Whether you are choosing to ride recreationally right now or not, everyone’s riding season has been affected by Covid-19. Many communities are affected financially, healthfully and socially by various degrees of stay at home, flatten the curve, staying apart is the best way to stick together type messages. Depending on what country, state, or even county you’re in, your degree of hunker down may vary.
Here in Columbus, Ohio, where we are located, we had been under a general “stay at home” unless you work for an essential business, etc for about 7 weeks. Riding, or otherwise being outside, for recreation was not banned as long as social distancing measures are observed. With that said, to date, most or all community events, including bike nights, were cancelled or postponed. In this neck of the woods, mid-April is the typical kick off for the riding season, though we happen to be experiencing oddly cold and unpredictable weather this week. Honestly, it being “too cold” for the average rider is kind of a blessing in disguise, for the time being.
As Ohio “reopens” and the “Stay At Home Order” becomes a “Stay Safe Ohio” order with businesses reopening their doors and people going back to work, the risk of overwhelming our hospitals with COVID-19 related surges seems to be lowering. Though, the result of a return to “normal” community interaction is yet to be seen.
We are all chomping at the bit to get back to riding and meeting up with riders that don’t live with us. But the looming idea that riding, even solo, is a risk of a somewhat recognizable nature. Not a risk of getting the virus, but the normal motorcycle rider risk to add on top of hopefully recovering hospitals should an accident occur. Many riders expressed hesitation at riding at all during the Stay At Home order. Some riders decided to take the personal risk and ride out and back. Some riders even met up for their own unofficial socially distanced rides, avoiding contact and eating their restaurant food outside. Riding on your favorite back road without taking your gloves and helmet off is certainly a “touch free” way to navigate the risk of transmission. However, longer rides inevitably require gas station and food stops, increasing the chance of human interaction.
The thought of the social riding season in the Midwest being shortened isn’t a happy thought. We’re all excited and rearing to go meet up at Nutter or Hofbrauhaus for bike nights. We’re all ready to park in front of our favorite restaurant and enjoy food on the patio while talking bikes. So, unlike a lot of other social endeavors, a lot won’t change for us once we ramp bike night back up.
Under the new “Stay Safe Ohio” order, businesses in Ohio are permitted, which a few notable exceptions, to reopen as long as safety standards are met. Social distancing requirements are still in place, including maintaining the 6-foot distance, gatherings of more than 10 non-related/same household individuals is not permitted, yet. Oh, and you should wear a mask when you are around people you don’t live with. Plus, you should be washing your hands anyway, you filthy animal.
That makes it a little hard to have in-person events. There are a few bike nights coming up that may be allowed to happen since they are able to be 100% outside. I don’t know about you, but besides shaking hands, I really don’t physically interact with anyone at bike nights to begin with.
Restaurants are still curbside/outdoor seating only with reduced capacity. So, just stay a little farther apart and order from the restaurant to-go?
Retail (which is us!) is allowed to (re)open officially May 12th. We’d still be limited to 10 customers at any one time inside the building, with the order encouraging curbside pickup and appointment-only shopping.
Thankfully, our Mound Street location has a large outside area for people to congregate– socially distanced, of course. We’re super excited to get to show you our space when we open!
We are going to be testing the waters for the rest of the season with smaller meet ups, making sure we have space for people to spread out outside, providing hand sanitizer, and streaming events live for people who can’t attend in person.
Even if we can’t get a large group together in person yet, we want to be able to help when we can.
If you need advice, suggestions, or just want to virtually hang out, we have two community groups on Facebook.
Throttle Company Community — this group is the “main group.”
ThrottleCo. Vintage Newbies Group — this group is geared towards newer riders.
Women Motorcycle Riders of Ohio — this group is geared towards women, and those who identify as a woman, riders in Ohio and it not limited to riders of vintage motorcycles. I plan to organize events and educational opportunities for women through this group, so stay tuned!
All three groups are a great place to get connected and help grow the vintage, rider, women rider communities while we navigate the socially distanced motorcycle season this year and beyond!
I even keep a calendar of motorcycle related events. These events are a combination of Throttle hosted/attended events and other people’s events. So, we aren’t responsible for them unless they say our name. I try to keep it updated and it was updated with postponed and cancelled events as of 5/9/2020. Let me (Nicole) know if any events are missing or incorrectly dated or listed as still happening, etc.