Today getting to and from work is an increasingly difficult affair. Roads are congested, public transport is cramped, and the cost of commuting continues to rise.
But what if you could “fly”?
Seipei Mashugane, South Africa’s “Biker Queen” thinks you can. The official brand ambassador for the forthcoming AutoTrader SA Bike Festival, taking place at Kyalami, 25 to 27 May, Seipei has some tips on how to ditch four wheels for two, and rise above the traffic blues:
Why switch to a bike?
The first and most important bike vs car consideration is cost
“Motorcycles are more affordable,” says Seipei. “From purchase price to maintenance to the cost of fuel, a bike commuter option is cheaper all round, and always a time saver.”
Parking is also far easier
Shopping centres and malls have bike parking which are generally close to the entrance, and failing that, the pavement is almost always fair game. Plus, bikers look out for each other. A car bay holds two motorcycles, and it’s common courtesy to leave space for your neighbour.
There is also the ability to zip through traffic, making jams a small hindrance for a biker.
“Motorcycling gives you more hours in the day,” says Seipei. “It gives you freedom, it’s a holiday on its own”
What would I wear?
Depending on your two-wheel choice, it’s possible to wear almost anything.
“If you are someone who works in an office environment and you need to wear skirts and suits, a scooter is a good option,” says Seipei. “With both feet on the floor, your wardrobe is unlimited.”
Seipei mentions that accessories are taken care of too. On a scooter, for instance, there is a panel in which to store your laptop or briefcase.
“Never forget your rainsuit though,” Seipei cautions. “Being all-weather-prepared is a must, as well as always having a bike first-aid kit handy.”
Where do the bags go?
There’s no getting around it – on a bike, there is no boot. But limitation breeds creativity.
“On a scooter, grocery shopping is not really a thing,” says Seipei. “You’ll learn to buy what can fit into your backpack, or under your seat. But there are other options. Bigger bikes like the BMW GS have side panels, as do many others. There is also the option of adding storage space to the back of your ride, something like a Mr Delivery bike setup.”
Worst case scenario you can always shop online in 2018.
Choosing the right bike
Choosing the right bike is crucial, both from a practical and an enjoyment point of view.
“Young, spunky people and those who want more control over their ride have loads of choice, from a 250cc to a 750cc commuter,” says Seipei. “These are easy, in-and-out bikes that allow you to wear jeans with a blazer and carry a back pack. It’s the bigger rides which are more suited for the weekend, where specialised safety gear becomes important.”
AutoTrader’s top 10 most searched-for makes are a key to finding the right machine. The BMW tops the list with the GS, a great bigger bike option at 1200cc, but smaller commuter models feature strongly too – Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, the super sexy Ducati or even a growling Harley or Triumph are all present.
“We are seeing a big shift in bike commuter culture in South Africa,” says AutoTrader Marketing Director Angelique Lynch. “Bike search interest is growing monthly, with the smaller commuter models gaining more and more favour.”
“A bike ride in the morning means you don’t need your morning coffee to start the day”
Going ‘bike’ is more than just trading one type of transport for another. It’s a change in lifestyle, an investment into an experience that is lighter on the pocket and free-er in the mind, one that plugs you back into the thrill of living.
“Riding enhances and awakens every sense,” says Seipei. “A bike ride in the morning means you don’t need your morning coffee to start the day. For me, it all adds up to being a much happier person.”