If you’re the type to make resolutions for the new year, and you like motorcycles, then you’ve probably already resolved to Ride More in 2021. That’s been my resolution for at least the last 25 years, since my kids came along and took priority for my time.
If one good thing came out of Covid last year, it’s that many of us got to ride more. We recognized that being out on a motorcycle is often a solitary passion, and it’s simple when riding to stay at a distance from other people. We’re able to get out for some fresh air, explore new places without exposing ourselves or others to the Coronavirus, and generally find an antidote for the stir-crazy isolation of the year.
The downside was that there was nowhere to go. In previous years, we could travel across the US border or seamlessly between provinces and townships. Or, we’d ride to get somewhere local. Maybe just to eat or drink: the local coffee shop, a recommended restaurant, a new find in a new town, or maybe a new find in a place we’d visited a hundred times. The open environment of motorcycles means we’re more likely to notice and discover places; it also means we sometimes need a place to rest up, or get out of the heat or cold or rain.
In 2020, we rode and we rode without really stopping, in big loops that brought us back to the familiarity of home. In the spring, it required riders to be self-sufficient by packing water and snacks as there weren’t options for places to stop for food or drink. Once the weather warmed up properly, many restaurants found ways to provide safe, outdoor seating. Originally, I was admonished by non-riders for leaving the house in the first place. “What happens when you crash? You’ll take away a hospital bed from a Covid patient!” But I didn’t crash, and all was well. And even if I had needed medical attention for whatever reason, there was plenty of hospital space.
So perhaps it’s just as well that our current lockdowns are happening in the winter, now that there isn’t an abundance of hospital space. Motorcycles are inherently a dangerous passion, both street and dirt bikes alike, and our medical system needs us taking good care of ourselves right now. Vaccinations may have begun, but we’re not going to be out of this pandemic mess until at least the summer.
When the summer arrives, though – what a summer it will be! Road trips and restaurants, travelling and visiting, hugging and hanging out. And riding, more than ever before.
When the season does begin, my resolution will be to ride more but it will also be to not ride more. I’ll take the time to appreciate the places I’m going to, provided it’s now safe to do so. I’ll ride farther afield, with more overnight trips, and I’ll take the extra time to talk to people without having to do so through a mask, or on the other side of a plexiglass screen.
This resumption of normality won’t be ready to go as soon as the roads are clear. It’ll take longer than that. But when it does happen, the roads will be clear and the wind will be warm, and we’ll enjoy the riding all the more. I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say, I can hardly wait.