A sunny day, blue skies, balmy temps, what a great day for a spin on the motorcycle. We all revel in such opportunities, but when it comes to motorcycle vacation plans, your schedule does not always fall on those perfect days. All too often the weather is questionable, and with limited time you set off to make the most of it come what may.
I’ve given up on counting on the predictions. There are days when I must ride regardless. With most of my time spent in the Smoky Mountains, you can rarely trust a forecast or plan with certainty on what’s happening over the next hill or ridge top. Best to adapt the Boy Scout attitude of “Always be prepared”. Leathers and chaps have long been retired. Nor can I be burdened with always packing a decent rain suit. A good one is not only bulky but costly. You have to stop and put it on, stow it when wet, I can’t be bothered. I have embraced synthetics and come to value the gear produced by Fieldsheer.
Case in point, a situation I see repeated all too often. I got a call last week that some magazine writers from Florida were in town and wanted someone to show them some great rides. I knocked off for the day, and headed over to meet them. Who can’t use a little more publicity. The storm clouds were gathering and there was obvious rain to the southwest. No problem, we’ll head for the blue skies to the northeast and skirt around it.
By the time we saddled up and got ready to leave, the first wave of rain had hit up high near the Blue Ridge Parkway where they were waiting. It was still sunny a few miles down the road and I knew we could pass through the shower and get ahead of the storm which would hang to the south. Dressed in blue jeans, T-shirts, and skid lids, they were not only saturated by the time we reached the bottom of the hill but couldn’t see where they were going with their open faced helmets. I lost them at the first gas station as they sought shelter. I circled back, and we waited for the shower to let up to return them to the motel. Their day was ruined. I headed out, rode for a bit, and returned home bone dry in my synthetic gear. How many have wasted their valuable motorcycle vacation time waiting in shelter or cutting things short when they become wet, cold, and miserable from a brief shower? Don’t let it happen to you, plan ahead and be prepared.
I’m long acquainted with Fieldsheer motorcycle gear. It’s my everyday year-round riding apparel. My jacket, now 4 years old or more is still waterproof, and the ballistic cloth has survived going down at highway speeds without significant damage, the protective armor built in insuring I walk away from spills with little more than my ego impacted. After three years I’d done enough to my old pants to warrant a replacement. The occasional knee down and a spill or two had loosened the stitching in the crotch and I had a minor leak. Santa blessed me with a new pair of Mercury 2.0 pants, and after six months, I can give them a preliminary rating – stellar.
The quilted lining served me well through the winter. Comfortable and warm, it has been removed now that the summer heat is here. I really appreciate the small zipper controlled thigh vents that are easily opened while riding. Full side zippers insure that should the temps really climb, I can add even more ventilation. With repeated forays through some heavy downpours I can attest to their being waterproof. Sizing runs a bit large, though that probably contributes to comfort – plenty of room to move around without restriction. The velcro waist bands make for quick cinching when I make those trips into the weeds to commune with nature. The fly is so well gusseted as to be useless as an avenue for quick relief, but in exchange water tight.
You can find FIELDSHEER MERCURY 2.0 PANTS online for under $150.00. They’ll serve my purpose for 95% of the riding I do, with a set of mesh pants as back up should I decide to head for more tropical climes (not likely). I no longer plan around weather, waste time parked under overpasses or sit out storms slurping endless cups of bitter truck stop coffee. They also come in silver, and womens versions.
Rain is temporary. Good gear endures and keeps you riding and should be part of your motorcycle touring kit. If that’s important to you, I highly recommend these pants.
Fieldsheer Site: http://www.fieldsheer.com/site2009/IE/product/mercurypant.htm
- Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here - AmericaRidesMaps.com