Ride To Work Week: A London commute

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Today is the first day of summer, apparently, and it’s also the first day of Ride To Work Week, which aims to highlight the benefits of commuting on two wheels instead of four.

We’re currently in the heart of London, having been on the road since 6am, battling heavy traffic and the worst the Great British Summer can throw at us, if there was ever a day to commute by motorcycle, today probably wasn’t it.

Commuting in London requires 100% concentration at all times as buses, taxi drivers and pizza delivery riders all vie for the same piece of tarmac, and none of them want to be late. It’s like a giant game of Tetris. 

Our steed for this journey, BMW’s S1000XR, is unfortunately fitted with panniers as the topbox isn’t completely waterproof, which means for the majority of our journey we’re stuck crawling along with the rest of London as scalpel-thin scooters zip past. 

Despite the tortoise-like pace, and the unending rain, I’m glad to be on the BMW. Riding a motorcycle, even when you can’t filter, is infinitely more engaging and exciting than driving a car. After almost two hours of London gridlock I’m not in the least bit stressed, I feel relaxed, despite being exposed to the elements all that time.

Inner city commuting tips

  • Opt for a topbox over panniers. It might look a bit naff but you’ll be able to filter
  • Take a change of clothes, sitting in traffic can get hot and sweaty
  • Keep an eye out, drivers may not be expecting a bike to overtake them in the middle of traffic.
  • Look out for road surface changes which may effect the bike, especially when filtering.
  • Be considerate and patient, you’re making much better progress than most people.
  • Be like water.

If you’re taking part in Ride To Work Week you can share your pictures and stories on the Ride to Work Week Facebook page and on Twitter using the hashtag #commutehappy. 

Liam Marsden and Maria Vallahis

By Liam Marsden and Maria Vallahis