Apr 25, 2012

Guilty Pleasure

I'm not wearing my AD1 pants in this picture because this
was my 3rd attempt at a self-portrait and I was tired of putting
on gear just for a damn picture. I ride AGAT everywhere.
Last April, I loaded up my V-Strom with all three hard cases and rode up to Duluth to check out the Aerostich-Riderwearhouse garage sale. I don't need much motivation to go to Duluth, since I love the city, Aerostich is one of the few examples of incorporation that I believe justifies any societal consideration, and the chance to spend even a few moments with Andy Goldfine is worth four hours on the motorcycle. An Aerostich Garage Sale was just icing on an already over-sweetened cake.

The brilliant folks at Aerostich go through a gauntlet of procedures before something finds its way into the Aerostich Catalog. Lots of cool stuff never makes it to the printer because Andy or someone at Aerostich decides the product isn't right for the Aerostich community. And "community" we are. Those of us who own Aerostich gear are committed to sticking with this stuff that works so well and with the company that has us in mind when they develop new gear or find something they think we "need." That means a lot of almost-good-enough stuff ended up on the garage sale shelves. I came home with all three cases stuffed with stuff that I either bought or had worn to the sale and would be toting back because I would be wearing my new stuff on the ride home.

The buy of the day was a prototype Darien HiVz AD1 jacket (I'm wearing it in this picture.) This incredible jacket, which has still not seen the light-of-production-day, has absolutely replaced my 5 year-old Darien for no reason other than comfort, the HiViz bit, and all-around coolness. The extra-tight nylon outer shell works so well that the Goretex has yet to be tested, even though I've ridden in awesome downpours and a couple of spring snow storms. Water just beads on the surface of this stuff and wind blows it away before the nylon gets damp enough to allow the Goretex to go to work. My old Darien is totally broken in and plenty flexible, after 80,000 miles of use, but something about this jacket is just more comfortable. If I could manage to lose another 20 pounds, it would be even more comfortable.
Andy gearing up for a ride to the Cities in 2009. Definitely,
my favorite picture of one of my favorite people.
Andy tests all of the company's prototype designs, so they are his more svelte size than my more rotund shape. In fact, the chances are good that anytime you see Andy he's testing something for Aerostich. Still, I'd lost about 20 pounds before the garage sale and that was enough to make this a practical jacket for me.

I do feel a little guilty, though, when other riders say they'd love to own some Aerostich gear but can't afford it. This incredible jacket cost me less than I ended up paying for the armor I added to it (new hardshell pads and a back protector). I shouldn't brag about this great buy and this isn't really about that. But just yesterday I was out playing on a favorite dirt road (that's giving this path way more credit than it deserves) north of the cities and went down pretty hard pretending to be a real motorcyclist in a tight sweeper with a bit of a berm. This was my third pass at the corner, so I thought I had it down. The first two times, I got sideways before the apex, so I didn't need the berm to get through the corner. It's been a while since I busted a berm, though, and I wanted to push the corner hard enough to need more than just speedway tactics to get around it.

The berm turned out to be less bermish than I hoped and it caved on me right at the apex, sending me, the WR, and a lot of dirt and gravel into a ditch. Once again, I busted the right side rear turn signal and gouged up the plastic exhaust pipe cover a little more. The signal is easy to fix. The exhaust cover was cheap. I hit my new Aerostich hip pads first, got on to my back in time to slide into the ditch feet first. My beater HJC took a little whack and scooped up enough goo to soak the collar of the Darien. It was a bit chilly and I had the Darien's collar pulled tight, which kept my neck and back dry. Overall, I ended up with my boots wet (about 4" of muck in the bottom of the ditch), pissed off, and slightly less aggressive for the rest of the ride home. My gear protected me from everything but a little soreness this morning. Could have been a whole lot worse. Thanks, once again, to the folks at Aerostich.

PS: Don't tell my wife about this. She's already convinced I'm retarded after dropping the bike yesterday morning when the cold engine stalled on me in the driveway.


  1. Wish I could ride to Aerostich from here, but it would require a vacation to do it. I have some various items from them that I love, like a couple of pairs of gloves, a sheepskin seat cover, etc., but haven't yet been able to afford any of the serious clothing. Some day ...It's great to find companies that really understand and are passionate about what they are doing.

  2. Glad you weren't hurt messing about in the much.

    I have been enjoying my aerostich neck triangle the last couple days.


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