Top 10 Tips for New Riders Commuting by Motorcycle or Scooter
Commuting to work on a scooter or motorcycle has many benefits. Once you’ve completed your CBT course with RideTo, what do you need to know before taking on the daily commute? Here are our Top Ten Tips for new riders;
- Be protected! - Make sure your riding gear is up to scratch! No Matter what ‘style’ you want to adopt, these days there is a protective option for you. Look for a CE rating and ask the retailer to confirm the protection level the garment has. When considering gear remember to buy the best helmet you can afford.
- You will get wet! - If there is one thing that is certain when commuting on a motorcycle in the UK, at some point it WILL rain. Spending a little time and money on investing in a good set of waterproofs will pay huge dividends. There is nothing worse than arriving at work with soggy clothing. Look for something that's quick & easy to put on, dries relatively fast and can be folded down easily for storage. Here is one option worth considering Scott Ergo Pro.
- Be seen! - Commuting by motorcycle will at some point will involve riding in poor weather conditions and/or the dark. Many waterproofs will have a hi viz option, but aside from that it is worth considering a reflective bib or armbands to help other road users spot you quicker and earlier. It may not be cool, but nobody is really going to be posing on a drizzly December evening on the A13!
- What about cargo? - Unlike weekend leisure rides commuting on two wheels may often mean carrying extra items. You are already likely going to be carrying the usual phone, laptop, lunchbox etc. but you may also need extra clothing, tools, locks etc. Scooters often have quite a lot of under seat storage, but it needs to be organised. Top boxes are a very handy option, offering secure dry storage. If you don’t want to go down the fixed luggage route a sturdy waterproof motorcycle rucksack is an essential piece of kit for a commuter.
- Beat the thieves! - Security is a key consideration. If your workplace doesn’t have secure parking then you will need to find some way to protect your motorcycle/scooter from theft. Disc Locks are very popular as they are one of the smaller, easier to carry devices and simply bolt through the front or rear disc to stop the bike being rolled away. A heavy duty chain is also a good primary or secondary device, but it is admittedly a bulkier option for transporting.
- Cover it up! - Whilst on the subject of security, if may also be worthwhile considering a cover for your motorcycle/scooter. Not only does it keep the bike dry, it could also make it less ‘interesting’ to opportunist thieves. If it’s not easily identifiable then they are more likely to move onto another bike.
- Don’t get lost! - Admittedly if you are commuting back and forth to the same location then you are unlikely to need any kind of navigation device. But what about unforeseen road closures, or road works? Pretty much everyone owns a smartphone these days and navigation apps like Waze, Scenic and the trust google maps are free and feature packed. You’ll just need to consider a way of mounting them to your motorcycle. The Quad lock system is a very quick and efficient system that may be worth considering.
- Plan alternatives! - So, as a motorcycle commuter you ride the same route to work each day and you head for the same parking spot. Once there you park up, lock up and head for another busy day. But what if you arrive to find there are no spaces left? This may sound like a very obvious idea, but take time to research all of the alternative parking options surrounding your workplace. We’ve all seen people hopping from parking zone to parking zone trying to find a spot, desperately trying to not be late for work. If you are delayed on your commute and can’t get into your usual spot, make sure you have several other options already planned.
- Prepare for Traffic - By far the biggest issue with commuting by motorcycle or scooter is going to be dealing with other road users. Your CBT instructor would have given you some tips about dealing with traffic during your CBT training, but gaining experience on the road is essential. The old adage is to ‘ride like you are invisible’ because sadly to many distracted drivers, you will be. Create a safe ‘bubble’ of space around you as you ride and try to maintain that based on the movement of other vehicles. As per point 3, be seen, ride defensively and assume that everyone else is trying to kill you. That might sound scary, but trust us, it’s good advice.
- Regular maintenance! - This again might sound obvious, but when commuting by scooter it's easy just to jump on your bike each day and take that ride into work. Make sure that you check your scooter regularly. The obvious things like tyres, chain, brakes and controls are an easy ‘look over’ each time you ride. You can learn the basics yourself very easily, YouTube is a great place to find resources, or book yourself onto a basic maintenance course. It is also worth finding a local garage/dealer and striking up a good relationship for ongoing service and work. Look after your motorcycle or scooter and it will look after you!
Dreaming about what scooter or motorcycle you’re going to ride once you have completed the CBT? Check out our top 10 motorcycles and scooters you can ride on a CBT.