Feb 1, 2006

Commuter geek?

I love commuting. If I had to put my finger on what I have enjoyed most in the past twelve (!) years of motorcycling, I'd say I am amazed at my capacity for not getting put off by bad roads, traffic chaos and/or weather. I have met a number of fairly committed motorcyclists in Mumbai, who consciously park their bikes on days when they know traffic will be extra-heavy, specific parts of their commutes are jammed or if the weather is likely to cause trouble.

However, I am yet to meet another rider who likes commuting for what it is. I've often wondered what I love so much about commuting but I'm not even close to the real answer. And just to clarify, I do specifically mean commuting to work and back, on a motorcycle.

Perhaps the greatest pleasure I get is that arrive at either end of the trip recharged, full of energy and get-go. When I do the same trip in a car - I get music but it takes longer - I feel drowsy. When I take the bus - I get to read, it takes much longer, is waaay cheaper bus stop to bus stop - I don't feel any need to rush out and hack away at my to-do-list for the day.

In the ride itself, I think there is a lot of fun to be had figuring out what speed is the safest with reference to traffic around you, figuring out which lanes of the road to occupy through various sections, filtering through the fastest. I also tend to enjoy riding at a brisk speed without taking any great risks on a daily basis and as I've figured out, it can be done.

More to the point, I'm saddened at seeing other riders who push the envelope in traffic and then find themselves making as much or even less progress than me. More to point, they're an absolute nuisance to other motorcyclists and cagers alike.

But these, clearly, are the tangilbles. I believe there is another facet of the love for commuting that still remains hidden from me.

If any of you have ever thought on these lines, I'd appreciate an email/comment telling me what you think.

Also, I'm working on a list of ten things that will make you safer in traffic, and faster as well...