WhyBike Motorcycle Blog

Ride to Work Day

By James - 4/23/2005

A while back I came across a promotion for Ride to Work Day but haden’t thought about it until today. I saw a sign for Earth Day, which I guess was yesterday, and thought about why we feel the need to assign “days” to certain subjects. I get Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, even Barry Bonds Day down at Pac Bell Park. But there are some things, like motorcycle or environmental awareness, that a single day out of 365 will not help.

Even if everybody who has a motorcycle commutes to work on Ride to Work Day, I wouldn’t ride that day. This is for two reasons. The first is spite. If the treehuggers think that my environmental awareness is so low that they need to beat me over the head with it I will spend Earth Day ruining the Earth. I don’t need someone telling me when I need to do this or that. I am a big boy who is actively engaged in my environment every day. It is one of the reasons I ride a motorcycle.

The second reason I would not ride to work on Ride to Work Day is that I am familiar with how the weekend motorcyclists ride. They are borderline dangerous when traffic is light, I would hate to see them when it is stop and go and I am splitting lanes. That would be a mess.

So I encourage you to ride to work any day, especially now that the weather is getting nicer. But do it because you enjoy it or it makes your life easier or it makes you more productive, not because someone tells you you should for some “cause".

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Waving to bikes, waving to cars

By James - 4/11/2005

I was out driving home from a hike with the dog and had the windows down, both me and the dog were cooling down on a warm and sunny spring day. She had her head out the window and I was wishing I could do the same but for the wellbeing of both of us I just dangled my left arm out. Rumbling down the road towards me were two cruisers and as they got close I instinctually waved. As soon as I did it alarm bells went off in my head. “You are driving a Civic, dummy!” my inner voice yelled.

I was reading a survey, You Are What You Ride, about motorcycle behaviors commissioned by an insurance company. There is a section in there about waving to other riders. Now I know this gets a lot of discussion about who waves to who, everybody seems to feel left out by another group of riders. I don’t really feel like writing about that. I want to talk about waving to cars.

Back to the two bikers I waved to from my car; they didn’t wave back. Maybe they didn’t see me, maybe they don’t wave to cars, or maybe they just don’t wave to anybody. I wondered how I would have reacted if I was on that motorcycle. I have never had a car do the oncoming-wave-thing to me. But I do know I have waved to cars. I do it as an an acknowlegement for a good deed rather than a “what’s up". I can’t always wave when someone does something good, because it is more important at the time to work the clutch, but I try to reinforce good cager behavior when I can.

A lot of us make sure cars know when they make a mistake, but how many of us acknowledge a car moving over for us or yeilding the right of way? We have a hard enough time converting cagers to biker-friendly cagers, which makes it doubly important to keep those biker-friendly drivers happy with bikers. We should make these drivers feel like their actions are not in vain and, at least for a moment, that they are a friend of the biker family.

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