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Commute by Motorcycle Despite the Weather

Why I Still Commute by Motorcycle Despite the Weather

January and it was barely light as I left home. By the time I arrived at work the leaden sky had lightened, but there was still no sign of the sun. Balancing carefully and feathering the rear brake, I drifted slowly down the ramp to the basement carpark. Ducking under the slowly rising shutter door, I made my way across between the cars, to the narrow walkway in front of a white nondescript door. The only place set aside for parking motorcycles. I was alone. In the summer months there are often three of us commuting by motorcycle, but in the winter, it is just me.

I put the side stand down and removed my helmet. As I pulled out my earplugs, I heard two voices debating with distain at the length of time it had taken them to make the journey into work that morning. “It’s taken me over an hour to get from the M621 to here, ridiculous!” “I know, I only live about 6 miles away and it’s taken ages to get here, it always does”. I smiled smugly to myself, my heated jacket still warm and zipped up to my chin. This is why I ride a motorcycle to work.

The common myth of being cold and wet on a motorcycle in poor weather is just that, a myth. It’s 2024, I’m no longer wearing the ripped jeans and the faded, paper-thin leather jacket of my youth. Like me, things have moved on. I’m wearing a laminated Gore-Tex jacket with heated thermal liner over my work shirt and waterproof, quilted over-trousers with full length zips for quick and easy removal at the office. My leather boots are Gore-Tex lined and have never let a drop of water in.

The bike has heated handlebar grips as standard, and I have fitted bar muffs for the winter months, creating two cosy pockets in which to put my hands. These let me wear thinner gloves, giving me more dexterity and better feel at the controls. The screen and fairing keep the worst of the weather away and leave me feeling more comfortable on the bike than off it, at this time of year.

Don’t get me wrong. Riding in poor weather conditions isn’t for everyone, in the same way that motorcycling isn’t for everyone. You need to weigh up the risk of each journey against the need for that journey. Keep an eye on the weather forecast. Consider your level of skill and experience. Have you got the right kit to keep you warm and dry? Is your bike in good working order? Are you in good working order?

With the increasing restrictions on the use of cars in towns and cities, the traffic jams, and the limited parking opportunities, I much prefer to be on the bike despite the weather. Unless it’s snowing of course. If it’s snowing, then I’m not leaving the house at all, with any mode of transport, even if it has skis on it.

Written by Alex Parsons-Hulse – BMF North East Regional Rep

All images are authors own