Friday, February 25, 2011

Who is Tex, and why is his name on all my gloves? Gear Review

A while back on I mentioned it would be good to hear everyone's review on the gear they have collected over time. Stacy called me on it, so I figured I better do my part and try to put together some sort of review. I have to start somewhere, so I pick gloves.

Early on I learned that I liked gloves all the time.  I would ride in a tee-shirt and Salomon amphib shoes (Yeah, I know), but I always wanted my gloves. 

Technic Mesh glove
My first gloves that weren't leather gardening gloves was a pair of Technic Mesh Gloves, purchased for the warm season. These are rather minimalist gloves. No armor, but there are some thicker parts over the knuckles and other vulnerable spots, and no gauntlet running up the arm. The glove ends at the wrist. Like I said, minimal, but I like them. They're unobtrusive, easy to run controls on the bike or on my camera. I've used them down into the 50's F, and up into the 90/100s F.
Technic Mesh glove

Olympia Wind-tex Gloves
 When fall rolled around I needed something warmer. The Olympias were recommended to me, and they've been a favorite. They have been my warmest glove, and were my go-to glove for cold and cool weather. I've used them down into the high 20s F - as cold as I've ever ridden. My finger tips got cold after awhile, but my hands while cool were not uncomfortable. They aren't waterproof, but they held off the rain long enough for my commute (an hour).
Olympia Wind-tex Gloves

Tourmaster Polar-tex gloves
 I bought the tourmasters as a waterproof option to the Olympias. They looked like they might be warmer. They're not, though they are equivalent. They're a little bulkier than the Olympias. Not bad, but enough that I only used them in the worst conditions.  I picked them up in the spring and by the time cold weather returned, I had added heated grips to the bike so haven't really used them that much. One issue I have with this type of glove is the gauntlet isn't quite big enough to fit over my jacket sleeve, but are too bulky to fit inside the sleeve. I've been told the gauntlet goes on the outside and I've been told they go on the inside, I'm still not sure which works best, but either way is a struggle with this particular glove.
Tourmaster Polar-Tex gloves

Rev'it Hydratex Leather glove, waterproof
This was one of those impulse purchases that seem to happen whenever I walk into a gear shop. Leather and waterproof, with no insulation added, just basic leather gloves. They're snug to pull on, but once on feel pretty good. They tend to ball up under my palm with the throttle, so it may be they're a little big for my hands, though they appear to fit well. The fingers are too long, but that's not unusual for me. At first I didn't like them. They felt clammy, didn't breath like my other gloves, but I've gotten used to that and they are a nice mild weather glove. With heated grips they've become my regular glove once the temps get above 45 F or so. I could probably wear them in colder temps with the grips. I can feel the wind over the back of my hands if it's cold enough out, so the definitely aren't quite as warm as my other gloves.
Rev'it Hydratex Leather glove

 Swix Lobster Claw Gloves (REI)
My latest gloves I purchased on a recommendation from Trobairitz. They aren't motorcycle gloves, but rather are for snow sports. They are a lobster claw mitten with good insulation and wind stopping capabilities on the back, and fairly thin over the palms  allowing heat from the grips to easily seep in. They are waterproof, though I think eventually water would get in. With hand guards on the ninja, I don't get a lot of moisture to my hands, so it's been a non-issue. The gloves are very warm. I've used them down in the low 30s F. their only downside is that since they're not motorcycle specific, they don't offer protection in a fall.  These have become my first choice for cold weather riding. Even though they are very warm, they aren't bulky, and I have nice dexterity, able to easily run controls and the camera when needed.
 Swix Lobster Claw Gloves

With my current set up the gloves I'm using are:
  • Hot/warm weather:  Technic Mesh glove
  • Cool weather:          Rev'it Hydratex Leather glove, waterproof
  • Cold weather:          Swix Lobster Claw Gloves

I still don't know who Tex is...

*Most photos from the internet

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spring Sign

Spring sign has shown itself...twice! Today may be my only day to commute by bike this week. I might get by with one more day on Tuesday. Snow is coming, or so says the weather gurus, and I don't do snow!

This morning I looked out my bedroom window and saw a tiny bit of pink. Is that my plum tree trying to bloom? Camera in hand I went out to the backyard, and sure enough three or four little pink blossoms have sprung forth. Numerous other tiny buds are about to burst open. How did I not see this coming? I'm usually more diligent in watching for spring signs. I'm afraid the snow and cold may do them in. 
 Flowering Plum Blossom

On my ride into work I spot daffodils along the road. My second sign of spring! There's no where to stop, so I don't get a photo. I'll hunt for daffys in the afternoon.

For the afternoon commute rain chases me home, and I get tagged with a rain drop or two. I look for more daffodils, I want my photo! I'm easily distracted and I miss three opportunities for daffodils, but I don't bother to go back.

 I checked out the neighbor's yard and sure enough their daffodils are up and showing yellow. They'll do.
Finally, Daffodils

My apologies to the guys, no scantily clad girls, and not even a moto....just a few stupid flowers! :)
Ah well, even though snow is coming, Happy Spring!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chocolate Ride 02-12-11

Ron and I rode from Lebanon to meet up with everyone at the Beanery. Returned to Lebanon with the group, and split off at Tennessee School to return home. We didn’t go to the Beanery for lunch and dessert. Dennis made friends with a friendly horse. He was little unsure of the recumbent, or the bikes in general, but he was curious and brave enough to come forward for a closer look. A number of us riders stopped to watch one large bald eagle eating what was probably a baby lamb. There were 4 or so other eagles in the trees, but no one bothered the big guy. Some of the photos were pretty graphic, so I will spare you those.

Horse meet Recumbent (Dennis)

 Good ride. Overcast and a little windy out on the valley floor.

32.61 miles
2:31 Time
12.88 Av
18.51 mx

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Commute this Week


Beautiful morning light

Sunny and crisp

with roads that don't quite dry out.

Afternoon brings dramatic skies.


No morning photos.
I try to take aim at an old barn this afternoon,
...but captured mostly sky.

No traffic, so I stop for a moment.
A little road, less than 10 miles from where I grew up, yet I've never been over it.
Note the snow in the foothills if you can make it out.


Hang the weatherman up by his....thumbs! 
He says freezing fog, so I take the car. The fog isn't thick, and it has popped up above freezing before I hit the road. I could have rode. The afternoon...Gorgeous.


As my mom used to say, the frost is on the pumpkin.  I have no pumpkins, so frost on grass will have to do.
Today I am determined to ride. The afternoon is supposed to be spectacular, and I don't want to be stuck in the car.

Is this slippery???

Oh-oh, there it is...the fog
Fog that wants to freeze on my faceshield, but just can't quite muster enough coldness. A little ice around the edge, but the view is fine.

Salem is sunny and wonderful. At my exit I have to detour due to an accident. I loop back to another street. Accident....detours...good excuses to be late to work. It's so sunny and nice, but I resist temptation to run away and roll into work not even late.

The ride home. Sigh...this is why.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Yamaha V-Star 1100

Our son brought us along to be the voices of reason, strength in the face of temptation, shining examples ruled by the mind and not by passion. He probably should have brought someone else.

He sold his pickup, and was looking for it's replacement, a four wheeled replacement that is. There were several options to be viewed up in Portland then after that a visit to one of the motorcycle stores to do a little shopping. I wanted try out some jackets - the never ending quest for the perfect jacket.

We should have known it was a mistake to even point the car in the direction of Portland. We knew there was a bike up there, exactly what he was looking for. The whole auto shopping thing was just a ruse, a deception. We were really there to look at bikes. We were only fooling ourselves.

I went to the apparel department, father and son went to the showroom. The bike of his dreams:
2006 Yamaha V-star 1100...with ape hangers

Later when I joined them I found my own Yamaha...don't laugh...a tw200. It was cute, it was short, and it made me smile as soon as I pulled her up off the sidestand.
Yamaha TW200
It's the first dirt/dual bike (or whatever it is) I've sat on where my feet reach the ground. Puppy love! Later I looked it up online and found it gets no respect beyond a "learner" bike, and a "spare" for when company comes along for a ride. Whatever, I was charmed.

Okay back to the real subject, After checking the showroom offerings I returned to jackets and gear. That's where my son found me some time later. It started with, "would it be stupid to buy a bike..." and went downhill from there.  We went to lunch to ruminate over our options away from the passion and heat of the moment. Dealerships are dangerous places.

We formulated a plan and returned to the dealership. I went to look at more jackets. Can you tell I don't like the business end of bike shopping? I looked at jackets, I looked at bikes. I looked at jetskis. I looked at quads. Peeked into the showroom...they're still at the bargaining table. I took another lap around the shop.
I sat on a V-Strom: still too tall. Sat on a sportster, the bike that started it for me....meh. I'm just not a Harley gal. I sat on an FJR...which couldn't be budged from the sidestand. I left the Hayabusa well enough alone, it looked like trouble standing still. Made Ron try a BMW when he had a few minutes away from the wheelin' and dealin'.

I found a Symba. Fun!!

The test ride was at he goes.
Ape hangers! Where did I go wrong??

Yeah, he likes it. SOLD!

An hour or two later after all the paperwork is done, they lend us a helmet, and Ron picks out some gloves. He grabs every spare layer that is in the car or on us and rode the new bike to Salem. From Salem Chris took it on home via the backroads.

I don't like driving while my loved ones ride. I'm fretful when I ride with them, especially my children, but riding distracts me somewhat. Driving in the car is not distracting, and I fret and fuss all the way home. I'm good, I keep it too myself...most of the time.
We make a rather odd family...a sport bike, an old-school Suzuki, and now a classic cruiser with ape hangers...I wonder what the daughter will pick when she starts to ride?