The Summer of T shirts and Shorts
He passed me when I was in my car. We were on the city ring highway. He was on his cruiser wearing a beanie helmet, t shirt, light cargo pants and sandals. He was going about 110 k/ph. His face had a happy freedom expression on it, or perhaps he was stoned because you’d have to be delirious to get on a high-powered motorcycle in rush hour urban traffic dressed like this!
I’ve named this past riding season as the summer of T Shirts and Shorts. Sadly, this was the common choice of motorcycle gear among this city’s motorcyclists. Actually, I’m going to refer to them as “riders” as these types are not deserving of the prestige title –Motorcyclist.
THE TERM IMPLIES PROFESSIONALISM
Opting not to wear motorcycle gear, a jacket, pants, gloves, boots proper helmet, the whole package is not the act of a pro or anyone serious about long term riding for that fact.
No doubt, this was the one of the hottest summers on record making it often unbearable to ride. Factor in a blazing hot motorcycle on scorching hot roads, often intolerable.
But the weather has never stopped accidents from happening.
Motorcyclists always need to be ready. This summer Toronto alone had its highest incidents of motorcycle crashes I can ever remember. Did the heat have something to do with it? When you consider that on average, motorcyclists make up one per cent of traffic but 16 per cent of road fatalities – something’s not working.
In earlier years it seemed motorcycling was taken more seriously. Well, in Europe there’s no discussion – gear is worn. Perhaps in cities such as Milan, Italy where traffic is respectful of scooter and motorcyclists you’ll find slight variations. In most Euro cities, drivers actually look out for the safety of motorcyclists unlike in North America. The training curriculum hasn’t changed and gear actually has become lighter, better qualified for safety with armour, Kevlar’s and available.
GEAR ISN’T JUST IN THE CASE OF MISHAP – IT’S ALSO FOR YOUR COMFORT.
When you’re not comfortable, you’re distracted. Distraction means focus is absent from the road and this equates to error and poor skill execution.
Here’s a question – if you’re in the middle of a long ride say six hours, and within the first hour your boots begin to cause you pain will you enjoy the ride and give full concentration to the road?
Operating a motorcycle is SUPER FUN– it’s also very serious business. It requires all your focus, all your skill all of the time- yes, every single minute. It’s for expert minds and coordinated bodies. It’s for the thrill seeker who respects its risks. And when the unexpected happens you’ll be ready. The t-shirt and shorts composition will not ever prepare you.
In my network, we see it this way…THE MOTORCYCLIST IN FULL GEAR ACTUALLY HAS THE MOST FREEDOM to ride and takes motorcycling seriously possessing incredible riding ability and skill. A properly fitted rider is a sign of professionalism.
At the end of the day, it’s the riders’ choice.
And it falls right in the same categories as say, ….choosing to smoke or not during pregnancy; to drink and drive, or not to; to practise safe sex or not.
Yes, making the choice to wear protective motorcycle gear is really a difficult one to make.