How to survive coronavirus (as a motorcyclist)

So you’re taking the government’s suggestion of social distancing to heart … or maybe you just returned from a cross-border trip … or maybe you’re just sick of the toilet paper hoarders.

No matter your reason, plenty of Canadians are planning to stick close to base in the next few weeks. It’s especially tough, because motorcycle season is here and no doubt many of us are itching to get out riding. Maybe that’s a good idea, maybe it isn’t, but here are a few ideas to keep you busy around the house until riding season.

“Springerize” your bike … and catch up on maintenance

You winterized your bike, right? Now’s the time to get it ready for spring. We’ve got a checklist here, but think beyond that. Are your valves going to need adjustment during this riding season? Do it now! Do you remember the last time you changed your brake fluid? Has your swingarm linkage been greased in recent memory? What about your fork oil—when was it last changed?

Some of these chores will require supplies, but hopefully you can buy them online instead of visiting the store. Others should only require tools and supplies that you’ve got already. If you didn’t already do this work over the winter, now’s the time to go nuts on maintenance.

Yeah, I’ll admit this might not have been the smartest purchase. But at least I’ve got something to keep me busy for the next few weeks.

Take on a project bike

So you already did all that maintenance this winter, and your bike’s ready to go? Look at you, you keener. Since you’ve already solved your own problems, why not take on someone else’s? Specifically, why not start tinkering with a project bike?

Once I finish some projects on the fleet here (wiring in heated grips to the RF900R, adding chain oilers to a couple of other bikes), I’m looking to tackle the ’83 Honda Shadow VT750 that’s been in my barn for a year (and if any CMGers have a line on any parts, please let me know!). Maybe you can find a similarly well-used machine that’s in need of some loving, maybe as a fun second bike for yourself, or a first bike for some kid you know, or just as a buy-it-to-flip project. Whatever suits you, but now’s your chance to have some fun bringing a bike back to life.

A lot of CSBK racing from the past few years is also available online.

Watch classic racing

Here’s one good thing that MotoGP’s done, since races have been cancelled. To help fans pass the time, MotoGP’s currently offering free viewing of some past races, and you don’t even have to be a subscriber to the VideoPass service. MotoGP is also offering these documentaries.

World Superbike is also offering a similar service, and again, it’s free, with more races to come.

Although the Isle of Man TT has been cancelled for 2020, you can watch a lot of TT racing clips online, especially through the TT Racing Official YouTube channel. Locke9 also has plenty of great TT footage, including this clip, that’s always guaranteed to kill a few minutes.

Of course, you can also catch up on Canadian Superbike events from the past couple of years via YouTube as well.

Austin vince DVDs
Time to break out a couple of classics. If only I had not lent them out already …

Watch a motorcycle movie

Yeah, you probably already had your motorcycle movie night this winter. So what? Watch another one. Unfortunately for me, I’ve lent out most of my favourite motorcycle DVDs already (no Mondo Enduro or Terra Circa for me!), but I’ve still got a couple of decent ones around the house. Maybe I can finally catch up on Ed March’s original C90 Adventures DVD.

These days, with digital rentals and downloads widely available, almost anything produced recently can be watched without breaking quarantine. For instance, last year’s Wayne Gardner doc, titled Wayne, is available here. Some of the more indy stuff is also available for download as well, like Choppertown: the Sinners.

If you’re flat broke and online rentals and downloads are too spendy, we hear there’s an awful lot of free stuff available online, too …

Now is the perfect time to read about some past CMG adventures, and misadventures.

Read CMG

If you’re a long-term reader, you already know there’s lots of great stuff on here. If you just got here, we’ve just hit the 10,000 stories published mark, and I can assure you that at least some of them aren’t crap.

We’ve had some trouble with the back end of the site in the past few months, which has caused stories to disappear (this is also why the newsletter’s stopped, for now). But don’t worry, those stories still exist, they’re just not visible at the moment, and the tech team is working on bringing them all back for you.

But there’s still lots of great stories on here to enjoy. There are classic stories of Editor ‘Arris having adventures on bikes he couldn’t afford, but loved anyway. There are stories about Mark being a boomer and riding around on a Harley. There are many stories about CMG’s various attempts to conquer the Trans Labrador Highway. There’s roadracing stories, ice racing stories, touring stories, project stories, stories about bad ideas, stories about adventure rallies and scooter rallies. And bike tests! We’ve got lots and lots of bike tests. So if all else fails, log on here and spend some time reading about the best bikes of today, or the best bikes of 20 years ago—we’ve covered them all.


  1. Above all don’t forget that riding is one of the few things you can do without getting infected or infecting someone else. At least until the government shuts the streets down! Use your credit card at the gas station and keep your helmet and gloves on. Sure it’s cold still but you only need an hour here and there to clear your head.

  2. I went out for a 45-min ride last night here in Victoria. +11, sunny, beautiful, and not much traffic on the roads!

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