Motorcycle Commuting

Two Wheeled Commuters

Hello and welcome to Alex’s blog. Today I wanted to look at commuting to work via motorcycle as opposed to driving in to work in a car. Yes, a car has a lot of plus points. You’re guaranteed to be warm, dry and comfy, you don’t have to get changed (and you don’t have helmet hair to concede with!) but commuting via motorcycle also has a lot of good reasons to ditch the car:

Financial

There is no denying that ditching the car for a motorcycle would not only be a lot more fun, but this would definitely be beneficial financially. Not just with a direct comparison of the cost of a car vs the cost of a motorbike (unless you go for a BMS Nehme-sis) but with the cost of petrol (generally speaking, bikes use less fuel than cars – 55-81% less according to one 1992 study) as well as the cost of parking in a city centre.

Also, with tolls and congestion charges, often motorcycles are exempt. As it stands now motorbikes are exempt from London congestion charges (£11.50 per day for a car) – as a side note to futureproof this you may want to just make sure that your bike is a post 2007 low emission bike for future planned charges coming in. On the Severn Bridge toll cars are charged £5.60 while motorcycles are exempt. On the new Runcorn bridge, it costs £1.80-£2 to cross in a car whereas on a motorcycle this is free. The M6 toll does charge motorcycles £3 whereas cars are almost double at £5.90.

Don’t worry I am not going to explore every toll road/bridge in Britain, but I’m sure you’ll agree this does go to show that riding a motorcycle is cheaper insofar as travel costs.

Convenience

Yes, it is very convenient to just jump in to a warm car, in your smart work clothes listening to bit of Radio 2/Smooth FM/Rock FM/Magic (whatever floats your boat). There you go, happy as Larry…..straight in to a traffic jam. Stop, start, stop, start. Not on a motorbike! Yes, it takes a little more effort to get ready beforehand but the time you’ll take getting ready will be more than saved by not getting stuck in rush hour traffic.  Inrix have calculated that the average Brit spends 32 hours stuck in traffic a year. That’s 4 working days! (Not to mention all the wasted fuel you’re using sitting idly in traffic).

Also, parking is a lot easier on a motorcycle than in a car. For starters you need less room.  Within car parks you can leave your motorbike on hatched areas and between bays as long as it does not cause an obstruction for other users.

Part 244 of the Highway Code says: “You MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it. Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and people with prams or pushchairs.” As long as you keep to this rule then there should be a lot more scope for parking your motorcycle than a car.

Less stressful

According to this table compiled by TomTom and TotallyMoney.com commuters facing a longer commute are facing increased levels of stress. The less time it takes to get to work the less stressed you should be! Plus, if you aren’t affected by traffic jams then you should be able to make it to work on time (no excuses sorry!) for important meetings etc. hopefully relieving more stress.

Environmental

According to GreenChoices.org a motorbike is better than a car environmentally. Motorcycles put less pressure on transport infrastructure as they need less road and parking space and if a motorcycle breaks down this can be easily moved as opposed to a car.  Also 85% of commuter vehicles carry only one person – the fuel used for a car with one person as opposed to a motorcycle with one person is far more. Bikes are more efficient as they aren’t slowed by congestion so the travel time (and fuel consumption) is lower.

The cost of building low-capacity motorcycles takes around one-seventh of the resources needed to build a car. Motorcycles also tend to last longer than cars as they don’t have the same rust-prone bodywork. Motorcycle emissions are generally lower than car emissions. Obviously, this is on the average bike – not a fuel guzzling superbike ridden like it was stolen. Also electric motorcycles are starting to become an alternative to petrol bikes….these may not be your first choice yet but great strides are being made in the industry.

Commuter kit

One of the main reasons that commuters would choose cars over motorcycles (especially if you already own a bike) is the idea of getting wet and being wet all day. There are, however, many ways to avoid this and lots of great commuter solutions to make travelling to work on your bike a more viable option.

Helmet and Bluetooth Kits

Obviously, any helmet is fine, but you may want to be thinking about the fact that you’ll be riding to work in rain, shine and in dark conditions. With this in mind you may want to make sure you’re as bright as can be but also you may want to make sure that you are still connected to the world as you would be in the car.

Scala Rider Freecom 1 intercom systemWe have plenty of intercoms available that will make you accessible for calls and these really do work well giving you crystal clear phone calls.

The Scala Rider Freecom 1 intercom system is a best seller for us. This connects with Bluetooth, so you can make calls, listen to the radio etc.

Clothing

Motorcycle clothing has come a long way in only a small number of years. If you want to make sure you are able to ride in all weathers (rain or shine!) then the secret is to go for Gore-Tex clothing. This is waterproof and breathable, so you are set for all weathers.

IXS Saragossa jacket

You can wear most textile clothing over your work clothes and yes the cost of Gore-Tex is higher than other textiles but compared to a cost of a car this is cheap!

The IXS Saragossa jacket has been reduced in price and is a versatile jacket – ideal for commuting.

Klim Carlsbad pants

The Klim Carlsbad pants are a great trouser, lightweight but 100% waterproof and breathable. Ideal commuter pants as well as being versatile enough for touring in all seasons.

You don’t just have to go with the more expensive Gore-Tex clothing.

You can wear the kit you already own! We sell plenty of rainwear to just make sure that you don’t get wet such as the Frank Thomas BGT Jacket and Trousers.

The Frank Thomas Rain Jacket.

Frank Thomas BGT Rain Jacket
The Frank Thomas Rain Trousers.

Frank Thomas BGT Rain Trousers

You don’t have to compromise on style when you commute.

Frank Thomas City Jacket

The Frank Thomas City Jacket offers smart commuter styling along with the protection needed for riding a scooter/motorcycle.

You’ll want a good pair of gloves.

Richa Cold Protect Gore-Tex glovesAgain, a Gore-Tex pair will ensure your hands are always dry but these will also work in warmer weather for you too. The Richa Cold Protect Gore-Tex gloves are longer to keep you warmer, 100% waterproof and offer a lot of protection.

IXS Ultra Evo II boots

Even though you are commuting you won’t want to compromise on protection at your feet/ankles. A good pair of boots doesn’t have to break the bank. A Gore-Tex pair will keep your feet dry (and prevent sweating) such as the IXS Ultra Evo II boots.
TCX X-Blend WP Boots

Alternatively, you have the option of boots that you can wear all day long that will pass as “normal” work shoes such as the TCX X-Blend WP Boots.

You may want to bring a change of clothes with you, or a laptop etc. And we have lots of different luggage solutions for that such as Tank Bags, Tail Packs, Panniers, Rucksacks and Top Boxes.

The Givi E300N Top Box is a best seller. This will keep your possessions dry and safe.

Givi E300N Top Box
The Kriega R20 Rucksack is another best seller and is great for
commuting.


Kriega R20 Rucksack

Also, if you’re worried about helmet hair you can get a comb from most supermarkets/chemists for around a £1. Worth thinking about!

Until next time stay safe,

Alex