By October 31, 2005

So THAT'S what a frozen hand feels like!

Note: despite the title, this entry is not about masturbation.

I need to take Cylon down to Charlottesville for his 600 mile tune up this upcoming week, and I figured that riding him at highway speeds might make me a little chilly. I have had previous experience with being chilled on the bike, and I didn’t want to be uncomfortable on a 160 mile round trip if I could help it. My plan: test out my Held Ninja gloves as well as the rest of my brrrr weather gear on a short 20 mile each way jaunt on a nearby freeway.

Equipment:

  • 100% poly moisture wicking tshirt
  • Thin performance fleece jacket
  • Perforated Teknic Chicane leather jacket
  • ICON Milspec reflective nylon vest
  • Held Ninja Gloves
  • CoolMAX skullcap
  • Regular jeans (Old Navy)
  • Nitro sport armored boots
  • HJC Symax composite helmet
  • Oakley Juliette sunglasses

This is what I typically wear whenever I’m cruising about town, except for the tshirt (I am normally wearing one of my cotton ha-ha funny shirts) and the skullcap.

The temperature was about 58 degrees when I left the house. Motoring around on the surface streets was quite comfortable; with the sun out I venture to say I got a little warm on my back. So far so good.

When I hit the highway, everything seemed fine — at first. I was cruising along at 75MPH. The turbulence from the air running off my windscreen was annoying. The wind rushed right down the front of my jacket and up the front of my helmet. This was a source of a minor, but annoying chill. Much worse, I found out, were my legs — the jeans did jack shit to keep my manly quads warm. The all-metal gas tank was cold like the embrace of a jilted woman. One benefit to having extremely cold legs? In the event of an accident, my balls were so contracted that they would have survived even the most violent impact. I almost became a eunuch somewhere around mile 10.

Speaking of mile 10, at about this point my hands began to turn cold. Like you stuck them in ice water. Cold like the kind that makes Lady Jaye shrill when I touch her bare behind. You know, fucking cold. I wasn’t about to stop. My mitts were just uncomfortable, but so far weren’t numb enough to keep me from reaching either the brake lever or the clutch lever. But compounded with my cold legs, the wind rushing about my body, and my fingers, I got uncomfortable. And I didn’t want to be uncomfortable on the freeway.

I crouched down close to the tank, and noticed a few things immediately. My chest didn’t get buffeted by the wind as much, and my speed increased by about 2 or 3 MPH without adjusting the throttle, and there was enough low-level noise that I couldn’t hear a DAMN thing. I would have happily rode the rest of the way crouched over like that, but I couldn’t see with my side mirrors and in the event of a traffic stop I wanted to be able to see the po po behind me. I did a 60/40 mix of riding upright and crouched the rest of the way.

By mile 16 or so my right hand moreso than my left really began to get cold. I was still able to manipulate the levers, but I figured that if I had to go all the way to Charlottesville I’d either be in trouble or would have to stop a few times each direction. I finished the first leg of my trip and stopped off for some coffee and went by Dick’s sporting goods to see what they had to offer in the way of glove liners.

I expected to find some thin cotton liners and some silk liners. Silk liners are sought after by motorcyclists because it’s a very thin, but warm material. Dick’s had cotton liners, but they were too bulky once I put my gloves over them. I opted for some nylon ultrathin weatherproof liners. I put them on underneath my gloves and they seemed okay. Anything was better than numb fingers, right?

I also bought a fleece and neoprene crazy mugger mask with a cutout for my nose and vents over the mouth. Most importantly, the mask had a fleece cowl that I could tuck into my jacket. So much for the draftiness!

Stocked up, I headed back out on the highway to come home. I was proud of myself for beating mother nature when I noticed my right hand started to tingle a little bit. Odd, I thought, my hands don’t feel cold. Those new liners I bought? For some reason, they were just a little too tight on my right hand and it cut off my circulation. I freaked out just a little bit, but at 80MPH I couldn’t afford to wave my hand around to get blood back into it. I extended and contracted my forefingers for most of the way home. And while the mask I bought kept the wind from going up my helmet and down my vest, it fogged my Oakleys up when I wasn’t cruising at highway speeds.

So what’s a boy to do? I guess it’s time to break out my armored winter gloves, at least when the ambient temperature is 55 or less. That in itself is kind of a pain, since I’ll have to juggle what gloves to take Tuesday when I go to Charlottesville. Do I take my too-hot-during-the-afternoon armored winter gloves, or try to endure the 80 mile trip back with my vented Ninja gloves, sans blood flow constricting liners? I’ll let you know Tuesday night or Wednesday. 🙂

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