Riding To Work

Steve Kinchen, Sr/ March 15, 2013/ BMW R1200RT, Gear, General Rants & Raves About Riding, Piaggio MP3/ 0 comments

The one downside to riding my bike to work is I find myself looking for the long way home...

The one downside to riding my bike to work is I find myself looking for the long way home…

One of the many blessings of living in South Louisiana is having the ability to ride almost all year long.  I say almost because when our northern brethren are riding in late July and August, the heat here can be quite oppressive.  While one can still ride during the blistering heat of summer here in New Orleans, it is not the pleasurable experience that one is normally accustomed to.  Our winters last about two weeks (not really, but in the rare event that we have a cold snap, you can almost count on it leaving as fast as it arrived.

What does this have to do with riding to work you might ask? For my personal circumstance, I refrain from riding to work in the extreme heat, but I enjoy riding from January to June, and from the end of September to Mid-December.  I work in a high-end retail establishment and interface with the public daily, so it is imperative that I arrive to work as fresh as I left the house in the morning and that my clothes remain neatly pressed.  The only way this is possible is to keep the ride relatively short to work and change when I arrive at the office.

I have used all three of my bikes at various points for general commuting and have determined that having a large capacity top case is essential for my purposes.  I generally carry a computer briefcase large enough to contain a 15″ MacBook Pro, an iPad and a small assortment of other related items.  I also carry a small personal garment bag that has my dress shirt (neatly folded by my dutiful spousal unit each day), slacks, tie and belt.  When I am in a regular riding pattern, the dress shoes stay at the office and replace my riding boots after I have changed into my dress clothes.  The last item I travel with is a small “freshen up” bag that has a comb, individually packaged wet wipes (great for quick clean ups where hand washing is not an option like the side of the road or for a quick face washing in the warm to hot months), a small bottle of cologne, a lighter, spare keys and a few other incidentals.  This bag moves from bike to bike, but is always in the top case.

The MP3 400 has an OEM color-matched 48L case that can almost contain everything that I routinely bring with me for a typical workday.  Where the MP3 400 lacks in top case capacity, it more than makes up for it in ample storage under the seat and in the “trunk.”

With a little less under the seat storage and no trunk because of the larger engine, the MP3 500 is still very usable to me for day trips or daily commuting.  I elected to install a GIVI 55L Monokey case that can easily house everything that I need for my daily work commute, and then some.  It also has the added benefit of being used on other bikes (that may will be added to the stable in the future…) and it has an additional lighting kit that adds to the visibility of the bike that tied in quite nicely to the MP3’s brake wiring.

The BMW R1200RT has absolutely no under the seat storage, however, it makes up for that with the dual panniers that are standard on this model.  I elected to add the OEM BMW 49L color matched top case instead of moving the GIVI from the MP3.  My primary reasoning here was that I wanted one key to use on the bike.  The BMW engineers are very thoughtful in their design in that I can use the same key to start the bike as well as open the glove compartment, side cases and top case.

My commute, by auto, is less than 10 miles round trip.  But for some odd reason on my bike it is between 20-25 miles going to work and 25-50 miles on the way home.


MP3 at HPC

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