Monday, June 15, 2009

International Ride to Work Day

I rode to work today. Did you?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ride to Work Day Approaches

The title says it all. has an article about International Ride to Work Day, which is set for next Monday, the 15th of June. Follow the link above for the article; I can't give any snippets as a teaser due to copyright, but rest assured it is a good read.

For those of us who commute daily on our motorcycles, the day doesn't make a difference. However, when enough people who don't normally ride during the week are on the road, the increased presence of two-wheeled traffic benefits all of us by increasing awareness of just how many of us there are. So, for the purely selfish reason of hoping this one day will help encourage drivers to be on the lookout for riders like me, I encourage every rider out there to take next Monday as a day to ride to work.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Motorcycle Air Conditioning

As I left work yesterday, my boss saw me suiting up into my mesh jacket and textile over-pants (yes, they have a mesh strip, but it is almost worthless.) He almost immediately asked the question I have heard from just about everyone I work with, "Don't you get hot in all that stuff?" He followed this one up with a variation on the same theme, "Why not just wear a t-shirt?" My standard answer to that type of question is a little silly and trite: My skin might not be the best out there, but I'd like to keep it nonetheless. Obviously, there is more to it than that, but it is a simple and fast answer that most people can accept as "good" reasoning.

I would, however, like to expand on that a bit here. Hot weather gear seems to be a bit of a paradox. If you want protection, you need to wear full gear. The more clothes you have on, the warmer you will be. In hot weather, wear fewer/lighter items of clothing to keep cool. How do all of those fit together? You see the apparent conflict between the first and last statement, I assume. The solution is mesh gear. It is not as abrasion resistant as textile or leather, however it will hold body armor in place and it still holds up better than denim. Also, it lets air through to your skin as well as blocking your body from direct sunlight, both of which keep your core temperature lower. So, as you can tell, proper attire can do more in the way of protection and comfort than most people would guess.

One word of caution, mesh can get very chilly. This morning it was 67° F as I rode in to work. That's not a terribly chilly temperature, however, at highway speeds it can get on the cool side and when you ride through a patch of fog you get instant motorcycle air conditioning.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Back to the Commute

We've been having some nasty weather, with rain and wind, over the past month. I haven't been riding as much as I would like because of all that. Well, that changed last Thursday. We live in a county where we have to have our cars' emissions checked every year. If a car fails its test, the owner must have it fixed before the registration can be renewed. On Thursday my Ford Tuarus failed its test. At 206,000 plus miles, I think the car has had a pretty productive life over the last 10 years. Also, the cost to have the exhaust system replaced is higher than the value of the vehicle (not to mention the other repairs that would need to be done soon.)

In all, the chapter of my life involving that car is closing and we need to find a new way for me to get to work. Motorcycles to the rescue! Fortunately, we don't have to spend the money to replace my cage; all we have to spend is the money for a high quality rainsuit to make inclement weather commutes more comfortable. As of today, I've joined the very small ranks of those whose primary transportation is on two wheels.