Issue 3

Editorial

The public misses important truths about motorcycling because they learn about riding mostly from three traditional sources: One - motorcycle sport activities, Two - social /charitable /rally gatherings, and Three - motorcycling's ongoing political and issue related activism. Everyday riding surrounds and supports all three yet is less understood and appreciated by the general public. Ride to Work events, programs and activities can change this.

Hero Rider Award

This award is given to an individual who most exemplifies the mission of Ride To Work. Submit your nomination/application, along with an explanation of why the nominated rider is qualified to receive this recognition. Honorees will receive a certificate, some gifts (which will vary) and recognition in The Daily Rider and on the Ride To Work web site.

Company Participation Award

Riding to work and sharing your everyday motorcycling perspectives helps those you work with understand transportation riding as a social good. This award helps all the other riders you work with .. and non-riding work associates .. understand the value of utility motorcycling better. Awarded to the company that has the largest total number of persons participating on Ride to Work day. Three Classes- A) 1-50 employees; B) 51-250 employees; C) Over 250 employees.

Nominations need to include: Name and contact informatin for company and submitting rider, number of riders participating, photograph of participants (or motorcycle parking area) on Ride to Work day.

Best Company Award

Awarded to businesses that do the most to encourage and support riding motorcycles to work. Areas of support..etc...

(Three Classes)- A) 1-50 employees; B) 51-250 employees; C) Over 250 employees.

Awarded for the companies that do the most to encourage and support riding motorcycles to work. Areas of support include preferred and secure parking areas, rider gear storage, complete health care coverage, etc... Nominations accepted from company staff who are riders. Submissions to include: Name and address of company, leaders of company involved in ride to work related areas. Names of five commuting riders. Photograph.(?) List areas of support. Awards will include a recognition announcement in The Daily Rider and some sort of plaque, certificate or gift from Ride to Work.

Ride To Work Motorcycle Shops

A motorcycle shop can be qualified at a $30 charge with recommendations submitted to Ride To Work by three riders. (Motorcycle shops may also become qualified by contributing $500 to Ride To Work, and pledging to comply with these standards.) A Ride To Work Shop that fails to meet the standards of this program will be removed.

Motorcycle Mechanic Scholarship

Contributions for a motorcycle mechanic scholarship can be made to a fund dedicated to helping add Ride To Work aware motorcycle mechanics. Scholarship contributions submitted to this program are separate from general Ride To Work funds. A full scholarship for one individual to attend an accredited motorcycle mechanic training program will be announced when enough funds have been raised to provide for one complete academic tuition (not including housing, food, miscellaneous expenses, etc).

Best Public Practices Award

An on-going award for showcasing "Best Practices" for motorcyclists. Open to all types of governmental, political, municipal, civil persons and/or units. (Police, judicial, administrative, etc...) For example, some cities provide free parking for motorcycles in their parking garages, including a signed free "slot" past the toll gates. That way, motorists know if they rode a motorcycle they could park for free. Nominations should include as much information as possible about the "Best Practice" and also about the persons and/or entities responsible for it.

Digest/Clips

Urban Guerrilla

I ride a lot in the city. Most of my yearly accumulation of miles is racked-up on the well-worn asphalt of the urban jungle. My commute takes me through downtown, and most of my recreational riding takes place in and around the metro area, with only the occasional foray into the vastness of "out there". I have been devoted to sportbikes for several years now, but I increasingly find that the key to travelling in the choked confines of our metropolitan paradise is a light weight, upright, narrow machine that can exploit the sudden gaps in traffic and hop curbs at random. Any of the current dual-sport machines are adequate for this kind of duty, but my favorites are the big 4-stroke thumpers like my own NX-650, the XT from Yamaha, DR from Suzuki, KLR from Kawasaki and any number of Rotax powered exotica from Europe. These bikes are the perfect Urban Guerrillas; mobile, agile, and hostile! As population and traffic volume increases, Cafe Racing as a lifestyle must evolve in order to survive. In the past, the repliracer with top-up speed and infinite lean angle was the tool of choice. Today however, these bikes will find themselves too often tied up in the snarled city traffic right along with the touring bikes and cruisers. The Urban Guerrilla, however, is not afraid to duck down an alley or squeeze down the right side between cars and curbing past the long line at an eternal red light. In some cases this is even legal, but in all cases it is frowned upon by non-riders. Screw 'em, I've got places to go! This new crop of Luxury SUV's really infuriates me. The Cadillac Escalade, for example, whose commercial says it can order you tickets to any concert, reserve a seat in any exclusive restaurant, and other such "I'm better than you" stunts. The claim that really had me rolling on the floor was when they said "It makes obstacles obsolete". Oh yeah? Tell that to Mr. Bigshot CEO as he smolders in the rush-hour morass. The monthly lease on one of these is more than my mortgage payment, yet I can get anywhere in the metro area quicker on a motorcycle bought for less than the sales tax on one of these behemoths. Lexus and Mercedes have come out with similarly elitist boxes, and their vulgar displays of excess income really offend me! I cannot resist the urge to retaliate when the opportunity presents itself. Not only do they guzzle precious petrol at an obscene rate, but they block my view in traffic and their drivers are, more often than not, talking to their broker on the cell phone instead of watching where they are going. This makes them fair game as far as I'm concerned, a valid target for whatever kind of vehicular harassment I can dream up. How I would love to leave knobby tracks all over their fancy flanks! Alright so maybe I am a closet communist, I don't know. Or maybe I am just tired of seeing huge, expensive vehicles transporting one solitary, self-important striver to and from their perq-filled day at the corporate castle. Whatever the motivation, the dual-sport, Urban Guerrilla motorcycle fits all of my proletarian mission requirements perfectly. Let's talk about curbage for a moment. When you ride Urban Guerrilla style, curbs are your friend. There is one particular, very long traffic signal that comes to mind where the traffic backs up for more than a block, usually for several minutes. I have found that by hopping a curb into an adjacent parking lot I can motor past all the cars to the exit on the cross street, squirt across the road through a gap in the traffic, and make a right turn back onto my original heading, sometimes, hacking as mush as 5 minutes off my travel time! Then there is the question of metered on-ramps. Most of these do not have HOV/Motorcycle bypasses yet, but as an Urban Guerrilla you can make your own! Simply take the off-road option, passing the line of crazed commuters safely on the grass. I have done this several times, and the cars waiting in line always blow their horns in celebration and make hand gestures I can only interpret as telling me that I am Number One! I simply smile and wave as I jump back on the ramp and continue my journey. Parking has always been a hassle in the city. Urban Guerrilla has an answer for that as well. Though not strictly legal, you can usually hop a curb and park on an unused section of sidewalk or concrete up close to your objective. I do this all the time and have yet to be ticketed for illegal parking. Another prime piece of parking real estate for the creative U.G. is that funky concrete, grass or gravel-filled island at the near end of the parking rows in shopping center parking lots. By simply hopping the curb again, you can park even closer to your destination than the handicapped spaces. There is never a "No Parking" sign posted on these terrain features, as the architects always employ car-think when they lay out the parking lots. So even if you do get a ticket, you can probably fight it successfully in court. The key is never to establish a pattern by using the same space over and over. Someone is certain to complain if you rub their noses in it. Now, I am not advocating anything here. I am merely exercising my first amendment right to free exchange of ideas. I tried the soapbox routine a couple of issues ago and was severely blasted for my efforts. You are all grown-ups out there, at least in theory...But just as I have been chastised by readers in the past for criticizing their choice of riding gear, I am sure I will hear from many of you about this concept of creative commuting. Good! We could use some lively discussion in these pages. Some of you may say that I am inconsistent, extolling the virtute of safety gear one day and promoting anarchy in the streets the next. Well, I didn't say you should practice Urban Guerrilla Warfare without wearing a helmet and body armor. In some neighborhoods, riding this way could very possibly draw gunfire! But that's one of the many obstacles the committed U.G. has to deal with. Police pursuit is always a possibility, and as a rule of thumb I would say that you have no more than two minutes to break contact with the first patrol unit before the net begins to close on you. Don't EVEN let them get close enough to read your license number! A bit of mud or grease smear on the plate usually helps decrease your maximum detection distance, but don't overdo it. An unreadable license plate is probably illegal too. Dense traffic can be good or bad in these situations. Good because you can squeeze through gaps that they cannot, and they are more likely to terminate the pursuit to avoid endangering civilians. Bad because there will always be that wanna-be superhero out there who will try to take you down single-handedly with visions of glory and an appearance on "COP�s" dancing in his head. Cutting through unfamiliar yards is always a crapshoot. You never know who has a dog tied up in back, and despite what you see in the movies, even the best equipped U.G. will probably lose any contest with a cyclone fence. All in all, I would say that running from the police is just a bad idea. Smile and take the ticket from the nice officer, and live to ride another day. So, are you committed enough to be an Urban Guerrilla? Well, I know that I am - committed, that is. In fact, I have to go now. Nurse Ratchet says that its time for my medication. Gary Charpentier; Diary of a Cafe Racer, Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly #32, November 1999 To subscribe:
www.motorbyte.com

Letters

Date: Tue, 03 Oct 2000
From: Barry Houldsworth (by email)
Yesterday the EPA produced it's latest list of fuel economy figures along with a great deal of hoopla about how much pollution could be saved with only a small amount of improvement etc. Just to check I went to their web site and searched it. The following text is the response. 'Your query "motorcycle" matched 0 documents out of 2331. 0 documents displayed.' I think that just about says it all. The most economic car available manages 61 mpg. I have an R1100GS that I use to commute everyday - it gives around 45mpg in urban riding and will still do 0-60 in under 4 seconds and cut through traffic like no car can. There are, of course, a great deal of bikes that are more efficient than my bike. While I believe that riding is not for everyone (the thought of my Mother-in-law on a motorcycle scares the hell out of me) there are a number of people that would benefit a great deal from riding and might even enjoy their commute - I know that I do.
Regards,
Barry

Hi Barry,
Thank you for your message and the information about the EPA. Not only does your GS 1100 get 45 mpg in urban conditions, it is actually more directly comparable to Range Rovers and Explorers and other luxury utility vehicles....than to economy cars. When sub 500cc utility motorcycles are used in typical urban traffic cycles they can get 70, 80 or more mpg. Scooters do even better. These types of bikes make better 'apples to apples' comparisons with economy cars. To be fair, compare luxury, touring, and performance bikes to luxury and performance oriented automoblies occupying the same market segments. (Your GS is the worlds most economical Humvee or Range Rover.) It�s not fair to compare a big luxury or performance bike to an ultlight small car.
Andy

In The News

The Rotten Roads Go Ever Onward, �2001 abc news
www.abcnews.com

 Congestion is the worst it has ever been. Statistics tell an alarming story: Americans spend 14.5 million hours every day stuck in traffic, trying to commute or move goods to market. They also spend an estimated $23 billion a year, or $126 per motorist, on vehicle repairs and operating costs incurred because of poorly maintained roads.

There are also terrible human costs: The Federal Highway Administration blames bad road design and conditions for 30 percent of highway fatalities. And idling cars and trucks emit environmentally unfriendly gases at an alarming rate. Other statistics are just as damning. Consider that since 1970:

The U.S. population has grown by 32 percent, while The number of licensed drivers has grown by 64 percent. The number of registered vehicles has grown by 90 percent, and the vehicle miles traveled has grown by 131 percent. However, total number of road miles has grown by only 6 percent.