My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!!

Posted by: stealthedc

My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! - 06/04/07 04:33 PM

I recently purchased a 2007 Yamaha TW 200 for use as my daily commuter (sorry, no pics of my own yet, but it is exactly what you see in the link).

This weekend I calculated my gas mileage and I drove 101 city miles on 1.3 gallons of gas. This means I am getting 75+ MPG CITY! Not that theoretical estimated stuff they put on new car stickers but actual real world driving!!!

And it is super fun and would be a great in many scenarios. Possibities are many:

1. Gas supplies disrupted for 2 weeks, no problem, this thing only sips gas.

2. Traffic backed up - no problem, this thing doesn't need roads.

3. Multiple trees down because of hurricane - just drive around.

It is lightweight and fits in my shed! This is not a fast bike by any means but that is not the point. It is fast enough and can basically go anywhere. A scooter would get better gas mileage, but has no top end.

If you are thinking about how to face the rising cost of gas, I would recommend thinking outside the box (or at least think about reducing the number of wheels that carry you).

And if you live in one of those big cities with nasty commutes and HOV lanes, they might qualify for those fast lanes. My cousing in DC says that motorcycles can ride in them and it would cut 30 minutes off a commute. Quicker commute, cheaper commuter, and a lot more fun. Oh yeah, you also develop a profound knowledge about just how stupid and distracted the overwhelming majority of motorists are.

Posted by: unimogbert

Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! - 06/04/07 06:15 PM

As a motorcycle rider of 28 years and no on-street accidents (knock on wood) let me offer my thoughts.

I have a 100 mi daily round-trip commute with opportunities to stay off the interstate and ride an average 50 mph.

I'll ride to work about once a year now just to say I have.

I used to have a 2.5 mile ride to a different employer and rode > 4 days/wk from April to October. (350cc bike 75+ mpg)

While the fuel economy of a motorcycle is wonderful and the fun factor is pretty high when things are going well, I choose not to risk the long ride on a commuting basis.

The risk from other drivers is very, very high. They don't see you, and if they do, they don't care. The drunk ones might even try to play with you. It's combat out there. And you have to be at the top of your game.

The frequency and duration of your exposure raises your risks.
Commuting means that you don't really control your hours of travel and thus your exposure. Commuting means that sometimes the weather can get really, really, really bad after you get to work. Now you have to get home. For instance, last week hereabouts (Colorado) we had afternoon hailstorms. I've ridden in hail. Not fun even in good rain gear. Jousting with commuters in hail would be perilous.

During commute time I listen to the police scanner and I hear lots of chaotic stupidity in play out there- ladders, wheels, carpeting falling out. Road ragers, breakdowns on the wrong side of the road, etc.

ETS is about informed choices toward survival. So-

Please take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation courses, dress in all the protective gear (including high-visibility clothing - my close-calls of the "didn't see you" variety dropped to near zero once I started wearing the See-Me vest by Conspicuity Inc.), and keep the mindset of a fighter pilot. Your survival in combat depends on you and you alone. Everyone else is the enemy unless proven otherwise.

If the price of fuel starts forcing other drivers off the road and traffic diminishes I'll reconsider my view on whether I'd motorcycle commute. Until then, my bike is a fair-weather recreational activity. (just like my lightplane flying)

You might also want to learn some dirt-riding skills. Widens selecton of alternate routes or gives you an escape route that others can't use. :-)
Posted by: benjammin

Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! - 06/04/07 07:23 PM

It is unfortunate, but many of the motorcyclists I've encountered on the highway don't do much to help their cause. Kudos to you for being the difference. I find it interesting how some people think they are suddenly from Krypton when they get on a big street bike. In any contest between a motorcycle and a car, the motorcycle will lose. It may not be absolute, but I know who I will always put my money on.

I guess some people just have to learn the hard way.
Posted by: stealthedc

Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! - 06/04/07 09:41 PM

my commute is 12.5 miles one way. I have a chevy s-10 which I plan on driving once per week and if we are forcasted for rain/incliment weather. 1/3 my commute is in a 45mph zone and 2/3 of my commute is 35mph or less. All in all, I feel the commute is of reasonable risk. And when you divulge into motorcycle accident statistics, you see that the fatalities are occurring when the motorcyclist has alcohol in his/her system (not necesarily drunk) or is not wearing a helmet. I feel that if I drove a subcompact car, I would be just as fearful for a crash. Geo Metro vs. Lincoln Navigator is not a fair fight either. I have all the protective gear and have determined that the risk is acceptable.

The more the price of gas rises, the better the outlook becomes.
Posted by: Blast

Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! - 06/04/07 10:58 PM


I've just spent the last four weeks talking myself out of one of those for my 13-mile commute along back roads! Yes, I used to ride. Yes, I took the MSF riders course. Yes, I wore saftey gear (Joe Rocket jacket, leather chaps, boots, gloves, helmet, etc...) even in 100F weather. But being the single family breadwinner I felt the risk was still too great.


But I still want one. Gads, I miss riding...

-Blast, who knew reading this thread was a mistake.
Posted by: ironraven

Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! - 06/05/07 01:32 AM

There is one thing good about being in town in a small apartment: I'm less than three miles from work. Figure at $30 for a tank of gas that gets me around 250 miles, two tanks of gas equals a pair of decent sneakers, which are good for about 1000 miles, minimum. laugh

If I had more of a commute, I'd be thinking about something like this. Thinking hard. Even if it means paring the uh-oh gear WAAAAAY down.
Posted by: pipedreams

Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! - 06/05/07 02:51 AM

Congrats! That looks like a fun little bike!

There is lots of wisdom in unimogbert's words.

I have been riding motorcycles for about 20 years. I was involved in one street accident 17 years ago. I walked away, thanks to top notch helmet and jacket.

I ride my motorcycle to work everyday that it's not precipitating when I'm ready to leave for work. Year around. But, I live 2 miles from my job. Gotta love rural America!

Keep your eye on the cagers and drive defensively and you'll be fine.


Posted by: jimtanker

Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! - 06/05/07 12:06 PM

I've been thinking about one of these:

It's a front wheel that replaces the front wheel on your mountain bike that has a 23cc two stroke engine in it. Says that it gets 200+ MPG(have to be seen to believe). You could still pedal if you run out of gas too.

Link to Engadget site

What do you think? Worth $400???
Posted by: stealthedc

Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! - 06/06/07 03:51 PM

thanks for the encouragement all.

i too am a single breadwinner with minimal life insurance at best, but you gotta do what you gotta do. i pray nothing bad will happen, and hope it does not...

Posted by: Susan

Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! - 06/06/07 09:26 PM

"And when you divulge into motorcycle accident statistics, you see that the fatalities are occurring when the motorcyclist has alcohol in his/her system (not necesarily drunk) or is not wearing a helmet."


Looking at the motorcycle accident statistics below, you may notice that #27 says "Almost half of the fatal accidents show alcohol involvement." It doesn't say the motorcyclist had been drinking, so I am assuming that much of the alcohol involvement was on the part of the car/truck drivers who killed them.

And not wearing a helmet is not the cause of accidents --- the death was caused by not wearing a helmet, the accident was from some other cause.

The basics:

1. 75% of the accidents involved larger vehicles, with 66% of those caused by the other driver violating the cyclists right-of-way, left turns in front of a rider being #1.

2. 25% of the accidents were motorcycle-only (one-vehicle accidents), with 66% of those caused by rider error.

3. Vehicle failure, roadway defects, animal involvement, weather, deliberate driver hostility each account for 2% or less of the causes of accidents.

I would venture to guess that driver stupidity and inattention are the cause of most accidents. I was nearly nailed earlier today by a bimbo pulling left in front of me while she was concentrating on talking on her cellphone. A few days ago, I saw a guy have a near-death experience when he ran a red light on his bicycle while talking on his cell phone.

Always keep in mind that when someone causes an accident or kills someone 'accidentally' with their car, it isn't really considered a crime. They will be back on the road doing exactly the same thing in a very, very short length of time. Meanwhile, make sure your wife knows how to make a good living on her own.

I am not against motorcycles. I used to have one. But don't delude yourself of the dangers. It isn't paranoia: they ARE out to get you.

Posted by: Stretch

Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! - 06/07/07 03:59 AM

The thing to remember about motorcycles and bikes is that our minds don;t always process their presence. What I mean is, at night, when we're checking for traffic, we're looking for TWO headlights. In the daytime, we're looking for LARGE four-wheeled objects, not the slim profile of a motorcycle.

Like the rest of you, right now I'm thinking "I always check to make sure the "roadway" is clear, not necessarily that a particular type of vehicle is coming, but that NOTHING is coming....before entering traffic". But the fact is, our minds are processing thousands of pieces of information every minute... our urgency to get somewhere ebbs and flows... our patience wavers... the talk-show radio host has us stirred up...the music's too loud (or too offensive)...etc etc.

I've never caused a major accident, but I have pulled out in front of people and felt scared and embarrassed. It's the spit-second mistake that ends up causing the accident with motorcycles. Not more than one month ago, I watched a car pull out in front of a Harley not 30 feet from me. What alerted me was the sound of the big bike's tires locking up on the asphalt. The guy almost had to lay down his bike. He was smoking hot, to say the least, and the other driver drove away in complete bliss. It appeared the lady never knew what almost happened.

You know the old saying: "Watch out for the other guy". Bike riders are on that alert ALL the time, but even they suffer the same mental maladys mentioned above. I know, I too rode a big bike for several years. Being Mr. Alert and Mr. Defensive only lasts so long...before relaxing.
Posted by: unimogbert

Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! - 06/07/07 01:50 PM

This invisibility factor is very serious.

And then there are the things that riders do to themselves to make it worse- turning the headlight off, wearing all black, reducing the size of the taillight for decorative reasons, etc.

I followed a Harley rider down a mountain canyon road in the dark one time. I kept closing up on him waay too much even though I was very, very attentive and careful. I realized that the reason was that he was showing a single tiny taillight and otherwise he was entirely blacked out. I had insufficient information to work with to not overrun him.

From that I immediately ordered a Conspicuity Inc. See-Me vest. The retro-reflective material used for the stripes is positively astounding. Anybody around me WILL have sufficient visual information to see me. They still might not process it but "I didn't see him" won't stand in court.

The hunter orange vest with super reflecting chicken-yellow stripes has made a huge difference. I wouldn't ride without it.
Posted by: Stretch

Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! - 06/08/07 01:42 AM

Well, I would say anything helps: lights "on" all the time (I've even seen new bikes with always-on flashing headlights), brighter-colored clothing, glow-in-the-dark vests, etc. Still, court is the last thing on my mind. I'm concerned with "right now!", on the road (I know you are too).

The thing is, even with all the enhancements that evidently and obviously do help, a driver's mind still has problems "processing" a bike, be it motorcycle or bicycle. If someone says "I just didn;t see him!", I wouldn;t be too quick to doubt it.

Heck, we even have trouble seeing other cars and trucks..... that's usually how accidents happen. You can call it absentmindedness, daydreaming, inattention, and the list goes on but, in the end, it's still a mental deficiency, however temporary or permanent.
Posted by: stealthedc

Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! - 06/08/07 02:10 AM

NC DMV must be wrong then, because it states in the link and in the Motorcyclist's Handbook, the one I used to get my liscens, "40-45% of all riders killed in motorcycle crashes had been drinking".

The point is that the risk is acceptable. Drivers are stupid, and I am aware of that. I drive defensively and do the best I can with this not so profound insight.

Interestingly enough, I would not, under any circumstances, drive a moped, scooter, or ride a bicycle on the road with vehicular traffic. I used to ride a bike to work and literally feared for my life everytime I got on that thing.

Posted by: Susan

Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! - 06/08/07 05:20 AM

Oh, North Carolina! Well, that's different. One of my brother's ex-wives was from there. She said all the guys do there is drink and drive, and taunt and try to outrun the cops. Yeah, that's probably a viable statement in that part of the country.

First, let me sneer at "motorcycle defensive driving". I think more of the older ones do, but the younger ones... nope!

And PLEASE don't do what I see everywhere I've traveled: way too often, I will be following a motorcycle on city streets, and the jerk on the bike will slow down and stop for a stop sign or red light, and creep his bike right up to the CENTER of the bumper of the car ahead of him, two feet of space, max.

What does this fool think is going to happen if he gets rammed from behind?

The thinking bikers stay away from the car in front, and stay to the side. If they're hit, they may not take a direct hit this way, and they may survive being turned into a missle. But a Kawasaki sandwich?

By the way, the only time I've ever seen a guy lay his bike down at freeway speeds is the closest to vomiting while driving that I've ever come. I guess the only reason I didn't bring up my lunch was because my teeth were clenched so tight, trying to change lanes and brake to try to protect the rider from being hit by the traffic coming from behind. The little red Miata never gave him a chance. He tried, but there was no way he could brake with the car so very close in front of him. The drag of the metal on the pavement was the only thing that kept him from sliding right under it, and it was a close thing even then.

I was shocked when he pulled himself from under the bike and stood up. He had a long oval hole in his leather pants almost the length of his thigh, and smaller ones down his lower leg and upper arm, and the whole side of his boot was gone, and his helmet was kind of chewed up. He had some road rash, but not as bad as it would have been if he hadn't been wearing leathers. There was a lot less of the Harley on the right side than there used to be.

BTW, that was one of the two times in my entire life that there was a LEO in the right place at the right time: a SP officer two cars behind me, in the inside lane, wide open, clear view of the whole thing.

I think I shook for two hours afterwards. And threw up my lunch. But not while I was driving.

Enjoy your bike. Have a good time. Pay attention. Be careful. And don't ride wearing shorts and sandals.

Posted by: unimogbert

Re: My New Daily Commuter Rocks!!! - 06/08/07 01:35 PM

Originally Posted By: Stretch

Heck, we even have trouble seeing other cars and trucks..... that's usually how accidents happen. You can call it absentmindedness, daydreaming, inattention, and the list goes on but, in the end, it's still a mental deficiency, however temporary or permanent.

Quite true. I find that if I try to use my cellphone in the car, even driving straight and level in cruise control in the right lane of the interstate I really don't "see" what's going on around me. So I rarely if ever actually use it. Contrast with others who.... well, you know.

The objective of the ETS motorcyclist, like that of a fighter pilot, is to get thru the mission unscathed.
So try not to be in a position where you depend on others for the successful outcome. They don't see you, they don't register you, they will hurt you physically rather than just dent your bumper.

Like for fighter pilots, sometimes the best answer is to not go that day. If you aren't at the top of your game the outcome could be horrible.

Maybe that's part of the fun?????