Top Motorcycle Tips for Commuting, Group  + Challenging Rides


Graphic Designer, Motorcyclist & Creator of Neutral Moto

@neutral_moto + @ash_

Ash Thompson is a motorcycle woman on a mission, a graphic designer and founder of Neutral Moto, which is a platform for rider education & creating an inclusive riding community.

She aims to spread the message about lane filtering and increase motorcycle awareness on the roads while sharing her motorcycle tips for more enjoyable riding along the way.

You may already have read her previous post about how she got into riding motorcycles, why she created Neutral Moto and what spurred her on to pen these motorcycle tips for you all.

No? Then get your arse over there and read “Motorcycle Woman on a Mission”.  

Want to dive right in a learn how to improve your daily commute, optimise your group riding or enjoy those long and challenging roads more? Then read on my friend. 

There’s a handy comment box at the end where you can share your own tips. We’d love to hear them!

This is Ashleigh’s

Top Motorcycle Tips for Commuting, Group Rides and Challenging Rides.

What makes us all so different? Why are some riders out in rain hail, shine, wind, afternoon, early morning or even late at night? I think the most important thing that we can all do is be honest with ourselves and our ability on the bike. It’s less to do with the conditions we ride in and everything to do with the micro decisions we all make daily on the bike.

Our state of mind is everything on the bike. Getting on your bike after you’ve had a fight with a friend or a loved one isn’t the best idea, conversely, getting on your bike after you’ve had an amazing night out and a few drinks is never a good idea.

Being focused and composed on the bike is exactly where you want to be.

I’ve put a few tips together below to hopefully help in a few different conditions.

What I’ve come to understand is that your ‘sixth sense’ is actually your ability to recognise patterns on the road.


The Daily Commute

Firstly, the daily commute is by far my favourite type of riding to do! I commute about an hour each way both morning and night so I spend a lot of time in this mode. As a matter of fact, there was a recent study released which concluded that riding increases focus,   a statement I can absolutely understand especially in relation to commuting.

Commuting can lull you into a false sense of security very quickly, mainly because most motorcyclists will follow the same route to and from work every day. I see a lot of riders who ride at the same time in the same place, as a result I see them becoming overly confident and sloppy in their riding which worries me. I’m all for making your ride fun, part of what I love is the fact that when the traffic grinds to a halt we can carefully slip between the two lanes of traffic and ride to the front.


Filtering is legal in Queensland so we are very lucky during commuting hours. However, Filtering is a double-edged sword. A gap that looks fine a few cars back can quickly become a path full of issues and hazards. In Queensland, the motorcycle awareness campaigns talk about ‘developing your sixth sense’ as a rider.

What I’ve come to understand is that your ‘sixth sense’ is actually your ability to recognise patterns on the road. Therefore, developing your pattern recognition you speed up your reaction time and your capability on the road.

I constantly run through regular checks for filtering:

  • What type of vehicle is at the front? If it’s a larger vehicle, carefully assess the intersection.
  • Are you confident enough to smoothly but quickly take off?
  • Can the driver see you?
  • What cycle are the lights up to? Have they just gone red to give you ample time to safely filter to the front?

  • Does the road narrow or widen? Some inner city streets are extremely narrow, or buildings and sidewalks are close to the edge. Therefore, forcing drivers towards one side or the other.
  • What does the line of traffic look like? The order the vehicles sit in plays a really big part in how you can filter a section of road.
  • Are there trucks or large vehicles one after the other?

  • Are the vehicles a little more broken up and can you time your ‘passing’ correctly?
  • Are there any ‘unfriendly’ drivers? I’ve been quite lucky with this but from time to time there will be a driver who hates that you are on a bike and can ‘skip the cue’. With this in mind, watch for them and if in doubt don’t filter.
  • What are the road conditions like? This is a really important one. For instance, rain will change the road surface and wind can make it difficult to keep control of your bike. Filtering requires accuracy, and the last thing you want is to clip a mirror due to a gust of wind.

Group Rides

Group rides are an awesome way to explore new routes without having to know it like the back of your hand. Not to mention the bonus of riding with and learning from different people. On the other hand, group rides can also be a little intimidating if they aren’t something you do often. Knowing what types of bikes and the experience level of the riders can help you gauge what type of ride it’s going to be.

There is a really common theory called the rubberband effect which is what happens to the end riders when trying to regulate their speed and ‘keep up’ with the group. If you are on a nice little cafe racer you might not want to go on a long highway ride full of cruisers (but if that is your jam that’s fine too!).

Should things become overwhelming you can always choose to leave the ride. With this in mind, be respectful of the group and make sure you let people know that you are happy to call it a day to ride home. After all, if the group is kind they will understand and maybe even ask for a little feedback for next time!

I look for a couple of things when choosing group rides:


  • How big is the group? Is this a sensible size for the route? For instance, if you are doing a lot of inner city roads, large groups can be tricky to keep together.
  • Do I trust the capability and the pace of the ‘leader’? Knowing that your ride leader understands the group’s ability and expectations of the ride makes it a lot less stressful.
  • Does the group have a plan like regrouping stops, corner markers if the group gets stretched and is everyone clear on the plan and route? This makes all the difference if you get in a tricky spot.

Whether that is hitting a red light or a part of the path that you don’t want to push hard on, knowing that there is a plan so you don’t get left behind makes it easier to ride at your own pace.

Long Rides and Challenging Roads

Challenging roads can feel like long rides and vice versa. So a lot of the same common sense applies. However, the biggest difference here is knowing the route. The last thing you want is to come off your bike in a town or place that is isolated or foreign. It’s not a situation that is impossible to get out of just one that isn’t all that fun.

  • Studying the route, knowing what parts are going to be particularly challenging will mean you’ll have your bearings and be able to mentally prepare as you move through the journey.

  • Balancing a ride well is key. Knowing the right amount of ‘cruising’ and the right amount of ‘pushing’ means you’ll feel accomplished at the end of the day but not too exhausted.

  • Having the basics on your bike like wet weather gear, a small first aid kit, a small tool kit, panadol, water and snack is helpful too! You never know what you or a friend might need!

WolfPack App helps travelers invite their pack, plan & enjoy group motorcycle trips which makes riding safer and more enjoyable. Free to Download – www.wolfpack.run

How to be a better motorcycle rider

For the most part, I’m sure a lot of you reading this already know know much of what I’ve mentioned. In any event,  if you read through and pick up even one tip then I’ve done a good job! Whenever you get on your bike, simply breaking your routine down in to small moments allows you to make more consistent, correct choices. In fact, it makes any situation easier to tackle.

Above all, it isn’t luck that separates the riders who have a lot of accidents from the ones who have only a few over their riding career. It is, in short, deliberate thoughtful choices, self-evaluation and honesty that keeps the good riders riding.

Seek all the support and love you need to push yourself to be a better more competent rider.

In conclusion, the only silly question is the one you don’t ask.

Do you have some tips of your own?

Chime in and share your tips for motorcycle commuting, group riding or long challenging rides in the comments below. 



  1. Penelope Smith

    This is some really good information about commuting with a motorcycle. It is good to know that it would be smart to think about making sure that the driver can see you. Also, it does seem like a good thing. It might be smart to get a motorcycle that is good for commuting.

    • Kojii Helnwein

      For sure! Making sure you are seen can be the difference between getting home in one piece or not.

  2. SaffaRider

    Best tip I received when starting to ride was “always assume you are invisible”. It puts me on higher alert when commuting in traffic if I remind myself this mantra.

    • Kojii Helnwein

      Great advice! I couldn’t agree more. It’s definitely important for us to make ourselves seen on our motorcycles and never assume that we have been. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve made eye-contact with a car driver before they enter a junction to make sure they see me and don’t pull out in front of me; only to have them carry on and cut me off anyway!

  3. Jesse Ford

    Thanks for mentioning that riding a motorcycle for commuting purposes can lull you into a false sense of security pretty fast. My brother is thinking about getting a motorbike next month and will need insurance for it because he likes to ride fast and it will be his main vehicle to get to work. I think it’s a good investment to hire a reputable company to insure him so that he’ll be protected in case of an accident during his travels.

  4. Edgar Bowman

    This article is so informative and helpful. I gather some important tips and informations to read this article.

  5. Laura Fitzpatrick

    This is great advice for commute riding and riding in groups. I couldn’t agree more with your sixth sense being an ability to recognize patterns on the road. One thing I might add to riding in groups is that it is vital to learn and understand signals from other riders. I learned these signals too late when I was already in a group ride. The leader will use hand or leg signals to communicate directions, potholes, obstructions in the road, change in speed or when to stop and pull over. It’s up to the rest of the group to relay these signals. I don’t know if these are universal or not, all I know is it can be frustrating for the other rider when they signal you to stop and you ride on by with a big friendly wave, like I did myself!


Leave a Reply

Did you catch Ashleigh’s last post about Neutral Moto?

Click HERE to check that out.

Sign up to our newsletter below and get a free gift from us right now.




how to Motorcycle licene UK Motowitch PART ONE

How to get a motorcycle licence in the UK

British Motorcycle Instructor, Laura Smith of Women Only Motorcycle Training guides you through the steps to getting your motorcycle licence in the UK.
young woman at sunset standing next to custom motorcycle in desert with She Wolf Hat on

Meet Christina Marin of She Wolf Vegan Motorcycle Co

Meet Christina Marin, Founder of She Wolf Moto Co, an inspirational Women’s Vegan Motorcycle Co who donate to a different animal charity each month.

young woman sitting on a red motorcycle wearing Bull-it fury II motorcycle kevlar jeans beside the ocean

Review Bull-it Fury II women’s motorcycle jeans

Here at Motowitch Collective we make a point of recommending only products we know and actually use.
So, we asked Aoife Elsid to review the women’s motorcycle jeans that she loves; Bull-it Fury II.

young biker woman riding a custom motorcycle on forest road wearing black helmet and black leather motorcycle jacket for how to get a motorcycle license in ireland

How to get a motorcycle license in Ireland – Part Two

In Part Two of “How to get a motorcycle license in Ireland” Gillian Dunlop guides you through what happens after IBT, how to choose your first motorcycle and apply for the full test.

woman on motorcycle learning how to get her motorcycle license in IReland

How to get a motorcycle license in Ireland – Part One

Are you finally making plans to get your motorcycle license in Ireland after lockdown? Look no further, we have an expert in to walk you through the steps.

woman riding motorcycle and woman wearing covid19 mask

Motorcycle Women vs Covid19

In this episode of the Motowitch Chronicles Motorcycle Podcast Kojii interviews Motorcycle women who have been helping through the Covid19 crisis.

retro style woman on motorcycle sharing her tips on how to plan a motorcycle trip across the USA

How to plan a solo motorcycle trip across the USA

Planning a motorcycle trip across the USA? Laura Rose Fitzpatrick explored 1000’s of miles across America and shares her tips on how she did it.

woman motorcycle volunteer wearing covid 19 mask holding retro biltwell helmet

Motorcycle Volunteers Fight Covid-19

This is our round-up of some amazing volunteers around the world helping out during this covid 19 quarantine crisis via motorcycle.

2019 Triumph T120 with HJC helmet and gopro 7 mounted plus lomo pannier bags. Parked on cliff on Wild Atlantic Way in Kerry, Ireland. What to pack for motorcycle camping

What to Pack for Motorcycle Camping: The Ultimate Checklist

I asked the ladies of Women Riders World Relay for their top tips on what to pack when motorcycle camping. Get the Ultimate Check List for moto-camping here.

tips for motorcycle camping triumph street scrambler motorbike beside tent on campsite

5 Tips for a Great Motorcycle Camping Experience

Going camping is great. Going motorcycle camping…well, that’s about 1000x better. Read on for 5 tips on how to have the best experience when camping with your motorbike.

woman on a royal enfield classic 500 motorcycle wearing Biltwell Gringo S helmet riding with a group pf motorbikes on Irish country road

Top Motorcycle tips on commuting, group and long motorbike trips.

Are you new to riding motorcycles and want to learn how to join those fun group rides, or commute to work daily on your motorcycle? Maybe you’re planning an epic motorcycle road trip? Ash Thompson shares her Top Motorcycle Tips for commuting, group and challenging rides.

smiling woman with short platinum blond hair standing next to her susuki motorcycle in front of a propeller airplane

Motorcycle Woman on a mission

Ash Thompson is a motorcycle woman on a mission to raise awareness and the safety of motorcyclists on the road.

motowitch, motoculture and petrolettes host women in the motorcycle business to network and collaborate at the Bike Shed London

Clutch it Like it’s Hot!

Motowitch Collective, Motoculture Journal & Petrolettes
Clutch it Like it’s Hot
and join us for a special meet up that’s all about the
Women in the Motorcycle Industry!

We invite women who are passionate creators, educators, aspiring bike builders, and motorcycle enthusiasts to share their work, get inspired and plot for world domination.

Female motorcycle rider, Bella Lit on her Suzuki SV650 for winter motorbike riding tips

Winter Motorbike Challenge

Bella Litinetski invites motorcyclists around the world to join in her #Winterbikerchallenge and share their experiences of riding their motorbikes through Winter with the community that is growing by the day. Read on to learn more about this fun winter riding challenge and how you can join it.

Motowitch Christmas List for Motorcycle Lovers PART TWO Triumph Bonneville T100 outside Irish Castle with Santa Hat

The Best Motorcycle Gifts for Christmas: Part Two

Welcome to Part TWO of the Ultimate List of Gifts for your Motorcycle Lover. We have all sorts of wonderful moto gear to share with you from handmade leather to modern tech, all the way to options that will earn you serious Kharma points. We even left 2 free gifts for YOU to make your gifting experience even easier.

Motowitch Christmas List for Motorcycle Lovers PART one Triumph Bonneville T100 outside Irish Castle with Santa Hat

The Best Christmas Gifts for Motorcycle Lovers

Motowitch is here with festive tidings of Motorbike gifts for men, women, and kids. Our list of the best Christmas gifts for motorbike lovers has stylish motorbike apparel, leather panniers, handy tech accessories and rad helmets, gloves, and more. This list is so incredible we had to split it into TWO parts! Welcome to Part ONE

gypsy heart travels on her yamaha YS125 motorcycle.

A Road To Conquering Fear & Anxiety

Rhiannon Robertson is a freelance writer and a travel blogger who has recently started her journey into the world of motorcycles and adventure while conquering one fear at a time.

This is Rhiannon’s Bike Journey: A Road To Conquering Fear & Anxiety

female motorcycle adventure rider

MIDE EMANS Motorcycle Adventurer on the Road of Bones

Míde Emans is an Irish mother, grandmother and motorcycle adventurer. She holds the world record for ‘Highest altitude reached by a woman on motorcycle’ and shares her journey to the notorious “Road of Bones” in Russia…

Motorbike Woman Danell Lynn, world record holder. long distance motorcycle rider on Triumph Bonneville. Photo by Triumph America

DANELL LYNN, 1 Woman, 1 Motorbike, 1 Year, 1 World Record

Danell Lynn is the first solo-woman ever to break the world record for longest journey by motorbike in a single country (48,600 miles).

MELLY KAGE Camp Last Resort

Writer and rider Melly Kage set out for adventure with film photographer Wendy Dyk and their friends Clare and Chelsea for some off roading in Vancouver, BC. Read Melly’s short story and drink in Wendy’s beautiful analogue photography documenting Camp Last Resort.


woman riding motorcycle and woman wearing covid19 mask

Motorcycle Women vs Covid19

In this episode of the Motowitch Chronicles Motorcycle Podcast Kojii interviews Motorcycle women who have been helping through the Covid19 crisis.

Jacqui Furneaux female motorcycle adventure rider and author speaking to host, Kojii Helnwein on motorcycle podcast Motowitch Chronicles Episode 8

Jacqui Furneaux motorcycle traveller and author

Jacqui Furneaux is a world traveller, motorcycle rider, Royal Enfield devotee, public speaker and Author. In this episode she chats with Kojii about her travels, her book, life on the road and more…

Alexi Fisk founder of Danger Dames female motorcycle club in Seoul South Korea on Honda motorcycle

Danger Dames – South Korea’s female bikers

Alexi Fisk, Founder of Danger Dames Seoul, South Korea’s only female Motorcycle Club chats with your host, Kojii Helnwein about motorcycles, a clash of cultures, sexism and accidentally starting a feminist movement in the South Korean motorcycle community.


Would you like to become a contributor to the Motowitch Magazine or Podcast. Have a story to share or a special event/cause you'd like to talk about? Send us a message here, pitch us your idea and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

10 + 4 =





P.O. Box 58, Clonmel,
Co. Tipperary, Ireland

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest articles, episodes, discounts and event details from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this awesomeness with your friends!