Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Gear

Last weekend I headed up to Dahlonega to Riders Hill to do some shopping for some riding boots. I have always ridden in steel-toe work boots, but while we were in Venezuela, I really became interested in purposely designed riding boots. Because the weather was hot, sunny, and clear, Riders Hill's parking lot was packed with every kind of bike that one could imagine.

After trying on a couple of pair and checking out features, I selected a pair of Alpinestars Ridge boots. I also have been giving some serious thought to a Hi-Viz riding jacket to increase the visibility during my 42 mile daily commute. Anything to help the cage drivers with their cellphones embedded into the side of their skulls see the guy on the Harley with three headlights. They had a First Gear Mesh-Tex mesh Hi-Viz jacket in extra large, but they were sold out of the size I needed - Large. But they quickly offered to order one for me as he had three other orders for the day for the same jacket.

Thursday I checked with them and the jacket was in, so I began the calculations in my head. If I left work at 3:30pm and could keep my speed, I could reach Riders Hill before they closed at 5pm. But with Atlanta traffic, it would be close.

I left work and immediately began encountering all kinds of traffic obstacles. I began to employ Dan Bateman avoidance measures and began slicing through traffic. 42 miles into the 65 mile ride to Riders Hill, I noted that I would also be pushing the absolute limits of the range for the amount of fuel I had. So, despite my time crunch, I dove into the gas station and burned some precious time and income purchasing some $4.00 a gallon 92 octane gasoline.

Back on the road, I now had 23 miles of Ga HWY 9, an old two lane twisting blacktop. And to my chagrin, more traffic wanting to drive 15 mile an hour slower than the speed limit and no passing zones. About five miles South of Dawsonville, it began to rain. And then it began to pour. Marvelous. The rain drops were huge and coming down at a pelting rate. For several minutes it felt like they could cut my cheeks. North of Dawsonville the rain quit and instantly the humidity began to rise.

Finally, I reached the city limits of Dahlonega where I would have to maneuver through 4 stoplights before heading North to Riders Hill. And would you know it everyone wanted to pull out of intersections in front of me and drive 10 mile an hour slower than the posted speed limit - Grand.

After what seemed to take forever, I arrived at Riders Hill and the gate was still open. As I rode up the inclined driveway, I could see the "Open" light still lit. I parked and crawled off Rosie and checked my watch - 5:05pm, darn it! But the door was still unlocked. The staff was more than happy to hook me up with my new Hi-Viz jacket making the trip worthwhile.

After making the ride home, I started taking off my riding gear when the snap on one sleeve cuff of my new jacket came apart. I sent an email to First Gear late Friday afternoon explaining my predicament. Within an hour I had a very pleasant response offering to fix the issue for free.

First thing Monday morning, I received an UPS prepaid shipping tag and a RMA in my email for returning the jacket to the folks at First Gear. So, while a bit dismayed I had an issue day one with my new jacket, I have to say I am delighted with how quickly First Gear has responded to make amends.


SonjaM said...

The Alpinestar Ridge are an excellent choice, waterproof even during hours of downpour, warm, just the right weight to be able to walk around in it. I love those boots.

irondad said...

I also need new boots. For some reason mine are all beveled off on the edges.

Glad everybody motorcycle related treated you so well.

What are Dan Bateman avoidance techniques? Have you learned to ride that big Harley over the top of cars? It's much easier front to back than side to side, let me tell you!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sir:

I also need new boots, as the $125 wonders I got from Bates are beginning to come apart at the sole. Yet the link you provided said the boots you receommended were no longer available. Plus the fact that is that I need a wide width boot, and other than the Mega-model from Sidi, custom boots get really expensive. There are several ovvered under the "Harley" name, but they have that "Harley" branding stamped all over them.

Fondest regards,
Twisted Roads

Allen Madding said...

reep -
Apparently Alpinestar rearranged their website after I published the post. For you, I have researched the new page and updated the link in my article. The new link is:

Unknown said...

When I bought my first pair of motorcycle boots, I was not a fan. They're heavy and I thought my knees would blow out walking. A few years on, I hate riding in anything else. They give me protection and give a great feel to shifting that I don't have with any other footwear. Granted, they're hot, very hot. I will not go with black next time. I don't care if I look like the Michelin man, I might just buy white boots.

It's the same with my riding jacket, I used to hate it, but now I wear it almost all the time. It gives me a sense of security close to a seat belt, I feel naked without either my jacket or the belt (the times I actually take the car.)

My tip, though, is to spend time and buy what you want. Really buy what you want. I have a fieldsheer jacket, and I'm not completely in love with the cut and quality of the item. If I had the money to spend again, I would take longer (and not buy from the internet) and find a good showroom to peruse. You've got to wear that stuff for a long time - and for a long time after you want to take it off, many days.

Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

Allen Madding said...

Really good tip, Brady. Especially with the boots, I wanted to be able to try them on for sure!


Unknown said...

I think We should concern to use the work boots. You can express your personality with your nice shoes. It can be your foot safer also. So when you use the foot boots, then two things keep your mind. First one is using the best quality and secondly choose as your personality.

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