By March 13, 2006

Mmm, leather

It was in the low 80s today, which of course meant that I hopped out on my bike for a little cruise. I hit the streets at about 4PM and as an experiment decided to wear my full-leather pants instead of my perforated ones of the same model. I wanted to see, without going too far, how hot was “too hot.”

Meatspace friends of DrFaulken will know that I am always hotter than everyone else in the room. Not in a Vin Diesel kind of way, but in a “omg it’s too fucking hot in here” kind of way. My buddies also know I become intolerably cranky if I get too hot. My gear test today wasn’t just about academic interest, it may mean the difference between life and death if someone pisses me off on the road. I wore some calf-high cotton socks, cotton boxer briefs, and a nylon compression short-sleeve shirt under my leathers. I did not wear my reflective vest today.

Because a ton of shit in Richmond closes early on Sundays (or isn’t open at all, like the coffee shop near us), I had a nice chance to test my gear out at low speeds. I spent probably 45 minutes at speeds of 40MPH or less. I specifically choose the busiest street in our area so I would get stuck at as many lights as possible. Sitting at lights gave me lots of chances to wave at all the other cyclists out today and to take note about what other riders were wearing.

For the most part, these jackasses are going to raise my insurance rates if they crash. There were plenty of “squids” with shorts, sneakers, a leather jacket, and helmets on, but I also saw one whackjob with a helmet and a leather jacket — completely unzipped. What the hell is an unzipped jacket going to do for ya in a crash, buddy? Hopefully wrap around your head like a garbage bag and suffocate you so you won’t pass on your Idiot Geneā„¢ to any future riders. There were tons of Harley-type cruisers out there, too cool to wear anything but a wifebeater, denim jacket/vest, and jeans. One guy was wearing nothing but an open-faced half-helmet. Enjoy eating those bugs, tough guy!

I only saw one rider with full leather gear on other than myself, and he one-upped me by wearing a full piece suit. He was also riding a big ass liter bike and appreciated the consequences of crashing at highway speeds.

I tooled around for about 90 minutes than came back home. I didn’t feel particularly overheated during any part of my time out, except for behind my knees, the top of my head, and my hands. My full leather Held Ninja gloves were HOT. I can’t imagine what it will be like this summer with temperatures in the 90s and hot-ass-sun blaring down on me. I may have to look into some textile gloves for extremely hot days. I got home and pulled my suit off. I sweat a bit through my generic Cool-Max shirt, and as I had thought initially my legs were fairly sweaty. While my pants and jacket are lined, I am concerned about stanking up my suit once the temperatures really escalate. I am in the process of researching suit liners. It might make me a little warmer, but if it’s something that is machine washable then I’d rather be a little bit more uncomfy than have to worry about de-stinky-fying a leather suit.

I started a thread on my FZ6 forum to see if any of the more experienced riders have suggestions on what they do about the warmer months. I know at least two of my readers are/were motorcyclists, so I’ll update this post with any information I might find.

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