By May 13, 2008

I got blown.

Around. On my trip, that is. After waffling on whether or not to take my motorcycle, and if I should wear my textile or leather gear, I wound up jumping on my bike in the rain and heading down to Savannah, Georgia for the weekend.

I’ve said this before: good gear, and the right gear, will make or break a motorcycle trip.

I had such a bad mismatch between gear and weather it’s made me rethink my cross-country trip in June of this year.

It was 71°F and rainy when I left Richmond. I wore my textile gear because it was waterproof, and there was a chance of storm when I expected to be on my bike. I was a little warm, but I rode down to my stopping point in Fayetteville, NC without too much discomfort.

The next day it was very hot, and instead of the showers and storms hinted at by the weather folks it was absolutely sunny and clear. It got as hot as 90°F. I started to get concerned about heat exhaustion: my thinking was “fuzzy,” and at one point I stopped sweating. We pulled over shortly thereafter and I drank a bunch of bottled water.

The textile was working against me — as was the body armor I was wearing underneath it. I was trapped in a waterproof, armored shell, and it was all I could do to stay focused until our next stop.

I was beating myself up about not taking the leather until I left Monday. It got as hot as 82°F in North Carolina, but by the time I got into Richmond it was 52°F with scattered showers. I went from sweating to turning on my heated grips and seat in one ride.

The worst part of the return trip was the wind. I dealt with sustained 20MPH winds almost the entire trip, with gusts probably twice that. I was frequently blown around in my lane. At one point I was passing a FedEx truck hauling two trailers. At the midway point a gust blew up and forced me over about three feet. I could have touched the FedEx trailer. Talk about a pucker moment.

Good gear can make or break a trip, but what happens when you need more than one set of good gear? Sure, you could plan to take two (or more) sets of gear, but you wind up storing gear and not clothes, supplies, or goodies. No matter what I chose when I left for my trip, my gear would have been inadequate at some point.

My trip to Georgia made me reconsider my trip to California. I would have to cross some of the hottest spots in the country during their stormiest periods. It would be repeating my Georgia trip, except for instead of just dealing with it for one day I’d have twelve days of discomfort. I don’t necessarily mind being on the bike for a dozen days, but if it’s a repeat of my trip down South, I’ll buy a plane ticket instead.

With gas prices as they are, it will probably be cheaper to fly, anyway.

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Posted in: motorcycling

1 Comment on "I got blown."

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  1. jim_shoe says:

    Summer is way more predictable than spring – I’m sure you’ll have the room for a change of gear on the bike.
    I think it’d be way worth the hastle.
    I’m totally jealous.

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