We had a wonderful Sunday motorcycle ride today. The weather was perfect, not too hot, not too cold, it was just right. It took minor adjustments to find the level of clothing called for but that’s expected in a climate like ours here in Washington State—too cool for a tee shirt, too warm for full leather gear. I wound up with a sweatshirt and my leather vest after a thirty-mile fun run to get coffee at Starbucks before we headed for the hills.
I always get annoyed at fighting with my clothes when I ride my bike. Everything seems to pick up air from the bottom and snap up around your neck and face like tiny little wet towel snaps. It hurts! What I have learned: Never wear anything with a loose neck, it will let the wind in from the top and bottom and leave you with red marks from your neck to your knees. Sweatshirts with hoods are great—but make sure the string is in them and you can tie it tight and tuck it inside because nothing beats a shoestring flogging you in the face at 60 mph. Always tie it as well as zip it because the zipper teeth on a sweatshirt jacket allowed to run wild will bite you like little Chihuahuas unless you cinch the neck down. I got smart finally and started tying a bandana around my neck to hold off zipper teeth.
Then there is the blistering hot ride issue: I tend to worry about riding on the interstate without leathers. My husband dropped his bike on the freeway last fall and walked away with scrapes and bruises and one broken wrist bone. Thank God that was all. His leathers had the hide scraped right off in places and he actually got skin scraped off his shoulder inside intact a leather jacket. It makes you wonder what if? His helmet was dented and cracked but his head wasn’t. That’s a whole other story, but I won’t be riding without a helmet again even in states where I can. It’s just not worth the risk. It’s a personal choice and good luck to those who feel it’s worth it to have the wind blowing in their hair and in one ear and out the other.
Let’s see, where was I? Oh yes, riding in weather hot enough to make your butt blister when you land in that hot saddle. For me, it’s down to a tee shirt and jeans. Black leather is not appealing at 105 degrees not matter how safe. I figure I’m dead with heat stroke in the leather chaps and coat so I’d better not be falling off on the freeway in just the tee. I would never wear shorts on a bike, too much crap bounces up off the road surface and into your legs. Gravel, grasshoppers, bees, I’ve encountered them all. The t-shirt though—risky business to wear one on a motorcycle. Although a tucked in tee shirt is a pretty ugly fashion statement on most women, it does beat the fact that your t-shirt is going to immediately fill with air at speed and attempt to leave your body over your head—leaving the rest of you clad in just your underpinnings for the whole world to enjoy.
Scary, but I am beginning to understand biker chicks who wear leather bras—nothing to blow up or off, and you can wipe bug splats off the bra with a wet sponge. However, I can’t say I’d really enjoy the feeling of bugs squishing against my bare hide in the places not covered by the bra so I think I’ll stick to the tee shirt for now. In Idaho last year when it was 105 and up, I stopped to pour a quart of water over me about every fifty miles, squelch over to the bike and be dry in about three minutes of riding. But those three minutes, ahhh. That was a wet t-shirt no contest.
And then there is cold weather gear …