I ride my Harley most every day in my commute to and from the office. I am among the very fortunate whose work location is close to home — in the same town (really, same sprawling suburb). So here I am, on the plaza in front of the building where I work… on my Harley and wearing Wesco patrol boots with dress slacks tucked into them.I have been commuting to work via motorcycle for some 30 years. Read on for more of the experiences.
My first full-time job after graduating college was as a teacher in a public school. The kids *loved* to see Mr. Biker’s Kawasaki in the parking lot, and watching me take off at the end of the day. But that small bike didn’t have much capacity to carry stuff — and teachers carry a lot of *stuff* to and from school every day, so I couldn’t ride as often as I wanted to.
A few years later, I changed jobs to work at a university — my alma mater. I managed training programs and also returned to being a student when I worked on my Master’s and Doctorate. I enjoyed commuting on various Kawasakis throughout my tenure in that position. Again, none of those bikes had any secure on-board storage, so I was happy when I made the connection with someone in the maintenance department who let me park my bike next to his shop, and I could store my jacket, leathers, and helmet in his office without having to cart that stuff all over campus.
After working there for a significant time, I topped out at the level of available challenge, and got another job with a major non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, DC. I tried commuting on my motorcycle to work, and most days, it was okay although I really didn’t like dodging the city traffic which always cut me off and otherwise made me think they were out to kill me (and all bikers.)
During my 20-year tenure with that organization, my office was moved several times, including to locations in northern Virginia. Commuting to work via motorcycle — by then my 1994 Harley — became routine. The only thing I hated was the traffic on the notoriously slow Washington Beltway for my 33-mile one-way commute. Yuck-o! I was fortunate that I only had to be in my office but one or two days, on average, every week. I traveled a LOT in that job — some 40 weeks and 70 trips per year. That travel saved me from having to endure that awful commute on the Beltway — or made that commute more acceptable since I didn’t have to do it as often.
I completed my work in that job in 2004. After that, I took a year and a half to care for my elderly uncle in the winter of his life through his peaceful passing at home. Once I got his affairs squared away, I found another job at another non-profit organization in Washington, DC. For that job, parking near the office was out of the question (much too expensive) and I had lost patience with trying to commute in city traffic. Instead, I rode my motorcycle to a Metro station where I could park it for free, and then commuted via the Metro into and out of the city. That commute was tolerable, but expensive and often disrupted by an increasingly unreliable Metro system.
Fortunately, in 2010, I was “headhunted” for a position which is located in the downtown of my hometown. I was interviewed and ultimately hired. I have had periods of “off time” in that job, but that was a good thing as my “off time” was exactly when I needed to care for my spouse during the worst of his illness.
Anyway, I have returned to work full-time in that job, which I love to do. Nearby motorcycle parking is free due to legislation that I championed back in the late ’90s. Who knew I would benefit by it? Sweet!
Riding to work has its hassles with the unexpected rainstorms, cage-drivers who don’t look where they are going and who yap on the phone or use a mobile device while driving to send text messages. But the freedom and flexibility of commuting via motorcycle is a wonderful feeling that can’t be met any other way.
Life is short: Ride your motorcycle to work!