In a perfect world, we’d be able to ride any time we wanted to. Unfortunately, lots of things can interfere, like jobs or families or…seasons. So, what’s a motorcycle junkie to do? Well, there are a ton of ways to practice your love of riding without actually throwing a leg over a bike. While they may not be as viscerally appealing as riding, these activities provide their own enjoyment and can help to ease that riding jones we all get after a few days out of the saddle. Since you’re already actively engaging in the most commendable non-riding activity in the entire universe by reading MO, we’ve decided to recuse it from eligibility. It really wouldn’t be fair to the other options, now would it?
So, climb aboard as we take a blast through the top 10 motorcycle activities that don’t involve actually riding motorcycles.
10. Wash Your Bike
Slowly trace your bare hands along your motorcycle’s sultry curves. Use a soft cloth or, perhaps, a lambskin glove. Remember, to avoid scratching the delicate finish, make sure that surface is properly moistened. Use a gentle soap to lift away any dirt from previous rides. Gently rub any stubborn bug impacts with your finger and lots of soapy water until the goo floats away. Follow by caressing your bike from nose-to-tail with a soft chamois cloth. Remove any water spots with gentle strokes and follow with a massage using only the rarest natural oils and waxes. (Image from MOTOCORSA.com.)
9. Talk About Your Bike
We all do it. Just ask our wives or husbands or coworkers or complete strangers. When something is a focal point in your life, it’s only natural to share, right? Do people criticize parents or grandparents for bragging about their progeny? (OK, so maybe they do, but it’s not like children are something important, like a motorcycle.) As you discuss your bike, having a selection of visual aids will help. We suggest buying the largest smartphone you can carry so that your photos and videos will be easier to share at the local supermarket checkout line.
If we have to warn you that this photo is of a professional rider testing a motorcycle’s cruise control and that attempting to perform this stunt without extra lives saved up could result in scraped paint and heavily damaged organic matter – so maybe you should think twice – then, perhaps, you don’t have the smarts to ride a motorcycle.
8. Visit Online Forums
Contrary to popular belief, the internet was made for research about motorcycles. In fact, the web exists solely for you to find every obscure tidbit about the specific model and year of your motorcycle. Once you’ve acquired all this information, you need to share it with the rest of the motorcycling world. Look around. Don’t be surprised to find a forum or two devoted to your favorite obscure brand of bike (many of which are part of “The Motorcycle.com Group” and are owned by VerticalScope, thoughtful souls that they are). Establish yourself as a regular on the forum and give your sage advice to all newbies who come along – particularly those who don’t ask for advice since they need it the most. Eventually, you’ll stumble on a few poor rubes that mistakenly believe they know everything about your motorcycle. Set them straight, immediately. When they don’t take kindly to you sharing your vast reserves of knowledge, insult their intelligence, their heritage, their politics, their girlfriend, their dog. The fun never ends…
7. Plan a Road Trip
Back in the analog days of yore, you could spend an entire winter poring over maps and books, planning your summer motorcycle tour. These days the process is so much more complicated. You still need to familiarize yourself with all the pertinent maps and travel books. However, now, you’ve also got to sift through the mountains of information available online about all the must-see destinations near your route. Next, you’ve got to enter all of this information into your travel software, your GPS and the blog you’ve devoted to this trip. Play your cards right, and you could spend your entire off-season and much of the spring working out the most efficient way to fit all these stops into the 9.7 vacation days you have saved up.
6. Play Video Games
Hey, if it’s good enough for professional roadracers to learn new tracks and road courses (like Pike’s Peak or the Isle of Man) then it’s good enough for you. Remember, you’ll need to log as many hours as possible on as many different platforms and motorcycle racing games as possible because you never know when you might be called out by some yahoo you meet at the local motorcycle hangout. On those occasions that you actually go out and ride IRL, be sure to carry your favorite controller in your tank bag. You don’t want to cede any advantage to your opposition. (Image from MotoGPvideogame.com)
5. Watch Roadracing on TV
In recent years, it was actually possible to record more motorcycle racing every weekend than there was time to watch before the next weekend’s racing. This is what is called a quality problem. Smart racing fans would choose one class of their favorite form of racing (say, Moto2 or World Supersport) and record the whole season without watching the events, cutting down on the weekly required viewing and leaving an entire series of races to tide oneself over through the long, cold winter.
Unfortunately, the distribution of motorcycle racing has changed over the last couple years, and you may now need to take a trip through the dark, back alleys of the web to find the torrents of all the races your local cable provider is no longer carrying. The good news is that these racing sites also have a great back catalog of seasons and epic, historic races.
4. Study Riding Technique
While you can spend days viewing YouTube videos in an effort to learn more about motorcycle riding technique, you need to be wary that many of the videos are worth exactly what you pay for them. Look for riders who have credentials beyond just a GoPro and an overinflated ego. Certified instructors and former/current racers would be a good place to start.
Also, there are these things called books that you can buy to learn all you want to know about drag racing, roadracing, or street riding. Again, look for titles that are affiliated with a known riding expert, like Troy Bayliss: A Faster Way shown above.
3. Wrench on Your Bike
If cleaning your motorcycle doesn’t get your heart pumping, perhaps you need to get dirty with it, instead. Many riders, because of a lack of previous experience, never learn to enjoy laying their hands on their motorcycle’s internal parts. Begin with simple maintenance, such as changing oil, and once comfortable with it, move on to more complex projects, like installing braided steel brake lines. Before you know it, you’ll be degreeing your cams and hand bending your own exhaust headers. What are you waiting for?
2. Attend an International Race
Since you’ve invested all those hours in watching the racing mentioned in number 5, you need to follow through and actually attend an international race. Currently, we have three prime events in the United States for seeing the upper echelon of international roadracing. So, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to view the World Superbike round at Laguna Seca or the MotoGP stops at the Circuit of the Americas or at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Then you’ll be close enough to smell the race gas of motorcycles that cost more than you might make in your lifetime. Still, the extravagance is worth seeing because you know the event is put on for you, the fan. Additionally, some of the cool technology will eventually trickle down to the street machinery you can actually afford. (Traction control, anyone?) Remember that bonus points are awarded for going to an overseas round of these international motorcycle racing series. Just don’t forget to set your DVR before you leave. You wouldn’t want to miss the chance to play back the race and look for yourself in the crowd.
1. Buy Another Motorcycle
We’ve seen it before: An unassuming rider stumbles on a deal on a bike that they can’t refuse. However, once that second motorcycle arrives in the garage, something takes over all logic. Soon, the bikes are multiplying at a lagomorphic rate. Don’t worry. Keep buying motorcycles, and perhaps there will be a motorcycle museum your estate has named after your collection of two-wheeled history. That not enough for you? OK, think about other people for a change. The folks selling motorcycles – whether it be for a private sale or a business – are doing it for a reason. They need money. What do they do with the money? They spend it. Since our economy is based on consumption, spreading around your dollars is essential. If you’re not spending money, how can we expect anyone else to have money to spend? Don’t you want your neighbors to be able to buy groceries? Are you that selfish? Get out there and do your part to prop up the economy. Go buy that motorcycle, right now, mister.