ABR’s resident expert of all things two-wheeled answers your questions
Q. Hi Dave, recently my circumstances have changed. Sick of the stress of my job I’ve made a career and lifestyle change and have taken a job that is lower paid and a little further to travel to. My days are now much better, but the bank account is suffering. I run a car and a bike (BMW F800GS), but my future income means I cannot afford both. If the bike goes, I may never be able to afford another one, and the car holds no attraction for me, I see it only as a means of transport. A point is, it’s cheaper to run a car than the bike, so I have to be sure I’m doing the right thing. Is it really possible to run a bike as the only means of transport through the year?
A. Hi Andy, of course, it’s possible, and many people do! However, adjustments will have to be made, not only to the bike but yourself as well.
Choosing to get the bike out on a sunny morning is going to be a very different proposition than when you’re commuting on a cold, wet winter’s morning when you’ve no choice but to grin and bear it.
The good thing is, is that the sale of your car will release some cash to spend on a top of the line riding suit, boots and helmet. Being dry and warm in the saddle is so important, and good gear is the only answer to this. But, good luck with finding gloves! The Holy Grail is the search for warm gloves that also keep your hands bone dry (on a side note, we’re going to be reviewing winter gloves in the next issue of the magazine).
The best option for keeping your hands warm and dry is heated grips and handlebar muffs. They don’t look so good, but will only be needed for the winter, and it’s dark then anyway.
Maybe a heated jacket or waistcoat would help, another option is a heated seat as it’ll help to keep your core temperature up, which helps in keeping your extremities (hands and feet) warm.
A Bluetooth headset in the helmet, which you can link to a mobile phone to listen to music of your choice or radio for the traffic news, can be a godsend when facing the commute to the office.
An adventure bike is a good basis for carrying abilities too. Your panniers and top box will easily replace a car boot, and what won’t fit in them you’ll find you can just do without. Keep it simple!
If possible check out different routes in to your place of work. Make the trip as interesting as possible, and maybe even include a green lane en-route to spice things up a bit. One of the pleasures in life is getting suited and booted, jumping on the bike and heading off to work to arrive in a great mood, rather than being a stressed-out commuter. Plus, at the end of a day’s work, take the longer route home and just enjoy what biking is all about, putting a smile on your face.