Ride to Work Day
Also known as
International Motorcycle & Scooter Ride to Work Day
Ride Motorcycles to Work Day
on July 22nd (1992)
the third Wednesday in July (1993 to 2007)
the third Monday in June (since 2008)
Andy Goldfine, founder of Aerostich (also known as Aero Design and Manufacturing Company), a company that makes clothing for motorcyclists, was at Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota, when he saw a Honda Four motorcycle in the parking lot that had "Work to ride, ride to work" painted on it. He left a note for the owner asking if he could print up some T-shirts with the phrase on it. In 1989, Aerostich began using the phrase on their gear.
In 1992, Fred Rau, the editor for Road Rider magazine (now Motorcycle Consumer News), was inspired by one of Aerostich's "Work to Ride, Ride to Work" T-shirts, and wrote an editorial calling for a "national ride to work day." After readers responded positively, Fred ordered a bunch of the shirts from Andy Goldfine and wrote a second editorial in May, where he proposed a date for the new holiday.
Ride to Work Day was first held on July 22, 1992. The holiday grew informally over the following years. In 2000, Andy formed Ride to Work, a non-profit organization that helps organize and promote the day, and also registered RideToWork.org. Ride to Work Day exists to increase tolerance for those who ride motorcycles for transportation. When riders participate, they demonstrate to the world how many motorcyclists there are and that riders work in all types of professions. They show that motorcycles can reduce traffic and parking congestion and that motorcycles are not just for recreation, but for transportation too. The day exists to show that motorcycles have the same rights as cars and that motorcycling is a social good. Not only is the day for those with motorcycles, but for those with scooters and other similar bikes. Ride to Work Day is estimated to be the biggest event for motorcyclists worldwide, and there are organizations affiliated with the day in more than a dozen countries.
The first motorcycle was invented in the 1860s, when Ernest Michaux attached a small steam engine to a "boneshaker" bicycle, at the Paris factory of his father Pierre Michaux, the famous bicycle inventor. Ernest's prototype was quickly followed by many other similar models by various inventors. In 1885, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, two inventors from Germany, made the first motorcycle with a gasoline internal combustion engine. They called it "Daimler Reitwagen," which means "riding wagon." Similar versions of this bike were produced afterward, and it is the basis of the modern motorcycle. About a decade later, Germany's Hildebrand & Wolfmüller became the first mass-production motorcycle factory.
By the early twentieth century, there were many motorcycle manufacturing companies, which had their own unique designs. Some companies included Harley-Davidson, Royal Enfield, Triumph, Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company, and DKW. Motorcycles rose to prominence following World War II, on account of engineering improvements, lowered costs, and better road networks. They became a primary means of transportation in Asia, especially in large cities, and many motorcycle clubs began forming in the United States. Japanese brands—such as Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki—came to prominence in the 1960s. They became successful because they focused on small and more efficient designs that were cheaper.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by riding your motorcycle or scooter to work! If you don't have to work today, ride your motorcycle anyway! If you don't have a motorcycle, today is a great day to buy one. If that is not possible, you could spend the day reading a book that features motorcycles, or watching a film where motorcycles are featured prominently, such as Easy Rider or The Wild One.