Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year, New Gear

After the shopping is done and plans are set,  trees are trimmed and wrapping is done there is a pause before the storm of Christmas.   Surrounded by family and the whir of wrapping paper being shredded by my four year old and her younger sister on Christmas morning I sat with a gift in my lap.   My wife got me the one thing that I asked for this year:  a Moto-Skiveez technical riding shirt.   
     In my whitewater kayaking years I was notorious for having old gear, crap gear, and sometimes no gear at all.   I showed up to the put in for the Mad river one day to find that I did not have a bathing suit in my gear box.   My girlfriend at the time (Steph,  now my wife) thought it was funny that without a beat,  I just ran the river bare-assed.  My thought was that there was no way I was going to swim and I didn't need to scout or walk any of the rapids.  My rash guards never dried, and developed a mushroom fragrance.   I remember hanging gear on multi day early spring camping trips only to find that they had frozen stiff during the cold temps of the night.    Into the truck the wet gear went on the floor where the spray top and fleece shirts ceased to be stiff, and now just plain stunk in a pile of season long sweat and memories.   My English friend Chambers always had a fire at the camp site.   Chambers was a Royal Commando during his British military service.   He warmed bottles of red wine on the fire grate rotating them to keep the glass from sagging.   You can imagine that warm red wine left quite an impression on chilly coeds.   Let's just say it hit the spot as the heat of the day was replaced with the cold of night.   On my solo white water trip to Colorado, Utah and Wyoming I biffed the put in otter slide to big Gore on the Colorado River,  surrounded by experts and full time unemployed paddlers.   The 40 foot gravel slide was the easiest way to get to the river for the long flat water paddle down stream to the continuous class 4 and some class 5 water.  The mud at the river bank proved too sticky for me, out of shape and side ways my boat hit the mud at full speed and 7 feet short of the river I barrel rolled (not breaking my paddle) cutting my right forearm and my Kokatat dry top.    As I wrapped my right fore arm in duct tape to keep the water out I saw blood running out the wrist gasket.   This once nice piece of paddling gear would be forever referred to as the not so dry top.   Despite a blown skirt on the outlet of the namesake rapid: Gore,  I hit my roll on the 3rd attempt.   I saw 3 guys swim that day when their fiber glass paddles blew up at the joint in the middle.  I ran that piece of leaking gear the rest of the season and shipped it out for factory repair when my 2 month trip was over.  The trip has always come first.    In motorcycling I bought the least expensive Joe Rocket jacket my first year on my BMW.  I wore it and blue Jeans with a 20 year old hand me down snowmobile helmet similar gear to what I ran on my sportster 883.   Even when I upgraded my helmet to my current Simpson Outlaw Bandit,  I still rode to the 2014 MOA national in blue jeans,  not exactly all the gear all the time (ATGATT).   
     I was standing around the picnic table of the Puppy Dog ride dinner nursing a salt and seaweed beer that was a miss from the hop radicals at Lost Nation.  The PDR is my Vermont charter clubs boarder to boarder 2 day ride on dirt roads.  A fellow rider and the club VP's Dad: David Brosnahan came up to me leaning in to say:   "You're a 44L aren't you?"  "Why yes I am" I replied.   I had used the Aerostitch size calculator to come up with my size.   I had been shopping on craigslist for a used riding suit at various cities across the US.  "Are you still looking for a stitch?" David asked.  "Yes,  absolutely" I replied.    "I have one for you" He said.  "Yes great, I'll buy it" I said,  "How much".    "Well" he goes,  I just sent it out for factory zipper replacement.   "Three hundred?" Martha his wife said.   "No" Dave replied turning to look at her,  "that's too much".    Just like that,  my favorite piece of motorcycle gear found me.  Dave called me to see if he could drop my new to me Roadcrafter two piece at my work in Middlebury, VT.   "You want to drive up from outside Keene, NH to deliver me the suit at work?" I asked.  "Well" Dave said: "Lake Carmi weekend is coming up and it is calling for rain,  I want you to have it."   "How about this", I asked: "Why don't you ride up to my house,  spend the night and I will cook you and your son dinner."  
In Stitches

The first night of the 2015 Green Mountain Rally my brother Tyler was getting ready for bed.  Ron Dawson and Sandy Marincic filled the remainder of the sparse 4 bunk cabin.  Camp Thorpe is a historic summer camp for children with special needs.   My local charter club the BMW Motorcycle Owners of Vermont rents the property each September for our largest event.  Lucky enough to book a cabin,  I had one unused bed left after my two wheeled friends from Canada committed to attend.   My non motorcycling brother Tyler liked the sound of our "Ride to Eat" motto.   After dinner Ty thought it best to tuck in for the night.  He then realized that there were no sheets or blankets on the cots.   I ended up giving him my sleeping bag thinking that I was going to get much less sleep from all of the late night time visiting with far off friends.   So I come in from the bonfire having had just enough to drink and I decide that I can drape clothes over me to stay warm. Let's just say that Friday night was no good.  Dehydration,  pounding headache and waking up freezing,  barefoot and pulling fleece shirts over different parts of me.  During the morning incident review it was determined by engineering (Ron Dawson) that I had left my best option for a warm nights sleep on the floor: my Aerostitch Roadcrafter!  Well let me tell you,  Saturday night was a horse of a different color.   After similar dedication to fireside festivities three of us headed back to the cabin late night to find Tyler snoring away.   I put on my riding boots and stepped into my stitch.  Then I put my helmet on for effect thinking about John Ryan sleeping bare back on the concrete floor of a car wash for 15 min.  My helmet proved to be too warm.   I woke up refreshed Sunday morning and headed to breakfast.   The LeVangie twins were already seated at one of the round tables in the mess hall.  "Wow",  Bear said: "You are up and ready to go, you are all dressed".  "Not really" I said.   "I slept in it."  And cue the dimple skeptical look. 

New Gear

There are a number of things special about the Moto-Skiveez performance riding shirt.  The mesh fabric seen in the photo above enhances air flow to promote cooling while riding under protective clothing.  It is cut to be in the riding position.   Thumb holes in the sleeves help you pull your suit on over it without the sleeves riding up.   I can't tell you how great the shirt is as I have just received it and although it is 35 degrees and sunny here in VT,  the roads are a bit icy.  I am looking forward to riding on two wheels in the new year,  with this piece of new gear.   See you on the road, or at a rally, except this time I will be in my Skiveez.  


Blog author stoked with Christmas Gear

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