I received an email from a coworker who has recently started commuting to work on two wheels after some time away from the activity. He gave me a list of the top 10 things he misses about his truck. Being someone who does not keep his opinion to himself, whether good or bad, I replied with the following:
1. Listen to the radio.
What little I know of your political standing, this would only lead to road rage…
2. Intimidating other drivers with my big truck.
Now you know what the other side of this is like, think of the prick in the big truck who cut you off this morning…
3. Eating and drinking while driving.
Yet again, that little bump you felt when reaching for that dropped fry…it was a biker.
4. Climate Control.
5. Not having to think about what I can fit into my backpack.
You’re a guy, therefore if you need to carry more than a bag is intended to carry, you should consider a purse.
6. Not having to remember the week’s rain patters.
Yeah, memory is so over-rated. Consider this a lesson in senility. Plus, if your gear were better, you would not have to be so concerned. This is a great reason to buy better gear.
7. Not caring about the temperature.
See 5 and 7.
8. Having feeling in my backside after commuting.
See 5 and 7.
9. Hearing myself singing off key while running down the highway.
We are all grateful for this.
10. Hard to pick your nose while wearing riding gloves and a full faced helmet.
See 5 and 7.
I understand that my sarcasm could be misinterpreted as being a prick, but I also realized that what I really should have told my friend was gear is everything. Most of this top 10 list could be answered with proper riding apparel with some accouterments such as helmet speakers and a portable CD player, or a flip face helmet and better gloves.
One of the first things that my riding friends taught me was riding gear was critical to the enjoyment of this pastime. My riding partners are not the type that feel a 50 mile scoot from one bar to another is a sufficient afternoon of riding. This is a group of riders who feel that St. Louis is a great place to have dinner on Saturday night, just as long as we can be back to mow the lawn on Sunday and watch the Simpson’s.
When you are crossing borders, you are crossing weather patterns. During my inaugural long weekend ride I joined a group of gentlemen who were in search of Washington, Toronto, Eldorado and many other locations on the map. Incidentally, they are all in Iowa. We left on Friday afternoon in hot and humid conditions riding into the night and cooling down rapidly. The next day we spent 16 hours in the saddle searching from one end of Iowa to the other until it was time to head home.
During that day we ran from one rain shower to the next and not once did we pull over to throw on extra gear or try to wait out a storm. Our gear was made for many different reasons with a focus on keeping the rider comfortable in a variety of conditions. With 4 hours before I was going to be in my bed and 16 hours behind me, the ride home was going to be quick and easy. The only problem was the looming wall of rain waiting for us. Wonderful, one last monsoon for us to enjoy in the great state of Iowa before we got home to our warm beds.
Good gear will allow you to concentrate on the conditions you are riding in while at the same time covering your rear if the conditions worsen. Good gear will keep the flesh you have on your body, on your body. Good gear will allow you to enjoy your chosen pastime rather than hanging it up over a couple of crappy days. It is wonderful to not be concerned about the weather patterns in the morning. Put on your trusty riding apparel and go.
With good gear, your riding season will start in April and go into October easily. So this month, open up a catalog, ride to your local garment manufacturer / dealer and try on gear. You will be more comfortable, be able to ride farther and maybe even see the other side of a rainstorm.