Ride to Work

With the ever-increasing congestion on the roads it is becoming more and more popular to take to two wheels for the commute to work. This can take the form of pedal cycles for the short commutes, but small motorcycles and scooters are becoming much more popular for the longer journeys. This is evidenced by the fact that there has been a significant increase in the sale of 101cc to 125cc motorcycles and scooters.

Many of you will have taken to two wheels as part of the Ride to Work Week (20 – 26 June), and
we are keen to find out how many of you took part and we would like to hear your feedback about how you found it. Ride to Work Week is an industry initiative, led by the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA).  Steve Kenward, CEO of the MCIA, said: “Ride to Work Week this year follows on from record sales of motorcycles in 2015, reflecting the increasing numbers of motorists who recognise the benefits of two-wheel transport as commuter transport.” It highlights the five plus-points of commuting by bike or scooter:  that you save time, money, find parking more easily, become a better road user and, most importantly, that you have far more fun on your commute that those sitting in traffic jams! Was it a liberating experience for you? How safe did you feel? Did it save you time or money? There are many questions, so feel free to share your thoughts in the comments box below.

The benefits to congestion are clear, in an EU study, which modelled the traffic for a particularly congested part of Belgium, showed congestion was reduced by 40% for all road users when just 10% of car drivers switched to a powered two-wheeler.”

Honda (UK) is so committed to the benefits of the two-wheel commute, it has started to provide bike training to its staff. Their representative told us, “Statistics tell us that we waste so much time in a car, stuck in jams.  Anybody who has tried to make a 9 o’clock meeting at Bracknell, in the south of England, will testify that going by bike is the only way to guarantee you make it in time.  In fact, I’m sure many of my colleagues at Honda will be delighted at the thought of their teams learning to ride and making it into work on time!”

Time is one thing we can’t buy, yet it is reported that the average commuter spends 1,708 hours stuck in traffic during their lifetime. What would you do with all those extra hours?

Scooter tyre safety adviceCommuter scooters are in the class of vehicle which most frequently fails its first MoT due to tyre defects. According to figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, on average 5.2% of all motorcycles in Class 1 fail their first MoT for defective tyres, while for cars it’s 4.9%. Potentially, owners are using the practical and economical two-wheeler as a workhorse and not paying enough attention to essential maintenance which could potentially be a life saver. Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe, said: “While many commuters travel short distances, they need to be aware just how essential roadworthy tyres are to their safety on every journey. With just two tyres in contact with the road, the handling and braking of a motorbike are critically dependent on adequate tread depth and correct inflation.”

Scooters and commuter bikes are a cost effective way to get to work, but riders should never scrimp on their safety. So here’s some advice on scooter tyre safety.

In Britain, the minimum limit for a tyre’s tread depth on motorcycle’s with an engine capacity of 51cc and over is 1mm throughout a continuous band around at least three quarters of the breadth of the tread. For those below 50cc the tread pattern must be clearly visible around the entire circumference and across the whole breadth of the tyre.

While measuring the tyres’ tread, riders should also check their tyre pressures are correct. Incorrectly inflated tyres will seriously impact on a motorcycle’s handling and controllability. The manufacturer’s recommended settings can be found in the owner’s manual or on the swing arm connecting the rear wheel to the bike’s frame. It’s equally imperative that tyres are free of damage and riders should look for sidewall scuffs from contact with curbs in particular.

Should the tyre need to be changed, a like-for-like replacement should always be fitted but scooterists are reminded that there are three different measures used for their tyre sizes, making selection potentially more difficult.

New motorcycle tyres also have a thin, slippery residue on them when new as a result of the manufacturing process, so riders should allow 100 miles of cautious riding to ‘scrub’ them in before they will reach optimal performance.

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