Why I bought two motorcycles at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic


Have you ever noticed how Canadians focus on things that persist for such a short time? Gardens. Chalets. Dairy bars. Golf.

We plow and weed and we mulch, then we end up savoring the colorful fruit of our labors for a few weeks. We are waiting for the rural roads to finally be cleared of their winter remains in order to inspect the tragic impact of many Nor’esters, before spending the first weekends of summer repairing in anticipation of, finally, a few weeks of fun. After long months of waiting, bars and golf courses open daily so that we can apparently wonder why our favorite activities are so inextricably linked with clouds of black flies and mosquitoes.

And we drive motorcycles. According to Statistics Canada, more than 700,000 motorized two-wheelers are registered in Canada. Their popularity begs for belief. Put aside the inherent dangers for a moment – the lack of visibility, the machine’s innate desire to fall, the ease with which extremely fast examples can be acquired in exchange for little money – and consider the sheer stupidity of the ‘obsession.

In addition to parts of British Columbia, the 12-month obsession with motorcycles manifests on Canadian roads for a while. It’s a short-lived season, maybe a sixth of the year or maybe even a quarter, which certainly doesn’t offer any guarantees for good weather runners.

So naturally, with all the roads pointing to the insane motorbike madness in this country, I waited for another very obvious sign of caution: a pandemic. During a crisis that changed the era, called COVID-19, I bought not one but of them motorcycles.

Before calling me crazy, answer me this: how could I not buy them?

They are motorcycles. he can not be helped. As brief as the rewards are, Canadians do not tidy up their clubs, give up their chocolate-vanilla whirlwind, embark on chalets or bury flowers with cover crops. We also do not connect a set of drum kits to our choppers, scooters, cruisers, superbikes and ADVs for the purpose of summer storage.

The affliction of the motorcycle is unquestionably insane. It’s also easy to explain. They look good, they sound good and they are brutally rough transport devices: exposed to the elements, your own weight is an integral part of the machine, your hands and feet work in unison to drive progress, and you are pretty confident that everyone on the road is trying to kill you. The motorcycles are absurd, never careful and hardly practical. They will mainly be seated in a garage to be eyeed. And if, for the non-rider, it sounds like an argument against owning a motorcycle, rest assured that for the motorcyclist, it only serves to amplify the opportunity to own a motorcycle.

In my own circumstance, the 2018 Suzuki DRZ400SM that I purchased just after my wife became pregnant with our third child in the spring of 2019 “clearly” was to be sold barely a year later. Despite the border lines of Prince Edward Island, my Nova Scotia buyer was finally able to recover the black Suzuki in April.

I concluded that DRZ was still a strange choice. “SM” means supermoto, a civilized dirt bike for use on the street. And then, to build the whole owner’s experience, I replaced the original Suzuki road tires on this road bike converted to all-terrain rubber because I wanted to attack the legendary network of dirt roads. of Prince Edward Island. Yes, it’s complicated.

A few days later, having apparently forgotten all of the good reasons why the DRZ should “clearly” be sold, I realized that if my buyer was willing to acquire a new motorcycle during the pandemic, perhaps I should too . Fortunately still employed in a province which, to date, has seen only 27 reported cases of COVID-19 and even only one hospitalization, it cannot be denied that my situation was atypical. Even being able to spend a few thousand dollars on a frivolous toy in the spring of 2020 is a mark of great privilege. Islanders, probably now more than ever, are a grateful group.

I only lasted two weeks without a bike. The 2018 KTM Duke 390 I discovered – upgraded to an Akrapovic exhaust that still makes my heart beat two months later – was just too lustful to ignore. The little Duke is a very popular machine: agile and agile with much more engine than you would expect from a 373 cc single; incredibly comfortable; and really quite well equipped with a superb TFT screen, ABS, a slipper clutch and adjustable levers. In addition, it averages 4 L / 100 km in daily driving and only had 500 km to go when I bought it.

The motorcycles are absurd, never careful and hardly practical, all this only increases the opportunity to own a motorcycle

It was during this same period that we started building an all-terrain bike track in the backyard for our boys’ new 2019 Honda CRF50F (ish). “The 50”, as it has always been and will always be known, is an ideal starter bike. But I wanted something else, something that matched a very specific wish list: small enough for the boys to go up when The 50 becomes too small, but big enough to me to tighten my lanky frame on when the mood hits.

A 2014 Honda CRF110F that had never emptied its second fuel tank became available for only a third of the cost of a new example. How could I possibly resist? They’re hard to find precisely because people hold onto entry-level Honda off-road motorcycles for life.

I bought the 110 four-speed with the intention of keeping it in the neighbor’s garage until the time is right. Maybe a future birthday or Christmas where the size would not be so intimidating. Maybe in the fall, when The 50 just doesn’t provide enough preparation to entertain my more experienced pilot child.

The 110 was held captive, in an envelope, in the next mezzanine for only a few weeks. Now I spend my evenings chasing the boys on the 50 on “my” 110, legs on hips, arms exhausted, back pain. “Hunting” is the key word – I’m not aware of it. But I have fun trying.

And it will be the summer when all of us try enjoy. Holidays are unlikely. Most children are not in football. Hockey camps don’t happen. There will hardly be any camps of any kind. So it may well be the Canadians need to double the number of motorcycles in the summer. Of course, it’s a short riding season. It always has been. Admittedly, it is difficult for anyone to claim need a motorcycle. And yes, there are inherent dangers.

But what else are we going to do? Golf? Garden? Negotiate access to pandemic chalets with the various prime ministers? Rather than embarrassing, the forced isolation of this pandemic serves to underline the joy of the motorbike, of solitary journeys to nowhere in particular, whether this journey extends from one end to the other of the island or simply roams your own backyard.


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