New Gear Learning Curve

By Gerde Applethwaite

honda_classic2_CB125A neighbor on my block just bought a bike. Its his first bike and he chose well. The vintage Honda 125 will be perfect to allow him to build riding skills without worrying about the weight of a full-sized machine.  He goes to college and his rides will be a combination of commutes to school, trips to the store, to see friends and also rides in the hills. Rides to the gas station will be few and far between which is smart considering his student budget.

Here in California you have to wear a helmet so he popped for a flat black open face unit because he likes the retro look of the open face. He is talking about cafeing out the bike and the helmet will be part of the look. At some point down the road he wants to swap in a bolt-on cafe racer seat kit. Its going to cost him a bit over $200.

He rides in a denim jacket, jeans and street shoes. I have forgotten what he is using for gloves but if I recall when I last saw him ride off he wasn’t wearing any.  He was stoked about getting some retro goggles to help complete the whole cafe look.

He is a new rider and he is young. He doesn’t want to think about riding gear, he wants to think about the paint scheme for his cafe racer seat.  He is going to have to make a choice. Does he go for the cafe seat kit or does he delay that and go for a jacket and some riding boots? You know where I stand. One crash and he could be out not only the bike but the balance of a semester. The gear makes all the difference.

We have jackets, gloves and boots that will not break the bank and they will go a long way toward helping to keep you out of a cast. As you get more experience (and a bit more cash) you will want to upgrade your gear — get some armored riding pants that zip to your jacket or step up to a different jacket with, say, molecular armor. If you are a new rider you owe it yourself when you are out zipping around to talk to the other riders that you meet about the gear they ride with and why they chose it.

Gerde Applethwaite

Road Pizza: A Most Unwelcome Roadside Treat

 By Gerde Applethwaite

“Once again I race toward Dr. Flash Gordon’s brilliant motorcycle
first aid book entitled Blood, Sweat and 2nd Gear: More Medicine for
Motorcyclists.  I suspect it is no coincidence that his first chapter
starts with road rash, pavement dermatitis.”

The Weather on the Left Coast at the time of writing is still mostly dry and mostly warm. In other parts of the country the cold havoc reigns supreme. The scooter evolution is in full swing here and for reasons somewhat beyond my understanding scooter riders seem to have a penchant for Teva’s and cargo shorts. The vast majority of motorcycle/scooter accidents occur at under 30 miles per hour. The bi-product of the under dressed and the over-accelerated is road rash or as we affectionately call it – road pizza (you will know why if you have ever seen it.)

Once again I race toward Dr. Flash Gordon’s brilliant motorcycle first aid book entitled Blood, Sweat and 2nd Gear: More Medicine for Motorcyclists.  I suspect it is no coincidence that his first chapter starts with road rash, pavement dermatitis. This is a really common condition for the under dressed who ride – whether it be on bicycles, skateboards, scooters or motorcycles. What I wasn’t aware of were the complications that can ensue from an improperly treated road rash. Yeah, you should wear the right clothing and we sell the right clothing but for right now let’s just focus on a few select notions from Blood, Sweat and 2nd Gear.

(Picture Taken from Wiki How)

You need to get as much of the dirt out of the wound as you can. Any leftover dirt can produce scarring at best and complications from a serious infection at worst. I knew a guy in high school who did a face plant while on his bicycle; he hit a poorly designed road grate. They didn’t get all of the gravel out of his road rash wound and years later you could still see the occasional dark bits of gravel on the side of his face. Sometimes a little chunk of gravel would work its way to the surface causing intense itching until it finally broke loose of the skin – some bits stayed where they were. The broken skin is incredibly sensitive to stuff like Betadine or even tap water. It alone will send your nerve endings howling. Saline solution is better.  Contact lens solution is actually good. I now carry a bottle of it under the seats of both bikes, along side the small first aid kit.  Again, this is thanks to having read the Flash Gordon MD. book/s. Read them – no foolin’. The idea in this first phase is to get as much of the dirt and germs out of the wound as possible. The longer the microbes party in your road pizza wound the more you will pay for it later. If all you have is tap water then use that – get the wound clean.

Yes, the next phase is to protect the wound. Dr. Gordon no longer recommends antibiotic ointments like Neosporin for this. I didn’t know this. I knew enough to try clean the wound but then my first reaction would have been to slather it all up with something Like Neosporin then put down gauze 4×4′s and finally pave it all over with tape. Wrong. The wound needs to be cleaned but not dried out. The ointment will actually dry out the wound. You have a couple of ways to go here.

One is something called a semi-occlusive dressing like Tegaderm or Opsite for example. You apply the film onto and around the wound. It adheres to healthy skin around the wound both protecting the area and allowing the wound to breathe. This can be packed into your first aid kit as well as the saline solution and your other stuff. It really doesn’t take up that much room and if you don’t need it for yourself you may one day need it for someone else.

An alternative means to protect the cleaned wound site is to spray on some stuff out of a can that films over and will rapidly give you some protection. The products noted in Blood, Sweat and 2nd Gear are 3m’s Nexcare or something called Medi-Stat. I have the Nexcare in my kit. I haven’t seen the Medi-Stat in my local pharmacy. Gordon mentions that the added advantage of using the spray is that if you are the wounded one and you find yourself without help you will have an easier time of it by spraying something onto the wound site than you will applying a sheet film because you can one-hand it. Good tip.

You’re not out of the woods yet. You still risk serious infection and the potential consequences of infection turn out to be more than a little startling. I’m not going to go into it here because I want to keep this piece brief. Read the book (have I said that already?) or at least go online and do some research. At some point, either at the time of the initial accident or later when you suspect infection you may need to seek medical help. Do not hesitate to get it.

Finally a word, directly from my experience, about hospitals. Not all hospitals are created equally. I am given to understand that ambulance crews are not obligated to take you to your hospital of choice – they are obligated to take you to the nearest hospital. Now its roulette. If you are unfortunate to be taken to a crappy hospital or to one that has an overburdened emergency room (often one and the same) then you are really at the mercy of the fates. I happen to live in an area where the local hospital — the one that I would be taken to in the event of a neighborhood accident — has a stupefyingly poor reputation for everything except gun shot wounds – they appear to be good at that and they get a lot practice. If you show up with a road pizza shoulder and/or face you could realistically wait for 12 hours before you are seen depending upon who got shot before you showed up – or while you waiting. Do you want to risk that just so that you can feel the warm breeze blowing up your cargo shorts? Buy some riding gear, fool!

Gerde Applethwaite

Hand Up

Sarita recently posted about the importance of riding gloves and I couldn’t agree more. The human hand is, per square inch, the most complicated and fragile mechanical part of the human body. It is also our most complex physio-dynamic instrument. I occasionally see folks riding with a helmet and a decent jacket and no gloves. Clearly they do not understand how fragile our hands are and they have given little thought to what their lives would be like if one or both of their hands were wrapped up in a cast for 2 months.

Scooter riders seem to be the worst. There are lots of scooters in my neck of the woods and altogether too many of them are dressed as though they are somehow invulnerable and immune to harm on the road.

Think about all of the stuff that you do every day with your hands and think, for just a moment (I don’t want to scare you) about what your first reaction is if you fall out of a chair. In most falling accidents your first reaction is to put your hands out to brace your impact. Often the first thing to make contact with the ground are your hands, palms down.

The human hand and wrist are fascinating structures. There are 27 bones in the hand. Add to that the maze of muscles and tendons and the hands become a somewhat miraculous structure. I think of it now as I bang away on the keyboard. Then there is the wrist.

On Emedicine they say this about the wrist:
“The wrist is the most complex joint in the body. It is formed by 8
carpal bones grouped in 2 rows with very restricted motion between
them. From radial to ulnar, the proximal row consists of the scaphoid, lunate, triquetrum, and pisiform bones. In the same direction, the distal row consists of the trapezium, trapezoid, capitate, and hamate bones. ”

Any skateboarder or roller skater will tell you about the time/s they tried to avoid a full face plant by sticking out their hands. A decent pair of riding gloves for a motorcyclist or a scooter rider seems like the most reasonable of ideas and it is an idea you do not want to have while you are bare handed and in mid-air.

I currently have 3 pairs of motorcycle gloves. They are all different. The pair that I ride with the most are the Firstgear Navigator (gauntlet style) gloves that I picked up not all that long ago. I still like them, they are soft and they are broken in – they fit great. We have all manner of styles and types of gloves for you to choose from. My next pair will be heated gloves for winter riding.

If you do not ride with gloves please take a look at our offerings. We have so many to choose from I feel confident that you will find something to your liking.  If the gloves you currently ride with are wearing out please consider upgrading before you get too far into this riding season.

Gerde Applethwaite

Firstgear Navigator Gloves

HC BLOG First Gear Navigator Gloves

There is a scene in Steve Martin’s L.A.Story wherein his character, Harris K. Telemacher, a weather guy at an L.A. TV station, talks about last night’s temperature drop. He says in part “… and when the weather dropped down to 58 degrees last night how did you cope?…”  I live in California and the vast bulk of my riding these days is in-state. Which is to say that I haven’t had a chance to test my new gloves in any sort of rigorously cold weather so I have never been inordinately cold with my First Gear Navigator gloves.

I don’t have too many sets of riding gloves: well, in fact I have two pair. I have a pair of older black leather gloves that come right to the end of my wrist and I have another pair which are gauntlet style gloves that go up and around the jacket  cuff – the First Gear Navigator gloves.

There are myriad choices when it comes to riding gloves. The prices run wildly from a bit under fifty dollars to somewhere in the near four hundred dollar zone.  I opted this season for a pair in the just under one hundred dollar range  with the First Gear Navigator’s.  I do not regularly need a cold weather glove. For the cold weather First Gear makes a couple of nice gloves in their TPG range  called, not coincidentally, the “TPG Cold Weather” glove and also their aptly named “Tundra.” Then there is the toasty category of heated gloves which I have yet to experience but about which many on the interwebz have sung their praises. ‘Mmmm, heated gloves’ (insert your best Homer Simpson donut voice here.) My old wrist high gloves were just not cutting it anymore. They let rain and wind in under the cuff of the jacket and in a get-off they have the potential to leave a part of your forearm exposed to the menace of road pizza upon the eventual and dreaded landing.

The First Gear Navigator gloves, the gauntlet style gloves, are goat skin for the most part and they are soft and pliable. The fit seems to run just a bit small but after you break them in, wrapped around your hand grips for a few hundred miles, they fit like they were made for you.

As mentioned in a previous post I like the quality of construction of the First Gear equipment. These gloves are well stitched and have some nifty features bolted up to them. There is a small strip of rubber sewn in on one glove that acts as a sort of windshield wiper. The times when I have found that little device most useful were on those rainy days on the freeway. I am reticent to wipe the rain off of my helmet because it just smears everything and makes the vision a bit worse but with the little windshield wiper doodad on the First Gear Navigator gloves I can, especially when the freeway throws up oil and crud into the mix, wipe a clean spot onto the face shield and keep riding.

These gloves do not have the big carbon or plastic knuckle protectors and that makes them easy to store into the backside kangaroo pocket in my jacket – no more lost gloves. They Have a siliconized grip pad in the palm that makes holding onto to the hand grips that much easier. The First Gear Navigators are also flexible enough to allow me to readily work the vent latches on my helmet as well.

All in all I am content with the First Gear Navigator gloves but if I did much riding in really cold weather I would look into either their Cold Weather glove or the Tundra. I am quite comfortable in my  Cali. quasi-Mediterranean climate and I suspect I won’t be glove shopping again for a while but then again…heated gloves, mmmmmm.

*****

Gerde Applethwaite

Women’s Gear

Looking for the perfect gear just for you? Just because you’re a motorcycle rider doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in your feminine side. Helmet City has created a section just for women. Motorcycle Helmets, Motorcycle Jackets and more! No more ordering X-small jackets in Men sizes — Helmet City has jackets, helmets, boots, and gloves made just for you!

Shoei RF-1000 Flutter TC-2

Shoei RF-1000 Flutter TC-2

The Shoei RF-1000 Flutter motorcycle helmet is on the of the featured RF-1000 graphics designed specifically for women. The Flutter is also available in pink and brown. Interested in learning more about the Shoei RF-1000 helmets, read our blog below. Check out some of the other great motorcycle helmet designed just for women in Helmet City’s women’s apparel section.

Firstgear Vixen Jacket - Grey/Black

Firstgear Vixen Jacket - Grey/Black

The Firstgear Vixen motorcycle jacket is the female version of the Hammer. Made for ladies with a need for speed, the Vixen’s combination of premium-grade leather, perforated air vents in the front and exhaust vents in the rear and a perforated back pad for added airflow is perfect for women riding in the fast lane.

Tour Master HDX Ladies Gloves - Light Blue

Tour Master HDX Ladies Gloves - Light Blue

Tour Master’s HDX Motorcycle Gloves are available in Black, Light Blue, Pink, Silver and White. Tour Master’s HDX motorcycle gloves feature:

  • Molded, Pittards Digital Goatskin Leather knuckles provide increased protection.
  • Spandex 2-way stretch material in the thumb, fingers and top of hand.
  • Spandex thumb features a Pittards Digital Goatskin panel to minimize wear from grip flanges.
  • Goatskin leather palm with ergonomically designed palm patch is configured to increase grip comfort.
  • Airprene knuckle and wrist panels provide flexibility and increased comfort.
  • Stretch Cordura finger side panels increase finger dexterity.
  • Goatskin leather pull tab allows the glove to be easily placed onto the hand.
  • TPR molded finger panels provide additional protection.
  • TPR molded wrist cuff closure features a reliable, Velcro brand hook and loop closure.
Scorpion Haley Pants - Black

Scorpion Haley Pants - Black

The Scorpion Haley Motorcycle Pants designed specifically for women are also available in white and include the following features:

  • Designed and manufactured to literally save your butt.
  • Heavy duty perforated drum-dyed leather to provide maximum cooling in hot weather.
  • Outer thigh adjuster and bootstraps provide a snug, aerodynamic fit.
  • Double leather in high impact areas for extra protection.
  • These fashion-forward low-rise pants will never be mistaken for men’s pants.
Oxtar TCX Women's Sunray Boots

Oxtar TCX Women's Boots

Oxtar TCX Women’s Motorcycle Boots are available in women’s sizes 4.5-9 with these features:

  • The female foot is very different in shape to the male foot, especially around the instep, heel and metatarsal zones. For a woman, simply picking any boot in a small size is not enough. The model must be properly designed around a last that reproduces the female anatomy. The women’s fitting concept is rounded off by a fashion sole combining attractive looks with technical attributes and comfort.
  • The uppers of the TCX Touring range are made using full grain leather. This is the most valuable part of the leather, which is specially treated and rendered waterproof. The result is an upper in a natural material that gives exceptional performance in terms of protection from atmospheric agents, breathability and fit.
  • The protective parts of the boots have been designed and positioned to shield the most delicate points of the foot and shin-bone. Different materials are used and selected especially according to the type of protection required: preformed rigid shell plus shock-absorbent material for the ankle protector, anti wear rubber for the brake lever guard, semi rigid plastic for the shin plate.