I was ready to sneak out: to ignore the prohibition for +65 to go out of the home environment, to ignore all advises to stay home and avoid contacts.
I did not have a mask but I had an helmet and a motorcycle waiting in the garage: and I wanted to turn the throttle after a (for me) long period of inactivity.
After all, I thought, I live in a very isolated area without village or neighbours in the proximity, I have access to B roads and forest roads that I can use without crossing densely inhabited places, I have petrol in the garage to fill my tank for 200 K, I did not plan any stop. Just two good hours of relaxing riding taking a temporary leave of absence from the news on pandemic.
Everything ready, just one coffee before dropping clutch: the eyes go to the phone and there a new message from Iron Butt Association Premier News USA arrived 3/29/2020 at 5:41 AM.
Good friend and exceptional human Mike Kneebone, president IBA, was talking directly to me with a note sent to all members of the long distance riders group (yes the ones that many consider the irresponsible daredevils of the motorcycle world).
Mike message closed the garage doors, put back my Aerostich suit and relegated the motorcycle on its central stand. He was and he is right in calling bikers to a sense of responsibility toward the suffering community and the people that fight the pandemic.
Mike wrote: “We understand no one wants to be told what to do, but even if you argue that you will bring gloves for gas pumps and/or cleaner to wipe them down and not interact with anyone, our friends in the medical community are telling us that you do NOT want to be in a hospital right now.
While having an accident is probably statistically not likely, this is when odd things happen.
Even if we are out there riding remotely, rural hospitals impacted as well: most of them funnel serious trauma cases to larger city-based hospitals, which are the very ones that are already gearing up to deal with Covid-19 patients.
Reports from riders last week (before a lot of the close-business orders) are suggest that if you hit bad weather, there are few places to shelter. Many states have closed rest stops. Some have reopened for truckers, but that still leaves you out in the cold. Even truck stops are mostly closed for any kind of sheltering.
Many of our favorite stops for bathrooms are now closed to the public. …. Breaking down on the road is very likely to leave you stranded, as most motorcycle shops are closed in many locations… (Access to roads and cities is in some cases limited or forbidden) … Whether these orders are even constitutional is not the point here. That will be fought in the courts, not with the sheriff on the side of the road.
We repeat: This is NOT the time to be doing … rides for fun. Many of us feel invincible, but things happen that are out of your control, particularly these days the risk of landing in a hospital, breaking down, or simply needing to use a bathroom”
Good lesson of civic responsibility and intelligent kindness: an invitation that I would like to repeat to the the few readers of this blog, riders or drivers. Together with my best wishes and prayers for the riders that MUST be on the road in this epidemic : couriers, food deliverers, first aid and police, workers using two wheels as transportation.