02 October 2020

Time to #unlockyourfreedom?

#unlockyourfreedom#Unlockyourfreedom is the message from the motorcycle industry as we all continue to grapple with the varying restrictions placed upon us due to Covid 19.

Whilst what we can do, and where, depends upon where we live and how the virus is spreading at any point in time, we all know we need take particular precautions when going about our daily lives.

But life can and must go on. There’s stuff we have to do, stuff that often requires us to get from A to B. So the question then is how best to get there and back.

The #unlockyourfreedom campaign offers up some answers.

Launched by the Motorcycle Industry Association it rather understandably champions the cause of biking. The answers it provides are nonetheless compelling.

Hands, face, space?

#unlockyourfreedomIf you want a form of travel that complies with the government’s snappy Hands, Face, Space imperative, biking is your baby.

Take space. What other form of transport completely isolates you not just from fellow travellers, but the wider public? Talk to any experienced biker and they’ll tell you that isolation is glorious. It’s freedom. But, by default, it’s also social distancing par excellence.

You’re in charge, solo, with not just your face but whole head covered by protective gear. Whilst visored helmets are designed to protect the wearer, the case can also now be made that, as an impressively encompassing face covering, they’re doing their bit for the wider community too.

Accessibly accessible

#unlockyourfreedomHighly accessible, biking also increases accessibility.

The ending of national lockdown has seen congestion make an unwelcome return. Choosing biking though and its much less of a hassle as you #unlockyourfreedom and navigate past those road-clogging four wheelers. Yes of course you can allow yourself to feel a little smug whilst doing so.

Heck, some self congratulation is also in order: as a biker you’e helping reduce rather than contribute to congestion. Go you!

Parking is also a comparative doddle. After all bikes finding a handy spot for bike can be so much easier than for a space-eating car.

Don’t forget to make sure your machine is secure though. The Met Police’s Lock, Chain, Cover initiative provides some handy tips to moped, scooter and motorcycle owners.

On your bike

But bikes and biking are also accessible in themselves.

You can easily pick up a brand new 50cc moped or scooter for less than £1,000 – and pay on the monthly if you need (finance will apply). Or, if you want something with a little more oomph, you can pick up a used 125 for around the same.

#unlockyourfreedomGetting on the road is also relatively simple. Having picked up a provisional licence you’ll just need complete the Compulsory Basic Test. Don’t let the T word put you off. The CBT is more of a tutorial, a guide to the basics of riding and road safety. Even if you’re completely new to biking, it’s possible to complete the course in a day.

The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency has also this year launched a free MCIA endorsed online training course. Freeride comprises five modules which cover things like the Highway Code and the importance of protective gear and maintenance. It should, says the DVSA, be completed before you take the CBT.

Armed with you CBT you can ride a moped from your 16th birthday and bike up to 125cc (and 117kW output) from your 17th. Your CBT lasts for two years at which point you’ll simply need take it again or have passed the more comprehensive moped or motorcycle test. The latter also lets you ride the more powerful machines to which many bikers like to progress.

You can read more on the rules on the government’s website.

#Unlockyourfreedom has also published a handy tool which lets you find your nearest motorcycle training school. Click here to give it a whirl.

Cool runnings

#unlockyourfreedomSo, we’ve established that buying a bike can be comparatively cheap. But what about running costs?

Again, bikes win hands down. The #unlockyourfreedom campaign cites a cost per mile from as a little as a penny. There’s no doubt that motorbikes are typically fuel efficient. A 125cc bike might get you over 90 miles on a gallon of fossil fuel, whilst, of course, there’s also a host of nifty eco-conscious electric machines to go at these days.

Road tax is cheaper – just £20 yearly for a bike up to 150cc, rising in steps to a maximum of £93 for a 600c machine.  Typically, motorcycle insurance is too, although that will depend upon both the rider’s profile (age, experience etc) and bike.

For more on insurance, read Principal MD Dave Bowcock’s Insider’s Guide to Buying Bike Insurance.

Ready to ride?

Let’s quickly recap.

Motorcycling supports social distancing. A bike can get you to where you need be, free from virus spluttering commuters and fellow travellers, as you skip through traffic with your head fully covered..

It can do this without breaking the bank, when both buying and running your chosen machine.

And even if you’ve never previously thrown a leg over a motorcycle, you can pick up the basics and be road legal in as little as a day.

As Absolute Radio presenter Leona Graham says: “Motorcycles are the perfect choice right now. You’re isolated, it’s quick and cheap and there’s no parking issues when you get there!

That just leaves one question; are you ready to #unlockyourfreedom?

 

 

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