As I said earlier, Daughter Dearest now has her “real” driver’s license, and got Cousin Splat’s parking permit in return for taking him to school too (Big V took the keys). With The Boy out of school, I now (for the first time since the kids started school) am no longer responsible for getting the kids on the bus or dropping them off myself. Thus, I can a) sleep a little bit later; b) ride the motorcycle to work.
Besides making the commute a bit more enjoyable, there are a couple of other advantages to biking it: even as large a bike as a Virago 1100 gets 42 MPG without too much trouble, while I have to work to get 40 MPG out of the Civic. Then there are a couple of right turns where I have enough room to squeeze between a car wanting to go straight and the curb.
But one thing you have to do is get ready to ride. You can’t just jump on, start it, and go: without a shiny glass & metal cage around you, you have to wrap yourself in safety equipment — helmet, jacket, gloves, and decent boots at a minimum. I keep saying this is the year I’m going to get a riding suit, although I’ve lost nearly 20 pounds in the last year so it’s probably best that I put it off thus far. The wind chill on a bike with no windshield is amazing — even when it’s 80°F outside, you’re happy to be wearing that jacket once you get above 40MPH or so.
This time of year is what I call “four-glove weather.” In the mornings, it’s around 50°F or so, and you want the heavy gloves. (The alternative is not being able to type for an hour after you get to work.) On the way home, it’s 75°F and just the right temperature for well-ventilated summer gloves. A sweater is good, too; I can wear it in the morning and bungee it to the back rack in the afternoon.
The laptop rides in a courier bag. I let the shoulder strap out just enough to let the bag touch the seat; that helps keep it from moving around. The wind turbulence (and the weight) keeps it against my back pretty well.
So this is how I save gas and have fun at the same time.