Driver to Biker: Making the Switch

While the majority of us will occasionally dream about cruising around on a motorbike, when it comes down to actually choosing a method of transportation, the car makes a lot more sense. To list just a few common reasons we shy away from the idea of biking:

  • Safety concerns
  • Practicality
  • Wearing motorcycling¬†apparel
  • Sensitivity to Weather conditions

When I was 25, I had landed my first managerial position at a large electronics retailer. I purchased my first car, a 2006 Corolla. At the time I wasn’t really interested in cars (well, those that were in my budget at least) and it was a very sensible car. The commute to work was not exactly thrilling, but a short 20minute drive each way was not exactly a big deal in my life.

However, just under a year into my job, I was relocated to another branch, and the drive would now be around an hour and some. Within months I was beginning to realize how taxing driving in the morning and driving back later in the day had become, and the commute took a big toll on my happiness and wellbeing. Of course, a lot of people make commutes which are just as long, if not longer, so it wasn’t going to be something that would make me want to quit my job altogether.

One day, I was browsing a furniture store in our retail park with a colleague of mine who was looking to buy a new bed. He was looking at the beds which were at the highest price range, and I told¬†him, “you’d have to be mad to spend so much on a bed…” However, he turned around and said, “look, you spend around a third of your entire life on a bed, you have to be spending money where it matters!” For some reason this resonated with me, and on the drive back I began thinking about how I was spending at least 2 hours every working day sitting around driving an automatic.

I then suddenly became excited about the idea of commuting to work on a motorbike. I hadn’t actually ridden one before, but just thinking about the thrill I could enjoy for 2 hours each day seemed hundreds of times better than the dreaded drive to work. I was more than willing to sacrifice some comfort and practicality in place of an enjoyable commute every day. I didn’t know many bikers at the time, so it was difficult to find guidance, but there was plenty of discussion online. In the end I went ahead and got myself a new Yamaha FZ6R, a pretty great entry-level bike.

And since then, I haven’t looked back. I have been biking for 5 years and while a lot of things have changed in my life there is always one constant – the joy of biking to work and back doesn’t get old, and my boyish sense of excitement remains.

Damien Burton, blogger at Elswick Cycles.