As mentioned in my previous blog post, I got out for a ride yesterday to run the route that I will lead as the last ride as a Road Captain for my motorcycle club. I am not quitting the club or riding; I just do not have the stamina to lead rides any more. That ol’ chronic illness that I have to live with is more and more fatiguing. More on that later.
But now… the ride. A fantastic early autumn day beckoned me. It was 50F (10C) and brilliantly sunny. Dry, cool weather is perfect for…
…breaking in the Langlitz padded Columbia jacket that I bought last year (Spouse contributed half the cost as his Christmas present to me.) And I tell ya, this jacket requires A LOT of break-in. It is very stiff and exceptionally heavy. This thing weighs over 15lbs/7kg (but feels much heavier as a dead weight)!
When wearing it on a motorcycle, one does not feel the weight. The jacket feels really good; what leatherdude wouldn’t want to be hugged by a big black wrap of tough, durable, shiny leather?
Because the jacket is still rather stiff, during the past week, I conditioned it again with the leather conditioner that Langlitz provided with the jacket. The sales guy at the company told me that the best way to make the jacket less stiff is to carefully and slowly rub conditioner into the leather with a gentle but firm circular motion. So all last week, I rubbed and rubbed and wore it, bending my elbows, lifting my arms above my head, and twisting my body as if I were reaching for the bars and controls on the Harley.
What I did not quite do enough of was practice securing my helmet. My helmet secures with a “quick connect” device that most experienced bikers and cops have on their helmets. A simple click and the helmet is secure. Trouble is with stiff arms of the jacket, it is not so simple to reach the male quick connect clip with the left hand while the right hand is pushing the female connector into it. I had to struggle and push because the stiff arms of this jacket were not letting me bend my elbows as much as required. But I did it.
Before I took off (and before I put on the jacket), I checked the Harley from top to bottom doing the usual T-CLOCS inspection. And derned enough, I found that somehow a nut that holds my front brake cable had come loose. I tightened it. No other issues were found. Lights on (all of them, even in full brilliant daylight)!
BTW, I had asked my favorite biker cousin to go on this ride with me, but he said that he had to go to a wedding the night before and did not think that he would be awake early enough in the morning to go with me. Also, my buddy JB, a local motorcop, had to ride an escort so he wasn’t available. No one in my club wanted to do this pre-ride with me, either, because they know that I would get lost. (Actually, they were right.)
I rode along and following the route I had planned, it wasn’t long before that intestinal illness flared and I had to stop to use a bathroom. That done, I motored on.
Indeed I took a turn that led to another turn and soon I was not on the route any more. My GPS kept yelling “recalculating” as she loves to do. I knew that I was okay; I was sorta in the general vicinity of where I wanted to be and also on roads that I had ridden before, so I was not worried. It was a wonderful day for a ride, so I put my boots up on the riding pegs, sat back against my backrest, and enjoyed the journey.
I eventually ended up in the small town in Western Maryland where I had planned to have lunch. Checked the diner — it was open and they’ll look forward to seeing us next week. (Had to use the bathroom again; this intestinal illness flares are not fun.)
Then I zipped up the Langlitz again and motored across the Catoctin Ridge, which is absolutely stunning with its beauty. The Cunningham Falls State (Maryland) Park is on the right (south) and the Catoctin National Park is on the left (north). I have a video of me leading a ride here on my YouTube Channel.
I stopped at another gas station on the other side of the ridge — and — you-know-what (still flaring.) This illness when it flares is quite fatiguing, so I decided to head back home.
However, before I got back on the road, I changed jackets. It was now in the 70s (22C) and the Langlitz jacket was feeling a tad warm. Fortunately, I had thought ahead for that possibility, and brought along a vest and my Rev’IT jacket which is lighter and better ventilated. I sure am glad that the TourPak on the back of my Harley is the big one. That Langlitz jacket took up most of the space. I made my way home, having to take another detour to avoid badly milled pavement.
Now I will re-work the route for my ride next week. We “should be” okay. Operative words “should be.” But as I continue to remind my cousin, “it’s the journey, not the destination.”
Life is short: riding in full leather in autumn is sheer joy.