Do You Know What Day It Is?

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From American Iron August 2001

Do You Know What Day It Is?

It's one that's good for the soul

Sandra Feld

Okay, folks, it's quiz time. How many of you know what Wednesday, July 18, 2001 is? Here's a clue: It's an anniversary. Think about it. Middle of the work week, middle of the summer... oh, come on! This should be soooo easy!

July 18, 2001 is the 10th anniversary of National Ride to Work Day. Never heard of it? Man, you really need to get out more...on your motorcycle!

Ride to Work Day came about after Andy Goldfine, owner of the Riderwearhouse in Duluth, Minnesota, and inventor of the Aerostich suit, came out with a T-shirt that said"Work to Ride, Ride to Work." (Yes, I have one, and I'll be wearing it on July 18.) He sent one to Fred Rau, who was editor of the old Road Rider magazine. Fred came up with the idea of a National Ride to Work Day. Fred and Andy decided that the middle of the week in the middle of July gave all the riders in the USA the best shot at riding in good weather. They promote it heavily. There are ads for Ride to Work Day in nearly every motorcycle publication in this country. But, sadly, most riders still go to work in their cages, even on that day.

Okay, now for the lecture. RTW Day was invented, in part to remind Americans that Americans are not just leisure toys. They are perfectly practical transportation, and there are few valid excuses why 95 percent of your riders can't ride your motorcycles to work once in awhile.

I often ask people why they don't ride to work, and I get some incredibly lame excuses. Here are some of them:

1. There's no safe place to park.

Well, chain the bike up, get a pager alarm, and make friends with the guy who runs the local parking lot. Even when I worked in Manhattan, I always found a safe place to park.

2. I have to wear nice clothes to work.

Get an Aerostich suit. They're specifically designed so executives can slip them on over their suits.

3. I have to take the kids to school.

What, they don't have school buses in your neighborhood?

4. I have to get groceries on the way home.

You shop every day? Then you can't be getting that much stuff...get saddlebags.

5. It's too cold.

Get some Gerbing's heated gear.

6. It's too hot.

Stop whining. You just said it was too cold.

7. It's too windy.

See answer to number 6.

8. It's raining.

Aerostich suits, and most other non-leather riding suits, are water-resistant. Besides, you won't melt and riding in the rain is good practice.

9. I have to drive my clients around.

Tell them they can get on the back of your bike, or they can drive. I'm sure they won't mind giving you a ride. And they may surprise you by asking for a ride on your Harley!

10. I have too much stuff to lug around.

Well, if you're a plumber it's one thing. But it's amazing how much stuff you can pack on a bike. I've even brought home 50 pound bags of dog food on the bike.

There's really only one reason why people don't ride to work. It's easier to drive the car. Last winter I got sucked into that black hole myself. My "new" car is fun to drive and it's got remote start. I didn't have to pack carefully, didn't have to get all my riding gear on. I could stop for coffee without even getting out of the car. It was great. It was comfortable and warm and... Hey! I was turning into an old fart right before my eyes!

Next morning I hauled out all my riding gear, packed my lunch and rode to work on the FXRP. The bike started right up and settled down to that big hearted deep-voiced idle. My Gerbing's stuff had me toasty warm in seconds. I backed out of the driveway, dropped the tranny into first, and we were flying through traffic. I could feel my spirits lift with every curve, every launch from a traffic light. I'd almost forgotten how great it is to ride your bike to work. how you don't just commute, you fly. All too soon, I was there. But there was a big grin on my face and great warmth in my soul. And in only eight hours, I'd get to do it all over again.

So I'm not telling you to ride your bike to work everyday. But try to do it once a week and in good weather. It's good for the soul. AIM