Ready to ride
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- June 13, 2009
Full face Shoei helmet, Aerostitch riding gear and steel toe boots make for a safe and enjoyable Ride to Work Day.
Ride to Work Day was inspired by "Work to Ride - Ride to Work'" marketing materials created between 1989 and 1991 by Andy Goldfine of the Aero Design and Manufacturing Company, the Minnesota based manufacturer of Aerostitch motorcycle riders gear and clothing. In 1992 these items inspired motorcycle magazine editor Fred Rau to write an editorial calling for a national ride to work day.
The first annual Ride to Work Day event was proposed in Road Rider magazine (now titled Motorcycle Consumer News) in the May 1992 issue. This is an excerpt from that "Ride to Work" editorial: "You may remember several months ago when Bob Carpenter, commenting in his 'Two Up' column, mentioned how neat he thought it would be if there was one day a year when everyone who owned a motorcycle used it to ride to work. That comment was prompted by a T-shirt produced by Aerostich RiderWear that simply said, 'Work To Ride, Ride To Work.' Everyone seemed to think that a national 'Ride To Work' day was one heck of a good idea."
The first Ride to Work Day event date was July 22nd, 1992. For several years various motorcycle businesses informally promoted every third Wednesday in July as Ride To Work Day. These early advocates included Road Rider Magazine, Dunlop Tires, and Aerostich/Riderwearhouse. The event continued to grow as an informal grass roots demonstration every year until 2000. That year a non-profit organization, Ride to Work was formed to help organize and promote Ride to Work Day. The first Ride to Work Day event led by this group was the third Wednesday in July of 2001. This day was the annual day until 2008, when it was changed to the third Monday in June. This change was made to climatically better accommodate riders world-wide, and to give more riders an opportunity to participate.
Americans need two-wheelers more today than ever before. The June 15 national grass-roots effort is more relevant than ever and provides a great way to have fun, save a lot of $’s all the while being more environmentally friendly.
“Motorcycles are exactly right for the times,” said Larry Little, chairman of the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and vice president and publisher of Cycle World magazine. “Two-wheelers are a practical part of the answer to our economic and ecological troubles. They are real and readily available. There’s no new technology to invent and no new infrastructure required. Right now, motorcycles and scooters reduce traffic congestion and parking problems, benefiting every motorist.”
The latest Motorcycle Industry Council Owner Survey found that, among reasons for riding, “commuting and errands” jumped to the No. 2 spot only behind “riding for pleasure.” In 2008, as gas prices topped $4 a gallon, scooter sales rose to 222,000 for the year - the highest level yet seen in the US.
There are more riders than ever as the number of American households that own motorcycles jumped 26 percent from 2003 to 2008. During the same period, the motorcycle population grew 19 percent. Some 25 million Americans swung a leg over a bike and rode last year. That’s a 7 percent increase, from 2003, in the number of people who ride but may or may not own motorcycles.
Motorcycle vs. automobile attributes
- New motorcycles cost little to purchase with many available for less than $4,000.
- Maintenance costs are lower.
- Registration costs less.
- Insurance costs less.
- Bikes forgo hundreds and even thousands of pounds of raw materials.
- Less energy is expended to ship a motorcycle from a factory to a dealership.
- With smaller engines and fewer components, there’s less use of motor oil and chemicals throughout the life of a bike.
- Lower consumption of gasoline. Bikes can get two, three, sometimes four times the MPG of automobiles.
- Less fuel consumed means less CO2 emissions, now recognized as a pollutant known to cause climate change.
If you are a rider, Monday June 15th might be just the day to go for a ride!