First Ride of the Season–Leatherless

Oh my! Note for the records: BHD went on a long motorcycle ride, and did NOT wear any leather (except the boots, of course.) What’s with that?

I was invited to join a ride yesterday (Sunday, March 24) with a group of friends on an early Spring day that promised all-day sunshine, but widely variant temperatures.

At 0900, the thermometer at my house was indicating 32F (0C). Yikes! I hate freezing cold weather and don’t have heated gear.

At 0930, I was in my garage going over my Harley. It has suffered from months of neglect. Fortunately, only the front tire pressure was low, and that was easily remedied. The oil, cables, electrical systems, lights (including turn signals and brake lights), brakes, and nuts/bolts were all in good shape, working properly, and tight, respectively.

By 1000, the temperatures rose to a balmy 37F (3C). Not ideal, but the forecast for later today was 60F (15.5C) which for this time of year in my neck of the woods is great — perfect for motorcycle riding.

I did not have much time to decide what to wear, because if I were going to meet the guys on time, I had to leave my house by 1015.

I was already wearing my Sliders Jeans — mostly because these jeans are thicker than regular denim, and not only keep me warm, would be more safe in case I went down. Also, they fit loosely, allowing for easy of swinging of the leg over the saddle when mounting or dismounting my iron horse. I am still dealing with residual swelling of my left leg, so anything that allows ease-of-movement is welcome (leather breeches and tall boots can be movement-restricting.)

I also was wearing a new pair of Chippewa harness boots. I bought them earlier this year when I found out that Chippewa discontinued these boots. I wanted to break these boots in officially on a motorcycle ride.

So back in the garage… time is ticking away… what to wear on the body? Best choice considering that I will need to be warm when I start off, then shed layers as the day warms up… I wore:

  • undershirt
  • long-sleeved t-shirt
  • quilted inside liner that came with my Rev’IT Tornado jacket — it zips up all the way to the neck and has tight velcro-fitting sleeves, so cold wind doesn’t penetrate.
  • my Rev’IT Tornado ballistic nylon jacket that fits very well. It provides an air layer between the jacket and the liner for extra insulation.

At first I wore thick gloves, and later in the day, changed gloves twice to choices of gloves that are less thick (so not to have my hands sweat), but still protective.

As it warmed up while riding, I adjusted zippers on the Rev’IT jacket to allow more air to flow in. By lunch time, I shed the inner liner all together when it felt warm and a buddy with a thermometer on his bike told me that it was 62F (17C). After lunch, I wore the Rev’IT jacket by itself with only t-shirts underneath and opened zippers for air to circulate through.

Comfy all day… multilayer choices worked great.

Did I miss the leather? Yeah, I admit, it was an adjustment to my psyche and self-image. But comfort on a day when ambient air temperatures rise by some 32 degrees (17C) was important.

I could have worn a thick leather jacket by Langlitz or Schott, but these jackets are better if the temperatures are stable or vary by only a few degrees. Not for early Spring (or late Fall) riding when air temperatures vary greatly throughout the day.

So here I am, in all my “full-(non-leather) geared” glory:Life is short: have choices of gear to select from when riding a motorcycle.

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