March 17 2009 by Jason Fogelson
Getting ready for a trip always involves a big gear inspection. What to wear, what to pack, what to leave at home. I happen to enjoy the planning part of a trip almost as much as I enjoy the trip itself. Almost.
I have to confess that I'm one of those ATGATT guys. You know, All The Gear, All The Time. So my senses are particularly tuned to pick up what I perceive as real mistakes by my fellow riders. At risk of sounding like a gear evangelist, here are a few things I've actually seen other bikers and their passengers wearing on the road:
- Flip-Flops. Seriously. Flip-Flops and sandals. I wouldn't walk across the street in them, and yet I have seen riders with their toes exposed.
- Tennis Shoes. Not as bad as Flip-Flops, but still inadequate to the demands of motorcycling.
- Shorts and/or skirts. Forget about how little protection your legs get in a crash. How about protecting them from your bike? Bikes have hot pipes and exposed metal, both of which are unforgiving to bare flesh.
- Novelty Helmets. I don't want to get into the helmet law issue here - that is, unless you want to. But if you're going to wear a helmet, make it a real one, DOT approved at least. My personal preference is for a full-face model, which may be more of a statement about my appearance than pure safety.
- Tank tops, t-shirts, tube tops. Actually, these are okay, as long as you wear a good quality jacket over them. And zip those jackets closed - a flapping jacket doesn't do anything for you in a get-off.
- All Black. Motorcyclists love to wear black, but you've got to be seen. Add a splash of reflective material on your sleeve, on your back, on your legs. Make sure that other drivers can see you, especially at night.
Plan well. Think about the weather where you'll be riding, and wear layers. Dress to be seen, and dress to be safe.
You'll still look cool. I promise.
What's the biggest gear mistake you've seen during your travels?