So here I am, two weeks before the Iron Butt Rally thinking that I could really use an upgrade in the electric clothing department. I ask a few friends what their preferred brand of electric clothing is. I come back with a unanimous “Gerbing”. I check out the company’s web site (www.gerbing.com). Truthfully, I just don’t have time to be waiting around for stuff to be shipped to me and hoping that the gear fits properly. I am in too much of a time crunch. Of course, this time crunch is my own fault. Why do today what you can do tomorrow, or better yet, do the day before you leave for the biggest motorcycle event in your life? I can’t leave anything to chance. I need to meet with a distributor or dealer to make sure the gear fits. Without a proper fit the clothing will not work to its fullest potential.
A friend of mine introduces me to Craig Bennett of “C and S Enterprise”. It just so happens that Craig is the “C” in “C and S”. Another little fact is that “C and S Enterprise” is a Gerbing authorized dealer. This is my lucky day! After talking to Craig, we make our way to his shop. It turns out that he has exactly what I need on the rack, in my size, and soon to be in my possession.
Now you must be thinking to yourself “Why are you so worried about electrics in August?” Well, let me tell you. On the last Iron Butt, the winning route and 2nd through 9th place took the riders to Prudhoe Bay, AK. The winning rider claims he won because the ground FROZE after a rainstorm. Well, for the ground to freeze it must reach a temperature of 32º or less. That, my friends, is too damn cold to be riding motorcycles.
Fast-forward a couple of weeks to the actual Iron Butt Rally and the first chance I had to use my newly acquired gear. I woke up at 1 a.m. in Alex Creek, British Columbia. In August it’s cold in B.C. I’m not sure how cold it was but cold enough to see my breath. I threw on the electric jacket, crank up the Temp Control and let the 77 watts of 120º electric heat roll over my body. I quickly realize I’d better turn this down or risk sweating. It was like I was wrapped in an electric blanket. I could not have been any more comfortable. 200 miles later, it’s an hour before daybreak, and for all practical purposes, I’m on the PacificCoast. Large body of water plus pre dawn temperatures and I am very comfortable. The jacket goes on and off with ease. It’s light enough that you can wear it in warmer temps without sweating, yet it blocks the wind so well that you rarely need a liner over it. A few days later on the Atlantic coast, I did the super- test in Nova Scotia. It was so cold I had to break out the electric gloves. This system could not be simpler. I just plug the gloves into the jacket sleeves. The Temp Controller controls the temperature for the jacket and the gloves. Only one knob to twist and my hands are warm as toast. The gloves still give enough feel that I could operate my GPS.
Overall I could not complain. The jacket came off and on in seconds. No elastic to deal with. The whole arm is heated, not just the outside. The gloves run on a parallel circuit, not in a series. This makes the whole system easier to use. You could add pants and socks to the deal if you wanted to. They would all run off the same Temp Controller. I would like to thank Gerbing Heated Clothing and Craig from “C and S Enterprise”. They are located at 6229 Belmore Lane, Hopkins, MN. 55343. They can be reached at 952-936-WARM (9276).