Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Summer Time, Summer Time
OK so Summer is here. 94f and humidity so high that it feels like walking through a vat of hot tapioca pudding. The temptation is to ride motorcycles in the least amount of protective gear as possible. I see lots of riders in a t-shirt, gym shorts, and tennis shoes or flip flops with a full face helmet.
I find this bewildering. So it is hot enough to forgo hand, arm, chest, leg and foot protection, but they still are going to protect that face? Someone explain this to me. They are really intent on the safest helmet but the rest is elective? +1 for wearing a helmet. +1 for a full face helmet. -5 for omitting the rest of the gear.
photo by author, all rights reserved
I followed this guy on my commute home in his summer "riding gear" the other afternoon. As we approached 65mph, his t-shirt amounted to a scarf flapping from his neck in the breeze. At the same time, I observed many distracted drivers on the crowded highway. One lady was filing her nails driving with her knee. While several were lost in cellphone and text message conversations. One errant move by one of these distracted drivers could cause a bad situation. Such a situation would be acerbated by his lack of gear.
Yes, I still believe All the Gear All the Time (AGATT) even during Georgia Summer heat. "But leathers are hot!" True that, so maybe its time to look at textile riding gear designed for this weather.
Several manufacturers offer Textile chap, pants, and jackets with built in armor while also providing vents. Some will argue that textile gear with mesh sleeves provide little protection. I would argue it is significantly better than a t-shirt. I have slid across asphalt in a mesh jacket with armor and walked away with no bodily scars under the jacket. So tell me about the success of a t-shirt opposed to mesh riding jackets.
My point is simple. Do not completely disregard protective riding gear due to the heat. Find suitable hot weather gear. Because you cannot prepare for everything you might encounter out there - uneven asphalt in the dark, flying aluminum ladders, fuel spilled in the roadway, deer or dogs running across the road, distracted cage drivers, etc.
Today, in 94f weather, I dodged a fiberglass ladder in the highway and observed more distracted drivers that I care to think about. So, be prepared.