Mar 26, 2011

Panic in the Northlands

A few weeks back, when I was about to collapse with the flu that's floating around the Twin Cities, I went through a flurry of activity getting ready to drive up north to pick up my new WR250X and ride it home before the temperature dropped and the snow hit. Turned out, the guy didn't have the bike ready to sell and he ended up delivering it to me a week and a half later.

During that disease-demented activity flurry I managed to get about half of the gear I'd need to ride the bike in the car. Left the helmet sitting on my shop roller bench. Left one of my gloves on the kitchen table. And managed to load up my Aerostich suit without noticing the pants were missing. I was obviously on the road to a nasty physical crash and a day later I was as sick as I have been in years.

After a week of misery and my first sick day in 9 years, I was almost ready to give the WR a test ride, but I couldn't find my Darien pants. We tore up every storage space, pulled apart the back end of my wife's station wagon, and looked and re-looked in every one of our nine closets. No pants. So, I decided to make a trip to Bob's Cycle to buy something cheap (First Gear, Tourmaster, Icon, Alpinestars, Joe Rocket, or whatever) to get me by until I could convince myself to put out another $300 on another pair of Aerostich pants.

I couldn't do it. The zippers, snaps, material, and design of everything I tried on was so inferior to the Aerostich gear I'd grown used to that I couldn't even convince myself to blow $100 on a temporary pair of pants. I convinced my wife that a winter weekend vacation in . . .  Duluth would be a cool thing to do and off we went to the frozen north for a couple of days in what usually is the coldest month of the year.

I'm not usually a quality-over-quantity kind of guy. If I were hungry, I'd rather have two In-N-Out Burger Double Doubles than a Morton's Porterhouse steak. I buy my clothes, mostly, second hand. I buy my cars and motorcycles, always, second hand. I'd buy used food if I could digest it. But four years ago, I got tossed off of my V-Strom on the Dempster Highway at 50mph into 8" of freshly ground arrowhead-sized rock and slid for a good hundred feet without doing anything more than scratching up the reflective tape on the back of my jacket. It could happen again and, if it does, I want to wearing gear that I know works. No cheap lightweight zippers, no women's purse sized snaps, no parachute nylon, but real heavy duty Cordura held together with oversized zippers and snaps and designed, built, and inspected by people I know and trust.

So, $300 later, I have a 2nd set of Aerostich pants and, yes, we found the first pair in my wife's sewing pile. She'd hauled it down to the basement in November, promising to get the suspenders repaired and back on the hangar "real soon." I fixed them myself and they will stay with the rest of the suit from here out.

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