Although there may be talk of the American economy rebooting soon, as millions are asking to be allowed to resume normal life despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the motorcycle industry is still seeing big changes, at every level.
The American Motorcyclist Association has had to lay off staff and reduce others’ hours as its normal event schedule has been disrupted by COVID-19. Without help from the government (the AMA’s non-profit classification ruled it out of the federal Paycheck Protection Program), AMA president Rob Dingman said the organization was unable to continue business as usual, which led to the layoffs. And, Dingman said the organization expects more tough times ahead as a result of this crisis, and is asking riders to renew their memberships to help keep the AMA alive and fighting for motorcyclists’ rights.
Another major player in the US moto scene, American Honda Motor Co., has also made cuts. Along with shutdowns at its four-wheeled production plants (cars, vans, ATVs, etc.), Honda also announced its business operations were also being cut back for a while, with this statement: “The majority of our salaried and support associates at Honda operations in the U.S. will be furloughed for a two-week period.” That’s sure to affect motorcycle business.
Finally, Cycle Gear has shut down some of its shops, but others remain open for business. Cycle Gear has announced curbside pickup will be available at all those locations, and given the realities of the pandemic, this may be a very desirable option for some buyers who wish to keep their local store in business, but limit their social exposure.
With all these cutbacks, it’s tough times for motorcyclists and the organizations and businesses that support them. However, publishers are at least going above and beyond these days, offering considerable amounts of free content, usually in the form of free digital magazines. The AMA has made its American Motorcyclist magazine free to read for non-members, and Canadian moto-mag Inside Motorcycles is also now offering free e-editions. MotoAmerica is offering free race viewing (the website has the instructions: “Select the season pass and then click on the Promo button to enter your code for your free viewing period – You will need to complete account setup including billing information … Stream free until 5/22/20. Cancel before 5/23/20 or the full season charge of $74.99 will be applied.” Of course, Canadian Superbike’s footage from the past few years is free on YouTube, as always, with no need to remember to cancel a subscription down the road.