By September 21, 2006

Bye bye summer gear

I made a trip up to Rockville/DC yesterday for work and for an Ars Technica meet in DC proper. I decided a few things on my ride.

  • Make sure my hard luggage is closed. I rode from Fredericksburg to Rockville with my left side case open. I guess I didn’t set the lid down far enough before I locked the lock. My reflective vest was a quarter of the way out, but everything was there, including my wallet, cell phone and Nintendo DS Lite. I am very surprised the vest didn’t fly out of the case, taking all of my shit with it.
  • Riding on the highway is a lot of fun. People are egged on to speed in the presence of a motorcycle, providing me with unending supply of cars to travel behind. I was only in the lead/isolation for about ten miles of my entire trip yesterday. I rode over three hundred miles, so being extra paranoid for ten is a pretty fair trade.
  • It’s time to put away the summer gear and break out the solid leather pants and my larger-sized perforated leather jacket. Luckily I had a fleece vest, silk glove liners, and balaclava in a side case, because it was about 50 degrees when I left DC, making wind chill about 38 degrees at my highway cruise speed. My right hand was so cold I had to stop in Fredericksburg on the way back. I held a cup of coffee just to get it to warm up again. I am also looking into a textile jacket for the winter: extra insulation and rainproof/resistant would make a lot of difference on longer trips.
  • After sitting at the bottom of my gear box for six months, I’m going to install my handwarmers today. Despite glove-centric solutions (like my silk liners, or heavier gloves), many cyclists on my FZ6 forum believe that handlebar-mounted handwarmers are the only way to go. I put 3000 miles on my bike last winter, maybe I’ll be able to do 5000 with the handwarmers.
  • You can change from regular clothes to motorcycle gear in a parking lot at midnight in Rockville and no one will notice. Or if they do notice, they won’t raise a stink about it and call the police.

I am super excited for my trip to start next week. Google Maps reports 500 miles from my home to my first destination, I should be able to do that no problem in one day, especially if I get my damn heated grips installed!

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