Thursday, May 10, 2007
Commuting on Two Wheels, WHY NOT??
A week doesn't go by that I don't have someone stop me and say "Why do you commute on your motorcycle?" Typically my initial response is "Why not?" But over the last few months, I have encountered several other motorcycle owners, and I have been quite baffled at the fact they don't commute on their bikes. Now that gas prices are hovering at the three-dollar-a-gallon mark, I'm really perplexed to see motorcycle owners driving SUVs to work that avg 18-20mpg and cost $75-90 to fill up. Why wouldn't they consider commuting on a motorcycle that averages 45-55 mpg?
So, yes you guessed it. I've begun the conversation "Why do you NOT commute on your motorcycle?" The answers vary and quite honestly, I haven't heard one yet that really holds water. Most of the answers amount to excuses not real reasons.
A friend that works as a loan officer said that if he didn't have to wear suits to work he would commute on his bike more often (currently he does about once every 2 or 3 months). I had to respond that I have worn dress slacks, dress shirt, and tie under my leather on several occasions without any real issue. And, you can carry dress shoes in a saddlebag rather easily. Leave one or two suit coats hanging on the back of your office door and you're good to go. I'd venture to say that if he REALLY wanted to commute on one of his numerous motorcycles, he could work out the details.
Another response I have gotten pretty regularly is that they enjoy riding their motorcycles in the rural mountain roads but would never dream of riding in the city traffic. I give this answer a little more credence as traffic jam commuter traffic on the metro interstates can be daunting, but it is not a deal breaker. Riding in interstate commuter traffic is an opportunity to sharpen one's riding skills. It requires keen attention. Being observant, alert, and aware of one's surroundings are the skills required, but aren't those the same skills we should be exhibiting every time we throw a leg over the saddle of a motorcycle?
If you own a motorcycle and aren't commuting, I challenge you to give it serious consideration. Not only is it good for the pocket book with rising fuel costs, the mental and emotional returns on riding everyday are immeasurable. You know how good it feels to get on your motorcycle on a Saturday morning and ride for a couple of hours? Imagine walking out of a stressful day at the office and knowing you're about to climb on your motorcycle and riding for 20 minutes.
As Ben Bailey would say, "Are you in?"