Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gearing up for winter riding - I'm a year 'rounder'

I hang my gear on the scale in my office (perfect drying rack)

Winter riding has season has started and I am still commuting by bike.  I have yet to purchase my bus pass for those incredibly icky hellish days that usually include the "S" word.  Last year I was only off road for about two weeks during the entire winter - here is hoping this one is the same.  I don't mind commuting in the rain & cold, if you dress appropriately and have the right combination of base layers, I find that I am actually warmer on my bike than in my VW van. 

I have worn my TourMaster Transition 2 jacket and TM Flex pants for an entire season and they have worked well for me.  They are starting to show some wear and tear, particularly the pants, because honestly I do wear them every time I am on the bike, even in the dead of summer.  The pants are definitely 4 season and I have gotten my monies worth of riding out of them. 

My winter gear consists of: 
1) TourMaster Transition 2 jacket which has the waterproofing built into the jacket, it comes with a quilted liner and it works well keeping me dry and warm.
2) Merino wool base layers - I have found this is the best for wicking away moisture and keeping me warm, Costco had a screaming deal on the shirt and leggings.  They probably aren't as upscale as what you would find at a sporting goods store but heck, they work well for me.
3) Ski socks - I have had a pair of Hot Chilly ski socks for several years and I pull those out and wear them in my boots.
5) Valhala Pure fleece vest with a high collar
6)  Neck tube.  This is invaluable and way easier than wrapping a cumbersome scarf around my neck, I actually tuck it up over my pony tail and up onto my face and slide my helmet on so it keeps my hair dry and chin warm.  I am asking Santa for a Merino wool version for really cold weather.  If you haven't gotten one of these you need to go find one!
7) TourMaster Flex pants.  These pants are amazing!  They are four season pants and work well all year.  You can zip off the outer nylon layer in warm weather and they convert to mesh which allows you to still ride safely in the heat.  They come with a warm quilted liner and rain liner.  These pants have been the best investment and I will definitely buy them again.   These pants have been through hell and back and have served me well. 
9)  GoreTex Boots. My TCX T-Lily boots are a relatively new addition to my riding wardrobe.  I am extremely happy with them, they fit well, comfortable and best of all keep my feet dry and relatively warm. 
10) Waterproof gloves.  This part of my ensemble is currently a work in progress because I have some gloves, but I am NOT happy with them and they are NOT waterproof at all and I have had to add thermal liners in them.  I have been searching for the perfect pair and am leaning towards something with GoreTex and a thermal liner in them. 
11)  Hi Viz yellow traffic vest.  This is a winter riding staple for me, with riding in the rain and usually its dark when I leave I prefer to have my vest on to increase my conspicuity. 

Some things I have learned commuting year round.  You get what you pay for, if you buy inexpensive gear, expect that you will need to replace it sooner rather than later.  It probably won't be waterproof (eventhough the manufacturer rates it as waterproof) and you are going to be soggy.  Layering is a motorcyclists best friend, invest in some good base layers you won't regret it.  GoreTex gear is definitely something to think about if you live in a wet and rainy climate and it's breathable and windproof.  I prefer gear that is waterproof because dragging around separate rain gear for me is a pain in the tookus.  Always make sure you are conspicious particularly in winter months when it is darker early.  Do your homework and get opinions from other riders. 

PS - The other day I weighed my entire gear ensemble and it came in at 19.84 pounds - WOW!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review TCX GoreTex T-Lily ladies riding boots

I recently purchased a pair of  women's TCX T-Lily GoreTex riding boots.  Retail $299 to $339 CDN.
*Good price for a leather Goretex riding boot approx $299 to $339 *Canadian funds
*Solidly built leather boot with a Goretex membrane for waterproof and breathability. 
*Good ankle protection with the armour.
*Good shin protection.
*Waterproof - I have ridden through a few torrential downpours with pooling water on the road and my feet were dry!!!! No more prune toes!
*Good zipper closure with a velcro tab on the zipper pull to secure the zipper pull to the velcro on the boot. Easy to zip up.
*Flexible around the calf area so they are not tight and you can easily zip up and put your pant leg inside the boot.
*Shifter pads on toes.
*Narrow in the heel cup and moderate width through the foot bed, so it isn't too tight.  I have found in past ladies boots have been difficult to fit due to them being super narrow.
*Comfortable foot position in the boot and fairly comfortable to wear when off the bike.  They don't look chunky either and go nicely with jeans.

*The insole of the boot is not very comfortable and could use a little extra padding and I found the foot bed a little hard.  I have remedied that by adding an insole.
*The boot feels a little cool in the wind because of the breathability of the GoreTex and I have found this in past with other GoreTex products I have.
*The boot sole could be a little heftier and have a bit more tread or deeper at least.

Summary:  Overall I am fairly impressed with these boots. My  feet stayed absolutely dry in the torrential downpours I have used them in so far.  I think they will be a little warm in the summer. Time will tell after several miles of riding to see how they  perform long term. My previous boots only survived 8 months of daily commuting and weekend moto diva riding.  Nice boot, good quality, worth the money spent.

The T-Lily's get The Princess Scooterpie/Moto_Diva 5 Star approval recommendation.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Puppy update

Our newest little family member is settling in and is getting to be a big girl. She has been delightful for the most part (except for the teething). She weighs 7 pounds and is a cutie pattootie.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Goretex Boots

Last Christmas Motorcycle Man & Scooterpie Jr bought me ladies Triumph Tritex waterproof boots. They worked like a charm for 8 months and were very comfortable. The boots also came with a great 1 year warranty & assurance from the local dealer that they stand behind their product. Late August I noticed that they where coming apart on the instep. Off I went to the dealer and he was awesome. He didn't have my boot size in stock unfortunately and had to order them. I was able to keep the original boots until they came in so I wasn't sacrificing foot safety.

There was a little wrinkle in the warranty process, Triumph stopped making my boots. So now a conundrum what's next? The dealer went above and beyond to make me happy and I actually ended up with a better quality GoreTex boot at no extra charge other than the difference in the tax.

The boot is a GoreTex TCX Lily. They fit like a glove and are extremely comfortable. The reviews I have read have all been very positive. They are rated as waterproof, so here's hoping!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Stupid things I see car driver's do when I am riding my bike to work

Stupid things I have seen when riding my bike to work:
1) Dude balancing his cellphone at the top of his steering wheel playing a  video game & not paying attention to the road - UGH - ironically he was playing a car racing video game instead of driving his  real car.  (yesterday)
2) Woman with a bowl of cereal & spoon eating breakfast. (today)
3) Dude shaving.
4) Woman applying make-up.
5) Person reading a book balanced on their steering wheel.
6) People texting.
7) People talking on their cell phones.
8) Drinking your morning bevie or stuffing food in their mouth.
9) Playing with the GPS.
10) Making erratic lane changes across three lanes of traffic on a 1 way road without shoulder checking - Ummm Hello?!

Being a motorcyclist I am acutely aware of my surroundings and who is sharing the road space beside me, in front of me and behind me.  Every motorcyclists I have talked to has a story of some of the dumbest/scariest things they have witnessed on the road by someone not paying attention while driving a car.  Some of these incidents are funny, but some are downright scary because it usually means the motorcyclist has had to take some sort of evasive action because of someone else's lack of judgement.  Tragedy results from incidents such as people chatting on their cell phones because they drift into your lane and don't see you.   I  don't know about you, but I get pretty nervous sometimes when I see the 4,000 pounds of rolling death coming my way and the driver isn't paying attention.

I am not saying all car drivers are bad, on the contrary I see quite a few great drivers who are courteous,  and completely engaged in the act of driving. 
Driving a motorized vehicle is one of the most complex things anyone can do, it requires the driver to process information quickly, make decisions based on that information and act appropriately.  Where things go wrong is when you add some sort of distraction into the mix - i.e. a  handheld cell phone or eating and then your brain does not process critical information that helps you make good driving decisions.

Your car is NOT your office, your kitchen, your bedroom, your livingroom or your bathroom- it is for transportation - DRIVING attentively. The life of most motorcyclists would be less complicated if people just concentrated on driving.

Think about this the next time you get behind the wheel, your inattentiveness could result in someone NOT going home to their loved ones because you just had to take that call or text or slug back that last bit of coffee, or one of the many other things you are doing while driving that takes away your focus from the road and your ability to not make critical driving decisions. 

It is illegal in the Province of BC to use handheld devices  while operating a vehicle.

Feel free to add what you have seen.