A Day To Ride

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From American Motorcyclist Association 2001
To join: http://www.ama-cycle.org/index.asp

A Day to Ride

by Robert Rasor

Some people do it every day. Some folks just do it once in a while when the spirit moves them. Others hardly ever do it. You know what I'm talking about: riding your motorcycle to work. Here at the AMA we have all types. Some of the people on our staff ride their bikes all year long. Through rain, sleet and cold of winter, they're nearly as dutiful as the Postal Service. Only the nastiest snow or ice seems to stop them.

More common are those who ride to work frequently, but avoid the really nasty days. Ohio has plenty of those in the winter and early spring. But these people jump at the chance to ride as soon as the sun shines and the salt is off the roads, regardless of temperature. Then there are guys like me, with more obligations and commitments than we can keep up with. Living alone, but wanting to spend time with my kids, I am frequently charged with delivering Junior to football, lacrosse, a buddy's house or just home from school. Then there's the dry cleaning, the groceries, the trips to the airport and any number of other things that make it difficult, awkward or otherwise impossible to ride my motorcycle to work. All of which means my car gets entirely too many miles, and my motorcycle doesn't get nearly enough.

I know that the commute to the office isn't the sexiest type of motorcycling you can do, but on a great spring morning like those we've had recently, it hurts to miss any chance to ride. Of course, there's more to commuting than the little bit of motorcycling it puts into your morning. It's also a way to demonstrate just how large the motorcycle community is and the important role our chosen form of transportation can play in reducing traffic congestion.

One committed member of the motorcycling community has made this his personal crusade. Andy Goldfine, founder of Aerostich Riderwear, started his effort to make the public more aware of commuting motorcyclists in the early '90s by creating Ride to Work Day, an annual celebration of two-wheeled commuting. The principle is simple enough: Pick a day, and get as many motorcyclists as possible to ride their motorcycles to work. Easy? Not exactly.

Through the years, Andy's crusade has enjoyed endorsements from several magazines, companies and key organizations such as the AMA. Enthusiasm for this movement surged and ebbed, but his commitment has never wavered. Last year, he took Ride to Work Day to the next level, establishing a non-profit corporation to promote the concept. The AMA Board of Trustees pledged its support by unanimously passing a resolution to "approve and endorse the value of motorcycles as a vehicle for daily personal transportation and designate the third Wednesday of July as Ride To Work Day in recognition of that value."

The goal of this effort isn't just to give us another excuse to go riding. We've all got plenty of those.

But all of us know that most Americans see motorcycles as novelties, rather than an alternate form of transportation. So consider for a moment how empty the parking lot of an office building would look if you replaced half the cars, minivans, SUVs and pickups with motorcycles. And think about what effect that could have on crowded freeways. Now there's a benefit anyone can appreciate!

As an association committed to protecting motorcyclists' rights, the AMA also has an interest in demonstrating the size of our community to politicians. And a national Ride to Work Day, supported by hundreds of thousands of AMA members, along with millions of non-members (by the way, we could use your help in converting them into members) makes a pretty strong statement about the strength

of our voice in the democratic process.

No, I don't see my life becoming any less complicated in the near future. And that means there will still be days when, reluctantly, I'll run the four-wheel shuttle service instead of riding. But I can tell you what I'll be doing on July 18, the third Wednesday of July this year. I'll be joining Andy Goldfine's crusade and riding my motorcycle. I hope you will, too. Whether you own a touring bike or a cruiser, a sportbike or a dual-sport, a big bike or a little one, I invite you to ride it to work that day. Park it someplace prominent in the lot, and be prepared to answer a bunch of questions when somebody asks,

"Whose motorcycle is that outside?" It'll give you a chance to tell a whole lot of new people how much enjoyment you can get out of a simple ride to work.

Through a strange coincidence, this year's Ride to Work Day falls in the middle of the AMA's inaugural Crossroads Rally, which runs July 16-19. That means my commute to work will be along back roads to the Ashland County Fairgrounds in Ashland, Ohio. I invite you to join me in that ride, too. I can promise you a good time with a lot of other motorcyclists (see "Feed Your Head," page 49). But wherever you're headed on July 18, I hope you'll be able to do it on a motorcycle.

© 2001 by the American Motorcyclist Association