Saturday, April 24, 2010

I Bought Some Gerbing Gear

gerbing heated motorcycle glovesWell I finally bought myself some Gerbings. I bought the heated gloves and jacket liner. After that Arizona camping trip, I realized how tough it is to keep warm.

Last month I wrote "Why Fat Bikers Are Better", explaining how I lost 90 pounds of fat, and along with it my ability to protect myself from cold weather.

I've always figured that riding a motorcycle means feeling the wind, and therefore being cold. But then again back in those days, I was never truly cold.

It was the morning of Day 4 on the camping trip, we broke camp early in the morning. Temperature when we left was about 40 degrees. But we climbed elevation to Hannagan Meadow, the air temperature gauge on my Honda ST read 32 degrees. I figure with a 60mph wind chill, my hands were experiencing 15 degree temps.

My hands were so cold they felt like they were on fire. I was actually wearing two pairs of gloves, a pair of summer gloves underneath, and a pair of winter gloves over those. And yet they were still so painful, I worried I was doing irreparable damage to them. I pulled over to stop.

A guy behind me pulled over with me, and he happened to have a second pair of winter gloves. I tried those on. They seemed to be a little better, but after several miles, the pain continued.

The Gerbing gear is pretty easy to set up. You just wire it to your battery, and you plug it in. They explain it on their website if you're interested. Just make sure you buy the temperature controller, or else you're getting heat full blast.

But expect to pay a lot of money. I threw down almost $500.00 for the gloves, the jacket liner, the temperature controller, and the case that holds the temperature controller to your belt, plus the sales tax.

I had actually planned to buy heated grips for my ST. But a friend of mine made the point that with heated gear instead, you can unwire it from the battery and reinstall it on another bike should I ever plan to get another bike. Whereas with heated grips, they're permanently attached to that bike.

Of course, now that we're well into Spring, I doubt I'll be using this stuff until next Winter. But Hell, I'll need it eventually.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Riders Are Ditching Half-Helmets

Lately as I've looked around I'm noticing more riders wearing 3/4 or full-face helmets.

And I'm talking cruiser riders.

In the past, I hardly ever saw them wear these, they'd only wear half-helmets, or novelty helmets. Today, I want to say that 50% of the cruiser riders I see are wearing 3/4 or full face helmets now.

And that's here in Southern California. I don't know what it's like in other parts of the country.

California has a helmet law, but the law doesn't define how much of your head is supposed to be covered, only that the helmet is DOT approved.

So what does that say when riders are allowed to wear half-helmets yet opt to wear helmets that offer more protection? The way I look at it, it means the state can eliminate its helmet laws, and riders will still take care of their safety.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Back Home From my Camping Trip

coronado trail blue mesaGot back home Wednesday from my 5-day motorcycle camping trip to Arizona. Wow, what a great time!

Here's a link to all my photos...
http://picasaweb.google.com/ cleardigital/20100403ArizonaCamping

Here's a link to the route map...

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr....&spn=1.522363,2.90863&z=9

To sum it all up in one word: COLD!

My leather jacket and thermal undies kept my body and legs ok, but my hands were freezing. I brought two pairs of gloves, a pair of summer gloves and a pair of winter gloves. On day #4 the morning was so cold I put both pairs on, yet it still did little good. So now I'm looking at heated grips for my ST.

But this trip was all about riding some great roads, and hanging out with great friends by the campfire.

There's something neat about a motorcycle camping trip. Your whole world is reduced down to just you, your motorcycle, your friends, and whatever the road brings you. One half of the day is spent with our minds focused on navigating curves at high speeds, the other half is spent mesmerized by a campfire.

The establishments we stopped at observe us as just a handful of patrons out of hundreds they see everyday. And we see them as just a handful of establishments out of hundreds that we passed by. Our world is a blur at 80mph, while their world stands still. We see a forest of trees streaming past us, while they see the forest for the trees.

One part of me says that it's good to be back, and another part says that I want to get back on the road and go somewhere else.

Well, I could go on and on and on, but I'll save it for future blog posts.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Arizona Trip, Mormon Lake

Photo of our bikes at Mormon Lake, AZ.

It's been a long Cold day. Hands are freezing cold. Body and legs feel fine though. On our way to a campground by Sedona.

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Arizona Trip, Twisties

Today is what the whole trip was about, riding the Coronado Trail, US Hwy 191, what we consider to be one of the roads in the western USA for motorcycle riding.

This is a photo of our bikes in Clifton, AZ, at the southern start of the highway. Last night we camped off the side of the road midway up the highway. This morning we rode north and came back south through New Mexico on highway 180. And then back over to Clifton, where we took another pass at the Coronado Trail.

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Arizona Trip, Leaving in the Morning

It was fun night by the campfire. Really cold out. But we all packed warm sleeping bags. Another long day of riding ahead.

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Arizona Trip, Camp Set Up

We couldn't get into Kartchner Caverns campground, nor Patagonia Lake campground. So rode up a road into Coronado National Forest and found a trailhead. We parked our bikes at the trailhead and hauled our camp gear out for about 100 feet.

Cooking brauts, drinking beer and Jack D.

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Arizona Trip, Ran Out Of Gas

Brian runs out of gas on the Interstate, just two miles from the station. His Ultra Classic just doesn't good mileage. Good news is that Larry brought a siphon and we were able to get some gas out of one of the Goldwings.

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Arizona Camping - Staging

5:00am, Temecula, CA. We Americans have this habit of starting road trips very early. I wonder why that is?

Did we inherit this from our fore fathers?

Back when people still rode horses, and covered wagons, and make that long migration west, did the man of the house say, "Come on Martha, I want to get an early start on that long dusty trail"?

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Motorcycle Camping in Arizona

Tomorrow morning I'm heading out on a 5-day motorcycle camping trip into Arizona with guys from our riding club.

We do this trip every Spring Break, though not necessarily the same exact route.

This will be my first motorcycle camping trip on my Honda ST1300. I've got it all packed up and ready to go. Seems like I have more space to carry things on the ST1300 compared to my Ultra Classic. But that may also be because over the many camping trips I've done, I'm just taking less and less stuff.

motorcycle camping
Anyways, I plan to take plenty of photos.

In fact, I'll snap some photos with my cellphone, and upload them to this blog as it happens, along with some notes. It'll be just like you're there with us.

Provided of course, I have cell service where I'm going.

Here's a preliminary map of our route...



This route will more than likely change. Some of these roads are still closed due to unseasonally high snow fall. So we'll have to shoot from the hip, and figure out alternative routes as we get there.

But that whole spontaneity thing is part of what our club is about. Whatever happens, we're going to get some good riding in, and have a great time.

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About Steve

San Diego, CA-based motorcycle rider who likes long road trips, old rustic bars, craft beer, and tough women. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, writing about the mysteries of life. (Read more...)