30 November 2010

Winter Riding Gear

The car's on board computer flashed up with a warning as soon as I turned the ignition that cold Sunday morning. Risk of Ice, it read.
No shit, Sherlock.

Yes, there was ice alright as well as over an inch of snow which magically appeared overnight. Nothing too severe even by UK and Ireland standards but, this is Dublin. A bit of ice and snow and the place plunges into absolute chaos. Schools get closed, people fall flat on their faces on icy footpaths, car drivers pretend that their on the set of Tokyo Drift  and worst of all, I get to go on the bus, once again. Shock. Horror. [Cue music to the Psycho Shower Scene].

You see, as much as I do love riding on my Vespa, I do realise that I have responsibilities, and commitments but most importantly, I do realise that I can't afford Evel Knievel-level insurance cover. So, like most sane people, I opt for other alternative forms of transport.

But, what if there is no snow? How do I manage to continue riding my Vespa in almost freezing winter conditions.

Well, different people have different ways of coping. I know of this one old dude who refuses to wear anything more than his leather jacket and an open face helmet even in the coldest of days. No goggles and certainly no visor. Every time I come across him on his classic Jap bike, I could swear that his face looks bluer by the day.

I, on the other hand, prefer to keep myself warmer as it gets colder. Most of my gear can be classified as “all-weather”. My helmet is of the flip-up variety so it’s a full face when it needs to be and an open face when I prefer the wind in my face. All I need to do with my trusty old jacket is to insert the quilted lining when it gets colder while the Vespa’s leg shields appear to be adequate enough cover from the elements, saving me the hassle of fiddling around with my motorcycle pants’ lining.

That therefore, leaves me with my gloves. As much as I try to find an all-weather glove, I just can’t seem to find a decent one. So, I am resigned to the fact that I have to own at least two gloves. The ones I use in the colder months are Dainese’s RS WD D-Dry B (that’s mouthful of alphabets) gloves. They were classified as winter gloves on Motocard’s online store but I have the feeling that the classification is slightly off the mark as it’s probably based on the Spanish winter rather than temperatures further up north.

Having said that, I have now used the gloves for almost three winters and the almost daily usage has taken its toll on it. So, the search is now on for replacement gloves. Moving away from Dainese, I came across FC Moto Shop that has the Alpinestars Arctic Drystar gloves for sale at a reasonable enough price while from farther afield, I found these deerskin gloves from Lee Parks Designs. Other than the good design, I also like the plain, non-Power Ranger look of them.

But, as usual, all that will have to wait (damn this recession). For the meantime, I’ll make do with bright red, freezing and throbbing hands. Nothing that a hot cup of coffee couldn't cure...

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