Reflections

Missing the zen of that motorcycle commute

Commuting by motorcycle Vidya Sury

Can you feel zen on a motorcycle commute? My answer to that question would be a resounding yes.  It saves not just money, but also stress!

Thanks to the rains and necessary outings we had to make last week, we found ourselves stranded most of the time, stuck, with no transportation. It was the same for my husband whose work place is rather far off and involves switching modes of transport, as there is no direct bus or train that goes there. And no, we don’t own a car—by choice.

I found myself desperately longing for my two-wheeler—I used to ride a Honda scooter a few years ago that I had to regrettably sell, following an accident. So hard to say goodbye. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss it. I’ve used friends’ motorcycles and my own scooter for close to twenty-five years and have been crazy-attached to every single one I’ve owned.

In my corporate life, I insisted on commuting by motorcycle to work even though I was entitled to a car. With the kind of traffic I had to navigate, I found it easier to get around on a motorcycle. And of course I saved money and precious time. Also, there was the “cool” factor in wearing those goggles, full-head helmet, leather gloves…you know, the works!

I’ve had people arguing with me about the savings bit. If you count every cent and every dollar spent on commute, there might not be much savings, riding your bike to work. After all, you must first invest in a motorcycle. Whether you buy new or used, it is an upfront expense before you can see any savings.

The type of bike you choose will also affect its price. If you own a car and do not sell it after you buy your new bike, you end up having to pay for insurance and plates on two vehicles, besides the cost of running/maintaining both.

Also, let’s not forget about the stress of riding a bike; even if you are an expert rider, you have to be super-vigilant and anticipate the moves of other drivers around you. However, it is a skill you rapidly develop! I call it being present!

I know from personal experience that fuel-costs-wise, each trip on a motorcycle will cost less than in a car, but maintenance costs might be similar.

For some people, the idea of riding that motorcycle to save money sounds just too good to be true.

With the right equipment and mindset, I can tell you it is pure joy. Of course you’ll start by learning to ride one, getting a license, proper gear and potential add-ons such as side bags or carriers to carry the essentials around—whether it is work stuff or shopping on the way home.

I found a top case a better choice than side-saddles. It can carry all the riding gear and you don’t need a heavy backpack to put in work tools or purchases–it is practically like a mini-suitcase! A friend of mine had a satchel strapped to the side and it would freak me out when puddle-water from the road splashed on it.

motorcycle commute Vidya Sury

I fondly remember my pull-on riding pants and a jacket—easy to put on and take-off, especially when you are going from one meeting to the next. And of course, it goes without saying that one must always carry extra socks, a pump and a rag. You never know when they might become handy. Also, great, comfortable boots. A lesson I learned from my first driving instructor was always check to see if brakes are working fine, and check those tires. I’ll never forget that day I had a flat in a remote area and was stupid enough to leave my spare at home. Had to walk miles to the service station. Could have easily avoided that!

I think the real advantage in commuting via motorcycle instead of using a car might be to quality of life rather than to that wallet. Ask any long-time bike commuters and they will tell you that even while respecting speed limits and not criss-crossing in traffic, it is faster to get from point A to point B on a motorcycle—and I have to agree with that—mainly because it is smaller than a car and can fit in tighter spots.

As far as saving time is concerned, don’t ask! I have found that it is much easier to manage one’s commute, saving several minutes each way—time that is my own and time that is NOT spent sitting in traffic with my blood-pressure steadily rising. In a week, it quickly adds up to a few hours.

Even in traffic, the pleasure of riding a bike is always present—something we know is not true when driving our cars at turtle speed, stuck on the freeway. Some even say that the ride to and from work keeps your senses alert and your body awake, elements that brighten your day. I endorse that. The adrenalin rush is something else.

Ultimately, while riding your motorcycle to work might not save you a fortune, it is definitely a positive experience and makes your commute less stressful—and that feeling is priceless.

I love motorcycles. Can you tell?

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    pushpendra dwivedi
    October 15, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    bike moved soul four wheeler moved ur body. nice thought ultimate comparison about bike and four wheeler

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