Thursday, October 18, 2007

Techsox High-Tech Motorcycle Socks

I've been aware of Techsox for a while, but was hesitant to try them due to their cost. At about $16.95, they are more than double the cost of my long-time favorites for 3-season riding: Cruiserworks Coolmax socks. However, I received a pair Techsox "High-Tech Touring Socks" free from the nice folks at the Americade Rally for being a pre-registered attendee. The pic at left shows the Americade-logo'd socks (sox?) I received. Techsox makes two cuts for motorcycling use -- Boot Cut and High Cut; the Americade giveaway appears to be the Boot Cut version. They're made from 70% polypropylene with silver anti-microbial, 20% elastic and 10% Lycra. Techsox are very structured and are specifically made for (and thankfully, labeled) the left and right feet. In addition to the expected moisture-wicking properties claimed, Techsox also boasts of seemless toes, shin and tendon padding, a form fit heel, cooling vents (darned if I find them tho) and arch support. My pair were a snug, almost tight, but proper, fit. They don't droop off the calf at all, even on my sticks that pass as legs. I've now worn them an estimated 10 - 12 times while commuting and on 4 rides of 100+ miles, including a non-stop, 164 mile 4:15 ride in very high heat, and an all-day event that included a bit of walking a couple of weekends ago. I never once noticed the socks while I was wearing them, which I imagine is the best compliment one can give a sock, eh? That means they're not only comfy, but they're void of any pressure points caused by seams or rolling fabric. The most impressive finding is that, even though I've worn the Techsox under my waterproof/Goretex-lined Rev'It! Fusion boots (which can get hot) -- the socks have been absolutely bone dry to the touch afterwards! Even my Cruiserworks Coolmax socks don't wick away the moisture that well. Dry feet are happy feet and these would be great for multi-day tours. I've followed the washing instructions (line dry only) and my Techsox still look new with no staining or darkening of the white fabric, or fraying of seams, etc. So, any shortcomings? Yes, a literal one: I wish they were a tad taller; mine are barely over the top of my boot. Techsox sells the High Cut but they look like they'd be too tall for street riding -- dirt maybe. And, as awesome as they are, Techsox are expensive enough that I can't see many riders buying the 5 or 6 pairs needed for combined commuting/sport-touring use. However, I'd recommend everyone buy (or ask Santa for) a pair or two specifically for longer rides (these would be an absolute must for Iron Butt types). Techsox are guaranteed for a full year.As for vendors of Techsox, Lee Parks Designs sells them and Lee's a good guy, so go get 'em there.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Delacade 2007

Early on Sunday, October 7th a group of 15 "Cybercaders" (Americade Rally fans and forum-dwellers dubbed the "Internet Crazies" by Americade founder Bill Dutcher) aboard a dozen motorcycles gathered at Planet Honda in Chadds Ford, PA for the start of Delacade 2007. (See pic at courtesy of Sue a/k/a Blondie. That's WC and Slinky front and center, who got hitched the night before. The dork in the green shirt, 4th from left, is me.). From New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and even Ohio, they came to spend the day chasing yours truly around the countryside for the day. I say "chase" not because I ride fast, but because "follow" would imply a false degree of cartographic and navigational skill. We began by tilting horizons to crazy angles thru the Brandywine Valley (DE/PA Rte. 100 was a favorite of many), rich in Colonial history, then we worked out way north thru a lot of horse property on twisty PA 82 to US 322, where we took a relaxed ride into Ephratha for the "First Sunday" Rally. After oogling motorcycles for a while at the Rally, we headed north to the Silk City Diner, which sees a lot of serious Ride-to-Eat action. After lunch, "good-byes" and photos, about half the group jumped off to head home to NY and OH. The rest of us headed got to work reducing our "chicken strips" on crookedy Rte. 897, which includes a few hairy sections of reducing-radius downhill turns. I then took the group thru the heart of the "touristy" Amish country (Rte. 340), where some had their first glimpses of those wacky Amish-named towns: Intercourse, Bird-In-Hand, Blue Ball, etc. After emerging from a traffic jam in Strasburg, we picked our way on back, backer and back-est roads that split working farms in the "real" Amish country I wanted the group to see (the Bartville area for those familiar). After clipping a corner of Maryland horse-country, we ended up in my hometown of Newark, DE where I bailed. Sue and Dennis from New Castle, DE took over and lead the gaggle to I-95 where I guess they took their leave for Joisey. All in all, a great day of riding with good friends in nice weather thru beautiful country! This was the 3rd Delacade held on Columbus Day weekend in the last 4 years (2005 was flooded out), and we're hoping to do it again next year.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Today in History: PAC-MAN is born!

October 10, 1979: "Pac-Man" debuts in Japan. Actually, it's called Puck-Man after the Japanese onomatopoeic phrase paku-paku that represents the sound of a mouth rapidly opening and closing. The name is changed to Pac-Man for release into the U.S. market out of fear of what any red-blooded American male teenage would do with an eraser, piece of tape or sharp-edged object. Designed for Namco by Toru Iwatani, Pac-Man consumed quarters (mine anyway) almost as fast he gulped up dots, fruit and the occasional ghost.

International Motorcycle Show schedule released

The 27th Annual International Motorcycle Show will begin touring later this month and will continue into February. I've attended 7 or 8 IMS shows in either Philly, NYC or D.C. I prefer the D.C. venue 'cuz I'm only about 1.5 hrs. from a Metro station, and from there it's a short ride to the stop underneath the Convention Center -- I never even have to go outside. If you've never been, not only will you see most of the current models on display from most of the OEMs (including smaller European and Asian makers), but you'll also see custom and antique bikes and oddities. Also out in force will be vendors of various m/c products (helmets seem to be a particularly popular purchase), motorcycling organizations & clubs, tour companies, chambers of commerce/resorts, racers & stunters, and moto-magazines. The IMS is simply a must for motorcycle nuts of every type; particularly so if it comes around your neck of the woods in the dead of Winter like it does mine. Below is the schedule, but visit the IMS website for more info and links to pages for each tour stop.

  • Phoenix, AZ October 26-28, 2007
  • Houston, TX November 2-4, 2007
  • Fort Worth, TX November 9-11, 2007
  • San Mateo, CA November 16-18, 2007
  • Seattle, WA Nov 30-Dec 2, 2007
  • Long Beach, CA December 7-9, 2007
  • New York, NY December 28-30, 2007
  • Novi, MI January 4-6, 2008
  • Washington, DC January 11-13, 2008
  • Atlanta, GA January 18-20, 2008
  • Cleveland, OH January 25-27, 2008
  • Minneapolis, MN February 1-3, 2008
  • Chicago, IL February 8-10, 2008

Monday, October 08, 2007

Deal of the Day: Tour Master Textile Pants $43!!

C'mon folks, there's no good excuse for riding in jeans when you can pick up a pair of pants (sorry, I just can't bring myself to use the term "pant") designed specifically for motorcycle use for all of $43 USD. The good folks at NewEnough are closing out these Tour Master jean-cut pants, which have a fully lined waterproof 600 denier shell with 1680 denier "ballistic" knee and seat panels, and CE-approved knee armor. That's a lot of weather and crash protection for $43 bucks. If you're one of hold-outs still riding in shred-at-the-first-sight-of-tarmac denim, get thee to this page ASAP and save yourself some $$ and maybe a lot of skin.

As a service to my fellow motorcyclists, I've begun posting information on sales and closeouts on quality motorcycle gear. I get this information via subscriptions to email notices and newsfeeds of some of my favorite vendors, and I also stumble across this information during my daily travels on various online forums, etc. Unless otherwise noted, I haven't used or tested this gear; I am simply giving a "hey, lookee here!" on what appears to me to be a good deal on quality stuff from a good vendor. Be an informed consumer and research before buying.