Progressive IMS Outdoors 2021 Tour:
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WELL
Help me remember. When was the last time you attended an auto show and your 3-year-old was encouraged to get behind the wheel? Obviously, there’s the car trip or off-road adventure, all of which are family-centric. But the 3-year-old or 8-year-old was relegated to the back seat and not, notably, put behind the wheel. So if I – with your help – can remember that, imagine a similar show putting that pre-schooler on two wheels, and if the kid doesn’t know how to get comfortable an entire team will show him or her how. If you can’t imagine it, no worries; the Progressive IMS Outdoors Tour has not only imagined it, the show’s various partners are already implementing it.
The Progressive IMS Outdoors 2021 Tour is what we’ve come to know and love at convention halls across the country, reconfigured for a pandemic. So, the show heads outside, which – if you think about it – coincides perfectly with much of our population wanting to jump off the couch and get outside themselves. To better preview the show coming to Texas Motor Speedway on the first weekend of October (10/1 thru 10/3), I kicked tires at the IMS event in Carlisle, PA. Combining my 50 years of enthusiasm for bikes with some eight years of enthusiasm for my grandson, the IMS show on Carlisle’s county fairgrounds was an eye-opener…on any number of levels.
Of course, the hardware remains the centerpiece, with a vast array of bikes both on display and available for demo rides. And where, because of aggressively growing sales and delays in both production and shipping, motorcycle showrooms are largely empty, the Progressive IMS show has just about anything you’ve wanted to see. For me, that was Yamaha’s new R7 and Harley’s new Pan America ADV. Both were there, as were offerings from almost all of the major OEMs.
But back to that 3-year-old. The initiatives provided by the IMS experience begin with the Kids Zone, presented by Strider. Here kids are given balance bikes to acclimate them to balancing a bike on their own, without the distraction of having to actually pedal. And there’s also ALL KIDS BIKE, organized by the Strider Education Foundation and available to elementary schools across the country. For no cost to the school (funding is provided by contributors) ALL KIDS BIKE supplies participating schools with everything needed to get their students on bikes and riding. And if you haven’t spoken to your PTA, get on the phone – or better yet, show up at a meeting.
If you’ve aged out of the balance bike but haven’t yet mounted a motorcycle, Discover The Ride and the Motorcycle Industry Council’s Ride With Us program are geared toward reducing the anxiety of learning and, not incidentally, expand the reach of motorcycling to more members (i.e., female) of our population. Obviously, there’s been plenty of talk over plenty of years, but the above-mentioned initiatives not only talk the talk, they walk the walk. And as you’d remember, you need to walk before you ride.
Finally, if you regard internal combustion as simply so last century, Zero Motorcycles was aggressively involved in promoting their lineup and supplying training demos. And on the eBike front, both Harley and Yamaha had their eBikes available for demonstration. Regrettably, the Yamaha I most wanted to ride – the company’s YDX-MORO PRO – was unavailable, a decision that was a little hard to understand, given the IMS audience, and that they had that model on display! To their credit, I could have tested one of Yamaha’s more pedestrian models, but I don’t attend a motorcycle show to run around as a pedestrian.
The Texas stop for the Progressive IMS Tour is at Texas Motor Speedway from October 1st thru 3rd. For the full demo experience, take your helmet, wear long pants and over-the-ankle boots. And wear a smile. And be sure you bring a kid.