Are you one of thousands who have taken to commuting on two wheels recently? Back in the 1960’s and ‘70’s commuting by scooter, or bike was the norm.
My old man would ride to the pit every day on his Honda C90, as did many others around the country. Back then winters were much harsher than they are now and ‘proper’ bike kit wasn’t something these commuters could afford or justify. My dad would be out every day in his NCB donkey jacket and a pair of work boots, or some orange work waterproofs if the weather was really bad. It was the norm back then and was a way of saving money, but as incomes rose people forgot how cost effective, convenient and enjoyable two wheels really are.
Fast forward to the 21st century and our mild winter (although it’s forecast to get cold later in January) has meant year round two wheeled commuters have never had it so good. Kit has also improved dramatically, as have bikes and tyres. Winter tyres are available for extra traction, or you can opt for a three wheeled machine like the Piaggio MP3, Peugeot Metropolis, Quadro or Yamaha Tricity. Some of those tricycles cost almost as much as a small car but the latest statistics (released Jan 8th) show that many fed up car drivers have actually swapped their second car for a nifty little commuter machine instead. In this technology driven modern world, riding is one of the last few places where you can escape the dreaded mobile phone. Put a helmet on, clear your head and just ride. It’s fantastic. No social media updates, emails, phone calls or mindless interruptions. Heaven.
Bumper year for commuters
2015 was the best year for bike sales since the recession hit in 2008, figures for the year show a nice steady rise, up 12% on the previous year and with 114,000 new machines being registered during the year. The best selling machine overall was the Honda PCX-125, it costs just £2699 and comes with ABS, stop-start technology and can do 133mpg.
The interesting part of the statistics is that 43,700 of those registrations were for 101-125cc bikes and scooters. Proving that people are seeing the benefits of commuter machines once again. Steve Kenward, CEO of the MCIA, says news about sales of new motorcycles between 101-125cc is consistent with anecdotal evidence that commuting via motorcycle is becoming more popular: “We’re seeing an increase in sales of new motorcycles of all sizes, but our records show that we’ve never seen as many bikes of this size sold before. We think it is likely that they are being used for commuting, as they are economical to run and easy to park”.
Anybody who rides will tell you just how much less stressful it is on two wheels, the ability to nip through traffic, park for free and arrive on time every journey far outweighs those odd occasions when it’s freezing or wet. Bacng traffic and are tremendous fun, with riders tending to rate their commute more enjoyable than other transport users”.
Will 2016 be the year when you make a switch to two wheels? I’m sure many of you secretly want to get out there and ride, be it a mid life crisis or teenage bid for freedom. The choice of new and used machines has never been more varied or affordable. Don’t put it off, get yourself down to your local bike shop and become one of the smart people who don’t waste their life sitting for hours in slow moving traffic.
The views shared are that of the author and are not necessarily that of Lexham Insurance Consultants Ltd.