4 Reasons riding a big bike is better than driving a fuel-efficient car to work

And in the spirit of fairness, three reasons it isn’t
by Leandre Grecia | Jun 9, 2022
Big bike parked at the office, riding a big bike to work, riding a big bike to the office
PHOTO: Leandre Grecia

Given today’s rising fuel prices and the unpleasant traffic conditions in Metro Manila, it’s no wonder people are starting to look for more economical means to get around the city. Public transportation isn’t exactly a go-to alternative at the moment considering the less-than-ideal state of mass transport in the capital.

I own a relatively fuel-efficient hatchback myself, so I can relate. My Ford Fiesta can still do 10-11km/L in the city with moderate traffic, and about 15km/L on the highway. That said, I always say I still prefer taking a big bike to work (or to events) instead of driving my car.

Mas matipid pa rin ba?” was the question I got from colleagues. Well, there’s more to it than that. As someone who lives in Laguna but whose office is in Mandaluyong, I can think of quite a few reasons riding to work is way, way better than taking a car, and I’ll list them down here. But in an attempt not to sound biased, I’ll list things that make it a hassle.

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Anyway, to start off, here are four reasons taking a big bike is better than driving a fuel-efficient car to work.

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1) It’s faster.

When I’m lucky, it’ll take me 40 to 50 minutes to drive from the house to the office. On bad days, that can stretch to as much as 1.5 to two hours. With my bike, travel time rarely takes an hour, even with heavy traffic.

That’s with me staying within the speed limit, of course, and filtering lanes responsibly. And I make sure I stay out of the damn bike lanes when I filter, too—I hope my fellow riders could just do the same. Sigh.

2) Parking is usually easier and cheaper.

riding a big bike to work, taking a big bike to the office, parked car in a basement, car parked in a basement

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Emphasis on “usually.” Some malls let big bikes use parking spots for cars, while others keep them to the designated motorcycle parking areas. The former is convenient, but you’ll be charged the same parking rates as four-wheelers, while the latter can be a bit of a hassle but is almost always a cheaper option.

In my case, our office has free parking spaces for motorcycles, and I’ve never run out of a spot even as more people started to return to the office. When I take my car, it’ll be free parking for the day if I’m early, but it’ll cost me P170 for 12 hours or so if I get in late.

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3) You’ll most likely spend less on gas.

motorcycle fueling up, motorcycle gas up, bike fueling up, bike filling up at the gas stationPHOTO BY Shutterstock

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If your bike—like the Honda Rebel 500 and the Kawasaki Dominar 400 I normally borrow from my dad—still easily does 20km/L in mixed conditions, then you’ll definitely spend less at the pump than with a fuel-efficient car. You might get worse figures than a frugal city car when you ride your bike hard, but that’ll shave off some good minutes from your travel time in return. Not exactly a bad tradeoff.

4) It’s more fun.

There’s arguably nothing as chill as riding a big bike on the expressway. Unless it’s standstill traffic on the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), I usually have a great start to the day when I take a big bike in the morning to Metro Manila.

Now, if you don’t live as far south like I do and just ride strictly within the city, it can still be enjoyable. Just keep in mind the time and monetary savings you’re getting as you filter (safely) through gridlock—I bet that’ll put a smile on your face one way or the other.

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As I said, in the spirit of impartiality, I’ll also point out a few things that can make riding to work...exasperating. There, I said it. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies, you know. Here are three reasons taking a big bike to work can be a hassle.

1) You’re always at the mercy of mother nature.

Rain is your enemy. All riders know this, whether they ride big bikes or small scooters. A quick drizzle in the morning can easily ruin your day. Heavy downpours? Best thing you can do is find a safe place to take cover and wait things out.

2) It’s hard to dress for the occasion.

Say you have to attend a gala in the evening. Unless your big bike has ample storage for a suit and tie, you’ll probably be scratching your head on what to do with that formal wear. And don’t forget about the footwear—try riding a sportbike wearing leather shoes and tell us how fun that was for you. Chances are, when you have a formal event scheduled, you’ll just end up taking your car. It’s happened to me a few times before.

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3) Storage is always an issue.

As I implied earlier, most big bikes don’t come with ample storage. Adding a sizeable topbox isn’t always an option, either, as those aluminum boxes—no matter how premium they are—aren’t exactly fit for a lot of bikes. Priorities, amirite? But in all seriousness, going to the office on a big bike will require you to have a dependable backpack so you can bring belongings such as your laptop and other gadgets safely with you.

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PHOTO: Leandre Grecia
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