The 27th annual International Ride To Work Day takes place Monday, 18 June. In many places around the world, like the United Kingdom, the day kicks off a whole week dedicated to encouraging people to consider commuting on two wheels.
READ MORE: Meet the Man Behind Aerostich: Andy Goldfine
The annual day of action also aims to increase visibility of motorcycles, helping to remind drivers to keep an eye out for two-wheelers at all times – not just on sunny Sunday afternoons. The day was started by Aerostich founder Andy Goldfine and some members of his team in the 1980s almost by accident.
Harley-Davidson was at the time using the “Live to ride. Ride to live” slogan that you’ll still find on a fair few T-shirts. When I interviewed him last summer, Andy told me he couldn’t help appreciating the good-natured humor when he spotted a privateer racer who had scrawled “Work to Ride. Ride to Work” across his tank.
Andy liked the phrase so much he asked the racer if he could use it on a T-shirt, which was then sold via the Aerostich catalog. And ultimately the T-shirt inspired journalist Bob Carpenter to pen a column in Road Rider magazine wishing that more people would, indeed, ride to work – even if just one day a year.
The idea quickly caught on and has since become something of a worldwide movement, taking place on the third Monday of June.
“Riding to work on this day is fun and highlights value of motorcycling,” Andy said. “Riding is a form of personal mobility that saves energy, helps the environment, and provides a broad range of public benefits.”
It’s generally believed that an increase in riders (ie, people forgoing their cars to get to work via motorcycle or scooter) can improve traffic flow. The official Ride to Work website claims that a number of studies have shown that across the same distances, riders reach their destinations up to 20 percent faster than those using automobiles.
The idea has spread far beyond the United States over the years. Ride to Work Week launches on the same day in the United Kingdom and features a number of manufacturer-sponsored incentives, such as learn to ride taster courses.