Anybody sick of Netflix? Pretty much no matter where you live, you’ve likely been under quarantine or shelter-in-place restrictions for weeks now. You’re staying home to keep others safe, and because you really don’t have a choice.
Your hair is getting long and your temper is getting short. There’s no sense in going to the grocery store because they’re out of everything anyway. And you’re facing the ugly truth that toilet paper rationing may not get you through.
But if you’re a Harley® Owner, there’s hope. We’re about to answer frequently asked questions about Harley road trips and offer suggestions for making it through in our COVID-19 Survival Guide for Harley® Owners.
Flatten the Curve, Ride a Harley®
Riding your bike is a great way to social distance. It also might be a way to keep your sanity and save your relationships. The media tells you every day what you can’t do, spreading anxiety and fear. We’ve got good news – one of your favorite activities is still available. Ride more to make it through, and at the same time flatten the curve.
Chapter 1 - Coronavirus Motorcycle Riding FAQs
One question we keep hearing is, “Can I go for a bike ride right now just for pleasure, even if I’m not traveling for a purpose?” The answer is a little sticky depending on where you live. We’re providing answers for riding in Texas, but they’re good for many other states as well, just be sure and double check with local regulations.
Can You Ride Your Harley® During Shelter in Place?
On March 22, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued a shelter in place order for Dallas County residents that went into place just before midnight on the 23rd. Other Texas counties soon followed suit to stop the spread of Coronavirus. Shelter in Place prohibits all non-essential travel and encourages residents to stay in their homes as much as possible.
You can travel to work, to get food and to check on family members, and that’s about it. Otherwise you’re supposed to stay inside your home social distancing from even your family members.
That encourages the obvious question, can you ride your Harley® during shelter in place, even if you’re not going to work or to the grocery store?
Most shelter in place orders allow people to go outside and engage in activity by themselves. You can go for a solo run, you can cut your front lawn etc.
Is There Anybody Who Shouldn’t Ride Right Now?
If you have symptoms like a fever and a cough, even if your symptoms are mild, you should stay home. You may feel like you’ll be okay and intend to keep completely to yourself, but you can’t predict what might happen if you go for a motorcycle ride. If you are infected with Coronavirus, you may accidentally spread it to others.
How Long Can COVID-19 Live on Bikes and Riding Gear?
If you’re confused by the crazy deluge of conflicting information, you’re not alone. Every two minutes some expert is weighing in with a new study that creates fresh alarm. To add to the confusion, America just pulled funding for the World Health Organization for mishandling and covering up the whole thing. We’ve been trusting that organization for news and recommendations since this started.
The amount of time COVID-19 can stay infectious varies by the type of surface on which it exists. It lives longer on some surfaces than others, which is part of the reason you can’t get a straight answer. It’s somewhere between a few hours and several days.
Either way, if you leave a sanitary environment and get out in public, assume you’ve picked up germs.
Will Riding My Harley During Coronavirus Affect My Immune System?
Probably, but in a good way. The physical and mental stress from this whole situation is starting to add up. Depression and anxiety have spiked, and both of those weaken the immune system. A ride elevates mood and makes your mind and body more able to cope. We’ll come back to that in a few minutes.
Can I Ride With My Buddies?
No way should you ride with a big group. We’ve canceled events that put people in contact with each other because we take public health seriously. But for those asking whether or not they can ride with their spouse or a friend or two, they’re really asking two questions:
Q: If I ride with a friend will I get pulled over and ticketed, quarantined or thrown in the slammer?
A: If you’re committing a moving violation or suspected of a crime, probably. If you’re just riding, cops may pull you over or you may encounter checkpoints at which they ask where you’re going and what you’re doing. As long as you’re behaving reasonably and maintaining six feet of distance between yourself and your friend, you’re not doing anything wrong. However, law enforcement officers are tasked with preventing the spread. Some view any social activity as taking unnecessary risk. You’re less likely to have a problem if you ride alone.
Q: Is it bad for my health to ride with a friend?
A: If you’re riding six feet apart wearing helmets, you’re not very likely to spread Coronavirus if one of you is infected. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face.
Is There Anywhere I Shouldn’t Ride My Harley® During the Pandemic?
The fact that you’re riding a Harley® as opposed to a car or a horse or a unicycle doesn’t really make a difference, but there are things you should know about travel right now.
Every state has its own restrictions. If you leave Texas, re-entering the state might cause issues. For example, if you cross the Louisiana border and stay the night there, you might be asked to quarantine for 14 days upon your return. To avoid the hassle, stay in the state. If you need to ride to somewhere else, do your research.
Also recognize many things are closed. The rest stop, gas station and favorite restaurant you’re used to stopping at may not be available, so plan ahead.
Chapter 2 – Germ Warfare for Harley® Owners During the Pandemic
We’re not going to tell you how to wash your hands, that’s been more than adequately addressed ad nauseum. We do, however, have some tips for germ warfare when you ride your Harley during the pandemic.
5 Rules For Preventing Coronavirus Spread During Your Ride
- Carry disinfectant – Pack hand sanitizer if you can find it. A lot of gas stations are charging an arm and a leg, but they’re carrying it. It’s cheaper to pay astronomical amounts for hand sanitizer than it is to get sick. It’s also not a bad idea to toss in a package of sanitizing wipes.
- Use Your disinfectant – Don’t skimp, use your hand sanitizer and wipes every time you touch surfaces. Be especially careful with doors, light switches, bathroom surfaces and anywhere people handle food.
- Watch your gear – When you stop, there’s a tendency to set helmets, backpacks, keys, your wallet and your cell phone down on surfaces. You don’t know what germs live there. Whenever possible lock your stuff in your saddlebags or carry it in your pockets instead of setting it down.
- Be serious about social distancing – Keep yourself and your stuff six feet away from everybody else when you get gas or grab a bite to eat. Germs can travel outside.
- Wear your helmet – A full face helmet will prevent any germ-laden droplets from reaching you. And it looks a lot cooler than a paper face mask.
After your ride, get out your sanitizing wipes. Clean your handlebars, wipe down your helmet and saturate all your other waterproof surfaces. Wipe your key fob and allow to dry. For your leather seat, jacket, boots and other items, use a damp cloth with dish soap to gently wash. Then dry thoroughly and apply leather conditioner.
When you’re done, take a step back and ask yourself what else might have been exposed to germs. You probably touched your wallet and cell phone, so disinfect those. When you’re finished, wash your hands and face.
Chapter 3 – Things to Do During Quarantine When You Own a Harley®
If you’re sick of television, social media and trying to work from home, here are better things to do during quarantine when you own a Harley®.
You always say you wish you had more time to ride. Now you do, so put your money where your mouth is. It sounds cliché, but there really has never been a better time, because riding is good for our health. Check out these benefits:
- Riding makes your brain healthier. You’ve spent enough time on mindless tasks. When you ride your Harley®, you give your brain a fresh, consistent challenge. You can’t check out like you do in a car or sitting on the couch, because you’re constantly adjusting your speed and direction and monitoring the road ahead. The level of concentration required gives your brain a workout, which improves cognitive abilities.
- Motorcycle rides boost mood and bust stress. You know that feeling you get when you start your bike. It’s a mix of hope and adrenaline, and it never gets old. No matter how much money you’ve lost in the stock market, how tough the jobs forecast looks or how concerned you are about infection, you’ll get an emotional lift if you go for a ride. Plus, the vitamin D exposure brings both mental and physical benefits.
- Harley® riding makes you more fit. It’s no secret Harleys are heavy. You work your legs, butt, back, arms and everything else when you go for a bike ride. Just cruising down the road requires keeping your core engaged. The gym is closed, go ride your Harley®.
- Riding centers you in reality. We’ve been immersed in pandemic panic. Coronavirus is serious stuff, and our world is in trouble, but that’s not the only reality there is. When you go for a ride, you see there’s beauty in nature and hope for mankind. You remember who you were before this started, who you still are today. You go home stronger.
Live Stream Your Ride
Not everyone has a Harley. Your grandma will never, ever get on a bike with you, but she loves to see you on Facebook.
You can take friends and relatives with you when you ride if you have a Go Pro or similar camera. You might just give people who’ve never ridden a glimpse into the type of freedom you enjoy every day.
Detail Your Bike
Normally by now we’d be running ads for a bikini bike wash. We’re sad we can’t have events because we miss our members, but it’s more important to keep everyone healthy until we can get together again. Why not detail your bike, then post your work on our Facebook page? Here are detail instructions from a previous post.
Gather Your Cleaning Products
Take everything off the bike you don’t want to get wet like leather saddlebags or electronics that aren’t waterproof. Remove your seat so you don’t have to work around it. Then gather everything you might possibly need so you don’t have to stop in the middle of the job, find your mask and drive to a store.
You’ll need the following:
- Two buckets
- Bug and tar remover
- Engine cleaner
- Wheel and tire cleaner
- A small, soft scrub brush
- A bigger more firm scrub brush for wheels
- Microfiber towels
- Paint polish and metal polish
- A clean sponge or wash mitt
Rinse off your bike to dislodge any loose debris so you don’t scrub it into the paint. Start with fresh water, rinsing from the top down. A plain garden hose works great for this part.
Next, spray your wheels and tires with the wheel and tire cleaner. Then, walk around the entire bike and douse all splatters with bug and tar remover. This part is important, since bug guts are acidic and bad for your paint. Pay extra attention to mirror backs, your headlights, the front of the gas tank, front fork sliders and the front fender. Let your bike soak a few minutes so the chemicals can do the work.
Mix Cleaning Solution
Any auto car wash soap is fine, but don’t use dish soap. It’s rough on your paint. Mix per directions in both buckets. Use the sponge or wash mitt to agitate the soap and water into foam.
Wash Your Bike
Work from top to bottom, using one bucket for bodywork and chrome. Keep in mind anything even slightly gritty is abrasive. You want to rinse it away, not scrub it off. Even microscopic scratches will mar the look of your paint. If your mitt or sponge gets dirty, switch it out for a new one.
Use your second bucket for the undercarriage and wheels, since they tend to be dirtier and contain debris. If your wheels have spokes, it’s easier to clean between them with a brush than using your hands. Start with your valve stem and work your way around. That way you know when you’ve made a complete circuit. Make sure you rinse your sponge frequently to remove debris.
Use the soft scrub brush for stubborn bug guts on your headlight and plastic surfaces. When you’re finished, rinse again from the top down on low pressure. Check for spots you missed or debris that didn’t come off. If necessary lather, rinse, repeat.
Dry and Protect Your Harley
Use a dry chamois towel or microfiber cloth to remove excess water. Then apply a quality motorcycle wax to protect your Harley’s finish and shield paint from dirt and road grit. Chrome polish will amp up the brilliance of pipes and accents.
Watch Movies With Harleys
Revisit old favorites or find new ones. Here’s a list of movies with Harleys we love to get you started:
- Easy Rider (1951 Panhead Chopper)
- The Wild One (Hydra Glide)
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1990 Fat Boy)
- Pulp Fiction (1986 FXR Super Glide)
- Harley-Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1989 FXR)
- Escape From LA (Sportster)
- Captain America (Softail Cross Bones)
- The Expendables (Harley-based Chopper)
- Rocky III (1978 FLH Electra Glide)
- Ghost Rider (Panhead-based Chopper)
Plan Your Dream Bike
Online shopping isn’t closed. Plus, our service department is still working, since vehicle service is essential. Browse our online inventory to look for your dream bike. Or, get in touch with one of our service experts to find out how we can customize your ride.