Every day random thoughts pop into my head, great ideas for blogging but then it disappears into the great abyss of my brain, never to be found/remembered ever again!
Well this week I finally came up with something. Generally I try to write about my own experiences and share anything that I've learned along the way. I think a lot of bloggers do the same. I mean, why would you believe what someone says about motorcycles if they didn't own one? Well, I usually don't. Especially the silly people who say things like "motorcycles are dangerous!".
This last week we (hubby and I) acquired 2 new vehicles. This is a cruddy pic, but the only one we've had time to snap so far (oops, got sucked into Facebook for 10 minutes after starting to write this. It's so evil!):
A new Scion XB! We loved our old XB, so we had to upgrade old Buster (yeah, we name our vehicles) for a new one. He's a foot longer (more trunk space), has side airbags, more horsepower and a moonroof. Yay for moonroofs.
Our (my) second acquisition:
Yep, that's a scooter. And I am wearing my Daytonas with that. Unfortunately the scooter is sooo low that my feet scuff the pavement in these boots. I just can't wear these on this little machine. So what do I wear you might ask? Or, why am I not wearing leathers? Well, frankly that would be overkill. I bought this little guy just to get me up and down in the Presidio where I live and work. I live at the top of the hill under the trees and work is down in the main parking lot. It's just more convenient to take this to work and perhaps run small errands within a .5 mile radius. I refuse to take it on Van Ness or any major thoroughfares. It's a little scary when you're in traffic and you can't go faster than 30mph! I mean, there are trucks, taxis, buses, etc.
I feel so much more vulnerable on my scooter. Even a little less safe. But how can that be? It's "just" a scooter. It "just" goes 30 mph. Well, you can only go 30-35 on a 50cc scooter. Well, on this one anyway. A lot of people upgrade theirs to go faster than the stock engines. I'm not going to pursue that option with this one. If I need more power, I have my moto. One of the arguments people have against 250cc motorcycles (especially on the freeway) is that they're too slow, you can't get out of the way if you need to. In certain situations I'm sure that's the case. But on the streets of San Francisco, 250cc's is plenty, imo. I wanted to upgrade so freeway riding would be more stable and long trips would be more comfortable, so that's why I moved up to a 750. I do feel like I don't have enough power on the city streets to get out of the way if I had to. I'm so used to having the ability to maneuver around traffic with a little more speed and power.
With my scooter, I certainly feel the need to dress appropriately. I may not wear my Daytona's or my Olympia overpants, but I'm certainly going to wear boots that cover my ankles, long pants (no skirts, no shorts) and one of my riding jackets. Since I got my Vanson fixed, I've been wearing that or my Revit, my full face helmet and racer gloves (waterproof!). Today was the first rainy day so I got soaked on my way back from Kinko's. That was no fun. It was just a light rain, but as soon as my legs got wet they were freeeezing and almost numb. I quickly stopped at home to change and then pulled on my Firstgear waterproof overpants that I normally wear for MSF classes. How do people who wear absolutely no gear, stay warm enough to operate their brakes, clutch, shift lever, etc.? If your fingers are going numb how the hell do you stop quickly in a straight line in the shortest distance possible? I was having trouble thinking about anything else other than how wet and cold I was.
Something you may not realize is that wearing proper gear (or any gear for that matter) helps you ride better, pay attention to what's going on around you, anticipate those potential situations 4-12 seconds ahead of you. When you have nothing else distracting you it's a lot easier to focus on the ride. There's so much going on around you when you're on 2 wheels, it's important to minimize all the risks that are within your power to control (drinking, drugs, emotions, and gear to name a few).
Back to my waterproof overpants. They don't have armor, and aren't very warm. But they are made for motorcycling, since they have zippers that go up the calf, presumably so you can put them on with boots. I probably should've put on my Olympia's, since they're muuuch warmer, but I only have a 2 minute ride home. Really, only 2 minutes. That's how lazy I am! For me, personally, I don't feel the need to wear an armored overpant for a 2 minute ride. I always wear them when I'm going across town on the moto and anytime I leave SF or go on the freeway.
If you are on a scooter, I urge you to cover your beautiful skin from head to toe! That's the main message here. No, you aren't going to spend $1,000 on gear. But can't you at least put on a jacket over that tank top? Perhaps some leather full fingered gloves from Olympia ($49.95) over those gorgeous long fingers? We're just talking about covering up your skin.
Try this: Walk outside to the sidewalk. Now bend down and rub your hand on the pavement. Imagine your palms rubbing on the pavement for just a few seconds. Now imagine if you didn't know how to swerve or stop quickly to avoid a pedestrian in your path.
What are you going to do first? Probably grab those brakes really hard and possibly fall over. And then instinctually, you might put your hands out to protect yourself.
Is a full face helmet, long pants, jacket and leather gloves too much?
*sigh*. Please say no.