I've always been known as a spartan rider. Things like electric vests weren't a part of my world. I have a high pain threshold. A fact that Katie swears works against me. My preparation for cold weather riding consisted of finding gear that gave the most warmth for the least amount of bulk. I hate feeling confined. Even a balaclava in front of my nose and mouth was almost too much. The thought of being physically wired to the bike turned me off. No pun intended. Mostly I just rode. Sometimes it was so cold I had to grit my teeth. Even at that, I seemed to do okay. The only real affect was feeling quite chilled after a long ride in the cold. I wouldn't really notice it until I got off the bike and into a warm place. It would take hours to feel warm again.
Then one day about three years ago I had a chance to ride a guy's BMW F650, He wanted me to go play with the ABS. Since it was also a cold day, Lon encouraged me to wear his electric vest. That was the start of my downfall from the rugged, tough, rider I'd always been. I resisted for a while but eventually bought a vest. I went back to Lon, who was the sales manager at a dealer, and told him this:
"I both thank you and curse you! I thank you for introducing me to actually being warm. I curse you for helping me start to ruin my Spartan image!"
In order to make me feel a little better about things, I started to reason on the situation. It actually sounded more like making excuses, but so be it. I related it to safe riding. After all, that's my passion, right? I spend hours and hours teaching riders how to take care of themselves. It's important to be comfortable on a motorcycle. If a rider's comfortable they'll be better able to concentrate on avoiding hazards and bogies. My first Winter with the vest saw it get a lot of use. Pretty soon, though, my spartan nature returned. Ok, call it pride or being stubborn. I haven't used the vest at all this Winter. Enter our instructor banquet and a door prize.
I won this Gordon Gerbing signature edition electric jacket liner as a door prize. That was in November. The jacket makes a great liner under the 'Stich. Included with the jacket was the harness to tap into the battery. Not included was a controller. The electrics won't operate without a controller. So for pretty much the whole Winter I've used it without the heating function. I know some of you will question my intelligence. Comparisons to using a chainsaw without the engine running come to mind. Hey, it's my body. The jacket by itself makes a good insulating layer. It also looks kind of neat by itself.
Early January finally saw the credit card get a little exercise. A hundred dollars later I had a controller, a cord to adapt to the BMW type plug already installed on Sophie, and a coiled extension. Just in case I needed more reach, or for Katie's use from the pillion spot. Gerber hastened me on to my demise. The package arrived just two days later. One cold day I fired everything up. The temperature was in the low twenties (f).
Let me say that this is a quality product. The controller keeps the temperature setting at a constant level. Just turn the little knob and forget about it. The jacket has wires in the torso and the sleeves. It's just like being in a hot tub. Only less water. With a lot more clothes. No bubbles but deeper wind chill. All right. It's nothing like being in a hot tub. It feels just as good, though!
Now I'm afraid to use it. See, I used to have this point where I used the electric vest. Anything in the twenties qualified. Or, a ride over a hundred miles at freezing or below. Pretty soon the upper limits started being stretched. I feared becoming "soft" so I cut myself off. This electric jacket liner is even nicer than the vest. Soon I started plugging it in and rotating that magic knob at anything below forty degrees. I got so strung out that once I fired it up at 45 degrees! This was just too much. I haven't used the electrics for 11 days. I know, that long. What's happening to me?
It's no longer a matter of safety. I just like being warm!!! Is the rugged Road Warrior turning into a Coddled Combatant? Heaven forbid. Curse you, Gerbing. Your product does its job too well. This is more comfort than any hard core rider deserves. Or should be exposed to. I'm asking Katie to hide the controller. No matter how pitiful I sound, no matter what I say, do not give it back to me! I see the beginning of an addiction and it's starting to scare me!
Miles and smiles,