Reprint from Ride to Work © 2004

– How can I learn how?

Riding to work and riding for transportation are not as simple as using a car or public transit.  Seek out an experienced commuter or transportation riders for lessons, information and mentoring.  You’ll find commute-savvy riders by referrals from, and networking with, local motorcycle groups, shops and clubs.

– Takes too much extra time.

Studies show that net motorcycle commuting times are either even with, or slightly less than commuting by car.  So even with the extra steps of dressing and undressing, you’ll be ahead.  To prove it, motorcycle commute every day for two weeks.  The first week will be practice, to establish dressing and riding routines.  Time each commute the second week and average them.  Then drive for a week and average the times.  Compare the two averages.

– There is no safe place to leave my bike at work.

This is common.  Work with your employer or with a nearby property owner to arrange a secure place.  Ideally, it should be secure from theft and tampering, shaded, and convenient to your work area.  Offer( or be willing) to pay for a good place.  Leave a cover or lock permanently stationed at your spot.  A locking plastic bin can be secured to a fence or wall and contain both items.

– Errands

Kids, groceries, shopping…you can use packs, courier bags, saddle bags, tank bags, bungees, and racks to carry a surprising amount.  Most school age children can be readily transported by bike, but you’ll need to carry all of their gear (helmet/jacket/gloves) for them. Children of all ages are routine bike and scooter passengers in many countries outside of the USA. If you’ve been buying a month of groceries at a time with your car, change to buying a weeks worth at a time on your bike.

– Work clothing is not suitable.

Keep a sport coat, uniform or changes of work-suitable clothing at work.  Or pack a change of work clothing along in a courier bag or duffel  Or wear a coverall-type riding suit. 

– Employer says no.

Explain how riding refreshes, socializes and makes one more alert.  Provide documentation about the positive concentration, mental health and risk management aspects of riding from The Daily Rider or other motorcycling advocacy sources.  Do not give up.  Use creative methods like sending a bouquet with a pro-riding note. Follow a few weeks later with a box of candies and another note.  A fruit basket with a third note a month later.  And so on. Wear the boss down with kindness and persistent earnestness.

– Commute distance is too long or short

Get a more comfortable motorcycle. Lots of people do daily100+ mile commutes on touring bikes. Lots of people do one mile commutes on small scooters.

– Riding is too dirty.

Wash your face and hands upon arriving at work.  Wear protective clothing when riding.  Change clothing as needed.

– Traffic is dangerous.

Damn straight it is.  But if you can drive to work for years without an accident, you can learn to do it just as safely on a motorcycle.  Ride paranoid and keep your riding skills sharp and you should never have a problem.  Without a padded airbagged capsule, you’ll need to be visible and wear protective gear.

– It’s too much work.  And sometimes it rains.

Get over it.  And get a rainsuit.

By Paolo Volpara

"Si sta come d'autunno sugli alberi le foglie"