By Scot Harden
The following is from the April Issue of Dealernews
What’s the quickest way to kill your love affair with motorcycling? Answer: Get a job in the motorcycle industry. I'm sure you've heard this before, and it would almost be funny except for the fact that in far too many cases it's true. As a lifelong member of this industry, I've witnessed this malady impact friends and associates over and over again. Guys and gals who’s love for motorcycling was their primary motivation for pursuing a career in the motorcycle industry; a burning desire to combine a hobby with livelihood and in the process create a lifestyle that kept them connected 24/7 to the sport they love. What sounds like a great plan upfront far too often doesn’t seem to pan out in the end. Why? Well, the answer is complicated, there are as many reasons as there are number of individuals employed in the Powersports business. Certainly, our industry isn't immune from the same pressures and demands every other chosen field of business holds. Too much work, too few resources and the modern-day workplace condition of the continually moving goal line all conspire and compete for the one commodity that everyone holds dearest: Time. And while I don’t claim to have all the answers (believe me there are definitely times when it all gets a little overwhelming even for a die-hard like me), I'd like to offer a few practical solutions that might rekindle your love for the ride. At least share some ideas that work for me and keep me engaged and active as a rider even as I approach the latter stages of my career.
This first suggestion may sound silly but give it a try. Start setting appointments with yourself to go riding just like you would any vital business function. Make it "official," schedule your next ride by sending yourself a "Meeting Invite." Get something on your calendar that involves riding. Give it a date, time and description. Make it something to look forward to. Leaving quality seat time to random chance, "I'll get to it when work settles down when I have a spare moment" is a recipe for never finding the right time. We are all creatures of habit. Earmarking ride dates on your calendar are the best way I know to make sure you set aside the time to keep your love affair with motorcycling alive and well.
Find a riding buddy or group. As you start setting the dates of your next ride, inviting a friend(or two or three…) is the best way I know to ensure you won’t back out. Once the two of you or your group are committed, it's hard to back out at the last minute because now you are letting someone else down as well. I use this strategy all the time. In fact, I founded the Nevada 200 Trailride with my best friend and partner Casey Folks just to make sure we had a date set on the calendar to meet to ride at least once a year no matter what our work schedules looked like. Despite the fact we lived hundreds of miles apart, and both had hectic schedules it worked for 33 years (the best idea I ever had by the way) until Casey passed away in 2017 and now I continue the tradition with his son, Daryl Folks and approx. 150 other off-road enthusiasts and friends every year in mid-April like clockwork.
Mix it up. Don’t get stuck in a rut. While the tried and true favorite weekend ride to some local destination like the Rock Store or Julian for breakfast or lunch is always a great option to keep you connected, make time to plan new rides, visit new places and meet new people. Use the latest in digital technology to help you prepare. Platforms like Rever are a great way to meet new riders and discover new routes. Take advantage of them and broaden your horizons. If you’re really fortunate and have more than one motorcycle in your stable vary your ride plan to include different types of riding. I have an Adventure bike for long weekend rides, a dual sport for local adventures and a pure cross country/moto bike for track days and hard-core trail riding. I swap them out all the time. It keeps things fresh and new.
Lastly, never, ever fall for the old line "I'll do it later" or "It can wait till next month" or "I'll wait till the off-season." I hate to tell you this, but you aren't guaranteed tomorrow let alone next month or next year. Maybe it’s just my age showing or too many recent painful losses of good friends and riding mates, guys like Tom White and Casey Folks. Man, I miss those guys and would give anything to share one more ride with them. A big part of my mission is to promote motorcycling and bring new riders into the sport. Plus 1 Rider is dedicated to this effort, but I realize that sometimes it's current riders and especially those of us fortunate enough to be involved in this industry that needs to be extra careful to protect and nurture our personal journies through motorcycling. How can we be great ambassadors for the sport when we are losing touch ourselves?
If this article convinces you of nothing else, let it be a reminder that the clock is ticking. Never take time for granted. It’s a finite commodity. Get out there and ride like there’s no tomorrow because you never know, that just might be the case.