RoadRUNNER Zen Motorcyclist

The Road Often Traveled: Deciding to Commute

Feb 21, 2012 View Comments by

The title of this series of blog posts is in homage to “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck, a guide to spiritual growth published in 1978. I chose this title because for me, motorcycling is a means toward spiritual growth, or at least a daily meditation of sorts that nurtures development if one is open to it. This post is the first in a series focused on all aspects of commuting, which compresses most of the critical elements of touring into a single day.

There is a lot to consider when deciding to start commuting on a motorcycle. I’ve been commuting year round on a variety of motorcycles for twelve years now. My decision to begin riding to work each day was based on a number of factors: the price of gas, the route being a mix of Pennsylvania countryside, highways and small towns, a stressful job, and my overall desire to do something I loved every day.

At the time, weekends were filled with other duties, and I knew few people who rode motorcycles. The morning commute gives me time to relax, enjoy an hour long ride, clear my head before a long day of work, and starts my day with a bit of adventure. Similarly the evening commute allows me to release the stress of the day, get another ride in, and on certain days (and anyone who rides knows what I’m talking about), when the weather is perfect, I ride toward a setting sun and my mind is free to wander in that paradoxical way that it can only when you are focused intently on riding a motorcycle.

There is no better way to learn than from daily repetition and commuting is certainly that. Proficiency comes from muscle memory, familiarity in all conditions, a willingness to learn and to get it right, and a proper dose of normal, natural fear. Commuting blends all these elements and each ride, like every other one, presses its fingers into the clay of your experience. I have become a much more proficient rider having ridden the same route well over 1,000 times on several different kinds of motorcycles, in all weather conditions with drastic drops in temperature over the course of a day, and in every conceivable traffic scenario.

Commuting gives me the opportunity to apply the things I read about in real world conditions and to constantly hone my skill set. No two commutes are ever the same and the decision to commute daily brings with it many and varied considerations. For me, it’s the perfect way to start and end the workday.

Stay tuned and ride safe.

Tags: Categories: Zen Motorcyclist

About the author

I have been motorcycle commuting since 1998. I created Zen Motorcyclist (formerly Commuting Motorcyclist) in 2011 and work as a motojournalist, software developer, CAD designer and IT/CAD manager in the Surveying and Civil Engineering field.