by Victor Wanchena
June now has a new day for motorcyclists to remember. June is still only 30 days long but, Monday, June 15th is now international Ride to Work Day (RTW). This is the day when it’s the duty of every man, woman, and teenager to ride their motorcycle to their place of employment. When I say motorcycle I mean: motorcycles, scooters, cruisers, stunters, choppers, sport-bikes, full dressers, naked bikes, antiques, dual-sports, bobbers, standards, customs, trikes, side-car rigs, home-builds, mopeds, vintage, and powered unicycles. If it has a motor and is street legal, ride it into work.
The reasons for taking part in RTW are as varied as the riders and bikes you’ll see on the 15th. My personal favorite reason is that it’s an easy excuse to ride. On top of that, it’s an excuse to blow off any errands that involve something that won’t fit in the saddlebags. Sorry dear, the dry cleaning just won’t fit! On top of that, it invites you to discover a new route on your commute. I enjoy exploring even if it takes a bit longer. Often, you’ll meet and make connections with other riders you work with. Many people do not know other motorcyclists they work with. This is a great opportunity to make those connections.
All those reasons are good; but the number one, numero uno, big daddy of reasons is that you will be helping demonstrate to other motorists that motorcycles are a viable and valuable part of the traffic flow. We have a positive effect on the flow of traffic by occupying less space and causing less wear on the roads; all while being highly fuel efficient. Our presence also helps remind motorists to be vigilant at all times for motorcycles. And arriving at work with a smile on your face from an invigorating morning ride has got to earn a few positive karma points.
Ride to Work Day has been moved up a month this year. In years past, RTW day has been in mid-July, sort of a mid-summer’s high holy day for motorcycle commuters. This year, RTW has been moved forward a month to June. Why the change? Well according to the RTW organizers, the change was to make RTW reach more riders.
The aim of RTW has always been for it to be an international day. The tough part of a mid-July date is while it’s the height of summer here, south of the equator it’s rather frosty. The June date is warmer around the entire globe than mid-July, while saving us from a July broiler. This has earned RTW an endorsement from the Federation Internationale de Motorcyclisme (FIM), the international governing body for motorcycling. The FIM is like the U.N. for motorcycles; well meaning, but not always terribly effective. But their support adds further credibility to RTW. Mondays are good for increased media coverage, providing the weekend was slow on the news front. And with any luck, riders will enjoy riding on Monday enough that they continue through the week and summer.
So if you only ride once this year, ride into work on Monday, June 15th. Encourage others around your workplace to do the same. You can find a nice selection of propaganda at the Ride to Work website www.ridetowork.org. Print out a flier and hang it on the bulletin board. Hang a banner over your desk. Spread the word, but most importantly ride to work on June 15th.