How the pandemic can affect our riding in the coming weeks

Now considered a global pandemic, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has totaled to over 125,000 worldwide, resulting in 4,613 deaths as of this writing. To treat this issue lightly would be a foolish mistake. As such, we thought we’d put together a simple guide on how to deal with the situation, particularly with regards to riding.

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Reduce your riding

Easily the easiest and most effective way of mitigating the effects of the pandemic is to reduce your riding as much as possible. Limit your travel to only absolutely essential trips and emergencies.

For those that have to ride to work, ensure you have the proper IDs that state your place of work and your residence. This will be necessary to present at checkpoints, particularly around areas under quarantine. This goes double for your vehicle’s paperwork. Ensure you are insured and registered as authorities will be extra vigilant against violators during this time. It goes without saying that you should be wearing a helmet and closed-toe shoes. As a final health precaution, wear a mask while riding, even with a full-face helmet.

If the itch to ride absolutely has to be scratched (which we do not recommend), plan your trips carefully. Limit trips to day rides, always bring your phones, and stay abreast of the news and developments while riding. Avoid crossing boundaries in and out of quarantined areas to avoid any hassle or checkpoints.

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For our more affluent readers, if you’re planning an overseas guided riding tour in 2020, consider postponing those plans. Several countries are already instituting quarantines as precautions against the virus, which will make cross-country travel for foreigners extremely difficult. Contact your travel agent or organizer to cancel while it’s still early. Otherwise, get yourself some travel insurance as this may cover any unexpected delays or expenses you may encounter while in transit.

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Expect parts supply shortages

With Asia, particularly China, hardest hit, many motorcycle parts (which are manufactured here) will obviously be affected. As such, you could see some delays with parts shipping and supply in the coming months. This applies to brand new motorcycles as well. This is no time to hoard or panic buy. These supplies will eventually be replenished once the situation improves. In addition, if you buy know, you may fall victim to price gouging and end up paying more than it’s worth. Prices for these parts could then suddenly drop once the situation improves.

Don’t worry about getting COVID-19 from parts made in countries hit by the virus. Research has shown that it cannot be contracted from these objects.

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Expect long service queues

With many authorities suggesting a work-from-home strategy where possible, or at least employing a skeletal workforce, motorcycle service shops and services won’t be as fast or efficient for now. As such, expect longer lines or more difficulty scheduling your next oil change. Bear in mind that service intervals are merely guidelines and do not have to be followed to the digit. If you can delay your servicing, do so until the situation improves.

Oil prices may get lower

Quite surprisingly during this time, Russia and the Middle East are currently engaged in an oil price war. Besides reduced travel because of the coronavirus, this is the second reason why fuel prices are low. As such, don’t make a bee line to the nearest gas station to fill up. You may be surprised to find that fuel prices are even lower the week after. Naturally, this will also affect other crude oil-derived products like engine oil, gear oil, and other lubricants.

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No racing, expos, or public gatherings

For fans of motorsports, the current situation will definitely affect the 2020 season of your favorite motorsport, whether international or local. Expect many races and events to be canceled or at least postponed until the pandemic subsides. After all, racing gathers large crowds of people together in one venue, making transmission of the virus highly likely and dangerous. MotoGP and WSBK have already canceled racing and rescheduled their calendar, so stay tuned to them for updates. The same applies to bike shows, exhibitions and expos. Big events like the Bangkok Motor Show, Inside Racing Bike Fest have already been canceled or postponed.

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Stay at home

Don’t sell your bike just yet. It’s not the end of the world. Throughout all this, the best thing to do is really reduce your travel and contact with other people, practice social distancing, and keep up the regular hand washing. The more people practice this, the more likely the virus’s spread can be halted, and the sooner we can get back to our normal lives, and more importantly, our regular riding.