There are few things I love more than getting on the back of a Harley and going for a long ride. What could feel better? The the sun on my back and the wind in my face as we roll through the local mountains heavy with the scent of sage and pine or smell the salt in the air as we motor down the Pacific Coast Highway. My iPod is blasting my favorite Eminem tune and little kids smile and wave from the air-conditioned back seats of mom and dads SUV as we sit at a light waiting for it to change.
There is a lot more to being a rider. Sitting there enjoying the scenery is the joy of the ride. But with it comes responsibility. I have been enjoying the ride for 20 years. I was taught early on what my responsibilities were as a rider and through the years some lessons were just learned.
I have many friends that enjoy riding but they are not engaged in it fully. Through discussions with them they have admitted to not paying attention on the road. You may think that as a passenger you have no duty other than to take pictures or just enjoy the ride. However you would be wrong.
So in this series I am going to give you some handy little tips and I am going to start from before you even set your pretty bottom on the back of a bike.
Dressing for the Ride
So you have accepted an invite to go on a ride, a first date maybe… but you’re not sure what to wear. So we will start with the optimum weather conditions. Full Summer nice, warm day. Check the weather for the areas that you will be riding and know what time you are going to depart and return. Even on the warmest of days a ride will usually start out by 10:00 am. Dress in layers. I suggest a nylon/rayon type cammi. They keep the core of your body warm when it is cooler in the morning and towards the evening. A tank or shirt over that, sleeves or not is your choice, and a hoodie. You can peel the layers off as the day warms. Ask your date about storage on his bike, if he has bags or a roll on the front of his bike where you can put these things as they come off.
Wear jeans that have a little give that will not bind in the hip area. Boots with heels or without. I have a black ankle pair for the warm weather and a black heeled to the knee pair that is preferable when the weather is cool. If the weather is cooler. and you do not have leathers, a pair of tights will be a big help. Get cotton ones that will breath should it get too warm.
If the weather is very cool make sure to have a heavy jacket. If it’s cool when your outside it’s going to be much cooler in the wind. A scarf is a good idea for chilly rides, it keeps the wind from going down your back and the neck area warm, which is the hardest place to keep warm with out the scarf. I have a black velour type one and it’s perfect for the job.
Gloves. I always ride with gloves I have a finger-less set for warm weather and a full set for the cooler weather. You can pick up what you need rather inexpensively. My full fingers are just ladies black leather gloves from Target. The finger-less are HD gloves and cost more, but I wouldn’t be without them.
Bandannas: Bandannas are a staple riding accessory. With the bandanna you don’t have to worry about helmet hair. The helmet comes off and your good to go. Ladies if your hair has ANY length to it braid it, or know that you are going to spend forever getting the knots out at the end of the day.
I wear a second bandanna over my face ALWAYS. I am known as the ninja rider. But here’s the deal. I like my face. Make up and sunscreen are a magnet for the road grime. A cotton bandanna even on the hottest days are a life saver. They are breathable and when you get to your destination your face isn’t filthy. and it is enough to keep your face and ears warm on cold days.
If you are wearing your bandanna in a headband style, tie it beneath your pony tail or braid. When you cover your face the knot will be tied ABOVE the pony tail. If you don’t tie the face bandanna at the top the knot it will slip down in the wind and be useless and frustrating.
SUNGLASSES: This is a must have. Most of the styles now are large and have some sort of wrap effect on the side. Make sure that they fit close to the top of the cheek bone and are a snug fit. Make sure the arm of your shades are between your head and the bandanna. Wearing them on the outside of the bandanna they can catch wind and be gone. You are going to know in a very short time of starting out on your ride if your shades are going to do the job.
The bucket/helmet. If you are a first time rider you will likely be loaned a helmet. If you find this is an activity you love then you should go purchase your own. What you decide on will be entirely up to you. A DOT helmet can be purchased for around 65.00 at a local dealer.
iPod: A MUST have! I don’t ride with out mine… ever. I run the earphone cord down the back of my shirt. Make sure the earphones are in BEFORE you get your face bandanna and helmet on… I keep the device in a jacket pocket that zips or tucked into my belt loop. DO NOT KEEP IT IN A BACK POCKET. it is too hard to get out if you want to change your song and makes you fidget too much on the bike and that is a NO NO!
Phones: If you are not using your phone for music put it on airplane mode to save the battery. You could be riding in areas where service is sparse and it will drain your battery in a hurry, or just turn it off.
Misc Necessities. This is what you will find in my little bag for a day ride. Lip Balm, deodorant, [Trust me on this] Drivers license, AAA card, (Which has been used on a ride more than once) Debit card, gum, Clear glasses for at night. and you may want sunscreen, I don’t use it.
If you find that this is something you love to do, you will come up with your own little things that you will want to have with you. But this is a good jumping off point for the new or novice rider. I hope this has been a help to you. You can also click on the link for my video Dress to Ride http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAsjqVwlzyo&context=C34c76c1ADOEgsToPDskLSzezRqX-DPGluWPHHwCBr
Ride safe and keep the shiny side up.