I ride my bike to work nearly every weekday. I say this with the confidence that comes from learning to live with a single car and a motorcycle to share between my wife and myself. The car is hers, she can have it. My Buell is mine, and she can ride on the back whenever she wants to.
Since we moved to Dallas, TX back in April of 2010, I’ve only had the bike to commute on, so when it rains, or ices (contrary to what Texans say, it does not snow, it rains ice that sort of, but not completely resembles snow), I either work from home, borrow the car (which she rarely allows… yeah, so I’m whipped), or her and the boy will drop me at work, and pick me up in the evening.
That said, we’ve reviewed the number of days I’ve not ridden, and we’re quite certain it’s less than 20 days in the past year and a half. To say it again, in roughly 380 possible days of riding (figuring in vacations, etc.) I’ve ridden 360 of them. To me, that says a ton about how good the weather is down here! It also says that anyone who really wants to ride can’t use weather as an excuse down here… there’s only been one day when I really got soaked, and I simply planned ahead for it.
Having ridden nearly every day for the past year and a half, I’ve seen the good side of it (haven’t spent more than $11/week on gas!) and the bad (is it bad when your legs burn because you’re riding 15 miles at 26 degrees, with just jeans on?). The only things that I now think are mandatory for doing this, are:
- a jacket for the summer… a mesh jacket that has plenty of vents
- a winter jacket that has a liner, and is windproof (and hopefully waterproof as well).
- a wind-proof neck gaiter, or a full-head balaclava
- wind-proof riding pants (for the winter), or maybe chaps, but I think your nether-regions would still get cold
- some really warm gloves
- warm boots, or light boots, and warm socks
- a backpack/messenger bag/saddle bags/tank bag for your lunch/computer/tools/books/etc.
- the wherewithal to withstand 110 degree heat while stopped on the pavement in traffic for five minutes at a shot, and dealing with sub-freezing weather at 80 mph on the tollway in the winter!
A few more items that I suspect would make the riding much more pleasant:
- a big windshield – this is one near-requirement for my next motorcycle!
- a full fairing – see above; I’m not a big fairing guy, but if that’s up your alley, I think that would be even better than just a windshield!
- saddlebags – I have a messenger bag for my laptop, and a big expandable tank bag for once in a while when needed… I think saddlebags would be great though, they are more likely to be weather proof, and can store more
And there you have it… my list of what I’ve found to be essential to make riding everyday possible, and even enjoyable.
What would you add to the list? Any specific gear suggestions?