The Covid crisis and Lockdown Level “what-ever-it-is-ish” has given us all much more thinking time.
And stressing time.
And work-from-home time.
And trying-to-fit-everything-in-while-working-from-home time.
In this article, I would like to focus on the Thinking Time though. This time often evolves into dreaming time. My dreaming time has become labelled as “Dreaming of Riding”.
To be honest, a lot of dreaming time has been taken up by Zoom, Teams and all of the other on-line conversation portals, and this means that with this on-line time I’ve been spending the breaks between digital meetings in a new label: Research Time (my apologies for all of the “labels” and the overuse of the term “time”, but, you know, Covid….).
What has interested me is The Big Question, the one that has no answer: What will the future look like? We don’t know, but we can certainly speculate. My mind has been locked into looking at past crisis of many forms, health, economic and the like and then looking at their recovery paths. Here is my research opening statement:
“After each crisis in our past, it seems as if motorcycle sales were a significant part of the recovery”.
Since 1900 there have been over 32 economic crisis of one form or the other. After each, there was an economic recovery, however gradual. With the economic recovery came, most importantly to us bikers, an increase in motorcycle sales.
After the Great Depression sales increased. The oil crisis of the 1970s, an increase. The global recession of the early 1990s, again, an increase. And after 2008’s financial crisis, yup, an increase (Not in South Africa, but that’s for other, more domestic reasons). So globally motorcycle sales increased.
Therefore, the next question is why buy a motorcycle after these economic meltdowns?
Let’s dig into the logic of it first. Certain motorcycles offer a much more cost-effective means of getting around. The cost of purchasing, the cost of owning, fuelling, insuring, servicing and storing, the mobility solution that motorcycles offer compares favourably with the relatively expensive car.
We also have to acknowledge that many people find themselves in an affordability crisis of their own, having taken cuts in salary or even having lost their jobs. Thus, logically motorcycles offer an affordable way of getting around. During and after the oil crisis the cost perspective of the motorcycle made it extremely attractive to an entire generation of riders.
That brings me to the other side of the spectrum – Emotion. After the mental strain of crisis don’t we, as a species, crave a sense of freedom, a spirit of independence and an unshackling of the restrictions? This thought was the true catalyst for me putting these words to keyboard.
The desire to ride after being locked down has been an ache we have all felt. How amazing was the first ride? And in our history, after each crisis, the freedom that motorcycles bring inspires a whole new generation of riders, from superbikes to cruisers. And you can pick your favourite manufacturer here.
A bonus observation. There is also the evolution of the motorcycle offering, with each crisis bringing its own problems, and the ingenuity of humans developing new solutions. Electric Motorcycles are a prime case in point, a solution for this generation.
My point is really one of balance. A balance between logic and emotion, and I feel that’s often the way we recover emotionally from each crisis. It’s tough but we have survived many. The survival includes re-prioritising the way we spend, revaluating the way we live our lives, stimulating economies to get spending going again, rebuilding our wealth after significant losses, and realising what is truly important to us.
And here’s a balanced, in-between-logic-and-emotion thought – what better a way to socialise with our tribe, our fellow bikers than to have a helmet on, gloves on, and keep a safe distance away from each other on the road?! Totally in keeping with the Covid guidelines and regulations, yet still allowing us to connect with our community, our heart. And stimulating the economy by buying a motorcycle, putting fuel in it, buying the correct rider gear, attending events, having those breakfast runs. All to help the economy!
So, basically what I am saying is, for the betterment of society and the post-Covid recovery, go buy the motorcycle and get riding…..for the benefit of us all (and maybe, just slightly, a bit of selfish glee….)