Monday, July 14, 2008

Reminder about Wednesday!

This is a reminder that Wednesday is Ride to Work Day (trademarked). If you want more information feel free to click on the link to the right of the blog page. I've been on a dead run and haven't caught up on all the blogs I normally read. So if someone has written something similar, please accept my apologies. Or maybe I should say congratulations. After all, a lot of us are avid proponents of using a bike for everyday transportation. It shouldn't be surprising,then, that we think alike.

Here's some of my musings about the significance of Ride to Work Day. Bear in mind that I don't have the luxury of a lot of time to savor and pick the exact perfect words. Thoughts are spilling out as they happen. I'm pretty sure you'll get what I'm saying, though.

To my mind there's a certain genius in the fact that Andy picked riding to work as the foundation. After all, he could have organized a bunch of group rides or something else. These would have worked to show just how many motorcyclists there are out here. If you think it through, however, you can see how effective the commute to work thing can be for accomplishing his purpose.

Most people I run across have one of several reactions to motorcycles. Remember, when I say "people" I'm referring to a group that includes our bosses and co-workers. One reaction is a deep fear of bikes or those who ride them. Another view is that motorcyclists are a bunch of excessive risk takers who should be condemned. Most people have opinions that fall somewhere in the middle. They consider motorcyclists as folks who are out for recreation. Similar to those who choose to camp, golf, ski, boat, or whatever. That's okay, but it doesn't accomplish the goal because the choices of recreation are too diverse for any sort of uniting effect on a wholesale level.

Commuting to work, on the other hand, is a nearly universal human experience. Having a job and going to work are at the core of human existence. Everyone can relate to that, whether they want to or not! By putting a motorcycle into this role there's suddenly a common ground for discussion.

I share Andy's views in that motorcycles should be incorporated into everyday life as a means of transportation. Not only are bikes fun, but they have a legitimate place among cars and trucks. Going a little further with this, in today's society where there's such an emphasis on being "green", the use of vehicles that tread more lightly upon the Earth's resources should be encouraged, not just tolerated.

Now I know that a lot of us ride to work anyway. Day after day the bike shows up in the parking lot. So why have a special day?

One good thing I see is that it encourages those who might not ride on a regular basis to do so on this day. Participating in a special day gives them the incentive to give it a try. Maybe the rider will find it's easier than they thought to take the bike instead of the car and continue to ride to work. Heaven forbid, they might even find it's a lot more enjoyable than a car!! Shudder!

Another benefit is that employers often respond to the event by letting the riders have some sort of special parking section and maybe a display relating to the event. With the temporary extra lattitude regarding the workday, there's a chance to talk to co-workers about riding. I personally know of several riders who got the first spark from a Ride to Work event. There's nothing so effective at breaking down prejudice and stereotypes than realizing a rider is actually a respected co-worker. You are respected, aren't you?

That's the thing, too. We never know who we inspire and to what extent. It was a scene like this that finally moved my boss to give me full permission to ride for work as I saw fit.

You saw a similar picture in an earlier blog post. This day there were even more bikes parked at one of our large distributors. These bikes belong to project managers, buyers, and shop workers alike. The riders of these five bikes have no idea how their riding to work helped me along in the process of using my own bike as a company vehicle. They just ride to work.

By the way, guys, I really appreciate what you've done in helping me, but what the heck happened to backing the bikes into the parking spots? Jeez, do you want to be cool or not?

So I'm asking you. If you're not already planning on it, ride to work on Wednesday. You may help the cause more than you know.

Having said all that, I have no place to ride to work. I don't work for a company that has a big parking lot. I will, however, be riding FOR work all week. It's not going to be as exciting as what my pal Dean is doing this week. He's riding to Laguna Seca. I hope the Aprilia gives you a backache, my friend! Can you see the jealousy dripping from my words?

Nonetheless, it will be a lot of miles for me. I'm leaving tomorrow morning for Astoria. Lucky was just there chasing Goonies, I believe. Astoria is at the mouth of the Columbia River near the top NW corner of Oregon. It's a relatively short trip for me, being about 158 miles. After spending a couple of days there, I'm headed South to Klamath Falls. K Falls is around 365 miles South and West from Astoria. Thursday and Friday will see me doing business calls there. On Saturday I have a task for TEAM OREGON. Saturday afternoon I'm booking it up to Medford, a quick trip of around 80 miles. I'm helping with a training session for instructors Saturday evening and then spending the night in Medford. Sunday will be my first day off in 13 days. I plan to sleep in and find a long, scenic, route home.

With any luck at all, the trip will be over a thousand miles. Yee haw!

Miles and smiles,

Dan


13 comments:

Stacy said...

Dan, hope you don't mind me plugging the Ride to Work Day event at OSU. :)

Riders who live/work near the OSU Campus are invited to park (for free!) on the MU Brick Mall this Wednesday the 16th. Registration and information can be found at this link: OSU Ride to Work Day registration

irondad said...

Stacy,
By all means, plug away. TEAM OREGON staff and instructors should be filtering in and out during the event on the quad.

By the way, for the rest of you, if you know of a local event, please feel free to plug it here!

Take care,

Dan

Dan said...

Mercer st exit in Seattle has a banner that reads "Hey you, in the hybrid, we love you!" I laugh every time...

I guess it's still a big secret, bikes are still king of mpg in "real-world" usage.

Example of two 45 mpg vehicles...
Let's see the numbers: 2006 Prius, 0-60 in 10.5 seconds.

2006 interceptor, 0-60 3.2 seconds. Tons more fun, less than half the price.

I think I'll keep making every day "ride to work day"

Been awhile since I commented, still trying to get caught up on your blog Dan!

-Dan

Lucky said...

Have fun in Astoria. If you get a chance, go to the Maritime museum and ring the big bell outside. A fella has to take advantage of opportunities to ring a big, loud bell. I wonder if parking your bike next to it and ringing would have the same effect as a ride bell...

Steve L. said...

That sounds like a good way to explore the state! Astoria to Klamath Falls. There's not really a direct route for that one.
Sounds like you picked up Elvira just in time!

Stacy said...

I'm impressed that Dan's getting through the break-in period in one weekend. :)

Kano said...

Thanks for the reminder about "Ride To Work Day" irondad and well said too. I'm putting up a reminder on my Blog as well because I couldn't agree more with the reasoning behind that special day. I envy your rides to work -Astoria to K.Falls not bad!

Balisada said...

Ahh, yes. Ride to Work day.

I am going to put a sign on my Rebel bragging about my mpg.

Balisada

Krysta in Milwaukee said...

This morning I found one disadvantage to RTW day... Riders who aren't used to dealing with the traffic.

Saw some guy hopscotching among cars that were too close to begin with. Hope he made it home safely.

irondad said...

Dan,
I've missed you. Thanks for sharing, again. We need a combined mph and spm rating. Smiles per mile has to count heavier!

Lucky,
Any excuse to make a little noise, huh? Like it.

Steve,
That's the beauty of it. Perfect for bikes.

Stacy,
Why dip your toes when you can just jump in?

Kano,
Like I said before, who says your company vehicle has to be a car? Keep setting the good example, Bro'!

Balisada,
I think the Aerostich folks make t-shirts that do that, too. Double advertising!

Krysta,
That's an unfortunate downside, granted. Maybe it will be a good incentive for him to sharpen his skills by riding more. I agree with you, I hope he made it home fine.

Take care,

Dan

Dean W said...

USGP is July 3-5 next year. That should have me in town for RTW day. In the past, I've made the threat to spend commute-time riding around in a gorilla suit. Others have suggested "pink".

Thus is born a plan...

irondad said...

Just be sure to wear a sign that says "I'm on my way to work"!

Dean W said...

Sure, I'll wear a sign. Since I work from home, I figured I'd follow you around... ;-)