Sunday, August 30, 2009


I don't know what is with the weather this last week of August, it sure has been beautiful...for October!!!

I am not superstitious so I don't use a gremlin bell, I throw my hats on the bed, black cats cross my path and I open umbrellas indoors with no ill effects. But this last week has me wondering if I have truly jinxed myself...not.
Trobairitz and I were down at our favorite motorcycle gear shop inquiring about her mesh jacket she's had on order and I needed a clip for my saddlebags. Whilst there I asked Annette when she was getting her winter gear in and specifically heated vests. "Oh, I've got those in the back room" she says. "Want to see them?" and leads us to the back.
One of the guys we ride with was discussing his heated vest with us during lunch when we rode to the coast for chowdah earlier this month. He told us the pros and cons of the two major manufacturers of heated riding gear, Gerbing and Tour Master.

They are both nice liners and "seem" to be priced similarly, but the advantage that Tour Master had over Gerbing is the durable carbon fiber heating elements and that the controller comes with the Tour Master liner, an additional $69.95 with the Gerbing liner.

Back in the store room the vest was nice but I remembered last winter how cold my commute was as I don't have a full fairing nor a windshield. I tried a full jacket liner, heated sleeves and collar...mmmmmmmm. I surprised Annette when I said "I'll take it!". I suspect she doesn't sell too many heated liners on 90º August days. I tried it on, it fit, it was in stock, why not?

Last winter I layered and bundled up every morning and every evening for the commute to and from work. I would have three layers of clothing on before putting on my liner and jacket. With a buff over my head and polar fleece muff around my neck the Stay Puft marshmallow man was ready to ride. I remember how difficult it was to turn my head, let alone operate any controls safely. This liner was going to be the cat's meow.

By Monday the weather had changed and it was cool in the morning, not enough to warrant a brand new electric liner but cool enough to forgo the mesh jacket and wear my full textile jacket. That afternoon it was a warm ride home, it was getting to be that layering time of year. I'd put the airflow jacket in my saddle bags in the morning and then stuff my full textile jacket in the bags for the ride home. There's got to be a better way...a heated liner.

So remember that feeling as a kid with a brand new bike on Christmas morning and six feet of snow outside, but you rode it anyway? Well, I hooked up the heated liner slipped it on under my airflow jacket and rode to work with an electric heated liner in August.
It only required using the low setting and was just enough to break the morning chill, but we all know guys have to test stuff to it's maximum capabilities. The liner performed great and of course maxed out it was too hot at stops, but my mind drifted to 26º January days and I was warm. The liner carefully folded up into my saddlebags with room to spare and the ride home in my airflow jacket was great. No more layering.

And for the cooler weather this week, I'm sure my seasonally early purchase had nothing to do with it....right?


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Men's Brain Women's Brain

My helmet is my nothing box.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Go Your Own Way

We went for a ride to the coast on Saturday, took a few back roads, rode up through Siletz and over to Depoe Bay to Gracie’s Sea Hag for chowder, then turned around and came back the same way. We took the Triumph and Trobairitz rode pillion, she’s not up for long rides on her own bike yet, let alone a group ride. She hasn’t ridden her bike lately so we decided to go out Sunday. We enjoyed a relaxing day, ran some errands, visited the local nursery for gardening inspiration and headed out for a short ride after dinner.

We suited up pulled the bikes out of the garage and headed down the street. We made it down the block and I see her in my mirror shaking her head ‘no’ as she pulled up beside me. I asked what was up and she said the smartest thing any rider has ever said to me, “I’m not comfortable”. Although I am sure this was difficult for her to say, it was great news to me. I knew then that she was definitely on the wrong bike. We spun around and went home, she went on to explain exactly what it was about that particular bike she didn’t like and I told her that I’ve owned bikes before that just didn’t feel right. One in particular was the Sprint ST I had, I bought it on impulse and I did everything to love that bike, but I knew that it wasn’t the bike for me. I didn’t feel the love, the magic wasn't there, the feeling of being one with the machine, I wasn’t comfortable and I knew exactly what Trobairitz was trying to tell me about the Ninja.

I am glad she told me rather than fighting the bike and injuring herself, or worse. I wish more new motorcyclists had the courage to say what she did; maybe they’d be better riders on the right bike.

So we figured out what she was looking for in a bike, what type of riding she wanted to do. She really likes the new Triumph Bonneville but knows it's too big right now and has her heart set on the baby bonnie.

Has she stepped back to a smaller bike? I think she just became a better rider just by acknowledging her ability and accepting her current limitations. She's also not letting anyone tell her what to ride, a Triumph rider in the making.