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Riding For Work

March 2006

Last year, during the summer, when I made trips to Kentucky, and Detroit, etc. I thought it would be cool to be riding a big cruising cycle. So I bought one.

This year, I plan or at least hope to ride it for work. But this raises many questions and perhaps issues to work out.

This will be sort of a journal that describes what I learned.

Note that I got more determined to do it back in the winter when I was riding somewhere with Jon Keiger and I told him I wanted to take a motorcycle on trips for work. Jon said, "Oh, Mark, I don't think you want to do that," and then told a story about a bad motorcycle trip he had. That's when I determined that I would do it if I could.


I can't wear the clothes that I would call on customers in, while riding a cycle. They would get dirty and they would not be safe. Safety demands special clothes designed for cycle riding. So, can I change clothes when I arrive, or can I wear the cycle clothes into the meeting? How will this work? Same applies for shoes.

Carrying Things

Where do I carry my PC. Its very valuable (not just in terms of hardware, but in terms of the information it contains) and I can't risk destroying or having it stolen.

Fuel Stops

I'm learning that I'll have to stop for gas about every 120 miles, much more frequently than in a car. Maybe riding a bike, I'll be ready to stop after 120 miles, but all the fuel stops will certainly enter into schedule.

Of Course, Weather

Weather I'm sure will be an issue. I'll have to learn how to deal with that.

Other things I'm not even thinking about.

April 4, 2006

I went for a short ride today. Its 45 degrees, sunny and windy. I had on my new cycle jacket. I was not cold except for where wind could leak in (around the neck, etc.) But I didn't ride that long. There were a few wind blasts that rather surprised me. They shook the bike hard. I reaffirmed my grip on the handlebars after that. I can't imaging riding for a long time in a wind like that.

April 5, 2006

Went for a ride today. Its 44F acording to I rode a total of about 11 miles. I did get cold, but I only had on the jacket, with a long sleved shirt, and jeans. I think if I had chaps or leather pants, that would help immensely. But my arms were getting cold too. Maybe some Under Armor underneath would help.
  • Started the bike and forgot to turn the fuel on. It started, but soon died and then wouldn't start. Finally figured it out - duh!
  • Went to Walmart to get some tie down straps. Got off the bike and started looking for a helmet lock. None. I guess it was removed when the saddle bags were added.
I did a little research, and found the helmet lock. It was back behind the saddle bag. I remembered seeing and article about relocating it. Did a search and found it Did the work and have the lock relocated to the sissy bar. Had to break off a key to get it done so now I have to get a new key.

April 7

Got a new pair of riding pants & a full faced helmet. With all of this one (the liner out of the pants and the jacket), I rode 39 miles today, a fair amount on highways at 55-60 mph. I was nice and warm. Almost hot. Its 74 today. In the summer, its going to be warm, I can take the heat better than the cold.
Its supposed to be pretty cold tomorrow. I will try all the clothes with the liners back in, I hope.

April 10

Rode a little bit in town today doing some errands. The temp was maybe 50F. I put the lining in my coat, but not the pants. My arms were chilly and my legs between my boots and pants. Longer boots help that. Hope to do an 8AM extended ride tomorrow.

April 11

Rode to Ashland and back (about 40 miles round trip). Stopped for about 5 minutes to get gas in Ashland, but most of the trip was on I71 at 70+ mph. My fingers were a little cold on the way up. On the way back, I was very comfortable. There was considerably more wind turbulence on the way back and maybe that caused me to be working a little harder. It is 45F right now at my return. I didn't check the temperature before I left because I was running a little behind schedule (left about 8:30).
I learned that I need:
  • A comb - you get serious hat hair from a helmet.
  • Ear plugs - the noise at 70mph is considerable.
  • A clock - I'm always needing one when I'm riding.
  • Maybe to allow even more time than I thought.

April 13

Road to a customer meeting in Strongsville today. It was about 50 in the AM. I didn't get cold at all. When I arrived, I stowed my boots, pants and coat in the duffle bag I had along. In essence, everything worked perfect. Two observations - the wind coming home (going Southwest) was horrific, and second, riding much more than an hour would be tough on the butt. The seat just isn't back far enough to be comfortable. It hits me right on the tail bone.

May 25, 2006

I road to Columbus today for an IBM meeting. Got into some rain, but it didn't really bother me. The temperature was about 57F. My new HD boots are too short and too open for riding in the rain.

When I parked in lot, a guy on a Harley Sportser parked right next to me. We started talking and low and behold, he works for IBM too and rode down the day before for a meeting. It was both nice to meet him and encouraging to know someone else is Riding for Work.

May 31, 2006

I did it. I made a long distance ride for work. See the story.

June 5, 2006

I rode up to Cleveland. This is the first overnight trip. I put my stuff into a nylon fishing tackle pack thing I bought. Got up here ok.
The wind on the ride was awful. If it was like that all the time, I'm not sure I'd keep riding.

June 9, 2006 - Detroit & Back Again

I rode to Detroit and back again today. This time to Sterling Heights so I went right through downtown Detroit on I75. Lots of construction, and lots of traffic.

The worst was that it was cold riding up there. The weather forecast was sunny and 0% chance of rain. The reality was heavily overcast, threatening rain (but never got it). I got cold riding up. Coming home it had cleared and warmed and was beautiful.

I was vacilating for several days weather to make this ride. It is a long way, mostly on expressways and I knew it would be a butt killer. But the weather forecast was for excellent weather, and I decided at the last minute to ride. How could I pass up the great weather.

I learned two things: 1) Don't rely on the weather forecast. One guy said on his web page that he always takes all of his gear because you can't be sure of what weather you might encounter. I learned the hard way that's good advice. 2) Since I decided at the last minute to go, I forgot to take my ear plugs. I need to either have a check list or not decide at the last minute.

July 10, 2006

I was riding to Cleveland for a meeting and had a wreck on the way up.