In October of 2020 the sales trend continued to be very positive despite some inventory challenges. If you had the opportunity to take in a “Town Hall” meeting at one of the shows you may remember the words “Inspire – Explore – Engage – Integrate“. In 2020, Inspiration was provided by Covid19 and cabin fever. Self isolation provided endless time to research recreational pursuits & Explore riding. The dealerships quickly evolved to meet Covid safety protocol to be able to Engage the customer from a distance of 2m. Now comes the next challenge, how do we Integrate these new and returning riders? How do we keep them Excited about riding?
It’s really unfortunate the the Canadian motorcycle show series has been cancelled for 2021. This would have been an awesome venue to communicate and keep all the new riders engaged. Instead we will have to use alternate methods to welcome new riders to our sport and to our community. We will have to encourage them to be the best riders they can be through continued training. Sometimes there are negative connotations about the word “school” that probably dates back to teen years. Riding schools are fun and super beneficial. There’s no shame in taking training, there are only positive benefits. One of the leading causes of PBS (Premature Bike Sale) is fear after a small incident. A trained rider is a more confident rider and confident riders, ride with a smile.
The pandemic has certainly constrained the ability to socialize. 2020 has been a year to ride more and talk less. However the nature of our sport is based on recreational distancing. On-road or off, we ride socially distanced. For new riders it’s important to be welcomed to the social scene. Hopefully in 2021 “Moto Socials” and similar events will return. Another cause of “PBS” can come from not having anyone to ride with. Perhaps “New Rider” events at the dealership level can help integrate these new riders to the communities.
For off-road riders the solution is to join the local club or provincial association. This is a great place to learn the trail system, learn the do’s and don’ts and hang out with people who love to ride too. It’s important to note that the same sales success in off highway vehicles has also been shared with mountain bikes, hiking gear and practically all other outdoor recreational sports. The potential for trail conflict has never been higher as all parties adapt to the rules of the trail. The preservation of riding areas is dependent on new riders knowing the rules (i.e. heels before wheels). New Rider events at the dealership and the clubs are essential to the education of the new riders.
Eric Pritchard the President & CEO of MIC in the US recently made a great statement. The pandemic is not a business plan! Who knows what 2021 will bring. One thing for sure, if you want to get involved in motorcycling check out GoMotorcycling.ca.