No More Shifter Scuffing of my Boots

My new Harley-Davidson Road King has a classic heel-toe shifter and foot boards, rather than foot pegs and a single foot-controlled peg shifter that was on my Low Rider.

Having a single peg shifter definitely influenced the choice of boots that I chose to wear on the Low Rider. The shifting pattern was one press down on the shifter for first, then four upward motions on the shifter for the remaining four gears. Because you had to put the toe of your boot under the shifter to get into higher gears, boots would have to be able to withstand the pressure and regular scraping against the shifter. I could not wear cowboy boots, for example, because the left boot would be badly scuffed from shifting gears.

A heel-toe shifter allows you to shift down for first gear with your toe, but then the upward shifts through the range to sixth gear can be done with the heel of the boot. So I no longer will encounter the “shifter scuffing” problem.

Will that change the choices of boots that I will wear on my new bike? Probably not. I still will choose boots that have a lug or rubber sole, because of the traction such soles provide when the bike is stopped. Also, non-bikers do not realize how much a biker has to move a bike by “walking it” while seated on it, such as into a parking space, or getting into a riding formation when riding with a group.

Well, I do not really think I’ll have a problem having enough boots to wear on the new bike. And since I’m not a fashionista, I will continue to choose boots that feel good, are practical, and are comfortable for a long day’s ride. It’s not the looks or (heaven forbid) color-matching the bike’s deep red color — it is the practicality and comfort that matter most to me on the boots that I choose to wear both on and off the bike.

Lined or Unlined Boots?

One major area of concern about choices of motor officer (bike cop) boots that I haven’t yet discussed in this blog, but I did discuss with motor officers who I am advising on choices of boots they are making is the advantages and disadvantages of getting lined or unlined boots.

Tall boots are sometimes lined with leather. A leather lining, such as shown my Chippewa Hi-Shine Boots makes a boot more sturdy and durable. Lined boots will stand upright when you take them off. Leather is often selected for the lining because it will breathe, thus ensuring the boots do not feel too hot on the feet. A leather lining will expand and contract with changes in temperature the same as the leather used for the shaft. If, for example, cloth or other fabric were used, it would stretch and quickly lose its firmness, thus not doing much for the boot.

Unlined boots, such as my Chippewa Oil-Tanned Engineer Boots, have a rough leather interior of the shaft. They are durable boots on the outside. However, they do not stand up well on their own when removed. But because there is no lining, they do not get hot, even when worn in warm weather. Unlined boots tend to sag or crease more at the ankle simply because there is not much there but soft leather.

Tall motorcycle boots come both ways, lined or unlined. Some unlined tall cop boots are made of stiffer leather, or leather look-alike plastic products such as Dehcord used on stock Dehner patrol boots. I definitely don’t recommend boots made with such a product, because while they are less expensive (but still overpriced) than an all-leather Dehner boot, you get what you pay for: crap that will not hold up while in regular use.

Other unlined boots, like my very comfortable Harley-Davidson Police Enforcer Boots, are made of all leather. The leather selected for these boots, though, is treated to be very stiff, so they stand up well and don’t crease badly at the ankle.

Well-made boots from reputable manufacturers like Wesco may be purchased with or without a leather lining. I have a number of pairs of Wesco Boots, and have them both lined and unlined. I definitely prefer the lined boots, because they hold up better and don’t sag as much.

How does this matter affect the choices that the motor officers I am working with will make? I did not mention it in my previous blog post, but I know that they definitely prefer a boot with a leather lining, but haven’t ruled out unlined, stiffer all-leather boots such as are made by Intapol. Check back with this blog in the future to find out what they decide. I will be meeting with them again in a couple weeks for a demonstration from a couple manufacturers and more discussion.

What One Does for Love

Here in the U.S., we are enjoying a three-day weekend for Memorial Day. However, it’s really not as much joy for me as it is just doing things for others out of love.

The story begins on the morning of Friday, May 23, when my Harley dealer called to say that my new bike was ready to pick up. The boss even let us off work a couple hours early.

I rushed home with the intent to change from my dress clothes to biker duds and go get my new bike! Woo-ee! However, when I got home, personal plans were immediately set aside because my partner wasn’t doing very well. He had pulled a muscle in his back a couple weeks ago, and the pain had flared up. Plus, he had promised his mother that we would visit her over the long weekend, which meant that things we had to do around our house before leaving the next day became the priority, and I had to do them. Mow the lawn, do our weekly grocery shopping, and get groceries for my elderly aunt as well. By the time all those chores were completed, it was too late to go to the dealership to get my new bike.

Saturday morning, I drove both of us on the five-hour trip in my truck to my partner’s mother’s home, instead of my partner driving in his sedan. I drove to relieve my partner of the duty. He was on a muscle relaxant, which means he shouldn’t drive. Personally, I hate to drive, especially long distances, but we do what we have to do. Also, since we were going to have my truck available, my partner decided to buy a new mattress to replace the old one on which I slept at his Mom’s house. That old mattress caused me to have back spasms. But out of love for me, my partner resolved the problem (though I did most of the heavy lifting.)

My mother-in-law is not the easiest woman to be around. She constantly complains about everything and anything. But we managed to do what had to be done, with me doing all the heavy lifting, gardening, and other manual labor that had to be done. From a positive perspective, I could use the exercise [smile].

Because my partner still was in agony, we left Sunday afternoon and I drove us back. We got home last night, unpacked, did laundry, unwound a little bit, and then went to bed.

Today, Monday, it is bright, warm, and sunny. And I’m still “bike-less.” My dealership is closed for the holiday. Today I have the fun of going to get some planting soil and a few other things at the local gardening center, cleaning over 900 square feet of outdoor deck space, and then helping to set up our outdoor deck garden. We can’t plant vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini in a regular garden due to the proliferation of deer in our yard which would destroy vegetable plants. So we plant them in containers and put them on the decks that I built ten years ago. This planting routine is usually my partner’s activity, as he gets tremendous joy from gardening. However, due to his condition, he can’t do it and unless I do it for him. Oh well, being bike-less, I will focus on getting these chores done. My partner will be happy, and when the love of my life is happy, then that’s what it’s all about.

I hope the weather forecast is wrong, where rain and thunderstorms are predicted for tomorrow (Tuesday). If that happens, I won’t be able to pick up my new Harley. Worse, I will have to wait until Saturday, because I am in charge of a major event for work which begins on Wednesday and runs through late Friday, and will be held on the other side of the Potomac River in Virginia. Because of the far-away location, I will not be able to get home during the week while the event is going on to get my bike.

They say that sacrifice is good for the soul. I hope it’s good for something, ’cause I’m not among the happiest guys while I am still Harley-ticipating and my partner is grouchy and irritable because he’s in pain. He can’t think straight and it just makes things uncomfortable for me. And to think, it’s going to be warm and sunny all day today, and I could have been out riding…. sigh. I’ll manage. Meanwhile, off to care for my partner and prevent him from trying to over-do it so he can heal.

Bike Cop Boot Advising

UPDATE: I see that this blog post is the most popular one on my website. If you found it from a search engine while seeking information about motorcycle police patrol boots, see my Guide to Motorcycle Police Patrol Boots by clicking here.

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I met a motor officer while I was at Law Ride on May 11 who said that his agency was reviewing the uniform policy, particularly the boots to specify with a motor officer’s uniform. The current boots that they all wear are Dehner patrol boots with a dress instep and Vibram lug sole. They are very nice-looking boots, but also very expensive. Since each officer receives a fixed amount of money for his/her uniform allowance, they are finding that the allowance isn’t covering the cost of the boots and all the components of their uniforms (shirts, breeches, outerwear, belts, etc.) as often as they have to replace them due to job-related wear-and-tear.

The motor officers in this agency met with management to consider changes to make to the boot specs in the uniform policy, and they invited me to participate in the meeting as well. They all agree that tall, black boots are what they want. They won’t deviate wildly like going with some sort of short tech boot or a color of leather other than black.

They also like having the Vibram lug sole. It gives great traction while operating the motorcycle, and also wears far longer than any other sole.

What they don’t like is the cost and the materials from which their current boots are made. Stock Dehner patrol boots with a lug sole can cost around $400 per pair (with their discount). Unfortunately, stock Dehners are made with a synthetic (plastic) product made by Clarino┬«, which the Dehner Boot Company calls “Dehcord.” This stuff cracks easily and is hard to maintain. It keeps a nice shine, but once cracked, it can’t be fixed. (Personally, I don’t recommend boots made with this product. It’s crap.)

Their next option are Dehner patrol boots made of Voyager or imported calf leather. These options are more expensive, with calf leather being $300 more. While these leathers will hold up much better and for longer on a boot worn for rough duty, the cost is a major concern.

They are also looking at alternative manufacturers of boots that I showed them from my collection. Intapol makes a nice patrol boot, and even comes with a zipper which makes them easy to put on and take off. However, they were concerned how long the zipper would hold up in actual usage conditions.

They looked at my Harley-Davidson Police Enforcer Boots, which look really nice and are the most comfortable of all of the various tall bike cop boots I own. Unfortunately, these boots are not made with a dress instep. They’re only bal-laced. They don’t want laces on their boots. There is also some question about availability of these boots from the manufacturer, Wolverine, and the fact that these boots are made in China, which runs some degree of risk on dependability of shipments as well as sometimes questionable quality.

Then they looked at the Chippewa “Hi-Shine” Engineer Boots. Because these boots are a fairly major departure from what they are accustomed to wearing, they were initially hesitant. But they saw so many other officers at Law Ride (and other events) who wear these boots and like them a lot for their good looks, comfort, appearance, and value (they cost about $190/pair). The unfortunate thing is that in order to get a Vibram sole on the boots, a cobbler would have to add the sole. The manufacturer does not make the boots with a lug sole.

Anyway, they’re mulling over their options. I was honored to be asked for my opinions during this meeting, and pleased that I had a variety of boots from my collection to demonstrate and aid them in their discussions. They are a great group of men to work with, and I look forward to our ongoing discussions.

Full Moon Weirdness

Years ago I served as a volunteer emergency medical technician (EMT) and served with paramedics on a local volunteer rescue squad. Whenever there was a full moon, we encountered people who had the strangest things happen to them, more auto crashes, and just odd stuff.

Most folks don’t give credence to a full moon having an effect on people’s behavior. However just this week, the week of the Full Flower Moon, has proven once again, to me anyway, that there is some sort of link between odd behavior and a full moon.

Within the past two days, I received three come-on email messages for sex, which is absurd, and about which I blogged yesterday. I also have been dealing with some drama on an internet site that I once worked closely with, but now am backing off. (Plus, I really just don’t have the time for it as I once did.) Then at a public hearing the other night, someone testified about a project that we weren’t even discussing. Then I received a very strange phone call from someone who claims to know me but I didn’t know. Add to that some folks in a local group that I have worked with who got all bee-jeebered about picky little stuff, and I just have to wonder if the full moon is at work.

These are random things, but all seem to have occurred right at the peak of the full moon. I dunno, if I didn’t have to go to work I would be tempted to stay in bed and pull the covers up over my partner’s and my head. (Hmmm, that would be fun, but for a different reason [smile]).

Being an Out and Open Leatherman

Yep, I enjoy leather. I always have, since I got my first motorcycle while in college. Being a biker is a fairly easy “excuse” to wear leather and tall boots. But that’s only for public impression, for those who don’t really comprehend an interest in leather.

As I’ve blogged before, my interest in boots and leather is an avocation — a hobby — and something that is pleasurable. It’s comfortable, durable, and forgiving for my body type. I wear leather almost every day, in public, and as readers of this blog are aware, display my gear on my website.

Being so out and open in my community and as a minor public figure is not a problem. That’s because my community has a casual and mature kind of tolerance. But being out and open on the Internet has occasional consequences that have to be dealt with. For example, some guys who visit my website but don’t read the FAQs perceive that I may want to “play” with them, a code word for having sex. Or that I might want them to visit to do things with or on my boots. A few have sent me email messages suggesting we get together.

That’s a consequence I accept for being so “out there.” Actually, in a way such a come-on is somewhat flattering to me as an older, greying, bearish man. I am quite able to respond by saying, “thank you, but no thanks.” There hasn’t been a one who has failed yet to understand the second line that I write, “I am in a monogamous relationship with my life partner, and we don’t play with others.” A few may think this sounds harsh, but it is just a description of my reality and my life. My partner is my one-and-only, and I never have nor will do anything to cause him to question my integrity and commitment to him, and to “us.”

Life is short: wear your leather and your boots, and enjoy life!

Most Popular Bike Cop Boots

All websites have logs that show how many visitors look at posted pages or images. I look at my logs from time to time to see what others find most interesting, which I determine by the pages and images with the most views.

Pictured here are the boots that have been viewed more often than any others from the recently posted galleries about Law Ride 2008.

They are, not surprisingly, Chippewa Hi-Shine Engineer Boots. The boots look good, and were worn on about 3/4 of the officers who were at Law Ride.

Life is short: admire cop boots!

Harley-ticipating

The Harley-Davidson Motor Company has stopped production on all new motorcycles this year. Their official spin is that the bad economy has slowed business. What they don’t say is that they had glutted the market by over-production of motorcycles for the past several years. Most people who wanted a Harley have one, or two…. But put this President’s mismanagement of our economy together with stopped production, and you end up with fewer bikes being available, dealers being less willing to negotiate price, and encountering those dreaded wait-lists. (I had to wait four months for my 1994 Harley).

Do you remember, perhaps as a kid, being told that if you save long enough, you will have enough money to buy what you want? Well, I had been saving diligently for years for a new Harley. I reached my goal in January this year. I started kicking tires of new Harleys since then.

I had promised my partner that I wouldn’t buy a new bike until I sold the one that I already had. The economic downturn that affects sales of new bikes also affected the used-motorcycle market. Mine had been up for sale since February. Fortunately, through some aggressive re-promotion on CraigsList, someone bought it from me and he took it home with him this past Saturday.

A sales guy at my local Harley dealer told me that the Crimson Red Road King on which I have had my eye on is the only one left, and he won’t be getting any more this year. Saturday afternoon, I confirmed my order for this new Road King. A color-matched tour pak will be installed on the back (it’s like a trunk), and a back rest on that, so perhaps some day in the future, my partner can join me on rides again. I also ordered a few more safety features too. But that’s it; I’m really not into adding a lot of chrome and other frills. I think the bike looks great just as it is.

Soon enough, the dealer will call me and say the bike is ready to pick up. Can’t wait! Rumble, rumble….

Why We Are Not Going to IML

Time is rolling around again for the International Mr. Leather Contest (IML) to be held in Chicago. It’s always held over Memorial Day weekend.

My partner and I had talked about it for years, and finally went for the first — and last — time in 2007.

Why do I say, “and last”? Well, events like this are really for younger, single men who enjoy staying up late for socializing. I’ve never been a night-person my whole life. Even with a “disco nap,” I find myself still dragging after about 10pm, and most things don’t really get going until midnight and last long after that.

Further, while it’s interesting to see so many men in leather in one place, the crowds are sometimes overwhelming, such as at the bars. Not having our own transportation, getting to the bars that are friendly to leather folk in Chicago had to be by bus.

Plus, it’s just darned expensive. Airfare, hotel for four nights, eating out, and even a soft drink at the bar … it all adds up. They stretch out IML two days longer than Mid-Atlantic Leather (MAL) and it just makes it more expensive to stay for the duration of the event. (Many guys don’t).

I also have to say that being in a monogamous relationship makes a big difference, too. Most of the guys who attend IML are there for sex with other guys. We weren’t. We had great sex with each other while we were there, but we have that regularly at home. Location doesn’t matter — to us.

So, as I said, “been there, done that, got the T-shirt and the boots shined.” We made the best of it last year, but won’t be returning.

If you like, check out the photos that I took at IML 2007 and posted on my website.