As much fun as a motorcycle can be for recreational use, let’s not forget it is also an excellent means for other types of transportation. Commuting to work on your bike can not only save you money on gasoline, but also provide you with a great way to decompress after a long day’s work.
I personally commuted for a year or so, in all kinds of weather and in all four seasons. I found it to be a very rewarding experience.
Here are some tips I picked up along the way that could help improve your daily commute.
Study your route
One of the benefits of riding the same route at the same time every day, is you can study your road and the traffic patterns. Look for places where cars will predictably do stupid things. On one of my commutes there was a lane merge that caught a lot of cars off guard if they were not watching for it. Inevitably they would cut right into my lane to avoid being forced to make a right turn. Knowing this, I could always compensate for them and leave them plenty of room to get past me.
Even something as simple as knowing where the sun’s glare can impair your vision, can find you prepared with a drop-down visor already in place should you have one.
You also get to know the places where gravel builds up, or roads that have unfixed potholes, etc.
There is nothing worse than arriving at work soaking wet. No matter how nice our rain gear is, rain can, and will, get in. Don’t get me wrong, by all means invest in rain gear! But be prepared in case you do get wet along the way.
I used to keep a spare set of clothing, including shoes, in my desk drawer at work. It also doesn’t hurt to have an extra pair of gloves at work. In those days I wore a ¾ helmet and sunglasses most days. I also kept a snap-on bubble in my drawer at work in case the weather turned bad. More than once, that saved me from getting pelted by rain on the ride home.
Spare clothing comes in handy if you catch some unexpected road spray. Another thing I always kept handy was a plastic bag to transport the wet things in for the ride home.
Traffic can be difficult to predict. Knowing several different routes to and from work can come in very handy. If you know your roads, you can quickly adjust when you see a line of cars crawling ahead of you.
It’s also good to have a scenic route as well as a quick one. The beauty of riding your motorcycle to and from home is that you get to enjoy the ride! Some days you may be in a bit of a hurry, so have your quick route. But on the days when you want some extra time on the bike, have a longer route mapped out. Some after work therapy can be just what the doctor ordered after a long stressful day.
Your motorcycle may already have saddlebags or a swing-arm bag. But if it doesn’t, consider getting a tank bag. A tank bag often secures itself to your gas tank via magnetic straps. This can be a great way to carry anything you need to bring to work that day.
Another good luggage option is a backpack. If you decide to get one, make sure it is comfortable and does not hinder your movements in any way. Also plan for rain, make sure it’s somewhat waterproof.
Plan for the worst
Let’s face it, more time on the bike will increase the chances of an accident. If at all possible, have someone you can text when you leave who will know what time to expect you home, and who knows the route you are taking.
Another good idea is to keep emergency contact information in your wallet or purse. I keep a red card with my name and three contact numbers to call in case I am in an accident and unable to help myself.
As you can see, with a little planning and preparation your work commute can be a safe and enjoyable time to ride your motorcycle!
My next blog will talk about riding in traffic versus country roads.
Until then; remember, ride safe, ride smart, and have fun!
David Ianetta was born and raised in Boston, MA. After moving around in his younger years, he now lives in North Carolina. David has a passion for riding motorcycles,often exploring the scenic back roads of NC with is wife, Rika, who rides her own along side him.
David also writes a Daily Blog for Freedom Biker Church called, “Daily Rock“ located at www.freedombikerchurch.com and is a contributing writer for Southeastern Rider magazine.