Sunday, September 23, 2012

Aeostich Womens Roadcrafter

Does anyone have any Aerostich riding gear? Aerostich now has Roadcrafter suits in women's sizes. I've been looking into getting one of these for a while but without the ability to try to them on (plus the cost) I just couldn't really justify it. Now that there come in women's sizes, it might be worth a trip to try one on.

I've been wearing Olympia gear for a while now. I have winter gear and summer gear. My summer gear is getting quite worn. I'd like to get some new pants and a new jacket. But, keeping in mind my interest in the Roadcrafter suit, I thought I'd wait until I really needed something new before buying more mesh gear. I just looked up the cost of the Olympia gear to compare it to the cost of the Roadcrafter suit. My two sets of gear from Olympia would cost about $1,200 to replace both. The Roadcrafter women's suit is $897 (currently on sale for $807 - 10% off). I think I'd need to go there and try one on. It would be a nice 16 hour or so trip. Maybe for our next anniversary road trip. :-)
Not much between here and there. But, I'm sure I can find something interesting along the route. :-)

I'd love to get a hi viz yellow one with black ballistics. :-)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Nearly lost a side case!

I worked only part of the day today so I decided to take US36 out of Boulder. I never take this highway because it's always quite backed up during rush hour. It also isn't the most direct route home but can sometimes be a quicker way out of town at the right time of day. It was the right time of day so off I went. I took Foothills Parkway which has a nice long sweeping on ramp. Aside for the many patched potholes on the bridge, it's pretty smooth and kind of fun.
In the above image, the on ramp travels from the top left corner down to the bottom right. Here is a close up of the bridge.
All of those darker colored spots are patched pot holes. I may have been traveling too close to the vehicle in front of me. People tend to slow down a lot coming over the bridge. I don't know why people in Colorado like to slow down as they are entering the highway. Drives me crazy. Anyway, I didn't see that one of the patched pot holes had sunken and become a hole again. I hit it fairly hard but not so much that I was worried about it. But, right away, the bike started handling weird. It felt like the wind was blowing me to my right and I was also drifting to the right a bit. So, I leaned to my left more to compensate. I also noticed the car behind me had dropped well behind me. I then caught a glimpse of my side case, which was odd because, I shouldn't have been able to see it just by glancing behind me. I reached my hand behind to touch the case and was able to grab the side case rack mount. Bad news. I looked down and the case was dragging alongside the moto.

I was able to pull over fairly quickly on the dirt shoulder just off the merge lane. It was a good spot because there is a fairly long merge lane here so I'd be able to get back on without much trouble. Here is the dirt shoulder at the bottom right of this photo.
I always carry several bungee chords with me so I was able to secure it to the rack for the ride home. No problem. I was really glad it didn't fall completely off. I don't think I would have been able to retrieve it safely. There wasn't much inside either which probably helped all around. My rain jacket, a cargo bungee net, and my winter gloves. Earlier this morning I had my shoulder bag in there and my work laptop in the other one. Had it been any heavier, that could have been trouble.

Here are some photos of the side case after it's ordeal today.
That back edge got scraped up pretty good.
That's a hole through the case.
Even my little lock has a worn corner.
Hooray for bungee chords!
And that's the problem right there!
So, apparently, the lock that holds the case on and locks it to the rack popped out when I hit that hole. It's supposed to look like this:
I still need to inspect my rim and tire. The bike seemed to handle just fine after I strapped the case back on. But, I'll give it a check anyway just to be sure.

I never really felt out of control. And I certainly never felt afraid or in danger. I evaluated the situation as it was happening, found my escape route, pulled over safely, and dealt with the problem. What I think I did do wrong was being so close to the car in front of me that I didn't see the pot hole before it was too late. I had just enough time to get on the pegs and that was it. I even know that this is a poor part of the road with bumpy spots and still didn't slow down. That was not a good way to enter that ramp. I also could have been in the right lane instead of the left as there was not traffic around. I was actually considering that move when I hit the hole. So, I suppose, I didn't evaluate the situation far enough in advance.

That said, I wonder when the lock may have popped out in the future. Clearly there was something wrong with it. It's not a part of the bike I would have thought to include in my pre-ride check. The cases have always been a bit wobbly but we've always felt they were secure. Maybe the rubber bit underneath had come out? (Looking at the photo, I can see it is still there.) If I'd checked I would have noticed that. But, I don't think that would have made me worried. I'll review it all with the hubby when he gets home. He won't be happy that the case failed since he built the mounts for them.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Gift of Fear & Motorcycling

Bear with me for a minute as I talk about this book. I promise to bring it back to motorcycling.

"The Gift of Fear" by Gavin de Becker

I first heard about this book several years ago. The author was on Oprah. I've never been so riveted by a program like that. He spoke about how women can determine whether a man was potentially dangerous using a set of pre-incident indicators, which are detailed in the book. They are:
  1. Forced teaming
  2. Charm and niceness
  3. Too many details
  4. Typecasting
  5. Loan sharking
  6. The unsolicited promise
  7. Discounting the word "No"
I read the book all those years ago and bought several copies to share with friends. I selected it as our Book Club book one year and bought copies for everyone.

Now that we have a granddaughter, I've started thinking about the lessons in that book and in his other book "Protecting the Gift". I've been talking with my husband about some of the reasons I like this book so much. While we talked about it, motorcycling came up.

Gavin de Becker stresses the important of listening to your intuition, evaluating a situation, avoiding potentially dangerous situations, and understanding the cues that can keep you safe. I was trying to explain to my husband how most women are in a constant state of alert always trying to evaluate their surroundings no matter where they are. Men don't have to do this so don't really understand why we (women) need to do it. (Generalization.) I can't remember now if he mentioned it or if I did but what made it more clear was how much that state of awareness resembles the state of awareness we have as motorcyclists. Just as motorcyclists feel that everyone is out to kill them, women often feel the same way.

SEE: I'm not sure if the same acronym is being used in the MSF training. Scan, evaluate, execute - SEE. It's how women cross a dark parking lot to get to their cars alone. It's also how motorcyclists manage their commute.

I highly recommend the book. It not only is a guide to recognizing potentially violent criminals but, it can also help you understand when someone is trying to control you in other non-violent situations. Rereading the book after everything that has happened with my job has certainly been interesting.

I've put in some good miles commuting to work. The weather has still been warm but the mornings have been very comfortable. I even wore my warmer gloves one morning.

There were two instances on two different days when I was not rear ended.

The first incident was on highway 93 heading home. At an intersection with a light, traffic began to back up as it does during rush hour. I decided to take a left at the intersection just before the one with the stoplight. As I pulled into the left turn lane, I heard tires squealing briefly. The car that had been behind me apparently didn't realize the vehicles in front of me had come to a stop. I was safely out of the way and not in danger but, still.

The second incident was at what I've often considered the most dangerous part of my commute, the right turn into the parking lot at work. Here is a screen shot from Google maps street view.
I think you can see my GS in this shot!
And an overhead shot showing all the other intersections. 
My parking lot entrance is at the very bottom just out of the picture.
Here is a slightly wider view so you can see more of the potential hazards.
1. There are often pedestrians and bicyclists traveling on the sidewalk.
2. The moto parking spaces are immediately to the right as you enter the parking lot.
3. During the morning rush hour, there are many vehicles often backed up beyond the driveway.
4. There are three more intersections after this one so vehicles with their turn signals on have many options to exercise that indicated right turn.

Yesterday, I signaled my intention to turn right, tapped my brakes, and then saw a bicyclist so, I needed to yield. With a car on my rear, I pulled into the bike lane. The car went past me without even slowing down. Idiot.

Other than those incidents, nothing else to report. :-)

Ride safely folks!