The Family That Rides Together, Stays Together: What Motorcycles Mean to Me

For Shelly Anderson and her family of motorcycle fans, there’s nothing like fresh air, camping and riding off into the sunset—together.

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Family that rides together - Anderson family on motorcycles
Photo: Shelley Anderson

Sharing the road—with my family

From the very beginning, I don’t remember a time in my life that the motorcycle world has not been a part of me. My mother and father, Ernie and Joan Robison, have both ridden the open air for as long as I can remember. As a matter of fact, my sister Jeannie and I had our names engraved on our parents’ motorcycle trailers—which were a big part of our family camping trips while we were growing up. There’s nothing like fresh air, camping and a family riding off together into the sunset! (Not convinced? Here are seven great reasons to go camping this summer.)

Fast forward to my late 20s: Most parents would cringe if their youngest daughter informed them of her impending date with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to obtain her M1 motorcycle licence—not this girl’s parents! My dad was as proud as can be, and even took me motorcycle shopping, where I found my first true love—a burgundy Yamaha V-Star 250.

In my early 30s, I met the next (and most important) love of my life, my husband Tony. And what a match we are—he rides, too! Soon, the whole family was riding together and participating in the local Blue Mountains chapter of the Canadian Motorcycle Club. It’s always a fun time taking part in the club’s charity events, such as the “Ride for Sight” and “Beat Cancer” rides.

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Shelly family riding motorcycle together
Photo: Shelly Anderson

A new lease on life

After a few years with my beloved V-Star, sadly, I outgrew her. It was time to move on and let another beginner enjoy my well-loved girl. I found a beautiful fuschia Suzuki Boulevard 650 as my next set of amazing wheels; somehow, it was meant to be! I should have been a sales rep for Suzuki, because as soon as I started gushing to my parents about my new bike, my mom decided it would be the perfect bike for her, too! She bought a white one and now we can both keep up with the big boys!

Much like the winding roads we love to cruise along, life threw us a sudden twist when my husband was diagnosed with kidney failure at the age of 29, due to complications with his diabetes, which he has had since childhood. After the diagnosis, Tony went on to spend the next three years on dialysis while awaiting a double kidney/pancreas transplant. Being on dialysis meant a lot of restrictions for him, but the one thing he could still do was ride. Even though he was weak, we still managed to find peace riding and living our life to the fullest.

My wonderful, brave husband received his transplant two years ago; even with family by his side, it was a long recovery. He had to forfeit a riding season while recuperating at home, but I am happy to say that is all in the past. Tony has a second chance at life, and we take every advantage of the gift he has received. Our love for one another and for riding has forged a strong bond within our family. With the sun and wind on our faces, our future awaits us on the road ahead.

Next, read about what it’s like travelling across Canada on two wheels.

Originally Published in Our Canada

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