The motorcycle community is abuzz about whether it’s a good or bad idea to ride your motorcycle during this pandemic. This comes as many of us around the country have been ordered to stay at home and limit travel to only places essential to our survival — market, drug stores, caring for family, etc. — but, does motorcycling count as physical activity in addition to transportation?
While it seems like a simple question, there are arguments for both sides because, let’s face it, this is a complex and unprecedented situation that could see regulations on venturing out become more strict.
We are living through very uncertain times, but as the CDC’s directives have stated, the best thing we can all do is limit our contact with as many people as possible. That should include riding a bit less, staying in, and remaining extra vigilant in how we conduct ourselves in public spaces.
As I said, though, there are questions around whether it’s prudent to get out and ride. Let’s discuss a couple of reasons why you might want/need to ride a motorcycle during this time and some alternatives to consider.
Commuting to work
We understand that for some, riding a motorcycle to work is a necessity, and by all means, enjoy the open roads during your commute. If your riding is purely recreational and serves no essential function, by definition you should not be riding for the next few weeks. You’re putting yourself and others at risk.
Your mental sanity, however, is also important; periodic riding via pre-planned routes can be done to limit your risk of exposure and/or exposing others. Here’s how we should conduct ourselves as safe and responsible motorcyclists.
If you go for a ride, be smart
Being cooped up in a house can create its own stressors. While going for a walk and keeping your distance from others provides momentary respite, there is nothing quite like the therapy of riding a motorcycle.
For many of us, riding a motorcycle clears the mind, calms the soul, and gives us emotional happiness. These are things we surely need more than ever but, how can we seek these benefits while navigating our current social situation?
Ride a loop that begins and ends at home. No group contact.
One of the best things about being on a motorcycle is that it’s often only you. Keep your ride short with one-to-zero stops. Just get out for a brief ride. If you want to include a social element to your ride, consider using Rever to track and share your expereince with your friends.
The roads might be empty but hazards still exist.
Hazards are still plentiful on open roads, from surface debris, to wildlife, to the errant motorist who should also be at home. There is no shortage of problems that present themselves when out on the road. Stay alert and anticipate problems before they occur. Don’t use this time to push personal limits, in fact, exercise more restraint and caution.
If you want to ride, try practicing your
slow speed skills in a vacant parking lot.
With malls and retail locations shuttered for the foreseeable future try setting up a few cones in a local parking lot, or your driveway. Practice slow speed body positioning and counterbalance, emergency braking, and turning mechanics. Practicing these techniques will come in handy when everyone returns to work and we’re all commuting again.
Don’t ride at all and perform basic maintenance on your motorcycle
If you have time on your hands, boredom will set in, trust me. To keep your idle hands busy, look over your bike as chances are you’ve neglected some form of maintenance in the past year. Go through the easy to fix items like checking the oil, adjusting the chain tensioner, cleaning your carbs, or, if you’re really bored, take on a big project like swapping in some tight off-road suspension pieces onto your ADV.
If you need two-wheels in your daily life, a project, even small ones, can be a blessing in the monotony of those who are new to that “stay at home” lifestyle. Get dirty, you’ll have fun.
Execute good judgment
We cannot stress this enough, though ultimately the choice to ride your motorcycle will be your own. But remember, you’re not alone on the road. The road is not a vacuum. Other motorists, other people, other friends and family all occupy the road with you.
They may stop where you’re stopping. They might be infected and you might be asymptomatic, thus adding to the cycle of possible transmission. Worse-case scenario, you have an accident and you may end up needing to be rushed to the already overloaded hospitals in your area for something that could’ve been avoided. This is where you need to take a moment and really ask yourself: “Do I need to ride today?”
We here at IMS hope you and your family are safe and healthy. Together we can get through this and we hope to see you out on the road once we flatten the curve.