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.

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