Our Motorcycling World - MCC Blog - Message from Board Chair Chris Bourque - motorcyclist riding on the highway

Our Motorcycling World – An Update from MCC Chair, Chris Bourque

By MCC in the News

“The times, they are a-changin’”

Probably the most pertinent cultural catchphrase I can think of for current times, even though it was penned over 55 years ago…
On the surface, there is much changing in the world around us. Politically, socially, economically, and ecologically, things are changing, and fast.

Regardless of your political stripes, and regardless of your views on these aspects of our lives, we can agree that things are changing in our world, and also in our motorcycling world. I began riding on the street in 1985. But I had already been riding off-road for 6 years, and even at that young age, I witnessed great changes in motorcycling then.

Fast forward to 2020. We are lucky, in some respects now, compared to those years. Initial reports indicate that new unit sales of motorcycles are up, and those sales seem to be coming from the result of a younger and more diverse group entering into the sport. This growth, supported by a healthy increase in safety training, means these new riders will be equipped to enjoy the sport for years to come. Most of us know that as our experience grows, we tend to trade our smaller bikes for bigger and/or more specialized ones; inviting other new riders into the sport through this shift. It’s organic growth at its finest. Add to this the incredible innovations in technology and the promise of electrically-powered motorcycles, and these changes serve to brighten our long-term future.

Covid still has us isolating from one another, and looks to keep us in this state for the foreseeable future. As we all agree, riding answers this need, and serves as a mental reprise from chronic social anxiety. Adventure riding has never looked more enticing, as it brings out the free-spirit in us all. You can ride with a friend, be distant enough to be safe, yet still feel that social connection. What a solution.

There are two fundamental responses to change. An organization can contract and cautiously prepare (and wait…) for “worse case scenarios”. Alternatively, we can strategize, plan, and ultimately capitalize on change. The MCC has chosen to take the latter route. We are moving in new directions with plans to change from within. We have a vision and we will see it through. There are many wheels in motion as I write this, and I am excited to share news in the not too distant future.

In the meantime, enjoy riding your motorcycle, and keep moving forward into a bright future. We’ll do the same.

Chris Bourque CRM

Motorcycling.ca Blog article - group of motorcyclists riding by a lake with beautiful fall colour

Riding Tips for Fall

By On-road, Safety

The following are good riding tips for fall. Rides in October in Canada always have to be viewed as maybe the last ride of the season. You just never know when snow will cover the roads or it gets so cold you don’t want to ride. With that in mind, treat every autumn ride as your last ride of the season.

Shorter daylight hours and higher temperature fluctuations require greater planning for your routes. When judging your route, “an inch on the map” may not be a good rule to ride by. Plan your rides to get you home before it gets dark and the temperature drops.

You should also plan your riding gear to accommodate changes in the weather. Layering is the best approach to being comfortable. If one of those layers is electric, all the better. Carrying a second pair of warmer gloves is good planning if you don’t have the luxury of heated grips.

When you ride, please be aware that cold roads don’t offer the same traction as warm or hot roads. This is especially important for those running really aggressive sport or race compound tires. Some of these tires operate over a very limited temperature range that cannot be generated on a cold, straight road. Be careful, especially for the first few kilometers or after a long straight stretch leading into a twisty section. As always, watch out for wet leaves covering the road.

While you’re out on your ride, stop by your favourite bike shop and fill your fall shopping list including; fuel stabilizer, smart battery charger, bike cover, bike cleaner, etc.

Fill up with gas on the way home. A full tank minimizes the vapour area where condensation accumulates so your tank doesn’t rust. Otherwise, you might not get out for another ride.

Here are two more important riding tips for fall. Keep your bike clean in the autumn. You just never know when your hose will freeze up. You never want to store a dirty bike. A quick 20 minute wash will turn into an all day clean-up after the dirt has been caked on for 4 months. Wax or use motorcycle protectant on all surfaces except tires. If you have ridden on a road that has been salted a wash is mandatory.

After your last wash make sure to warm your bike up to evaporate any water and condensation.

Many motorcycle dealers offer great storage plans that include winter maintenance packages. It’s a good time to pre-arrange your storage.

Stay tuned for winterization guidelines.

Message from Chris Bourque MCC Board Chair, image of a motorcycle rider in silhouette

A Message from MCC Board Chair Chris Bourque

By Safety

I sincerely hope you are well, and your families and friends are safe in these unfortunate times. Some of us are at home, and some of us are still at our places of work. In either case, we are all in the same boat.
Or sort of…
To the Motorcycle Industry, this could not have come at a worse time. The downturn in the oilpatch, the seasonal timing of the pandemic, and the recent slowing of the Canadian economy all make for a severe situation for our beloved industry here in Canada. These are normally the biggest months in unit sales, and to have doors shut is like taping the mouth of a hungry person.
When I started in the industry in 1985, the bike industry was staggering and attempting to recover from a major recession a couple years earlier. I was working as a wrench at our local Kawasaki dealer (back then they were called “Goodtime Centres”). Part of my responsibility was prepping new units. I remember in that first year we had countless new units on the floor from prior years. Bikes just weren’t moving.
One Saturday morning, a more affluent middle aged fellow came in and bought a 1983 GPz1100 leftover. I was tasked with starting it and prepping for delivery.
I remember trying so hard to start the damn thing, and it just wouldn’t catch. One of the more senior techs pitched in and it eventually sprang to life. He made a simple comment that I will never forget. He basically told me that the bike would have fired up easily had we been permitted to let it run a couple times in the 24 months prior.
I think that is my message to our group. If we are able to, we should try and feed our local retailers as much as possible in these quiet times. A little support in May will allow these folks to resume full operation much easier once the risk has passed. Presently, the MCC is endorsing the “stay at home” mindset, not only for social interaction but riding as well. What better time than this to buy those accessories and maintenance items?
Some bright news in this regard; I am still very close with my larger local dealers, and this week all were reporting strong sales outside of new units (jackets, tires, aesthetic add-ons, etc). One shop has been conducting a lot of mechanical work, as they have been able to pick up and drop off bikes without ever directly interacting with their customers. What better time than now to have your valve clearance checked or your 20000km service done?
I would invite you to share your dealer success stories with your social network, and support them yourself, if you are able to.
We have a very bright future. Let’s lend a hand to those who need it so we can ALL enjoy it.

I wish you well. Stay strong.

Chris Bourque, CRM
MCC Board Chair

motorcycling during the pandemic - Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada - image of a motorcyclist wearing his helmet, sitting on stairs next to his bike, looking sad

Motorcycling During the Pandemic – Safe At Home is Best

By MCC in the News, News, Off-road, On-road, Safety

Canadian riders thinking about motorcycling during the pandemic: MCC supports the position of the International Motorcycling Federation. FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) is the global governing body for motorcycle racing. We think the following release is the correct global response to what is obviously a global health emergency:

On April 1, 2020 FIM announced its #RidersAtHome initiative. The campaign encourages all types of riders around the world, from professionals to everyday commuters, to share messages of support and to behave in a responsible manner to take care of each other. In the official release, the FIM said, “Even though riding is still permitted in some countries – the FIM is requesting that ALL riders keep their motorcycles parked in order to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries that could take up valuable healthcare resources during a period when they are already under great pressure.” Read More

The art of motorcycle maintenance as it applies to safety

By Safety

Motorcycle Maintenance for Safety

The first step should always be to wash the bike. You just can’t work on a dirty bike and it gives you the opportunity to find faults. Older bikes used to vibrate stuff off. While newer bikes aren’t as susceptible, you can’t predict the extent of neglect. Loose nuts and bolts, nail in the tire, missing brake lever are good catches during a cleaning.

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