbor from across the street ran over and asked me about it. He rode BMW’s when he was “allowed” to ride. I couldn’t get it. The only way that would ever make sense to me is if someone was either a) a really bad rider and getting into accidents all the time (I know people like that and while I don’t know my neighbor’s history they do have two kids now and those kids need a dad around) and b) refused to get educated to see if that could be overcome… most people can get better with regular training.

    If I had kids with someone I can see making some deals. Never drink and ride (cause I can’t date or marry an idiot), wear all the gear all the time, regularly take classes to brush up on skills, don’t ride when you’re super pissed off. But those are just good plans for all of us to follow.

    But really, it’d probably just be easier to date a fellow rider wouldn’t it?! Priorities I suppose.

  5. I think that there are numerous reasons and just as many excuses. For many, time and money are a limited resource and, as Phil mentioned above, there is not always agreement. Some may use their spouse as an “easy out” citing permission instead of a more truthful response like can’t afford it or don’t want to invest the time.

    I didn’t start riding until late in life and I sometimes feel that I am running out of time. So many things to do, places to go, people to meet, etc. and so little time. This could skew priorities. Great post!

  6. I am very lucky..
    My wife loves me and worries about me.. She knows that I get grumpy when I don’t get enough play time.. When I get grumpy…. everybody gets grumpy… So asking her permission is really just my way of saying that whatever it may be,( riding or buying something) is likely to occur barring a really good reason not too, or other unforeseen circumstances. The flip side is that I encourage her to do whatever it is that she wants to do as well.. We both have our own ideas of fun and are okay pursuing them without the other, as trying to involve each other would likely take the fun out of either. Like just the other day… found an ad for a 1982 SWM trials motorcycle. We had to travel a bit to get it, but she went with me and we checked out another section of the Oregon coast that she had not seen.. We had (I bribed her with) a nice lunch, (sans children) and had an overall great day. She then proceeded to tell me that it was going to be the last motorcycle I buy for some time. I concurred as there is no way to fit more than the five motorcycles currently stored in the 8.5×10′ shed. Its a bit of a Jenga puzzle, but I can do it.

  7. Important subject with more complexity than we expect. You, naturally, approach it from the sensible POV — why wouldn’t you want someone you love to be happy? To grow and pursue their passions? The problem is when that approach conflicts with someone else’s selfish interest and the couple need to negotiate how to resolve the conflict. That brings forth all of the underlying shit in the relationship. *sigh*

  8. I’ve never really understood the word ‘let’ when it comes to relationships. I prefer that hubby do what he wants to do that makes him happy. And he is the same way with me too. We are more likely to discuss pros and cons of something than ask permission. If we ask permission it is while we are laughing and it is usually a joke.

    I think there has to be a give and take and mutual respect for things to last.

  9. I hear this all to often. The ultimate was a guy that planned a ride and then had to cancel because “she said I can’t go.” It was his idea!

    So we went and texted pictures to him the entire time just to rub it in a little. With friends like us…

  10. When we got married (a long, long time ago) I was already riding. Most of my friends were riding. And the informal part of the vows was that I would always be allowed to have at least 1 motorcycle in the garage. (And I have used the “at least” clause on numerous occasions.) In spite of that ‘contractual commitment’ I have never felt any need to “get permission”, although as a matter of common courtesy I will ask to make sure there are no issues or other conflicts. So I don’t get it either. But every relationship is different I suppose. I have friends who will use the “wife won’t let me” excuse on occasion but I expect it’s more a handy way to get out of something they don’t want to do anyway.

  11. Lucky for me, my wife has always let me roam free. Even with four kids in the house I can still runaway. As for my riding buddy he can’t go anywhere without his G/F (I rode with him for years before she showed up) so it’s honestly not the same with him. It makes my feel like I’m their tour guide on trips. DAMN IT YOKO!!

  12. She let me get a small “motorcycle”. A 50cc aprillia classic that had such a small engine I couldn’t get going from a stop on a hill. So I carried speed uphill in fear I’d have to come to a stop. well one day there was something in the road I’ve driven 1000 times, hit the front brake too hard, the front wheel kicked right and I went down on the right shattering my kneecap in 4 pieces. I’m screwed.

  13. So, for me, it’s pretty much the 1 thing my wife won’t “let” me do. I guess I could still do it, but choose to respect her feelings on it. If I wanted, I could argue harder, fight harder, just be a turd and do so, but I don’t. I don’t think most dudes “let” their partner dictate it, they just don’t want to take the stance that they’re choosing to not do it. It’s my choice which is based on my wife’s feelings. Essentially my need to ride is less then her desire for me NOT to. Otherwise we’d be arguing or I’d fight harder to do it. Own up, you’re choosing not to.

  14. So I have a buddy I ride with. He either has to ride when his wife is away or at work. If he asks to go ride she says yes but then makes his life miserable for the following week. We ride safe, we are never gone longer than 8 hours and there is no financial implications. He is also not the soul bread winner. She has a very well paying job as well. I just don’t understand these women and their hangups.

  15. I just saw this, as a link from your recently posted article. This really resonates with me. I was the one getting more and more depressed, with a husband who didn’t want me to do anything I found fun. I finally found some friends I loved to hang with, and now go motorcycling, hiking, dancing, skiing, you name it. I have the time of my life with them, about which he sometimes chooses to be grumpy. I’m a happier, more stable person, though, and will never go back in that deep dark hole.
    I think it is fear related. In our case, fear that he’ll lose me. It’s not expressed, but I don’t know what I’d say to that.
    Relationships are tricky.

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