Commuting on a motorcycle
The benefits of commuting by motorbike
It's a common fantasy of many weekend bikers when Monday morning comes, as they plonk themselves into their box on wheels to sit in traffic, daydreaming of how things would be different if they were riding their motorcycle.
However, for many bikers nowadays, their weekend escape has fast become a way of life, as studies continue to show that the cost and time benefits of commuting on a motorcycle far exceed those of driving a car.
If you're thinking of changing your method of commuting, we've listed all the things you'll need to consider before taking the plunge:
Get the right gear
You need to be prepared for all types of weather conditions, especially as weather in the UK can change in an instant. Bodysuits can be a useful idea if you're not able to change out your gear at your workplace. This allows you to simply remove a layer and you'll be ready for your working day. If you prefer a fresh change of clothes when you get to work, your initial priorities are a decent jacket and trousers which should be both waterproof and comfortable.
Ensure that whatever you wear, you include a base layer and neck warmer to regulate your body temperature and prevent over/under heating. Most importantly, any gear you decide on must fit properly to avoid cold ankles, or not being able to put enough layers under your jacket.
You'll no longer have the ease of throwing everything onto the passenger seat and going on your way, so you'll need to pack sensibly thinking about your day ahead. Customise your bike to ensure it meets all your needs. You may want to consider adding a top box, or purchasing a dry bag that secures to your bike. Having some form of luggage space is important as you'll need to carry a puncture kit with you, in case of any emergencies.
Ensure your bike fits you
If you're riding the same bike each day, you'll soon notice if the bike doesn't suit you. Check the bike is easy for you to manoeuvre and handle, you don't want to be riding something round that's too heavy to handle when you're stationary in traffic. You need to consider a bike that is both comfortable and practical. A big factor when it comes to choosing a bike may well be the fuel consumption. Examine your estimated mileage and journey time as this could impact on your choice.
Have a 'spare stash' at work
Keep a spare of most things at work, in case of bad weather or damage. This includes socks, gloves, base layers, basically anything that is at risk of the above. If you wear a body suit on your commute, you may want to consider leaving a waterproof jacket in work because if you go out for lunch etc, the last thing you'll want to be doing is getting dressed in full waterproof bike gear.
Most importantly, enjoy your commute!
Studies have shown that riding instead of driving can almost half your commute time, and considering commuting is not a paid part of your working day, you're going to want to keep it at a minimum. Think of the time you spend travelling to and from work each week and you can soon add up how much time you're going to save, which over a working lifetime could be quite mind blowing.
So you can make the most out of your commute, make sure you choose a route that you enjoy. Let's face it, there's little point in riding your bike to work unless it fulfils you. Make yourself part of the small percentage of people who do enjoy their work commute.
Instead of choosing the fastest, straight route which you normally would do in a car, you should go for the route that might be a few minutes longer but one with bends and twists that exhilarate you. You're bound to make up those extra minutes on a bike anyway. You may want to consider different routes dependant on the weather. If there are harsh winter conditions, you may want to reconsider taking the route you might take on a dry, bright day.
Make the Change
If you're considering the change from car to bike then there's no doubt that there are clear benefits. You'll save time, save money and most importantly enjoy the part of the day that most people dread. Yes, you won't have the luxury of a warm bubble to travel in throughout winter, but instead think of the endless fun and enjoyment you'll have in the summer to make up for it.
Go for it - make your weekend hobby a part of your everyday, and change your lifestyle for the better.