Monday, March 31, 2008

Today's Ride

I realized two things on today's ride. First, I need a rain suit. I don't say this because I was rained on, but because it threatened to do so. Second, I need to find some way to wipe off my face shield. When I rode in to work, it was chilly and damp, but not too bad. Then the face shield seemed to be fogging up, despite the anti-fog coating. When I stopped at a light and opened my helmet to let it air out, I realized it was fog/mist/drizzle/bleh collecting on the outside. So, I need to find a way to wipe it off as my jacket doesn't seem to work well.
Surprisingly, Atlanta's traffic was light and flowed well all day, despite the inclement weather that usually brings out the worst in our drivers. The end of the day was a rather pleasant overcast. Still chilly at speed due to the humidity, but quite nice. The only drivers of note today were import sports cars wanting to prove that they were faster than a sport bike at the stop line. Suite yourself, buddy, I'm not going past the limit to prove a point.

My solid month of commuting begins tomorrow...

...Rain or shine. And the forecast is saying rain. Well, the point of my stretch is to find out just how practical this is in all (spring) weather, and in Atlanta sometimes that means thunderstorms. I've ridden in rain before, although normally I try to avoid it. You'll see me share tips on what to do when you're caught in the rain on your bike.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

That's not a good headline.

So I'm two days away from kicking off my month of commuting on a motorcycle, and the front page headline in the local paper is "Man dies after losing control of motorcycle." The article doesn't go into much detail about the accident. But it did mention two key mistakes. One, he wasn't wearing a helmet. It's never a safe move to go riding without one, even in states where the law allows you to ride with a helmet. And Georgia had one of the first helmet laws in the nation. While I have seen valid objections to laws requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets, there are far fewer valid reasons out there to go riding without a helmet. While I can't say with so few details whether he'd be living if he wore a helmet, that would have greatly improved his chances of survival. Particularly since the article implied this was a fairly low speed crash.

Second, the article states "Investigators do believe alchohol may have been a contributing factor." Alchohol and motorcycles aren't a good combination. I've driven my car after having a beer or two. But I wouldn't ride a motorcycle in the same condition. One reason is that alchohol affects my balance, and I don't have to keep a car upright. Riding a motorcycle also takes more concentration. So my rule is that I don't ride when there's alchohol in my system - period. There's a very interesting article on the effects of alchohol on motorcycle riding going around the Internet.

The ride is intoxicating enough.

(For more about where I got that poster, check out the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's campaign against drinking and riding. They've got a whole series with various themes. Some of them are quite funny, but I though it would be too tasteless to post one of the humorous ones in response to a real death.)

Preparation: Experience

I see Philip's already covered the basics of gear to get when you start riding. So now I'm going to cover one point I've alluded to a couple times, but never really gone over in detail. This one is about building up experience. I wouldn't recommend going straight from an MSF class to riding 40 miles to work for a straight month. In the MSF class, you've been riding around in an empty parking lot in broad daylight, and usually in dry weather (although the classes are held rain or shine). On your commute, you'll have to deal with darkness, bad weather, bad drivers, and more.

So after the class, you'll want to build up experience. At first you'll want to just practice what you've done in the MSF class, either on side streets or parking lots. Then you can start adding more challenges - riding in somewhat heavier traffic, then maybe in the rain or night. Eventually you'll work your way up to longer rides, heavy traffic, the Interstate, and more. But don't bite off more of a challenge then you're comfortable with, and just try a little at a time - for example, you might want to make your first Interstate ride between two exits a few miles apart.

If you're wondering how much experience I have, it's about two years and 10,000 miles at this point.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Good Morning

A good morning for the commute, mid-50's and relatively calm breeze. I filled up the tank at the outset of the ride. Yet again, 3.5 gallons were used for 220 miles. What made the morning even more fun was that I played a little bit of follow the leader with a guy on a Harley the whole way in. When he pulled up next to me at light I noticed we have two different approaches to visibility. First, I have a smaller bike with little room for even the single tail light that's on it now, so I go for the large amounts of retro-reflective clothing. He was on an Electra-glide (I think) with all the room he needs for his five large tail lights and the neon blue lighting kit in the chassis. The fact that he was in all black leathers was more than balanced out by the simple act of lighting the bike up like a Christmas tree. Either approach is fine, so long as people see you.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Today's Ride

Starting the day out at 45 degrees and ending it at 74 made for a bit of practice in layering. Fortunately, my vest has a pocket on its back large enough to fold my extra clothes into for the ride home. The morning ride lacked any of the usual tail gating, but I also left the house slightly earlier and may have missed the people who are in a hurry to get to work.
On the way home, I yet again discovered the wisdom of listening to the advice of more experienced riders. As I leaned over into a turn, it felt like I was leaning too far and the bike just had to be about to fall. So, I started to straighten my body up with the bike leaned over, which, of course, actually started to destabilize the turn. Then I remembered the advice I've been told by a number of people, the bike can lean farther than you think,trust it. So, when I remembered that, I leaned back into the turn and realized that I was going well within the constraints of the corner/bike/speed... and no, I wasn't speeding... Aside from that little revelation, today's ride was very pleasant and unremarkable.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New Rider Advice

As something of an addendum to Matt's post, I wanted to point out that the Ninja 250 Riders Club has a great page designed for answering questions posed by new riders and people who think they might just want to try this two-wheeled thing. The page has articles ranging from what to look for in gear to what to look for in a bike to why you don't want a super sport for your first bike. It has more info than I would want to put into a post and a lot of the articles are better written than I could do, not to mention written by guys doing this a lot longer than I have. Keep in mind it's from those of us who ride the little Ninja, so it may be a little biased towards the Kawasaki.
In my humble opinion, knowing what to look for in gear is more important (or as important) than knowing what to look for in a bike. While you want a bike that's comfortable, is not too much for you to handle, looks like what you think a bike should, you can talk yourself into compromises on your first bike. After all, that's why it's called a first bike, you will have others. Gear you should never compromise on. There is a term you will see if you hang out on a lot of the forums and at some events: ATGATT- all the gear, all the time. It's a good motto to live by because it will keep you alive.
Look through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's library for their take on gear and then I'll throw in my two cents.
1. Full-face helmet- I can't stress that enough. Yes, an open face will give you some impact protection, but it won't save your face from road rash and, think about it, if you come off a bike moving forward, what is most likely to hit the ground first? Your chin. Do you want a face shield or goggles there, or would you prefer to have a chin bar in the way of the concrete? Also, one of my Basic Rider Course instructors had a bird dive bomb him on his way to teach us, proving yet again that full-face helmets are good at deflecting flying debris, literally.
2. Jacket- Motorcycle Consumer News did a comparison of the various materials used in motorcycle gear and how long you can slide before the pavement grinds through them, but I can't find it. To sum up, leather takes the longest, followed by Kevlar weave and Cordura, followed by denim. In addition to the material, look for one with armor or padding to cushion impacts. Mine is a textile jacket with dual-density armor pads in the shoulders, elbows, and back. If it fits right, you won't even notice the pads.
3. Pants- See #2, with the pads in mine being in the knee and hips, with a pad extending up behind my kidneys.
4. Gloves- Like a helmet, your hands hit first. I have two pairs of gloves, one that only goes to my wrist with padding on the palms and one pair of gauntlets with the padding over the knuckles and a carbon fiber patch over my wrist, both pairs are full leather.
5. Boots- Don't overlook this item. They need to at least cover your ankles. You want something there for when the road pulls your pant-leg up and tries to bite you. There are boots with ABS plastic pieces to protect your ankle, heal, toes, etc. and there are plain leather boots. With this item, you can always find something with the looks and comfort you want with the protection you need.

Sure you might look a little funny when you where all your gear, but wouldn't you look funnier without your skin?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Good motorcycles for first time riders

It's a question that I see all over the Internet, and probably would see more often in person if I knew more people who were looking to become motorcyclists: "What's the best bike for a first time rider?" Nearly half the time, somebody replies, "A Kawasaki Ninja 250." It's easy to understand why, as that's one of the best bikes out there for first time riders. But there are plenty of other good choices. Some of these recommendations would be similar for everyone, while others I'd say depend on the rider. The reason the Ninja 250 gets recommended so often is that it fits a lot of riders, not to mention a lot of budgets. There's even quite a few experienced riders who keep a Ninja 250 around.

Unfortunately most dealerships won't let you test ride bikes. In some cases, I suspect the salesman who says "Sure, this bike would be perfect for you!" secretly fears you have little chance of bringing it back in one piece if you test rode it. Other bike dealers will hire a sales staff that doesn't even have motorcycle licenses. There's some good salesmen out there who will point you towards a bike that matches your abilities, but too many who are thinking of their own commission.

In some countries, the choice is made for you - they have a set of rules about what bike you can get after you first get your license, and you have to stick with them. I'll assume you live in the United States or another country that lets you buy anything when you have a license.

I've often heard people recommend waiting until after you take riding lessons to pick out your first bike. I didn't and Philip did. But I think it's a good idea. It's possible you may find that a particular type of motorcycle you wanted, or even motorcycling itself, doesn't really fit you. And it's also possible that you may find you like the bike they assigned you in the class enough that you'd want one just like it. Some classes even have several different bikes and let you ride different ones. This does seem to be the exception rather than the rule, as it appears to be more common that you'll be assigned one bike and stay with it throughout the class.

If you leave the class thinking that the bike you rode there is all you are ready to handle at the moment, I'd recommend getting a 250 cc bike as your first bike, or maybe a Buell Blast (which is what they use in Harley classes). These are light, controllable, and predictable. You may leave the class feeling you're ready for a bit more. Here are some rules of thumb about how to avoid getting too much more. These are what I'd recommend for a first bike.

1. It needs to have forgiving and predictable handling. Although horsepower doesn't say much about the chassis or braking, it's a good predictor on modern bikes of how the rest of the bike will behave. I definitely wouldn't recommend more than 60 hp for your first bike. You may think that's a bit small, but a sport bike with rider will typically weigh somehwere around 600 lbs. 60 hp in a sport bike is like having a Mustang with 350 hp, only a Mustang isn't quite as much at risk of falling over if you break the rear wheels loose in a corner. On sportbikes (or bikes with sportbike-based engines, like a Yamaha FZ6), that means no more than 500 ccs. A 600 may not seem like much of a jump, but the 600 cc sportbikes are built for all out power. A Yamaha YZF-R6, for example, can put over 110 hp to the rear wheels. That's over twice what measured from a Ninja 500. With cruisers or dirt-oriented machines, you can get a bit larger than 500 cc.

2. A bike that's too heavy can be a handful for a beginning rider to control, too. A good rule of thumb is to keep it under 500 lbs and get a bike that's light enough you can pick it up if it falls over, without any help. If you can pick it up, there's less of a chance you will actually have to.

3. Being able to keep your feet flat on the ground when you're at a stop is also very helpful to the beginning rider. Most riders should be able to find a good bike they can "flat-foot" - that is, get both feet flat on the ground when sitting in the saddle. If you're under 5'2" you may have to settle for getting the balls of your toes on the ground instead. But an average sized rider shouldn't make that compromise.

4. You ought to pick a bike that'll fit you. You should be able to find one that meets these guidelines that you feel comfortable sitting on, that fits your budget, and that looks like your idea of what a motorcycle should look like. There are quite a few bikes out there that are appropriate for first-timers, so you don't have to settle for a cruiser if you really wanted a sport bike, or vice versa.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Preparation: Training

If you're learning to drive a car, you usually get a learner's permit and practice with one of your parents riding around in the passenger seat and giving you instructions. Carrying an instructor around on a motorcycle obviously isn't practical. In most US states, you could just get a learner's permit and practice riding a bike on your own, with certain restrictions such as no riding at night, no carrying a passenger, and no interstates. But the problems with that are obvious - you're starting riding a bike without any experience, and out on public roads unless you have a big empty parking lot next to your house or can trailer your bike to one.

So the option I'd recommend is motorcycle school. These are usually run by the state or by private companies (some Harley-Davidson dealers, for example, put on a class called Rider's Edge). Both state-run and private classes often follow a curiculum developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, althouth sometimes you'll see other programs from state governments or ABATE as well. Usually these classes take a Friday night and a complete weekend (There are exceptions: Rider's Edge is a four day class - thanks, Philip!), and the school will provide the bike. In some states, the class is nearly free from the state instructors. In Georgia, they aren't subsidized and cost $250. Private lessons can cost a little more, but not by much.

These classes start with instruction in a classroom. Usually it's not quite as disreputable looking as this classroom, which was in a wing of a high school slated for demolition. (They'd given the students free reign with cans of Krylon after the school let out for the summer since it was geing torn down anyway.) They cover the basics of how a motorcycle works on the first night. Then on Saturday morning the instructors lead you though exercises in the parking lot. It starts off with how to work the clutch and moves up through weaving, hard braking, and some courses even have you hopping the bike over 2 x 4's by the end of the class.

Along the way, you'll also learn a lot of defensive driving skills, and much of the generic "Stuff every rider should know." You generally won't be ready for commuting through rush hour traffic by the end of the class, but you should leave the class knowing enough about how to get on a bike on a lightly traveled road without hurting yourself. Then you'll be ready to start practicing on the road and building up your skills. As Philip noted, you'll want more experience before you take on riding in heavy traffic and all weather. More about that next...

Monday, March 17, 2008

For comparison...

I filled up my Taurus this evening at 310 miles with 14 gallons even. First, the math lesson of the day: Ninja, 233 miles/ 3.5 gallons = 66.5 mpg
Taurus, 310 miles/ 14 gallons = 22.1 mpg
With approximately 260 days of the year I drive to work and about 50 miles a day, that's 13,000 miles per year driving to work. About 200 gallons for the bike versus 590 for the car... I think we all see where this is going, and it culminates with a discussion of guns vs. butter. But I digress.

Anyway, today's ride was good. I was slightly worried about what traffic would be doing today, as we had a tornado go through downtown and the debris closed a number of streets south of my office. I did have the requisite tail-gater truck this morning on the way in, but I wasn't the one holding up traffic. I was the third vehicle in the line, so I was somewhat amused when the truck zoomed around me to stop one lane over. Other than that, I can't think of anything noteworthy from the commute, oh, and the weather was a perfect 70 degrees for the ride home.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Filled up today at 233 miles and 3.5 gallons.
Also discovered reason #3 to wear a full face helmet: the flying bugs. Reasons 1 and 2 are safety and comfort, respectively.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

End of day report

Well, the end of the day was as uneventful as the beginning. The only problem with the ride home was the density of traffic. After I got home and turned on the radio, I heard some of the traffic announcers saying that today was the worst traffic inside the city and on the highways that they could remember.
Oh, and I discovered another reason to ride to work: maneuverability. Keep in mind I'm not one of those idiots zipping in between cars with inches to spare at Ludicrous Speed,or even when they've gone plaid. What I meant was when other drivers decide they are in the wrong lane in bumper to bumper traffic and hold up two whole lanes, I can get out of the way.
Its supposed to rain tomorrow and I have no waterproof gear, so that's my excuse for not taking it in to work tomorrow, but if its nice over the weekend I think I'll find some reason to avoid my chores...

Introducing my bike

It's not a Gixxer, but it plays one on TV.

One thing that I really ought to do is explain what sort of bike I'm riding. It's a 2005 model Suzuki GS500F. While even people who don't ride motorcycles have often heard of the Katana and GSX-R lines, the GS500F is a bit more obscure. It's the last member of Suzuki's GS line, a series of air cooled bikes that competed with the Honda CB and Kawasaki KZ lineup. The GS series were practical all-around bikes. All three of these lineups have faded from popularity as motorcycles have become more specialized. The GS500 survived by disguising itself as a GSX-R with some plastic body panels. Except for the decals, you have to look at it pretty closely to tell it's not a Gixxer.

A GS500F doesn't act like a GSX-R when you're in the saddle, however. While the GSX-R line was designed for winning races, the GS line was designed to be comfortable, practical street riding bikes. So while a GS500F is pretty quick by car standards, it is still the sort of bike that's forgiving and predictable enough to be a first bike. While fast enough to keep up with my 1986 Corvette off the line, it isn't the sort of thing that will lock the brakes with the slightest touch or give you an unprovoked wheelie. It's the sort of bike that a beginning rider will still need to treat with respect, but not fear.

Another way in which it differes from the GSX-R is the riding position. You're not leaned forward like on a race replica bike. The riding position keeps your body upright like a cruiser unless you make an effort to lean forward. Unlike a cruiser, though, your feet are more or less under you. It's fairly comfortable to ride for about an hour or so, but the seat starts to feel like a 2 x 4 after that. You'll see me trying ways to improve that soon enough.

Since the picture was taken, I've made a few minor changes to improve it for commuting. One, I've put some homemade bar risers on it. Two, I've equipped it with a set of Cortech saddle bags. These let me carry around a rain suit and various other things that I might need for comfort on the ride or for work. I also use a magnetic tank bag, which is just the right size to pack a lunchbox into. You can fit a surprising amount of luggage on a sport bike. I've thought about getting a matching top bag that snaps onto the saddlebags, and I can also wear a backpack if I need to carry even more stuff.

And I rode to work today too.

Seems this weather has been bringing out a lot of motorcyclists for the first commute of spring. Unlike Philip, in this weather I find I have to put on three layers of clothing in the morning to deal with the wind chill. I had on insulated riding pants over my jeans and a fleece pullover under my jacket, although I didn't have to wear anything around my neck like I do in even colder weather. Perhaps my commute goes through some colder stretches, or gives me a bit more of a chance to open up the throttle.

This one was a fairly uneventful commute. I did have one case of a driver reacting a bit strangely to me, somebody in a Mercedes who went halfway over the double yellow line to get around me and into a left-turn lane sooner. There wasn't any oncoming traffic, but still.

It Begins...

... at least for me it does. As I mentioned earlier, I won't be doing the "bike for a month" per se, you get my as I can and when I want to report. Today was nice enough to ride in, so I hopped on the bike this morning and decided to start the documentation process. With the odometer reading 160 and some change, I wanted to see how far out of whack it really is. The EX250 has a reputation for being about 7% off on speedometer/odometer readings.
I only recently have felt prepared to ride in for work, since I work downtown and leave in the dead of night to get here I waited until I picked up a mil-spec reflective riding vest for high visibility. I have to keep in mind that just because it is more likely for drivers to see me doesn't mean they actually do. [Case in point, the first time I ever wore it, a lady pulled out right in front of me while staring straight at the vest, only reacting to me when I braked hard.]
On the ride in, I noticed a few other people had determined it was a good day to ride: two Harley's and two sport bikes. For the most part the ride in has not been bad to few other times I've undertaken it, but today was the first day I've been able to do it without two to three layers on to combat the wind you find at 70 mph on the highway. I have also discovered that people don't like you when you're only going 5 over in the left lane, I got the high beams from a couple of pick-ups and then glares from the drivers as they sped around me.
With my fingers and neck getting a little chilly, I made it to work without anything out of the ordinary to report. Hmm, 185 and some extra on the odo. As it's only 23.5 miles on that route, it seems I have the normal 7% error.
Now, I just need to survive the traffic at 5 this evening.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


As Matt mentioned earlier, I need to introduce myself. I'm Philip and a certified non-technical gear head. I like driving them a lot more than fixing them. I am also, not surprisingly, a motorcyclist. As a contributor to this blog, I should aim for riding everyday for a month. However, I have a much lower skill level and a lot fewer miles under my belt than my brother, meaning I am going to be riding fewer days out of that month and finding more excuses to sit down in my cage and drive. Those days I do ride, I will be posting a journal of how the ride was, traffic, weather, and other sundry details of the commute. Also, I hope to post a comparison at the end of each week of mileage of the bike and the car. On the days that I don't ride, I'll be putting up my excuse (you can judge me later) and an abridged journal of the drive, just for comparison.

If you're wondering why I won't be going all out on this endeavor, its pretty simple: I've only been riding for 6 months and have less than 1500 miles under my belt in the saddle. Inexperience in my commute may be more dangerous than it would be if I worked with Matt, as I work in downtown Atlanta with all the road-raged crazies.

Finally, I also will try to take the time to put in posts about getting started as a biker, what gear to look for, what to look for in a bike, etc. I may be slightly biased in the bike department though, I love my little Ninja 250.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Getting the bike out of hibernation

Yesterday was a reasonably warm day, so I decided to fire up my bike. Since it's sat for a while, I first made sure the cables were OK and the brakes were holding pressure, and lubricated a couple of the points the factory service manual says need periodic oiling. I also made sure to check the tire pressure and the general condition of the tires. This is pretty important on a bike, since having a tire go flat on a bike can be a much worse disaster than on a car. The rear tire is showing enough signs of wear that I'll probably need to replace it after April.

Then I primed it up (you have to let the gas flow for a while on a carbureted bike if it's been sitting for a while), turned the choke on, and hit the button. Much to my relief, it fired right up. (It's possible for carbs to get rather gunky if they sit too long.) Took a while for it to warm up.

While I was getting the bike ready, I noticed my next door neighbor Mike was getting his Harley prepared too. He asked me if I'd like to go for a trip, so we rode down to Jackson Lake and back. It was a nearly traffic-free ride, which was definitely a good thing as I wanted to get back into practice before taking on rush hour traffic. If you haven't ridden for a while, both your bike and your skills may need a little checking out before trying something too demanding.

Looks like everything's working on my bike and other than the note about the tires and needing an oil change, it'll be ready for April.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


One of the problems with using a motorcycle for commuting is that you can't just decide one day that you're going to be a motorcyclist and ride every day to work, go down to your local Kawasaki dealer and buy just any bike there, and start riding to work the next day. Motorcycle commuting takes a bit of preparation and equipment. So in the month leading up to April, I'm going to be going over the things you need to do, and that for the most part I've already done, in preparation for a commute. Here's some of the areas I will cover.

First, my motorcycle has been sitting for a couple months as I haven't really figured out how to beat the cold just yet. So I'm going to go over it and make sure it is safe to ride before I hit the streets. Since this is something I'll be doing very soon, this will probably be the first thing I'll write about, even if it may not be the first thing someone looking to get into motorcycling will need to do.

Motorcycling also takes training, and you're best off both getting some lessons from a pro and doing some practice in safe, low-traffic areas before you try a 40 mile ride to work. So I'll go over what is involved in training and practice.

The other area of perparation is, of course, shopping. So I'm going to cover what makes a good first bike, what sort of safety gear will protect you on the ride, and various items that are helpful for comfort and carrying things for your commute.

Oh, and one other thing - you may notice there's a second blogger on this blog now. I'll let him introduce himself.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Motorcycle for a Month Manifesto

It's not likely we will ever see dollar-a-gallon gas again. There's a lot of people that get blamed for the higher prices of gas, but one cynic whose name escapes me best summed up the biggest reason with this pithy if not quite technically correct line: "They aren't making any more dinosaurs." Realistically, the best way to do something about the price of gas is to use less of it.

And I use a fair amount of gas driving to work. I've got a fairly long commute, about 40 miles each way. Moving closer to work is a difficult option. So if I were to use less gas driving to work, I'd need to find a more fuel-efficient means of transportation.

Atlanta's actually got pretty decent public transportation if you live inside the I-285 area, at least compared to some cities where I've been. Trouble is, my commute's from Covington to Suwanee, which goes through some areas that are reasonable candidates for mass transit, but also through some farmland areas where I can't see anyone setting up a bus system, let alone commuter rail. It would be nice to be able to sit down and read a book, or type up a new book on a laptop, on the way to work, but that's not an option.

A lot of the typical "alternative" transportation things aren't really practical for a 40 mile trip; it's out of range for a bicycle, Segway (perhaps one of the worst cases out there of a solution in search of a problem), etc. But there's one vehicle sitting out in my back yard that can cover the distance, on less than a gallon of gas. My motorcycle.

Commuting by motorcycle has some obvious problems - I don't care much for riding 40 miles in near freezing weather - but if many people commuted on two wheels, we'd have less congested roads and use less gas. I'm putting up this blog to advocate using the motorcycle as a means of commuting, and my plan is to demonstrate what it's like to do this, the good along with the bad.

So my plan is, starting in April, to ride my motorcycle to work, every work day, for an entire month. I'll only make an exception if I have some sort of medical problem that makes it unsafe to ride, or if my work duties explicitly require me to drive something with four wheels to work for business reasons. And for every day in April where I do have to take a car, I'll add an extra day of motorcycle commuting. Other than that, there's no exceptions. While I have picked April because it's not likely to have extreme cold, this means that I'm riding the bike to work even if it's in a thunderstorm. I'll post how many miles I put on the bike and how much gas I'm using each day, and anything else about the trip. You'll get the bad along with the good here. My goal is to present an honest look at what it takes to ride a motorcycle to work.