Friday, September 17, 2021

90 in the shade and I have to put all this on to go riding?

Royal Enfield draped with riding clothes.
I don't look forward to getting dressed to ride in the summer heat.  

Sure, I understand why some motorcyclists ride bare headed. They wear only a T-shirt and shorts when it's hot. Flip-flops keep their feet cool. No gloves, of course. They're probably just wearing what they had on before they decided to go for a ride.  

They just put on sunglasses to keep the wind out of their eyes, and away they go.  

No matter what the temperature, I drag myself into pants and long sleeves before I ride. To these I add helmet, gloves, boots and a (too light but better-than-nothing) jacket.  

On a hot day it's actually hard to decide whether to put on the jacket and helmet before kick starting my Royal Enfield. Should I wait until the hard work is done before getting fully dressed next to the running motorcycle?

No way will I put on my leather gloves before the motorcycle is running and ready to pull out of the driveway. It's just too hot here in Florida.

Getting dressed seemed like "no sweat," back when I was a commuter, and enjoying a 25-mile ride to work. But now that I'm at most just running a local errand, the prep before riding is a drag.

I won't change my habits; they're ingrained now. But still...

Some might point out that I am the source of my own trouble. I've chosen to ride a vintage, kick-start-only Royal Enfield Bullet. Wouldn't there be less sweat if I upgraded to a motorcycle (any modern Royal Enfield would do) that comes with an electric starter?

Well. Sure.

Obviously, I prefer to seek other solutions.

1. I've made some progress living up to my vow to gather my riding gear into one spot so that helmet, boots, gloves, pants, belt, Leatherman tool, earplugs and keys fall easily to hand. I need to add the jacket and shirt to the heap.

2. My problem is partially a phenomenon of getting all dressed up with no where to go. I need to plan itineraries so that I ride farther when I ride, improving the pleasure-to-hassle ratio. Itineraries with fewer stop lights, that is. As long as the motorcycle is moving the air flow keeps me cool enough.

I'll let you know how it works out.


  1. I recently began work on acquired an ES350 that had been neglected. The ES feature is very nice, but would be better on the 500, as the 350 is fairly slow, forcing you to pick your routes carefully. The electric start function is nicer the older we get. I believe a prudent rider would likely get reasonable service out of one, although they are reputed to be fragile. There are a fair number of Pre-Unit ES machines out there.

    Instead of upgrading to the more modern UCE, I believe I'd look hard at the 250 SSR Buccaneer Classic. At 280 pounds & 18 HP, it's 100 pounds lighter, a big deal for us mature folks. We won't miss the extra 4 HP. The engine, a Yamaha V-twin clone, is a renowned hammer. It'll run flat-ground 60+ for hours if need be. Test rides are free...?

    On my end, I'm enjoying the ES350's convenience, and our rural mountain traffic speeds fall within its performance envelop, lucky me!

    1. Good recommendations but I'll stay with my '99 Bullet for now. I bought it for its antique features and while I am more and more an antique now myself we still seem to suit one another.

  2. I feel your pain David. I live in tropical Brunei where it is 32 degrees C everyday and at least 80% humidity.

    Like you I wear boots, jeans, jacket, gloves and a helmet every time. I've fallen off other bikes, and I know it hurts!

    I have a 2007 500 es but have junked the electric start as it disintegrated spectacularly!


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