The 25th annual Ride To Work Day is coming up on Monday, June 19th. So, it’s never too soon to start considering the benefits of riding your motorcycle to work. Far too many people consider motorcycles as toys and not viable transportation – that includes the many riders who only take their bikes out on weekends. Riding daily has many benefits, not the least of which is making you a more proficient rider. So, get ready, the 19th is only 12 days away, and if you’ve never commuted by motorcycle, that’s as good a day as any to start.

Ride To WorkEngage your mind

Many car drivers seem to zone out while they commute by either listening to the radio or talking on the phone. Either way is a pretty passive experience. When riding, all of our senses are engaged, and we’re more alert and involved in the ride. Also, regular motorcycle commuting improves concentration, risk management skills and overall health – all desirable traits in the work force.

Ride To WorkSpend time in the open air

One of the curses of the modern work world is that the vast majority of us spend our days working inside. Being out in the open air after a day inside a box is a great way to leave the office behind.

Ride To WorkRemind drivers that motorcyclists are people with jobs, too

Depending on where you live, you may notice the same vehicles on your daily commute if you leave at the same time every day. When a motorcycle is mixed in with traffic, it stands out by its difference. As people on your commute get used to seeing you ride to work, you’re doing a little bit every day to defeat the reputation of motorcyclists as ne’er-do-wells who don’t contribute to society.

Ride To WorkBurn less fuel

Big surprise finding this on the list, but it’s true. Motorcycles get better mileage than the vast majority of automobiles. As we become more aware of the effects carbon-based fuels are having on the global environment, burning less gasoline is something to be proud of. (Photo credit: Karimala/bigstockphoto.com)

Ride To WorkDe-stress after a day at work

Something comes over most riders the moment they hear and feel the engine of their motorcycle start. It’s even more pronounced after a day of doing tasks for others. Let go of those reports and mindless chores demanded by the man. Take a deep breath, squeeze in the clutch, and put your bike in gear. You feel better already, don’t you.

Ride To WorkHave fun!

Having fun is why we start riding motorcycles in the first place. Life is full of enough things that we have to do. Why not do something for the pure enjoyment of it? Motorcycling is about as good as it gets, too. So, ride to work!

  • Johnny Blue

    Unless your car is a very hungry car, or you’re riding a very small motorcycle the fuel economy thing is a myth. A motorcycle has a very poor aerodynamic coefficient compared to a car and my 2003 Fireblade takes as much gas as a small/medium sized car. Also tires are more expensive… But it’s still cheaper than public transportation here… 🙂

    • Bladeknight

      2003 Fireblade or any supersport bike are surely not the bike I want to ride to work or daily riding.

      • Johnny Blue

        Why not and then when would you ride a supersport? And what would you ride for commuting?
        I’m quite pleased with the Blade. Even though it’s old it still manages to look somewhat current and the performance is good. Ergonomics are not bad even for a long ride. I’ve even been on the saddle once from 8:00 AM until midnight, following a 10 hours ride the previous day. I love riding sport bikes.

        • Born to Ride

          Because the riding position on a super sport puts you at a disadvantage in low speed maneuvers, visibility due to reduced neck mobility, and your vantage point is lower to the ground. Something like a versys, v-strom, or tiger is an ideal commuting bike. Not to say that you can’t commute on a sport bike, but poor fuel economy and inferior ergonomics are less than ideal.

          • Johnny Blue

            I don’t see how being a little bit more inclined forward makes your neck less mobile. Try a simple exercise. Sit on a chair pretending you’re on the bike. Tilt forward a bit like you’re on a sport bike.(not full tuck like racing, just normal street position). Put your chin to your shoulder and look back. Without moving your head raise your body to the vertical, like you’re on a Versys. How did your field of vision changed?
            As for the low speed maneuvering, on a sport bike you need to squeeze harder with your knees and relax your arms. All of a sudden all your low speed problems are gone (yes the steering from stop to stop is reduced compared to a street bike, but I rarely turn the bars to the stop anyway).
            I had a V-Strom at some point. At high speed didn’t feel better than a sport bike and with the stock windscreen it put me right in the turbulence zone. The rider is placed too far from the windscreen.
            And not all sport bikes are the same ergonomically. The difference between a Ducati and a Fireblade is like day and night. And while the Versys and the V-Strom take less gas they’re still not that fuel efficient.

          • Born to Ride

            Its a pretty big difference for me in the amount of effort required to look over my shoulder stretched out to the low drag bar on my monster compared to sitting bolt upright on my multistrada. My shoulders are larger than average though I suppose. YMMV

      • SevMontgomery

        I commute to work on an RSV4, and, honestly, it’s nowhere near as bad as it sounds. The bike runs hot at low speeds and guzzles gas, but once you get on the freeways, it’s just a dream to be on.

        It’s completely planted at those speeds, has the power to pass with ease, has incredible brakes, and has telepathic handling.

        In comparison, some of the smaller bikes feel quite nervous under those conditions.

        My old commuter was an ’06 Fireblade, and that bike was just about perfectly suited. If people can commute on land barges, you can commute on a small, agile sports bike.

        • Damian Dottore

          I agree wholeheartedly. I commute on a Ducati 959, and it is the best bike I have ever ridden to work. I have owned a Harley Sportser, nighthawk and a Ninja 300. As for gas mileage, the 959 impresses me. I get about 42 mph, better than the F150 which is my other option, That gets 16.5, but I need it to haul my dirtbikes

    • ChiefPockets

      Through my daily commute (a mix of stop-and-go, side roads, and 70 mph highway) I average about 50 mpg on both my 650 Kawasaki and an R1200RT… I don’t know of many cars that can top 40 mpg, while most barely manage mid-30s. The savings may not be huge, but are still there.

      • Johnny Blue

        Well, mid 30s is what I get with the Fireblade in mostly city riding. Both your bikes are taking less fuel than mine. And this is when it is warmer outside. In the winter it gets worse.
        And there are many cars here, in EU that easily get in the mid 40s.

        • ChiefPockets

          Ah, yes, European cars definitely get better mileage than the ones by me… Here in Michigan I’d be surprised if the combined average mileage of all the vehicles (motorcycles included) in the parking lot outside my work was above 32mpg.

          • Johnny Blue

            Part of it is because you can still afford it. If you’d pay around $6.5 USD/gallon you’d see a lot more economical cars. 🙂

    • Jason M.

      My Versys 650 averages 50 mpg, our minivan struggles to get above 21 mpg.

      • Johnny Blue

        Minivan about 3000 lbs. Versys around 400. Minivan 7.5 times heavier and takes only about 2.5 times more gas than Versys. The title of “fuel efficient vehicle” goes to the minivan. It also has, probably, an engine 4-5 times bigger than the bike. And you’re probably running the AC, the radio and the navigation system while driving it.
        Bikes are fun, we love them, but fuel efficient (the ability to do more with less) they are not.
        And the minivan is not a small/medium sized car. About those I said they’re getting the same mileage as my bike.

        • Jason M.

          So you’re in agreement then. The van gets worse fuel mileage so the bike is the better choice.

          • Johnny Blue

            The bike is always the better choice and yes, the minivan takes more gas.
            But I was also saying that the bike is less fuel efficient than the minivan if you calculate how much fuel/lbs each vehicle consumes.

          • Born to Ride

            See effiency is a funny metric. It requires one parameter to be rated against another. You are choosing to rate efficiency by consumpion per mile and mass of vehicle. Most engineers would look at efficiency as the engines ability to convert chemical potential energy stored in the fuel into work (ft-lb/s or horsepower). In that regard, a motorcycle engine is vastly more efficient than a minivan engine.

          • Johnny Blue

            Funny metric indeed. Let’s leave aside that they are two types of engines and also let’s leave out the fact that’s not really valuable, in our context of commuting to work, to compare only the engines and not the vehicles as a whole (which is an advantage to the motorcycle engine) and look at the dyno charts of bikes engines:
            http://68.178.194.211/gallery/data/843/new-curves.jpg
            The ‘almighty’ S1000RR producing an unimpressive 60+ HP at 6000rpm. Having owned one, I can tell you that it takes around 6l/100km in that regime.
            One version of the 1000cc Ecoboost Ford motors, at around the same rpms produces 140 HP. You need to rev the BMW another 3000 rpms to get to the same power. By that time the BMW is also very thirsty.
            Between the two, at the rpms used on the street, the Ford wins. Yes, the BMW gets 40+ more horses at max rpms, but then you need it connected directly to the gas pump.
            The takeaway is that if you want to compare the engines only you need to look at the power curve and see how much gas each of them takes and how much power they produce at specific rpms.

          • Jon Jones

            Good writing, Johnny Blue!

    • notfishing

      My 07 Griso get’s 45 mpg average from my 10,000 mile per year commute. The insurance is half my car, tires about the same, maintenance is 1/4 and my purchase price was less than 1st year depreciation on the cheapest fuel efficient car you can buy in California (yes I bought it used). For me the only vehicle more fuel efficient is my Bicycle and I’m getting to old to make the 40 mile round trip ride to work. In California the fuel economy thing is a myth when your in bumper to bumper traffic for hours. (It’s a lane splitting thing)

    • Rob Alexander

      My time savings is worth any discrepancy in the cost between riding and driving a car. Even in AZ where we cannot legally lane split, the ability to use HOV lanes AND get around the idiots who cause traffic backups by simply being too stupid to move their car forward, is still a huge time saver.

      Anyway, my Scout gets 43ish MPG, better than most cars and that’s NOT babying the throttle.

  • allworld

    I am a year rounder, and don’t own a car. I either ride or take the T. This article is very accurate, especially the part of becoming a more proficient rider.
    Many motorcyclist, never perfect slow maneuvering, riding in congested traffic conditions, or with less then ideal weather conditions., Commuting does it all and often at the same time.

    “As we become more aware of the effects carbon-based fuels are having on the global environment, burning less gasoline is something to be proud of. ”
    Unfortunately, Trump and many of his supporters can’t conceive this fact.

    • Johnny Blue

      I also ride year long and at the moment I don’t have a car. It does make as better street riders, but it makes us worse track riders. It messes with our riding style. At least this is my experience. I’m getting lazy with shifting, I keep it in lower rpms, I don’t use the brakes so aggressively and because I’m going so much slower, I don’t particularly care to be extra precise with choosing my lines, because I don’t need to.

      • Born to Ride

        Do you make your living racing motorcycles? Because if not, having razors edge track tuned riding skills have nearly zero value on the street, and once you are in a track environment, you can readjust your riding style to suit the situation. I don’t see why you seem to have such a chip on your shoulder about Moto-commuting. Makes way more sense where I live than driving the cage.

        • Johnny Blue

          No, I do not! But I love riding on the track, or in the dirt, although I’m not good at either. Track days have made me a better street rider. Street riding did not make me a better track rider. In fact the opposite is true. Anyway.. it’s my opinion and you don’t have to agree with me.
          As for the said chip… I don’t think I have one. I commute by motorcycle almost daily and all year long, except the few days in the winter when it might get below freezing. I’m actually minutes away from getting on my bike in heavy rain.

  • John B.

    Would someone who truly believes fossil fuels threaten our very existence burn gasoline purely for entertainment and pleasure?

    If, “burning less gasoline is something to be proud of,” I suppose a corollary would be, to burn gasoline purely for entertainment and/or self-aggrandizement is shameful. Wear that Iron Butt license plate holder in shame! You defiled the planet purely for your own gratification, and we demand reparations! Somebody call Lisa Bloom!

    I propose we tear down statues and plaques dedicated to great motorcycle racers. These monuments symbolize man’s tyranny over the environment, and represent an affront to environmental justice. If Robert E. Lee’s statue cannot adorn Jackson Square why should Marco Simoncelli have a monument in Coriano? Before it’s too late to save our planet, let’s turn Marco Simoncelli Circuit into a carbon-crunching cardamom farm.

    I shudder to think of how future generations will judge us when they find out we owned gasoline powered motorcycles, and used them mostly to entertain ourselves. Do the students at Evergreen University know about this?

    What a world! I need to go for a ride.

    • Born to Ride

      I look forward to being remembered thusly. Throttle to the stop, no green guilt. Only way to live.

    • Johnny Blue

      Actually, racing makes sense, because it enhances engine design and more efficient engines are developed. What makes no sense (environmentally) is to own a street motorcycle and to ride it only for enjoyment and not as a form of transportation.
      What is even more senseless is the “carbon tax”. Meaning paying for the right to pollute. If we’re going to wipe out the human race and everything else on the planet, if we don’t stop burning fossil fuels, the tax makes no sense. Who’s going to use the money if we’re all dead? It should be either illegal, or not taxed at all. As it is is just another revenue stream for the governments and nothing else.

      • John B.

        The climate change cabal has perpetrated a hoax to make progressive elites mega-wealthy at the people’s expense. That is to say, anthropogenic climate change will not wipe out the planet, however, the proposed remedies for this non-problem WILL funnel tax payer money to well-positioned elites like Elon Musk and Al Gore.

        Even if climate change were a real problem what makes you think politicians could solve it? They are horrible problem solvers, and have only made worse problems such as: failing schools, unaffordable higher education, gun violence, homelessness, poverty/unemployment/underemployment, and unaffordable medical care. Name one problem (other than providing corporations with access to government officials) Al Gore has solved. Oh, and Gore has a carbon footprint commensurate with his burgeoning waistline. His wallet got pretty fat on government largess as well.

        No one who sincerely believes anthropogenic climate change presents an imminent catastrophic threat could countenance motorsports; i.e., the burning of fossil fuels purely for pleasure. He/she wouldn’t travel around the world in a private jet either.

        Yes, I’ve been called a denier and worse, but as a tort lawyer I’m also an expert in junk science, and I know bullshit when I hear it.

        Funny, I don’t see any moto-journal articles or comments saying we should ban or tax large displacement motorcycles because they pollute unnecessarily. What a struggling motorcycle industry needs least is a new tax!

        A single two-stroke engine produces pollution equivalent to that of 30 to 50 four-stroke automobiles. http://discovermagazine.com/2008/may/21-two-strokes-and-youre-out Let that sink in for a moment.

        Fossil fuels have made made the world rich and prosperous compared to past generations. Ride whatever you want and enjoy it guilt free; you’re not destroying the planet. As if you could!!!

        • Johnny Blue

          Now you’re speaking my language! I agree with your points on politics and climate. And partially with what you said about the 2-strokes.
          The 2-stroke exhaust contains less CO2 and by an order of magnitude less nitrogen oxides than a four stroke. Only the hydrocarbon pollutants are higher on a two stroke and that gives you cancer but is not a green house gas. I hope that with the new fuel and oil injected 2-stroke engines, which KTM released on some 2018 models, a new 2-stroke era will begin.

        • Rob Alexander

          I LOVE this comment. <3

  • Razor Hanzo

    Just the filtering alone cuts my commute time almost in half.

    • Born to Ride

      I was going to post this. In LA traffic, it takes me 2-2.5 hours to get to and from my college campus. On the bike it is an hour twenty. It costs 400$ a year to park my car on campus, and it takes a minimum of 30 minutes to find a parking space. Additionally, the parking garage is a 10 minute walk from the engineering building. The bike is 120$ a year if you’re the honest sort since they do not write parking tickets for bikes, the motorcycle parking is 100 feet from my building, and there is always available parking.

      Sure, I could buy a Prius and get better gas mileage than my Multistrada, but I’d be living in the damn thing considering the amount of time the bike saves me. There are many many other factors that make a bike a superior commuting vehicle than simple fuel economy.

  • JSinclair39

    Yeah, I’m good. I’d prefer not to ride during work commute times when people in cars are most distracted from there long days. Talking, texting, emailing, you name it cagers are doing it instead of paying attention during those hours. No thanks.

    • Born to Ride

      Commuting on a bike isn’t for everyone. Risk averse types or those with low confidence in their accident avoidance skills should not be daily riders. It simply compounds the risk and creates unfavorable statistics by which the insurance companies can justify jacking up our premiums. I appreciate your decision to avoid the highways and being realistic about your riding intent.

      • JSinclair39

        My skill is not in question and it’s not about being risk averse but more of “what’s the reward?” Riding should be about enjoyment and simply commuting along offers none of those rewards. Granted, if that’s your only method of transportation than more power to you but I ride for fun only.

        • Born to Ride

          My statement was less of an attack on your riding skills and more a general assertion. I have no doubt that you have the skills to safely commute, but as you pointed out, it is dangerous and not everyone should do it. I disagree on the point of riding only being for pure enjoyment, but that is my because I grew up riding almost every day to get around. For me I absolutely loathe commuting in my car due to horrendous traffic and parking conditions that would cost me hundreds of hours a year. That is my reward. Plus I’ll take any time I can get on two wheels, its my only source of therapy.

    • 12er

      Same here, I used to commute off commute hours on the bike but in the SF Bay area during commute hours its not worth the stress. Used to be free bridge toll and $2 parking. Now $8 parking and $2.50 fast track toll sans gas, maintenance etc. Cheaper and less dangerous to ride BART, though more frustrating.