Everywhere I go, I hear the same thing: “Aren’t you hot?” “Are you a fireman?” “You look like a Power Ranger?” “Aren’t you hot?” Wait, I said that already. That’s because I hear that one over and over. So, here is the answer: “Yes, I know I look silly. Yes, it can be very hot in the summer wearing this suit, especially in the city. No, I’m not a Power Ranger, but my kids liked them when they were young. And, no, I’m not a fireman but if I was, I would be hot as Hell in this suit!”
A new rider asked me recently about how I handled my family’s concerns over the safety of my chosen hobby, motorcycle travel. We talked about several things, including riding smart, which, in my mind includes wearing protective gear. Make no mistake, I’m no evangelist for safety gear, nor do I have any intention in telling you how to ride or what to wear…wear what you want…no skin off my nose (pun intended).
I’ve got a few different sets of gear that I wear. Well, let’s be honest here; I’ve got dozens of sets of gear! In fact, we were recently cleaning out my mother’s barn and I discovered crates full of old riding suits that I have not worn in years. That does not count the 8-10 jackets that hang in my closet, nor the 3 pairs of riding pants, nor the 1 piece Roadcrafter.
Why so many suits? Well, they all have their place. Some are better in warm weather, some in cold. Some do well in an all day rain and others just do it all. Those are the ones I wear on trips. And then there is the Aerostich Roadcrafter. I’m on my second one. I will probably buy a new generation one this year or next. And not in red. For those of you who don’t know, they are basically 1 piece coveralls that slip over your clothing. They have a full zipper up one leg to the neck and half zipper up the other. You can jump into one in about 15 seconds.
They are highly protective, heavy, a bit bulky, sometimes waterproof and sometimes make you look like you peed your pants. And they are very expensive. I wore mine today in the pouring rain and came home dry as a bone. They make me feel safe; they make me look silly. I don’t care. I have wore my road worn, bug spattered Roadcrafter into many a fine dining establishments. I’d walk in the mall in one if I needed to. I really don’t care how it looks. If you are the kind of person who spends a week or even a long weekend away from home on your bike, being fashionable is generally not a high priority.
Admittedly, some suits make you look better than other. Leather can look pretty sharp, but I find it too impractical most of the time. There are a lot of nice Cordura suits out there that look pretty nice in my opinion…but you still look silly in one when mingling with the public. I remember a friend seeing a photo of me on a bike trip I took a couple years ago. He said, “You look like a movie star in that outfit.” Never thought I’d hear that. Must have meant in a Sci-Fi movie! Sexy, no. Practical, yes.
So, if you see me along the roadside in one of my silly outfits, it’s okay if you think I look dumb, or if your kids think I’m the missing Red Ranger…I’m used to it.