Packing to Ride
Here are some helpful packing tips to help ensure a safe and comfortable ride when traveling long distances.
Helmet and Face and Eye Protection
Full Face - great weather and crash protection. Add a tinted faceshield or sunglasses for bright days.
Flip Face - great convenience (particularly with glasses) and weather protection; slightly compromised crash protection due to the movable chinbar. Add a tinted faceshield or sunglasses for bright days.
Open Face (3/4) - no weather or crash protection for the face. Fit with a faceshield, or use riding type glasses for eye protection. In rain, needs a waterproof bandana to protect the neck and lower face.
Half Helmet - all the drawbacks of the open face plus no crash protection for the sides and rear of the head. Many come with a detachable wind curtain to provide some weather protection for the ears and rear of the head.
Suggested helmetsare the Nolan flip face, and Shoei or Arai full face helmets.
The best jackets offer good weather, impact and abrasion protection, and are comfortable over a wide range of temperatures. Features to look for are thick leather (1.1+ mm) or Cordura fabric with nylon ballistic patches on the shoulders and elbows; soft armor at the elbows and shoulders; zippered vents; and a removable full sleeve liner. Gore-Tex type fabrics are both breathable and waterproof, eliminating the need for a rain jacket.
Suggested favorites are the breathable, waterproof and heavily vented Olympia AST ( http://www.olympiamotosports.com/ast_mens/ast_mens.htm ) and Voyager ( http://www.olympiamotosports.com/voyager/Voyager.htm ). Harley-Davidson's FXRG line of clothing combines functional technical features with more traditional biker style elements.
Good riding boots are protective, and comfortable for both walking and riding. On tour, you will live in them. If they are waterproof (Gore-Tex lined and/or waterproof leather), you can eliminate overshoes or boot covers.
Suggestions are Cruiserworks ( http://www.cruiserworks.com ). They are very lightweight and comfortable with 100% waterproof leather construction, kevlar ankle protection and styrene toe guards. I prefer the Tour model, but the Classic offers the same features in a traditional biker style. Red Wing also makes a good boot for riding, particularly their waterproof, insulated models. Their "biker" line is more fashion than function.
The best gloves offer a blend of good weather and abrasion protection, comfort and control feel. Suggested gear to bring: short elkskin summer gloves, unlined elkskin gauntlets (somewhat warmer and more protective), and a pair of insulated cold weather gloves.
Contributed by J. Spittle