Lately, there’s been a lot of discussion on what the new normal would be like after the lifting of the Enhanced Community Quarantine especially on matters like public transportation, office work, restaurant operations, education and others that concern daily life.
Sports activities such as tennis, swimming, gym use and even golf are now hot topics of discussion in both mainstream and social media. The contention by enthusiasts is that these are non-contact activities.
There is, however, an area that has been hardly discussed and that is motorcycle riding or for many, weekend motorcycle riding
I, like many others, ride my motorcycle on weekends, especially on Sundays. I ride a KTM 790 Adventure, considered a big bike, with a group of friends who are mostly professionals.
Because I live in the Makati area, our usual destination would be Tagaytay for breakfast. Along the way, one would see other riding groups meeting up early morning in Shell Magallanes, Petron after Susana Heights or Caltex by Mamplasan. Others from the Northern side of Metro-Manila would ride to Tanay and some parts of Rizal via the Marikina-Infanta Highway or more popularly known as Marilaque.
With the coming of the new normal, however, would this still be possible? How will social distancing be practiced?
Let’s start with protection. In the medical field, there’s the Personal Protective Equipment or PPE. We’ve been seeing a lot of that lately in hospitals, COVID-19 testing centers and other medical and health facilities.
With motorcycle riders, wearing protective apparel or gear is a must. This actually is pretty much standard and have become quite a fashion statement for some riders. A matching kind of style that will go with the color and brand of the motorcycle. Okay, so I’m guilty.
Motorcycle riders wear padded jacket and pants. Some even wear body armor inside their jackets. These are made of light plastic or rubber molded material for chest or back protection. Body airbags, although pricey, are also now available.
Motorcycle footwear is also a requirement. For short rides to your neighborhood coffee shop, low-cut boots with reinforced protection for the ankle and toes. Let’s just say it’s more for casual riding.
Sports bike riders prefer the track and race boots that are more comfortable and flexible when doing all those gear maneuvers.
For longer rides or out of town, there are the adventure and trail boots. They offer more coverage above the shin and majority are waterproof.
Masks are now a common sight. Most motorcycle riders wear double protection for the head when riding.
There’s the balaclava. It’s a close fitting garment usually made of cotton or nylon, that covers the neck and the head with an opening for the eyes.
Once the balaclava’s in place, comes the helmet that comes in various styles. Full face or half face, this comes with a face shield. Those without the face shield should now consider getting one that has. Although it’s still debatable, some say that air droplets stay airborne for quite some time.
So we’re done with the body protection side. Now comes the other fun side of riding. The hanging out or “tambay.” Will our favorite coffee shops and breakfast restaurants be open for dine in? As of now, it doesn’t seem possible. This part of the ride is where everyone one talks about bikes, how one of the riding mates rode that curve, the birds and the bees, crazy stuff and a lot more. Where’s the fun in to go and curbside order on a bike group ride?
So what do you say my fellow bikers? We’ve got the proper protective gear. We ride more than three feet apart. Sometimes even on staggered formation. Are we not going to gather as a group during meet-ups prior to the ride? No more hang outs in our favorite ride destinations?
Sad to say, this may be the new normal or until maybe a cure is found for this, to use a rider’s slang for an undisciplined rider, “kamote” virus.
One thing’s for sure though, the wives and girlfriends will be happy because there will be more time for them on weekends.
Stay safe! Ride safe!