Something I’ve learned to be more interested in as a biker is the weather. While I absolutely love the feeling of being more connected with nature on a motorcycle, I’ve also accepted that I must endure some of nature’s less pleasant moments. Of course there are the bugs, changing winds, and I’ve developed some interesting tan lines from the back of a bike but the one thing that nature likes to throw at me in the most inconvenient moments is rain. It’s something all bikers have faced at some point and there’s much to be learned from the experience if you’re new to riding motorcycles. I didn’t like rain gear when I began riding, and I can’t claim to love it now but it has become an essential part of my riding gear for comfort as well as safety. I’ve burnt a few pair of Frogg Toggs pants on my exhaust pipe and I just go buy more because the price is right and I like the product. Maybe someday they’ll develop something I can’t burn up, lol!
I’ve traveled a few places and lived in others around the globe but I’ve gotta say the southeastern U.S. can kick out some storms that make you wonder if Jesus is about to bust the sky wide open with the apocalypse! Hurricanes, tornadoes, wind, and lighting are all formidable foes. The South has it all except snow, although I had a run in with that on a motorcycle in Ohio once. I don’t plan to get stuck in this stuff, it just happens. I once toyed with the idea of this cute open face helmet with goggles and that lasted like a whole week. It took a face full of bugs and the feeling of needle like rain drops to toss the idea (& the helmet) aside. I know the hipsters love that whole “Speed Racer” look, but the functionality leaves much to be desired. That helmet is cool on the skull in my blog logo but in reality, when donning the open face helmet I felt a little more like The Great Gazoo…Gazoo was cool, sort of. Maybe not as cool as those old crusty hardcore bikers. You know, the ones with the long white beards, tatts, and leather. Those guys laugh at the elements. The hubster and I saw one of those guys on a ride to Pensacola, FL a few weeks ago. He was riding in the rain with nothing for protection against the elements (or the road) except a pair of shades and a smile. I don’t criticize these guys, in my mind they are mysterious and wise like Gandalf……and like Gandalf they will always be cool whether they die trying to save middle earth, or in this case, their image. In any case, to each his own. Definitely not my approach. The cloud of coolness doesn’t protect my skin and other vital organs and I like keeping them all nicely protected.
Enjoying the ride is what it’s all about and preparing for the elements helps ensure that will happen. I’m learning to appreciate a little light rain while riding as long as I have the right gear. You don’t have to spend a million bucks. I have a gal pal that shared how she’d stopped at a gas station and used garbage bags and duct tape to thwart off the elements once. Ya might wanna spend a little more than that, but you get my point. Before I had a Bike with hand guards I kept an oversized pair of surgical gloves in my jacket pocket to put on over my riding gloves in the rain. They were snug and easy to carry. Speed Racer, Gazoo, and Gandalf aside, appreciation of function over fashion has kept me safe and ready to handle what nature tosses my way. Prepare for the elements, even fair weather riders can be caught off guard and if the rain isn’t something you’re used to, find a nice overpass or awning to duck under and wait it out. Do push yourself a little and learn about riding in the rain, you might find it quite refreshing on a hot dusty day!