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Vol. 16 There for That First Ride

Japan - January 15, 2020


We want the first encounter with motorcycles to bring the happiest of smiles, and we want the anticipation, tension and sense of accomplishment shared by children and their parents/guardians in that experience to be one they will always cherish. Under a clear blue sky, the children face the first motorcycle they will ever ride. The Yamaha instructor gives the more nervous-looking ones bright words of encouragement, and when they later happily shout, “I did it!” she flashes a big smile and raises her hand for a high five. At each Parent-Child Motorcycle Class, you can hear her energetic voice reaching the ears of children ready for their first ride.

Yamaha’s Parent-Child Motorcycle Class gives elementary school age children the opportunity to try riding a motorcycle together with their parents/guardians. The program first began back in the 1980s and is part of Yamaha’s efforts to promote riding safety. It aims to teach the fun of operating a motorcycle, to strengthen the bonds between children and their parents/guardians through shared experiences, to teach the rules and manners for safer riding, and to help children grow by channeling our spirit of challenge and giving them a sense of accomplishment.

Even for children who are already good at riding bicycles, the first encounter with the sound of a motorcycle engine can generate some visible fear and tension, and that naturally leads to some hesitancy. But they muster up their courage and gingerly twist the throttle, slowly propelling the bike toward their parent/guardian standing ahead of them. “It’s like when a baby crawls for the first time. Just watching that moment makes me happy and it’s what I love the most,” says the instructor, Rie Nishimori. “It’s a moment of Kando shared by both the child and their parent, and I’m glad that that first step is taken with a Yamaha.”

For those a little older, the Engine Disassembly/Assembly Workshop is an event for junior high school students that previously attended a Parent-Child Motorcycle Class as elementary schoolers. The students and their parents/guardians don the same mechanic overalls and use the same tools as the pros to disassemble and then reassemble a motorcycle engine. It is a very difficult program, but it is precisely for that reason that the moment when a participating student kickstarts the engine they reassembled and it purrs to life, the room erupts in applause.

“We want the kids who took part in the Parent-Child Motorcycle Class to keep their interest in motorcycles, so that maybe someday we can go touring together,” says Nishimori. “That’s what I’ve always hoped for while running this program.” Nishimori has been an instructor for almost ten years now, and never thought that her dream would come true. “But it did.”


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