Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Great Deals on Aerostich!!

My morning newsfeed from Riderwearhouse/Aerostich is chock full of awesome deals on closeout Roadcrafter one and two-piece suits and Darien jackets, including hard-to-find closeouts on the most common size: 40 Regular! Aerostich has a one-piece Roadcrafter for $525 (down from $747), and two Darien jackets at $250 (down from $377) in the discontinued "old" Hi-Viz color. There are other great buys in different sizes and colors as well.This is a great opportunity to replace your old 'Stich (which means congratulations are in order 'cuz you've ridden about a jillion miles in it), or if you're looking to make the jump to top-shelf gear. I've ridden in RCs and Dariens for many years and recommend them without reservation. If you're serious about your motorcycling, you owe it to yourself to get some serious, no-nonsense gear. Here is the link to the sale -- go get 'em!

Friday, January 11, 2008

MBl Riders Choice Awards 2008 Nominations Open

Motorcycle Bloggers International (MBI), of which yours truly is a member, is an association of riders from all over the world who blog about motorcycling. Each year MBI conducts the Riders Choice Awards program. Riders around the world nominate and vote for the awards, which are meant to acknowledge the Best and Worst in many categories, such as Best New Motorcycle, Wish We'd Thought of That, Womens Rider Booster of the Year, and Worst Manufacturer's Website. Nominations are now open, and will run through February 10th; voting is planned to begin on February 15th. You don't have to be a member of MBI to participate. In fact, MBI wants as many outside voices as possible to contribute. Nominate as many or as few candidates as you wish, in as many or few categories as you see fit. It's an easy process with no joy-killing rules.

View the results for the 2007 awards and then join us in nominating and voting for the 2008 awards! (Click here)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New Record Low Temp Ride

I'd been stuck on 10F (as far as I could determine such things anyway) for my record low temp ride for probably 10 years, in part because it rarely gets below 20F in my neck of the woods, and in part because the memory of just how friggin' cold I was still lingers. As I had yet to discover the joys of high-tech, modern riding gear, on the day I rode probably 70 miles or so in 10F, I was wearing multiple layers of cotton and wool under my denim jeans and one of my old USAF-issued cotton field jackets. At least I was "smart" enough to stretch my 1-piece rubberized rainsuit over all that gear as a wind barrier. I had to find a diner about every 30 minutes on that ride to stop and warm up as my core temperature was dropping, which was evident by the uncontrolled shivering. I'm sure I looked ridiculous -- like a vibrating Michelin Man stuffed into a condom.

Last Friday the 4th, the weatherman predicted 15F temps in my area for my morning commute. The roads were perfectly clear and so, sensing a record-breaking opportunity, I ventured out on my first ride of 2008, much better equipped (no condom in sight) than on my previous record low temp ride. The weatherman's prediction was spot-on according to my bike's Kisan thermometer, but only until I got out of town. As I headed into lesser-populated and heavier-wooded areas, the temperature dropped considerably, stabilizing at 9F with dips into 8F. My usual commute to work is about 20 miles/45 minutes, but, feeling that I needed to get in at least 50 miles for my new record to "count" in my self-imposed rule book, I "took a wrong turn" when I got close to the office to head deeper into the boonies searching (to no avail) for even lower temps. By the time I got to work I'd ridden 62 miles in about 2 hrs. I've declared my new record to be 9F.

Unlike my old Michelin Man ride, I was able to maintain my core temperature and I felt warm enough everywhere except my fingers. Even though I had on my warmest high-tech insulated, Goretex-lined gloves, covered with my
Aerostich lobster-claw windproof covers, I doubt I could've gone more than another 40 miles without stopping to get some blood back into my fingers. My biggest challenge was visibility. I'd so well sealed off my neck area from drafts that my exhaled breath was very slow to dissipate and as a consequence, was freezing to the inside of my visor. What a difference proper gear makes: a tolerance of 100 miles/2.5 hour non-stop now v. 30 shivering minutes at a time in the days of yore. I should get smart and get some electron assistance for winter riding (heated grips are definitely in my future), but then again just how smart is someone who walks past a car (and heater) to climb aboard a motorcycle in sub-freezing temperatures?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Best Motorcycle Product Vendors 2008

Hall of Fame

These are vendors from whom I've purchased at least a few items (
many items in some cases) over a period of at least a couple of years, and who consistently offer top-notch products, customer service, technical knowledge and easy transactions. They set the standard to which other vendors should aspire. I recommend them without hesitation.

RiderWearHouse: Aerostich products & many other useful and unique items; the primary supplier to the serious sport-tourer, commuter or adventure-rider; publisher of the legendary catalog. (Years on list: 3)

NewEnough: Gear, clothing, & hard parts; offers closeouts and many other items at heavy discounts. (Years on list: 3)

Cycle Gadgets: Tons of cool gadgets & accessories -- farkletastic! (Years on list: 3)

Ron Ayres Motorsports: Big 4 OEM parts; online microfiche; discount prices; amazingly quick shipment. (Years on list: 3)

Southwest Moto Tires: Online-only vendor of all major tire brands; offers technical advice, great prices and very fast shipment (free shipping with 2 or more tires); I once got an email reply from Blaine at SWM to a technical question on New Year's Day! (Years on list: 3)

The following vendors were previously on my Hall of Fame list, but have been dropped solely because I haven't purchased anything from them for quite some time:

RideSafer Products: Products to keep motorcyclists safer and more comfortable. (Years on list: 2)

MotoJockey: A local Delaware vendor who sells online and via phone in addition to store sales. (Years on list: 2)

Honorable Mention

The following are vendors from whom I purchased items in 2007 and that show promise for future inclusion in the Hall of Fame once a sufficient number of transactions have accumulated:

EdgeGPS: An small, internet-only Garmin-authorized GPS vendor with an excellent reputation among motorcyclists in the online forums I frequent. EdgeGPS aren't riders, but the love motorcyclists' business and are extremely responsive and helpful to inquiries.

Tire Express: My usual tire vendor, SWM, was racing down in Baja when I happened to have a puncture and needed a tire ASAP, so I tried Tire Express. Excellent buying experience: easy website, great prices and quick shipment.

Motostrano: Seller of gear and accessories. My online purchase was smooth as silk and the item arrived very quickly.