During a recent bike rebuild, I was left bikeless for much longer than initially expected. Instead of making do with four wheels for a few weeks, I found myself bikeless for months; for one lucky day, the ensuing melancholy was somewhat alleviated by ways of going on an off-road training ride. For the rest of the time, however, the suffering was real – especially as it wasn’t planned.
So, climbing walls and obsessively watching other riders enjoying bikes on YouTube aside, what to do when you’re left bikeless? Here’s what helped:
If your bike is in the shop for longer than expected, or if you’re between bikes for whatever reason, the itch to ride can become unbearable. Adventuring on anyway could be a remedy, if only temporarily: going on a 4×4 expedition, hiking, camping, and cycling can all have a positive effect. Exploring your local area on foot or a bicycle, going for a camping trip, or even just going for a long off-road drive in a car can be a tool to brighten up a bikeless day.
Going on a Fly and Ride
If being bikeless is causing serious restlessness, taking a blitz adventure can be the best way out. From budget motorcycle adventures in Europe to fly-and-ride trips to south America, a short, four-day stint riding adventure or dirt bikes somewhere exciting can make the bikeless days more bearable. If that’s not an option, renting a bike or harassing a friend into lending you one can also be a temporary relief.
Any saddle time is a great time, but, if you’re currently bikeless and planning a trip soon, why not combine riding and training? Adventure training, off-road training, rally camps – there’s no shortage of options out there, and it can be a fantastic way to both get out of the bikeless blues and brush up on your skills at the same time. If there are no rider training options in your area, hit the gym or local mountain biking trails – getting and staying in shape while you’re waiting for your bike to be repaired or delivered is never a bad idea.
Once your bike is ready, what are you going to do and where are you going to ride? Planning new motorcycle trips can boost your overall wellbeing and help get your sanity back: poring over maps, tracing routes, and putting bucket list destinations together can feel therapeutic when you’re stuck.
Your bike is being repaired, which means it doesn’t really need any more parts and mods right now…or does it? Fantasizing about new farkles and researching better suspensions or carbs is time well spent, even if you won’t actually go for it in the end. During my bike’s engine surgery, I began researching more bike mods I could do once the pony was back up and running again; some never actually materialized (those new rims will have to wait for my budget to recover), but some did (new, race-y carb), resulting in an even better-running bike. There’s a very real risk of going down some very deep rabbit holes here, but hey, if it helps, it helps.
What’s going to happen when your bike is finally ready? Trip planning aside, what’s the purpose of the bike rebuild, or of getting a new bike? For me, completely rebuilding the DR650 was all about prolonging the life of an old, faithful, and spirited overland mule. Sure, getting a new bike would have been much easier than repairing and rebuilding a beat up thumper; but my bike has seen me through so much, and it has been modified to such an extent that a new motorcycle would just feel… wrong, somehow. There’s a certain beauty to customizing the bike to suit your own needs and skills, to building things, to making it your own; and, in the end, I’d decided the point of New Lucy was to carry me around the African continent doing local rally races along the way. After that, the flood – I may cave in and buy something different or go electric; but for the next three years or so, the Resurrected DR is going to get me to the Roof of Africa. And that – well, that’s worth waiting and laboring for.
What’s the grand vision for your rebuilt or new bike? A big picture helps dealing with the general bikelesness blues, and sometimes, it can ever give you that one final nudge to stop dreaming and start planning instead.
What do you do when you find yourself bikeless? Share the tips in the comments below!