Jump to content
1moreroad

Business trip on the FJ

Recommended Posts

This is my experience making a business trip on the FJ.  Feel free to take inspiration from this or critique it and help me find better ways to continue to do this.

I traveled to a new work site Tues to Thurs earlier this week.  Except for the holidays, I'll probably be doing this for a few months.  Weather was predicted to be clear but cold.  It was definitely cold (saw 32 degrees on the bike's temperature readout at one point), and it rained for about 45 minutes on the way home.  I would like to continue to travel by motorcycle so long as the risk of rain is low and the risk of sleet, snow, and ice is non-existent.  The site is about 1 tank of gas on the FJ away from home.  The choice is between 2 lane highway with a little nice scenery and farm traffic or a mix of 4 lane and 2 lane highway with no scenery and more traffic.  The 4 lane saves about 20 minutes.  I used the 2 lane at dawn on Tuesday to go there and was rewarded with a nice sunrise over a wildlife management area, and I used the 4 lane at dusk and dark Thursday under threat of rain (and actual rain for about 45 minutes) to get home.

Overall the trip on the bike worked, but I need to make a few improvements.  Theft is common in the area, and anything not secured could be stolen.  In addition to hard saddlebags, I still have a soft seat bag from my sportbike touring days.  I need it for space, but I need to store it somewhere when not riding.  That becomes am issue after I check out of my lodging but I still work.

What absolutely worked: Bose earbuds.  Good on the bike and good when sharing work spaces.  Heated grips.

What mostly worked: Aerostich suit, Tourmaster heated liner, Held Gore-Tex gloves.  On the bike, they're great, but all of the clothing becomes bulky and a pain to store off the bike.  Saddlebags are good, but could be larger.  I'm hesitant to invest in a locking top box right, but I might have to if I keep doing this commute.  It's also a pain to have to gear up and down every time I move between job sites or run out for a meal.  I now have a company issued laptop that fits in a saddlebag.

What needs improvement: how many pairs of shoes I needed.  I have work shoes, gym shoes, and riding boots on the bike.  Shoes are bulky. There is a 2nd jacket for the office or when I'm outside with coworkers.  I can't wear an electric liner that looks like a half finished Members Only jacket with hanging wires at a group meal.

Any thoughts on moving among bulky clothing on the bike versus in the office when I have to carry 3 days of stuff?  Any thoughts about shoes?  The bulky clothing will cease to become a problem spring to fall, but the shoe problem will continue.  I want to start back on the bike after the holidays.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From your description, it sounds like a total pain in the @ss with more negatives vs. positives.

It sounds like you are needing a lot of clothing for this endeavor, riding gear, work clothes, casual clothes, gym clothes, multiple pairs of shoes, and jackets.

High crime area means unloading the bike and storing your stuff in an office or hotel, gearing up and gearing down when moving from work site to work site and every meal.

Last but not least, traveling to and from (one tank of gas away) through rural farmland at dawn and dusk... as someone who has totaled a bike due to hitting a deer, I can tell you, the critters are out there waiting to strike, even in broad daylight.  Mine happened at noon!

As much as I love riding my bike, at some point its a relief for convenience to take the truck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first thing I would do (and did) was add a Yamaha 50 liter top box. I can roll up my one-piece roadcrafter and fit that along with my boots  into the box and keep it locked on the bike instead of dragging it around. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just started commuting a few weeks ago, and here is what works for me.

  1. Firstgear Kathmandu Overpants which cover just above my waist to my ankles
  2. First Gear Jacket - Waterproof, really warm, and comfortable with lots of pockets to store things. Plenty of layers to remove if it gets warm
  3. My regular riding boots which fit under the pants legs, to keep the water out
  4. Harley Davidson heated jacket (think fleece jacket with heat) for those really cold days,  I have ridden down to 35 degrees F, without the vest comfortably, but it's nice to heat your core. And below 30 it is really nice
  5.  Olympia leather gloves - these have been my weakest link - hands are cold when it gets down to around 35-40 degrees. I'm about to purchase some heated gloves (again from Harley Davidson) so I'll know a bit more in a few weeks

I have the Shad top case, as well as the Shad side cases. When I arrive at work (in an underground garage) I pull off the jacket, boots, and overpants, and put the boots in one of the side cases, my helmet/gloves in the other side case, and the jacket/overpants in the top case. 

I think you may need more storage than me since you are doing overnight stays, but the approach should be similar.

Hope this helps,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is one of the reasons why the two-piece Roadcrafter is superior in my opinion. By itself a one-piece Roadcrafter is too big to fit in any saddlebag. But when I had my two-piece Roadcrafter I could unzip the two halves and store them in my locking saddlebags if needed. 

Unfortunately they don't offer the R-3 in a two-piece. The R-3 is a lot more comfortable in temps above 80 degrees F, but you're stuck with the one-piece configuration. The Roadcrafter Classic is not as comfortable in hot weather, but the two-piece version is better and more convenient than the one-piece in almost every way. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Things I do when commuting to an office:

Wear a 2 piece suit - so much easier to get into and out of.

Wear a standard fleece jacket under the outer jacket instead of the thermal liner. The fleece can be used as a casual jacket. Only add electric waistcoat in very cold weather. 

Wear short Daytona Rainbow boots that look like plain black shoes. Look fairly "normal" worn with jeans over them. I also keep a pair of casual shoes under my desk for warmer weather as the Daytona can get hot in summer.

Use a topbox - if not going to the office, my helmet & jacket will fit inside when parked. My laptop and bag fit inside when travelling. Overtrousers could go in side case which also has sportswear bag. Other side case for daytime clothing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I commute to work on my bike.  In my office I keep my suit coats and sport coats, a winter coat of some kind, a mesh riding jacket and a non mesh riding jacket. I also keep my gym bag in my office, since I work out at noon.  

I suit up at home with my suit pants, shirt, tie, and riding boots. Everything else I'll need is already at the office. 

When I get to work I walk into the office fully geared  up. It was awkward for the first few times, but after everyone got used to it, it's no longer an issue. That's just how it is. I leave nothing on the bike. Once in my office I peel the riding gear and stash it in a filing cabinet and a hanger, put on my shoes, grab my suit coat, and I'm ready to work. 

At lunchtime I get lax on safety. I put on my gym shoes and a riding jacket appropriate for the season. Sling my gym back over my shoulder, messenger bag style, and ride to the gym. I'm less protected, but it's a risk assessment on my part, and I take on the extra risk. 

Oh, I also keep an extra helmet in the office, one that I don't mind getting scratched at the gym when I leave it at the front counter. 

I've been commuting on the bike since '94, and this system works for my parameters. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I commute from Portland , OR to San Jose CA about once a month. I agree that a two piece Road Crafter is more convenient. 

(I cheat a bit and take "Short cuts" through Crater lake, Yosemite, Tahoe...)

I work for a Motorcycle company so I do not have to carry anything different from my normal touring kit, though I have on occasion had to carry a suit and shoes, not easy, but possible.

Road Crafter suit, Gore Tex Alpinstars boots, Warm and Safe heated shirt and heated water proof gloves.

60 liter RKA panniers and expandable RKA tank bag.

I do use a 50 liter GIVI top box which I have had for about 12 years, used on multiple bikes, and is still in great shape. I also have an older (15 years) GIVI roll bag that is equipped to snap onto a GIVI rack. I love that thing. They no longer make it, but do make a roller adaptor that fits on to the top box and clips onto the rack, that turns the 50 liter top box into a carry on roller bag if I need that much space or stick with the older soft roller bag for shorter trips. The Portland Airport has secure bike parking so I even commute through the airport from time to time by bike.That gives me enough space to carry lap top and other stuff in a locked box. I use long cables with locks to secure the soft luggage. Previous bikes were FJRs so I had three hard panniers before, and miss them. One of these days I will adapt FJR hard bags to the FJ-09.

Sometimes I carry an additional seat bag that is water proof and has a shoulder strap for easy carrying

I get to wear jeans, sneakers, and company logo jacket at work, the same gear I use on tour. 

The thing about this gear, Aerostich, RKA, GIVI, Alpinstars, Warm and Safe heated gear and many others... is that you get what you pay for. This stuff really, really works and keeps you dry, warm and safe, is easy to maintain, and lasts for years. If you are like me and want to ride as much as you can, investing in gear that works for you is the way to go. One thing to remember is that these things are moto gear, and like any other gear needs to be maintained. Just follow the instructions and you will extent the life of gear, and make using it a pleasure. I have had many commuting challenges over the last 50 or so years but have always found a way to deal with it. Not always easy, but a little fun research often does the trick in finding stuff that works. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the ideas.  Hopefully this is a good resource for others, too.

Temps are into the low 30s, so electrics are necessary.  I'm enclosing a typical view when I'm riding to work (sunrise - beautiful but dark and cold).

All good quality apparel.  Understand about the 2 piece, but I've had this 1 piece for a long time (refreshed by Aerostich in 2015).  I've been motorcycle commuting for over 15 years, but never done multi-day work trips like this.  That's been the challenge.  Nobody blinked with A* sport touring boots when I wore them exclusively last week so I'll do it again.  Otherwise I'm maintaining a dress code for now - tie and/or sportcoat.  That's something I haven't done in 20 years.

Can't believe I forgot my Aerostich strap.  Thanks for reminding me @rustyshackles. Used it last week and will do it again this week.

I have no permanent storage or lodging space because I officially work remotely.   I squat where I find room - conference room, sitting areas, unused desks in other people's offices.  That might be changing.  At least I can claim mileage since I have a home office.

@betoney - ran up on my first deer just standing in the road!  Thank goodness for high beams.  She casually walked off the road - but then a second deer followed her into my path.  Took 10 minutes for my heart rate to slow down.

Dawn.thumb.jpg.e614601a4792a2c80fd8488136722013.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something I always do at a company is to make friends with the front desk/reception if there is one. These people keep a company running, know everyone and are usually within the facilities group. A friendly plea might get you access to a locker. You never know whats available until you find the right person. Don't forget to have your own padlock ready.

I kept my work clothes at the office. The trousers and shoes in carrier bag for a change in the loos.

 

 

  • Thumbsup 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another quick update. I've done this trip weekly since early December. About half those trips have been on the motorcycle. 250 - 300 miles per trip depending on local travel. 

Had a wardrobe malfunction with the Aerostich today - fortunately before leaving home - the zipper separated and froze. Fell back on old leather overpants!

Lots of nice to haves that I discovered I didn't need. It's good to just put mileage on the bike. And now the weather is getting good enough (above freezing in thur mornings)  to jog outside. That simplifies logistics. 

Last month, I refueled at the local gas station as a Hayabusa rider was leaving. We were both excited to see another rider, and talked for a few minutes. 

  • Thumbsup 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



×