Wet and…Wonderful!

Weather: Rain, all day long.

Frogwing and I, in our element.
The Johnny Cash look, betrayed by reflectors!

Well, I suppose April had to get here sooner or later. Today it arrived in force. A low pressure system, full of juice from the Gulf of Mexico, blew up here out of Texas, and looks like it is going to hang around for a couple of days. Today, we are getting our April showers, all day long.

Most people I talk to are stoic about it. We’ve had our fun in the sun, for the past week or so. The grass needs this, and so does the water table. People want to start planting their gardens, and I’m sure the farmers are hoping for a bit of rain.

But most people who ride motorbikes don’t want any part of this. Riding in the rain takes gear and skills that most recreational riders don’t care to acquire. So they leave their bikes home on days like this, and drive the cage instead.

I only saw one other rider out there today, and he was riding a blue, full-fairing, BMW R-something. It was either a -90 or 100, I couldn’t tell. But I know that beemer guys pride themselves on riding in all weather. I wonder if the mysterious red KLR guy was out there this morning…?

I wouldn’t know, because I’ve been taking the freeway in the mornings. But if I had to guess, I’d bet he was.

Yes, that’s right; the hated freeway. Why? Because the ride to work has that element of time-pressure attached to it. I have to be at my desk by a certain time, which means that I can’t ramble the way I like to do on the way home.

On the scooters, it is different, because I know that the freeway isn’t really a safe place to ride. The scooter route is a reliable sixty-minute cruise on parkways and sidestreets, both ways. So I plan for an hour, plus another twenty minutes if I want to stop for coffee.

But Frogwing does the freeways just about as well as he does the parkways, and it only takes us thirty minutes to get to work. That means thirty more minutes I can spend, sitting in my jammies, analysing the weather, traffic, and news on TV… or thirty more minutes of blissful semi-sleep, occasionally peeking at the alarm clock, should I need it. That can be a real blessing, on some days.

Today was really special because of a package I received from Aerostich yesterday. I am testing the Darien pants that go with the jacket I wore all through the winter. The timing couldn’t have been better. I already know that the Darien jacket repels all of the snow and rain I have encountered while wearing it.

Now I know that the pants perform just as well. Riding through both light rain and downpours, the water just beaded on these pants, and I never felt a bit of moisture on my legs. I found the kneepad armor a wee-bit uncomfortable, because it is mounted a bit lower than I need it to be. But Aerostich will fix that, as soon as I can get the pants back to them. I plan to ride up to Duluth to visit Andy and the gang as soon as my work schedule permits.

Now, my ride home from work tonight was wonderful. Yes, it was raining. But the gear I was wearing made that a non-factor. Whenever my visor became obscured by raindrops, I used my Vee-Wipe to clear it, just like a windshield washer. The knobby tires on Frogwing are almost as good in wet conditions as they are on dry pavement. The Aerostich Darien suit kept me warm and dry. In short, I was a Happy Rider.

This bodes well for the weekend. The forecast for our area is rain, rain, and more rain… clear through Monday. But the magic of weather radar allows me to see where the rain is falling, and where the nearest dry weather is. Maybe this weekend, I will make a dash through the downpour, punch through the rain barrier, and head out onto new, unexplored roads.

I have domestic duties to attend to on Saturday, but Sunday is my diem, should I choose to carpe it.

(Carpe diem = “seize the day” in Latin. Other than that, it’s all Greek to me.)

11 Responses to “Wet and…Wonderful!”

  1. Steve Williams Says:

    I’ve been looking at the Darien and Roadcrafter jackets but can’t decide. Definitely want to get something before cold weather comes again. I’ve been riding in heavy rains and using my Gill Offshore sailing jacket on top of the armored cost. It’s big, dry and has a hood that will go over the helmet if I really wanted covered….

    Sounds like you are having too much fun.

  2. jim Says:

    When I read that you were going to carpe it I thought that referred to riding in the water like a carp and getting all bony and sucking up a brat with onions. Yea, its a weak attempt at humor, but hey, its an attempt:)
    jim

  3. Mad Says:

    What’s latin for motorcycle I wonder?

  4. irondad Says:

    Darien vs. Roadcrafter. For COLD and heavy rain the Darien works best for me. The heavy liner keeps me warm and rain hasn’t penetrated the Darien in years. For me, the Roadcrafter is more a Spring through Fall. My usual winter attire is Darien jacket and Roadcrafter pants.

    Gary.
    Are you testing the Darien Light pants? I have those, too.

  5. Gary Charpentier Says:

    From the top:

    Steve, I am indeed having fun. The ability to ride in all weather is truly liberating. Having the right gear makes all the difference.

    Jim… shouldn’t you be out riding somewhere?

    Mad, there is an English-to-Latin translator on the internet somewhere. I’ve used it in the past. Why don’t you look it up and let us know?

    Dan, I’m testing the regular Darien pants. They are perfectly suited to this wet, Springtime weather. I got tired of motorcycle rain suits that would begin leaking around the seams, usually in the crotch area, after only a single season of use. I’m looking forward to testing these extensively over the rainy months ahead.

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  6. bro shagg Says:

    Gary-

    You said: (… Other than that, it’s all Greek to me.) All of it? Howsabout Semper Fidelis, young man???

    BS

  7. Seagullplayer Says:

    Your stories keep telling me I need better gear. I knew that all along, but do you really have to keep pointing it out? Might have to knock the dust off my arostitch catalog, and dig a little deeper in the billfold…

    Made it to work everyday in the month of April on the bike, a personal first. Your winter scooter blog really inspired me!

    Keep up the good work.

    Rubber Down.

  8. Rob Tsou Says:

    One of the only reasons I would wish to live farther north is to be closer to Duluth MN. If the shop is anything like the catalog, I’d probably be in there every other day “looking”.

    The main differences in the Roadcrafter and Darien are that the Roadcrafter is not as weather resistant but easier to get on and off. I have a 2 piece Roadcrafter and have not really had an issue with leakage (in all kinds of weather) but YMMV and reviews as well as the catalog say the same thing. Just my experience.

    Rob

  9. DaveT Says:

    The right gear, Lord how I wish I had “the right gear” for cold weather riding. The problem… I’m too big. Not tall, around. The biggest sizes I’ve found don’t come that close to fitting me. I might just have to break down and build my own. Then again, next time you run to up Aerostitch, ask them if they would be adverse to custom orders???

  10. Rob Tsou Says:

    DaveT,

    Those guys have customization built right into the catalog. Sleeve extentions, leg extentions, all kinds of stuff.

    No affiliation, just a happy customer.

    Rob

  11. Gary Charpentier Says:

    Bro Shagg, I can always count on you to point out when I am being glib.

    Mark (SGP), first, congrats on the personal milestone! I’m glad I was able to inspire someone out there.

    As far as having the right gear is concerned, I struggled for many years with makeshift solutions. Some worked, others didn’t, but now that I’ve ridden with quality, purpose-built gear, I’ll never go back.

    Rob, I was leaning towards the Roadcrafter myself, but people who know more about this stuff urged me to try the Darien. So that’s what I went with, and I’ve been very happy.

    DaveT, I know for a fact that Aerostich readily accepts custom orders. I’ve toured the factory, seen all of the mystical machinery, and even watched the Aero-gnomes at work. That was a fascinating experience.

    Why don’t you give them a call?

    Ride well,
    =gc=