01 March 2009

Wild Geese that fly with the moon on their wings

In the April 2009 issue of Rider magazine, nine staffers revealed their favorite goodies that they just couldn’t do without when they rode. I thought that it was interesting their differences of preference. This morning, for some reason or another, I woke up thinking about my favorite things. Here’s a list of them.

Heated gear- When I moved out here from the East Coast to the Inland Northwest almost twenty years ago, I thought that heated clothing was for the older and somewhat retired set of riders who just couldn’t handle a little bit of a chill from time to time.

It was on a midnight ride in the middle of June while riding from Spokane Washington to Bozeman Montana that I had an epiphany. It can get really cold out here in this neck of the woods even in the middle of summer. The temperature on the truck stop sign confirmed this, 36˚ in the middle of June!

Out here on the Palouse, it is not uncommon for the temperatures to linger somewhere in the 40’s all summer long during my early morning commute. Heated gear makes all the difference. My electric vest only takes up a fraction of the space in my bags compared to the clothing that I would need to otherwise stow when I wasn’t trying to stay warm.

My personal choice is the Tourmaster Synergy vest with the heated collar. I prefer this over my old Eclipse because I have a choice of temperature settings. When the temperature is in the 40’s, I keep it on the lowest setting, but if the ride is long or drops lower than that, I can always turn up the heat.

Turtle Fur- This is nothing more than a tube of fleece about six or seven inches in width that protects the exposed portion of my neck between my jacket and helmet, it cost less than $10 at Cycle Gear and has been well worth the investment. I always make sure that this simple little piece of fabric is in my bags before I go anywhere. If you don’t have one of these things, I recommend trying one out. For only $10, trust me, you’ll get your money’s worth. You’d be surprised the difference a warm neck makes.

Storage- My bike is one of my main sources of transportation (if I lived in a warmer climate, I wouldn’t be too surprised if it were my only source). Because of this, I need storage and quite a bit of it.

Recently, I discarded my old KLR soft saddle bags and Charlie and I installed a new pair of Aluminum touring boxes from www.klr650.com. Now I have a secure place to stow my belongings without having to worry about any dismal creature that possesses the ability to manipulate a zipper to rifle through my stuff whenever I am away from the bike.

Storage makes all the difference on a daily rider.

G.P.S/Delorme charts- My riding takes me to some pretty remote places and 9/10’s of the time I don’t know exactly where I’m at, and I prefer that. When I need to find my way out, even the most basic G.P.S. when used with one of my Delorme charts will tell me exactly where I am. I’ve given a lot of thought about buying something with an on screen map, but for my type of riding in the wilderness, the limited information that I would receive wouldn’t be sufficient.

All I really need are Coordinates and a chart, with my background in aviation, I am very comfortable with Pilotage and Dead Reckoning, I don’t need arrows telling me to turn left or right and in the wilderness I don’t think they would work well anyways.

I’ve been lost in a lot of big cities before; in that case a product like a Garmin Zumo would be a perfect tool. But most of the places I ride, I am not limited to paved roads and right angles and to quote Martha, “that’s a good thing.”

Tire Repair Kit- I never go into the wilderness without one of these; it’s a long walk out, enough said. It should be noted that one should know how to use one of these as well.

So there you have it, my list of Favorite things. I’m curious now, what are some of your favorite things.

Ride Well