We haven’t even cleared the first 25 per cent of the 2020 calendar year yet, but it has already come to be defined by a global pandemic that has seen the cancellation or postponement of daily life. Because of the coronavirus, major international motorsports events likely won’t happen, manufacturers will fall potentially billions short of sales projections, and the gatherings that hold our enthusiast community together will disappear.
Nobody knows when this will end, but it certainly isn’t within sight. How do we continue to participate in the motor hobby while respecting the need to socially distance ourselves? Back to basics, baby.
My wife and I are currently cooped up in our house as we now both work from home. I have done this for years, but her office building just shut down thanks to the viral threat. Instead of letting the existential dread of a pandemic get me down, I’ll occasionally hop on a bike and head for the hills for an hour or two. Not only does this help me clear my head, but it gets me out of the house in a relatively safe manner. I’m not coming into contact with other humans, keeping viral spread to a minimum. I’m doing my part to flatten the curve while leaning into the apex.
Even if you’re going nowhere in particular, the fresh air and time to think helps alleviate some of my anxieties about the current socio-economic climate. Instead of sitting in front of my laptop voraciously consuming the news and not being able to do anything about it, I let my mind focus on throttle, brake, clutch, and lean angle for a while instead. It’s probably the healthier way to cope with the unknown.
With a full body of gear on, I’m probably staying better protected from the virus anyway. I keep my protective gloves on while filling up at the gasoline pump, keeping the gross germs of the handle of of my fingertips. I keep my visor down to indicate to strangers I’m not interested in having a chat. I pack a snack and water bottle from home.
While our shared hobby has traditionally been an experience best served with friends, it is certainly possible to go it alone for a while. Pick a nice solo activity and focus on that for a while. Whether it be wrenching on your long-forgotten project, putting together a scale model that has been at the top of your closet for years, spending some time learning tracks in iRacing, or re-watching your in-car from your most recent track day to figure out how you can improve, you won’t regret some alone time.