Swapping a Scooter for a Harley-Davidson

This is Part 2 of my series to decide on a new commuter motorcycle >> Part 1 here  Part 3 to come later…

Commuting nearly every day for 40 mile in and out of London in any weather is a stressful activity, whichever mean of transport you choose, and each one has severe health risks.

When commuting by train and bus you spend 2 hours a day in the worlds most efficient incubator for any kind of virus and bacteria the human body wants to absorb readily, and if there would be statistics stating the official employee sick leave times for flu by means of transport, I am confident a pro rata comparison would read: 80% public transport users (Train, subway, bus) vs 20% private transport users (car, bike, cycling).

The private transport however bears other risks, more lethal ones. While driving in your posh car you may just get stones thrown at you, riding a motorcycle or pedal bike may not get you the flu, but the death rate by serious accidents is over-proportionally high.

All means of commuting  requires constant attention and is causing stress. When using public transport you have to be alert and on the constant watch-out for pick pockets and mobbers interested in your new mobile phone or for some worse, sexual attributes. Using a motorcycle will keep you alert with respect all the other inattentive sleepy idiots sharing the road with you in the early morning hours.

Travelling by public or private means, we all have 2 things in common: we very likely do not want to be where we are and we have a tight schedule to follow. Worse, some of us even do not need to be were they are, as alternative working arrangements can not only improve health by reducing commuting, but is also environmentally friendly and efficient, without reducing your productivity for the company a single dot.

I decided many years ago to use a motorcycle for commuting, and did this in Frankfurt, Tokyo and London, riding tens of thousands of miles in dense and often hostile traffic, in whatever weather above or below the freezing point. There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.

I used big bikes (Honda Pan European and Goldwing) and smaller scooters (Yamaha 250 Majesty and Piaggio MP3 400i), and this mixed experience led me to formulate 3 core attributes for selecting the ideal next commuter bike:

– agility
– storage
– weather protection

My recent experiences on a Harley-Davidson Road King Classic added one further criteria for selection: FUN, as this Milwaukee vibrator achieves one facial reaction over and over again: a big smile. I hope to add some fun to my commuting, arriving a bit more relaxed, following the inivitation on my morning coffee mug: Screw It! Lets Ride.

In the next instalments, I will look at these factors in more detail. To be continued.


3 Responses to “Swapping a Scooter for a Harley-Davidson”

  1. Hi I’m facing the same “commute scoot” dilemma – but my change is a little different to the one you made- I’m using a porky Honda XL1000V (Varadero) as a commuter at the moment. I want to keep the Honda, but love the idea of a Sportie as a fun daily commuter. I also miss my old Yammie SR500 so this will be like coming home. I’m blown away by the level of detail in your post – really awesome. I’m fed up with the remarks that the 833 is a underpowered girls starter bike and your pragmatic approach to this bike resonates with me. I’m still torn between the Roadster vs the Iron, I think they are both cool, fully agree the double disk on the R makes more sense from a technical/safety perspective and LOVE the retro racing graphics on the tank but that blacked out Iron is so evil I want it!!!.

  2. You can’t beat fun. I’m happy to see you’ve finally added it to your criteria. I ride to work every day, and must say that my commute is best done on my F650GS BMW. It’s small enough and extremely light, to the point where it feels almost like a scooter in town, but it still holds its own out of town and on the highway. Plus, the heated grips and plug in for an electric vest are pretty damned phenomenal.

    The most fun is my 78 Honda cb550, but you can never be sure when that one is going to run, of course, the mystery makes the fun.

    Behind Bars – Motorcycles and Life

  3. My license plate frame has the same saying. Driving in and out of London must be an adventure. Ride safe.

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