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Thursday, April 4, 2013


Punch Bug! er, Bike!

So, we're getting into that time of year where its getting warmer, some of us are firing up our bikes for the first time in weeks or months, and we're beginning to work on brushing up our rusty riding skills (you are doing that, aren't you?).
Joining those of us piloting two wheels on the road will also be cagers, maybe in minivans full of kids headed to the beach, mountains, or grandma's house. Maybe at times, we'll also be the ones in the minivans, with the kids, for hours on the road, tempted to flip on some video, or PS2, or some other gizmo to keep the kids (heck, and us too) distracted and make the miles creep by a bit faster.
To paraphrase Nike - "Just...Don't...Do..It".
Look, (taking my turn sounding like a curmudgeon) we are all familiar with that blank and vacant stare kids get watching something on a screen - whether it be a passive Disney DVD or an electronic game.
Very attractive.
The only time we of a certain age elicited that vacant stare was when we were asked if the dishes were done yet, or if the trash had been taken out:
Mom: "Did you take the trash out yet"?
Me: "Uh - what"?
And I'm sure all of us traveling on our nation's highways before the advent of in-car movies did just fine with counting license plates, "don't touch me", and "are we there yet"?
Boredom is the impetus for creative thought. Be creative, be daring - dare to bore your kids.
One fun car game of old that has been officially resurrected (hey, its the Easter season), and will help raise a generation of new drivers more aware of motorcycles, is the old "Punch-Bug" game. In this case, substituting Motorcycles for the venerable Volkswagon Beetle.
I can assure you, if you thought Beetles were hard to spot (and we all know new Beetles don't count, right?), try spotting motorcyclists out and about around you.
The folks at have developed a website and sets of rules, as well as educational facts, about motorcycles, to get you and your family started in noticing, counting, and even scoring motorcycles they spot along the way of your next car trip. This can even help the driver, as kids spot motorcycles in intersections or other places that the driver may miss.
Suggested rewards help too - moving beyond Punch-Bug style (light hit to the shoulder) and keeping score instead might produce winners and losers, with winners getting to pick a movie or place to eat out, while the loser gets to do something they should have done anyway (See: "dishes and trash").
So, on your next trip, put the phones, ipads, tablets, DVDs and playstations away for awhile and try counting motorcycles. You may be surprised at how many of us are out there.


  1. Or a cool game that involves a box of bugles, a bag of cheese puffs, and marshmallows on the way to Beaver Island....

    1. Blowing cheesepuffs is a bit messier inside a helmet!