Work To Ride, Ride To Work

Category:
American Motorcyclist Association
March 2002
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Work To Ride, Ride To Work

by Bill Andrews

Mar. 27 - It didn't seem like that [Click to enlarge] radical an idea: everyone agree on a day when we all ride our motorcycles. As simple and fun as that may sound, it was a new idea back in 1992 when a small group of people decided to show the non-riding public just how viable motorcycles are for commuting, and how motorcyclists come from all walks of life.

Bob Carpenter, Fred Rau and Patty Carpenter, editors with Road Rider Magazine at the time, created the Ride to Work program after reading a T-shirt that Andy Goldfine, of Aerostich Riderwear, created. The shirt simply said, "Work To Ride, Ride To Work."

Goldfine admits he didn't invent the saying, though, "I saw it on a motorcycle," he says. "And when I talked to the rider about it, he said he had seen it on yet another motorcycle. I thought it was funny as heck, and so we used it as a promotional T-shirt."

After seeing the shirt, Bob Carpenter commented in his "Two Up" column how neat it would be if there was one day a year when everyone who owned a motorcycle used it to ride to work.

According to the organizers, the response from that column was overwhelmingly positive, with plenty of people saying a 'Ride To Work' day was one heck of a good idea.

In May of 1992, the group announced that Wednesday, July 22, would be the very first "Ride To Work Day." Flyers were sent to more than 50 motorcycling organizations and from there, the word spread like wildfire.

"It's been very positive," Goldfine says, "we know that everybody loves the day."

Although thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, participate annually, Goldfine says for the most part,

it's not a group activity.

"We know there are places where they organize group rides," he says. "Or maybe workers at businesses will all ride for a coffee run sometime during the day."

The "Ride To Work" program doesn't necessarily have lofty aspirations. It's not like "Ghandi trying to

liberate India from the British," Goldfine says. "But if just one person sees a difference then that's a great message."

And the message is fairly simple: "The idea is to show that motorcycles are more than just toys," says

Goldfine, "and to show motorcyclists are more than just the faceless Hollywood stereotypes. They are their coworkers, bosses, the people they do business with, or maybe even their neighbors."

The group feels that motorcycles are a viable means to relieve congestion and free up parking spaces. "We want to show that riding a motorcycle is actually a social good," Goldfine says. "Motorcycles use less of our natural resources to manufacture the vehicle, to operate the vehicle, and cause less ware on the roads."

Besides the good for the environment, Goldfine also sees motorcycling as a community-builder. "There is something profoundly socializing about motorcycling," he says. "You'll see, when motorcyclists gather, how they take care of each other."

[Click to go to the Ride To Work website.] He feels the old adage about cars being cages is a bit off the mark.

"It's more like walls that separate people," he says. "They're on their cell phones, and they really don't

care what's happening around them.

"When you are on a bike, you're more attuned to what's going on around you, especially when other motorcyclists are around you."

Goldfine lives in Proctor, Minnesota, just outside of Duluth, and rides most days. "I live about 3 miles from my work so my commute is very short," he says. "But there are years where the snow is heavy and I'll walk or roller blade, but seldom will I take a car. I may use my car once every two to three weeks, just to keep the battery charged."

Goldfine realizes his situation is not the norm. "I do appreciate that most people commute 10 miles or more," he says. "But a car still seems like overkill."

Ride to Work Day for 2002 will be on Wednesday, July 17. For more information, go to www.ridetowork.org

© 2002, American Motorcyclist Association