I’m sure most of you are with me on this, but I am done with this whole Corona/lockdown thing. Yeah, I know, we need to continue to be vigilant, practice Safe Socializing and protect the most vulnerable, the elderly, which did not happen anywhere near enough in early days. (Certain bureaucrats oughta be locked up for that.) But I’ve had it with hunkering down and not living – and hearing the brain surgeons and ChiCom apologists in various state capitals (and in the media) tell us in their typically condescending tone who wins, who loses and what’s good for us, all while the most vibrant economy in many decades goes down the toilet.
As usual, motorcycles have helped me deal with the BS. And they’re helping a lot of you deal, too, as I’m seeing a lot of you out there. I went on a 100-mile cruise with friends last weekend (Salt Lake City to Park City to Heber and back down Provo Canyon), and when we stopped for a coffee and gas at the halfway point there were maybe a dozen of you taking a break. I spied a handful of Harleys, a couple Indians, a Brit-bike or two and the obligatory Japanese iron – and lots of happy faces.
There were lots of bikes on the road, too, all of which seemed to jive with the almost ironic, doesn’t-quite-fit feeling I’ve been getting lately that motorcycling is, despite all the dire predictions of a down market and the effects of non-alcoholic Coronas, alive and well and kicking.
I’d heard this a couple weeks back from my old friend Malcolm Smith, who owns a multi-brand store in Riverside, CA. “Mitch,” the On Any Sunday legend told me, “we just had our best weekend in sales in three years! Feels sort of weird considering what’s going on…”
Very weird. Or maybe not.
To find out what’s going on in the Intermountain West, where I’m now spending a lot of time, I dialed up Joe Timmons, who owns four Harley-Davidson stores in Salt Lake City, Sandy, Ogden and Logan. Timmons is an old dragracer, has been involved in motorcycling for the majority of his years, and definitely has his fingers on the pulse of this area. And what he told me backs up what Ol’ Malcolm said.
“Despite everything,” Timmons told me in his office, “it’s a good time to be in the motorcycle business. Things at our shops are pretty busy, with lots of folks coming by spending time and money. Sales are good for new and used bikes, our service and parts departments are busy, and general excitement seems pretty high.”
“There’s no lack of people wanting to get into the sport, either,” he continued, “and a lot of them are younger. We have a riding academy that runs multiple classes a week, and we’re booked for months. Everyone seems super excited, which is a great thing. It feels a lot like a rebirth, actually, sort of like the way things were in the ’70s when so many were discovering motorcycling. Remember when we’d hang around the local bike shop when we were younger? It was more than a place to check out the new bikes; it felt like a special club, and you knew that if the guys and gals in the shop knew your name, you’d arrived? [Laughs!] It’s a little like that again, a bit of a groundswell, which is good to see. People like hanging out at the shop; they can forget all the other bad stuff that’s happening, and really enjoy themselves. Many have money to spend, too; what else are they spending discretionary cash on?”
“And they’re riding,” Timmons added. “And you’re not gonna catch the virus out there in the elements. So it’s safe and fun. We have great roads here, and folks are rediscovering the thrill of just riding. It’s a back-to-basics thing, I think. We’re also seeing a resurgence in riding by folks who haven’t ridden in a while. They’re rediscovering the thrills of motorcycling, and I think that bodes well for our sport’s future and our stores’ future.”
As usual, it’s Motorcycles To The Rescue. We’re not surprised; we’ve known it all along. Time for a Corona, then. A cold, bubbly one. Cheers!
If you dare to go toe-to-toe with Boehm find him at
firstname.lastname@example.org. May your wounds quickly heal