Episode 49 – Protective Riding Gear

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SHOWNOTES:You may remember that a while back I took the plunge and bought some real riding gear. I have been riding for years and had never upgraded my outerwear for either safety or fashion. For some reason I started thinking about how it would be safer if I took the possibility of crashing more seriously and I ended up going for a Firstgear Meshtex Jacket and a HJC full face helmet. The helmet has been the best purchase I have made in a long time. Although it blocks out a lot of sound, I like the way that it it keeps my whole face protected from the wind and bugs. Before, I had just become a custom to the sting a bug makes when it hits your face, thinking that it was a part of the riding experience. Let me tell you, it is not. Many riding jackets have armor built in. Mine seems to shift around, mostly inside the elbows of the jacket and never seems to fit right. I like is the mesh design, which keeps me warm but also lets in just enough air to keep me cool as the seasons change. Don’t think I am planning on pitching the jacket, but several weeks ago Steve on the Scooter Scoop showed a riding armor alternative which I think is worth considering. Its called Icon Field Armor. Instead of being built into your riding gear, it is armor that straps on under your clothing and allows you to make your usual fashion statement without sacrificing your safety. It seems to offer all the same protection points, chest, shoulders, back, elbows, knees and legs. For me it will mean I will be able to build my riding wardrobe around the essential sweatshirt/jeans combination and not have to worry so much about the consequence of bouncing off a hard road surface.

All this talk about new safety gear is not just some whimsical review of new clothing options. I noticed several weeks ago that there were a number of blogger and forum posts talking about recent crashes or close calls. Each seemed to document the sheer stupidity of people driving big over-sized SUVs, proving the old riding adage that just when you think you have thought of everything, the unexpected happens. For many years I have been a rather cautious rider, some might even say pessimistic or paranoid, But like other things in life, you have to ask your self, “does it work?” For me the answer is yes.

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Since blowing up my Vespa Sprint, I now face the prospect of getting back a hopped up version of the old girl. With great excitement and anticipation, I am looking at a brand new 150 LML engine mounted in a bike that is pounds lighter the Genuine Stella it is usually pushing. From everything I hear and read on the interwebs it seems that this is quite the little power plant. I am going with the no oil injection, 5-port, 150cc motor. It has electronic ignition and reed valve induction and Dave the mechanic tells me he will switch out some of the scooter’s wiring harness to get the lights working with the new 12 volt system. It should mean better reliability and more power and of course, give me a good reason to invest in some new armor protection to match the prospect of all the increased horse power. I am not planning on changing my riding style, I just have the option to go faster and we all know what that will means.

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Music for this show is from the Podsafe Music Network

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