Most people would agree that the worst part of the working week is the dreaded commute. Fortunately for us bikers we’re often able to weave through traffic and avoid sitting in lengthy queues. Nevertheless, filtering can be pretty dangerous, so avoiding it altogether is the best option. With this in mind, below are some tips on how to avoid the worst of the commute.
Plan alternative routes
If you ride more or less the same route to work every day you should always have a couple of alternative routes up your sleeve – just in case. There’s no harm in testing out three or four different routes and then seeing which one takes less time and is the least congested. Speak to your workmates to see if they can suggest any routes; they may also know a couple of shortcuts.
Some roads might be wider or have fewer side roads coming off them which makes it far easier and safer to filter.
Make sure you familiarise yourself with each route because you may find yourself having to switch between them if the route you’re travelling on becomes really jammed. And remember that the shortest distance doesn’t necessarily mean the shortest time to get to work: sometimes an extra couple of miles can take ten minutes off your journey.
Check traffic updates
Before you set off on your commute make sure to check local traffic updates. You can do this on the web, via a smartphone, by watching the news or by tuning in to your local radio station. There are plenty of apps you can download to your phone which will give you a feed of live traffic updates, so getting one of these could be really useful. Just make sure you don’t check it while you’re riding.
Use a Sat Nav
If you can, buy yourself a motorbike-specific GPS system that is integrated with live traffic updates. These are often quite costly but they are worth it in the long run and can cut a lot of time off your journey. You should also bear in mind that you have to pay additional subscription costs with some systems, so make sure you do your research to find the best value for your money.
Find the best time to leave
Have a play around with the time you leave your home and workplace. Sometimes, that short ten minute window can make all the difference to how long your commute takes. After a few weeks of testing, you’ll soon figure out when the best time to leave is (just make sure you aren’t late for work!). If you live or work next to schools, it may be a good idea to familiarise yourself with when parents drop off and pick up their children, as roads can be particularly congested around this time.
Depending on the type of job you have you may be able to swap and change your working hours. If you are allowed to be flexible why put yourself through the misery of riding through rush hour traffic?