Sun, dry roads and the return of motorcycle racing… it’s one of the few things that keeps many motorcyclists going through the dark winter months.
Now is the time when seasonal riders usually dig their bikes and riding gear out of the garage, but this year we’re being asked to stay at home in order to help slow down the spread of the global Covid-19 pandemic as it hits the UK.
While we’re all itching to get out on our bikes for a weekend blast, how can we get at least some of our biking fix while staying at home? Here are five ideas from Insidebikes…
Watch some racing (for free)
Right now we should be talking about the 2020 racing season. Without this global crisis, we’d be several rounds into the MotoGP and World Superbike seasons, and looking forward to the British Superbike kick off and impending international road racing events.
Live sport is obviously off the box, but there’s still plenty of ways to catch up on some of the best bike racing from the archives online.
MotoGP.com is offering a free trial to its website, giving access to a gargantuan library of races that goes back to 1992, as well as features and documentaries featuring the sport’s biggest stars.
The guys at WorldSBK are also playing their part by lifting the paywall on some of the content at www.worldsbk.com where there’s plenty of free video content with a focus on classic races, including Carl Fogarty’s legendary win for Honda at the superfast Hockenheimring in 1996, and British wildcard Neil Hodgson winning at Donington Park in 2000.
If British championship racing is more your thing, there’s a free trial on Eurosport Player. They’ve got a back catalogue in their ‘On Demand’ section that includes the tail end of last year’s season, as well as various road races and some world superbike racing.
Prep your bike
We know that you’re itching to ride, but for some the appeal of motorcycling is as much in the ownership of the bike as the riding itself.
Could this be the time to learn a bit of DIY and carry out some simple maintenance tasks? One of the arguments against doing your own work is that it is so time consuming, especially if you’re not experienced, but with some time on your hands, why not purchase a Haynes type manual, or check out some of the useful videos on YouTube to learn some basic maintenance?
DIY bike maintenance is a great skill which many riders feel helps to get more out of their riding, and which can be a godsend if you are unfortunate enough to break down.
A word of warning though, don’t run before you can walk. It’s best not to tear down your bike’s engine if you’ve never even changed the oil before. Start with simple tasks that are not safety critical, like a mini service, and make sure you have suitable tools before you start.
Sharpen up your riding
School’s not cool for many motorcyclists, but it should be because it can save your life.
Doing some kind of advanced riding course is something we really should all be doing, whether it’s a track based experience like the Carole Nash-backed Ron Haslam Race School or a trusted road based course like IAM Roadsmart.
Of course, bike based training is going to have to stay on hold for a bit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t brush up on your riding. Go back to basics and read the Highway Code – we guarantee that you’ll pick up a few nuggets you’ve forgotten about over the years – while the Police Foundation’s Motorcycle Roadcraft book is a useful read with plenty of input from police motorcyclists – the masters of ‘making progress’.
Play video games
Seriously! You can play your part by staying at home and playing motorcycle themed video games.
While bike fans are not catered for quite as well as car enthusiasts when it comes to video games, there are a few good ones about.
For race fans, the MotoGP series gives us an opportunity to play as our favourite racers but for road bike fans, Ride 3 is well worth a look.
The game features almost 250 bikes, from humble 125s to digital recreations of the latest superbikes. There’s also a host of classics like the Ducati 916 and Honda RC30 for you to virtually ride on a roster of 30 tracks, mostly recreations of real-life circuits like Cadwell Park and Imola.
The ability to race others online adds another dimension to the game, allowing you to fight it out with mates while continuing to maintain strict social distancing.
Write that biking bucket list
Right now we all need something to look forward to, so why not research some of those lifetime ambitions and prepare for when Boris Johnson finally drops the green flag for 2020.
Whether it’s a promise to tour and ride some amazing roads, tickets to a great show or that once in a lifetime trip to the Isle of Man TT in 2021, this is the time to do your preparation and get that battle plan in place while stuck at home.