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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.

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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