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74 degrees and sunny

April 6, 2007

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and feeling yesterday afternoon. The sun was out. It was so bright I had to wear sunglasses indoors. And it was so warm I didn’t need a jacket.

Safety Ed tells me he would’ve ridden to work today. I took him to his doctor’s appointment in the morning, where he was informed he would be going in for surgery on his broken forearm today.

I had an appointment in Bellevue in the afternoon, so I wasn’t able to get on the PX until after 6:00 pm. This being April, the sun is still up as I head for 2-Wheel Thursday at Cafe Racer.

It’s still 64º F, so I can get by with a hoodie and a light jacket. No ballistic padding? No airbags?

There is considerable debate about just what kind of clothing one should wear when riding on two wheels. I hear of a motorcycling book in which the author says one should never, never, ever ride in the rain, or in the dark. I’m going to guess it also says one should wear head-to-toe leather and/or ballistic padding at all times as well.

When I first started riding, I was really paranoid. Wore the motorcycle jacket and heavy gloves every time I rode, without fail.

Of course, I locked the ET up to a post every time, too. Then one day it occurred to me, the ET weighs 240 lbs. and has a coded ignition key. So even if someone was strong enough (and had an equally strong helper) to toss the bike into a truck, they wouldn’t be able to start it.

I later had an epiphany about clothing: if I were riding my bicycle, I would be sporting the spandex sausage ensemble, which is about two microns thick. Aside from considerable padding in the, ahem, nether regions, a very minor spill would result in a very major case of road rash, or worse.

The original Vespa was, after all, designed specifically so people could ride wearing normal clothing. I ride the bicycle in pretty much the same places I ride the PX. If you saw the picture of Brangelina riding a scoot in Vietnam, they were helmetless and dressed for a tropical climate, like everyone else in the picture.

I’m not for a minute suggesting going without a helmet, even if that’s legal where you live. On the other hand, being paranoid can get you into as much trouble as being reckless. The thing to do is think about where and how far you’ll be riding, and dress appropriately.

The Weather Channel sez it’s warmer in Seattle than it is in Daytona Beach, Fla. The forecast high today will be 78º F. A wonderful way to cool off is to ride to Seward Park or Alki Point in a t-shirt and shorts.

I don’t wear flip-flops, however. Favicon

  1. April 6, 2007 5:16 pm

    Isn’t it funny how in bicycle racing, except for the helmet, you are closer to naked than not, and the idea is to ride pretty much as fast as your legs can make you go.

    I too have opted for a little more casual style of dress when it comes to riding my scooters. On chilly days, I’ve been wearing an old service station jacket and an open face helmet with a shield. Like you, I dress according to what the weather might do, and take it as it comes.

    Have fun,

  2. April 7, 2007 12:51 am

    I beg to differ! I’m a complete beginner and any kind of risk like not wearing an appropriate jacket or gloves is too big a risk for me.

    Take gloves, for example. My music is my life – and without hands and fingers, I can’t play the guitar, the piano or the cello. If I had even a very minor accident and one of my fingers was affected, that’d be the end of a major part of my life. If gloves make the difference, then I’ll wear them, no matter what!

    The same argument could be made about any protection item too I think. It’s all well and good until you have that accident. Keep thinking you won’t and you never know.

  3. April 7, 2007 9:00 am

    I wear gloves every time, as well. I would have a really hard time not being able to use my hands (so is my friend Safety Ed, who has a splint on the left hand and his right arm in a sling), and during fall and winter frostbite can be an issue. But I keep thinking of the Honda Metropolitan I saw on Denny one day… it was encrusted with reflectors, the rider was wearing hi-viz yellow from head to toe, over what looked like either ballistic padding or several layers of clothing. And the bike had a 6-foot pole with a pennant on it, which I have to believe has some effect on handling.

    Now I must admit, I have on a couple of occasions ridden the bike with no helmet or gloves… I was running it around the block from the water spigot to the basement garage door. And yes, I am aware of the statistics that show most accidents happen when you are closest to home.

    The bottom line is, personal safety is important no matter what kind of bike you ride, and it’s something everyone who rides should think about… rationally.

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