How to be a better motorcyclist during the lockdown

Pre COVID-19, we motorcyclists used to wait for the Friday to take off on a ride or to a racetrack.
Ever since the curfew/lockdown has become “a never-ending Monday”, we only pray such Friday’s make a comeback soon.

Disclaimer:
This post is NOT aimed to encourage anyone to take out his/her motorcycle for a ride during the pandemic.
Please stay-put, adhere to the lockdown rules and wait till the pandemic passes in order to live and ride another day
.

Apart from cleaning your motorcycle, these will bring some motorcycling back into your home in such testing times:

Watch a race on a motorcycle:
Stop warming up the couch !!
Suit up, and flex some muscles while binging over a weekend race on a motorcycle !!

Lockdown motorcycling - watch a race onboard a motorcycle
Best seat to watch a race!!

Talk to your ride partner about being a pillion:
Most motorcycle pillions think they are just a passenger (like sitting in a car) and that they do not affect the motorcycle or the rider.

Have a conversation with him/her about:
– how the pillion can impact the dynamics of the motorcycle
– Ask your pillion for an honest feedback – how safe they feel as a pillion, how often to take breaks (taking a break physically and also to break the monotony of sitting and doing nothing)
– List out Do’s and Don’t while on a motorcycle
(Ex: look ahead onto the road so that they are aware in order to anticipate + do/do not try to keep the pillion’s feet onto the road while taking a U-turn etc)
– what to do after a fall/mishap such as emergency contacts, location of first-aid kit etc

These conversations are a massive confidence-booster, especially if they haven’t sat pillion for long ride and a must if you plan to take him/her out for a multi-day ride.

Build a dream ride fund:
It’s time to act on that dream, draw a plan to:
– finance the ride
– While you would be away on the ride – how to ensure financial stability of your family
– Emergency fund for any surprise-expenses in your dream ride

Some simple ways to build a ride fund include:
– Evaluate what you spend on the current bike – beyond fixed costs of insurance, service, riding gear, replacing worn parts etc
– Do I really need those auxiliary lights or a touring rack or an aftermarket exhaust or a bar-end mirror ?
Start Small, but keep it consistent: Set aside a monthly dream ride fund (start with 5-10% of your income)

Read on how our Indian over-landers have funded their dream ride

Aditya Kumar on his Overland Motorcycle Ride
Aditya Kumar on his Overland Motorcycle Ride

Keep the bike in a “Ready to Ride” state:
While this is a no-brainer, spend some time to do very basic DIY to keep your motorcycle in a running condition during the lockdown:
– Maintain a healthy battery, start the motorcycle once a week
– Keep the fuel tank full
– Check and top-up the fluids (coolant, brake fluid, engine oil, suspension gas)
– Constantly check and maintain tyre pressure
– Transmission Chain: clean, adjust and lube

Hero Impulse Motorcycle Chain - After the clean
Basic motorcycle maintenance

Set up the motorcycle suspension:
The suspension (front and rear) translates the road-surface onto the motorcycle and eventually to the rider.
A well setup suspension is the difference between a comfortable ride or the one with back and bum sores.

how to setup a motorcycle suspension of a Triumph Daytona 675R
Suspension setup – difference between a good ride and a great ride

Re-Read the owner manual:
Most of us would have NEVER read the owner’s manual and would only open it while getting the free-service coupon.
It’s immensely helpful to revise on vital information about your motorcycle such as
– location of the chassis/engine number
– location of the fuse box
– what’s the recommend tyre pressure (with/without pillion)
– Basic suspension settings for rider, rider+pillion etc (they are a starting point, fine tune the setup based the specific rider’s weight)
– All the motorcycle manuals include a “Basic Troubleshooting Procedure for the motorcycle”, which saves a lot of anxiety, time and money in case of a break-down

Keep yourself physically fit:
With limited movement + closure of sports-facilities, gyms, swimming pool – it’s essential to stay healthy with some basic exercises:
– Walking (most underrated and yet the most effective exercise)
– Yoga
– Indoor body weight exercises in full-form/with assist – push-ups + pull-ups and squat

For your own safety:

  • Wear masks, sanitise regularly, wash hands with soap.
  • Follow social distancing and avoid going out unnecessarily.
  • Stay Safe and don’t hesitate to consult a doctor.

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