June 4, 2020

Maybe It’s Finally Time To Park Our Bikes – Just For A Spell

HARWINTON, CT – Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began intruding on our lives, I’ve been grateful that my preferred form of recreation and stress-reducing escape is riding a motorcycling. It’s an activity that can be done solo or in groups with six feet of separation.

It wasn’t long after the pandemic hit last month, though, that debate began on whether riding was wise or proper. Initially, I sided with those who felt riding was sufficiently safe and absolutely necessary for mental well being.

After all, the “stay at home” order from state government was reducing traffic and therefore reducing the risk of riding, right?

In the past month, I’ve taken a few long, uneventful rides, and enjoyed every second of them. Well, except for the part where muscles that haven’t been used for a while start aching when held in one position for too long.

Rider’s death changes my thinking…

Then, yesterday, I read a story in the “Republican-American,” the local newspaper that I write for. The story was headlined “Oxford man dies from injuries suffered in a motorcycle crash” and told of a 27-year-old rider who crashed Saturday night in Seymour, CT.

The operator suffered serious injuries and died. His passenger also suffered serious injuries. Both were taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport.

While the death of a rider always causes me to pause, what made me take more note than normal was the fact both the deceased and his passenger were taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital, which located in Fairfield County – the epicenter of the pandemic in Connecticut.

My reaction was, “Did medical personnel there really need to deal with victims of a motorcycle accident at a time like this?”

It was at that moment that I decided the time had come to park my motorcycles, at least for a short spell until the peak of the pandemic has passed.

Sure, I could probably ride every day with nothing bad happening, but why risk it?

Three reasons not to ride…

I came up with three reasons why a temporary layoff from getting out on two wheels might be wise decision:

– If I had an accident would I really want to be treated by doctors and nurses who might be overworked and frazzled?

– After spending all this time self-isolating and social distancing, would I really want to be in an environment like an emergency room filled with the COVID-19 virus?

– And wouldn’t it be selfish to take doctors and nurses away from the truly sick to treat injuries that could have been avoided by simply staying put for a week or two?

I’m hoping my self-imposed layoff from riding doesn’t last long. But, for now, it seems both prudent and an act of good citizenship.

The time that I would have been spent riding can be better utilized cleaning the garage and on other chores that will maybe free up time later in the riding season when the potential consequences aren’t as great.

About Bud Wilkinson

An award-winning print and broadcast journalist, Bud Wilkinson writes the "RIDE-CT" motorcycle column and the "My Ride" vintage car feature for the "Republican-American" newspaper in Waterbury, CT. He studied journalism at Ohio Wesleyan University where he received a B.A. degree. He currently rides a 1987 BMW R 80 RT and a 2014 Triumph Bonneville.

4 comments

  1. Your thoughts are dead on. My son and his ride buddy were involved in an accident on Easter Sunday.
    The both ended up in the ER at Hartford Hospital. I’m sure the HH staff was not thrilled about their arrival and all of the immediate care that they required. (Both had major leg injuries.) And as you mentioned, pulling health workers attention away from others, possible exposure to Covid and over worked doctors and surgeons…

    I’m sure that we are all anxious to ride but maybe a few weeks in the garage doing bike maitainece is not a bad idea at this time?

  2. RIDE….. RIDE OFTEN, RIDE SAFE. DOING MY SHARE OF WEARING OUT TIRES, BRAKES, OIL, AND OTHER TYPICAL WEAR ITEMS. KEEPING MY BIKES FRESH AND RIDE READY AT ALL TIMES. DOING MY SHARE TO KEEPING THE PARTS SUPPLIERS GOING.
    IT’S MY CHURCH, “CHURCH OF 2 WHEELS” MY “CYCLE THERAPY” WE ALL CAN USE SEVERAL MILES OF CYCLE THERAPY EACH WEEK.
    RIDE ON! RIDE ON! RIDE ON!!!!!!!!

  3. I think this article is a dose of the truth. Alot of riders will not like to hear this, but it really makes a whole lot of sense. Thank you for posting.

  4. Valid points. But a downside — you’re no longer wearing out tires, chains, sprockets, oil, filters, brakes and other moto disposals. You’re no longer supporting the moto economy, whether you rely on a dealer for maintenance work or do it yourself. Yes, I understand there’s a small risk of mishap associated with riding in both normal or pandemic times. But there’s a 100% guarantee you’ll hurt the moto economy and thereby undermine our collective passion by choosing not to ride.

    I will be riding, abiding by all proper social distancing best practices. In about 500 miles, I’ll be visiting one dealer for a tire change, and in 850 miles my KTM dealer for a scheduled valve service and software update. Oil, front brakes and air filter I’ll do myself. Ride on. Stay safe.

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