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Stress - COVID & Highway Safety
Staying Safe In A COVID-19 World
By David Sturgis
Posted on 11/1/2020 11:26 PM
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our lives in many ways. Some of us are working from home, while others’ jobs are shut down due to the pandemic. Most forms of travel were impacted, though much of that has lifted. Our kids or grandkids attend school virtually, on a computer…. I could go on.

One big change for me was that I almost stopped riding my motorcycles. Not by choice, but I had nowhere to go! Not like I ever needed that before, but now it seemed like it was better if I stayed home. The summer brought record highs, and the hurricane season brought weeks of daily rain and extremely high humidity. After 6 months of not riding them much, I decided to sell 3 of the 4 motorcycles that I own. I kept my favorite ride, and that freed up a fair amount of cash to buy another one in the future.

You may be thinking, “This guy needs professional help. Hades would freeze over before I would quit riding motorcycles.” Perhaps you are right. My wife and I went for a car ride the other night, in the Prius! That was when I self-diagnosed my condition, and am now self-medicating (see below).

The good news is that I’m riding now. I rode about 30 miles today (10/24/20), in the heat of the day, and part of that was in a total group of strangers. I rode an awesome BMW S1000R in the demo event at BMW Jax. It was inspirational!

As I was zooming across the Buckman this morning, riding to BMW Jax from Mandarin, I had to take stock of my riding ability. I could still ride with no problem, but realized that my riding senses may have diminished. Riding requires sharper senses that driving the Prius.

Has the pandemic caused you to slow down or stop riding your beloved motorcycle(s)? If so, you may need “Riding Rehab.” I definitely need it!

Here are the steps that I’ll take to push through the rehabilitation program:
• Review your health, medications, and exercise regimen. Are you healthy enough to continue to ride? Since I’ve been seeing my doctors and am in good health, there are no issue there.
• Check over your motorcycle to make sure it’s in roadworthy shape. Did the tires go flat, or the gas turn stale? Take care of anything needed to get it roadworthy. I switched to ethanol-free gasoline early in the pandemic so the gas in my bikes wouldn’t go stale for a long time. A little Seafoam helped too.
• Focus on the fundamentals of riding. Managing the clutch, throttle and brakes are learned skills, and will come back quickly. Check your mirrors, keep your head on a swivel.
• Don’t rush or push your way through traffic, but rather keep your distance and remain calm. If you’re getting agitated or frustrated, stop someplace for a cool non-alcoholic drink and relax.
• Ride at times when there is less traffic, and the sanity of drivers is better. Avoid rush hour and bad weather too, since they increase your risk significantly.

Soon you will be out of “Riding Rehab” and enjoying your motorcycle(s) again. Riding may even help us overcome being cooped-up from the pandemic. Ride safely and enjoy!
P.O. Box 9857
Fleming Island, FL 32006-0035