Sunday, October 09, 2011

The Now

I slept in a bit and after hesitating decided to quickly get ready and try for a ride.
I had no real plan and just rode south. Almost immediately I had a woman in a Golf GTI merge into my lane despite sounding my horns (CB has two) from the second I noticed her moving over. So much for my thoughts that a sports exhaust might make people more aware of you.
I guess I was not in a happy place despite it being a lovely day. Sometimes I fall into the wishful if only thinking trap which serves to empower our limitations. I was starting to question if I should have just stayed home then I saw this smiley rock which made my day.

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It made me do a U turn and ride back, get off the bike and take a breather and come back to ‘the now’ which is the one simple cure for wishful thinking blues. Hey this is a hell of a nice day, not cold not hot, the air is clear after the rain last night and roads are almost empty. Time to enjoy what the now is presenting to me.

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Currumbin valley
Dropping down into the Tweed Valley I could feel a the mix of cool and warm air pockets that seem to present themselves in the days before Summer fully arrives. The smell of sugar cane processing was in the air and the Condong sugar mill was already operating with a full plume of steam from its chimney.

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I decided to not try too big a ride since I had a huge Friday night out drinking and energy wise was probably not back near 100% yet. Past Murwillumbah to Uki and via Stokers Siding to Burringbah was very enjoyable.

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Burringbah range

Then I rode the hidden roads that criss cross the highway north to Farrants Hill. Some nice views of the valley on the left and the ocean on the right along the way and scarcely a car as is the way often when riding there.

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I must try the Tumbulgum pub lunch some time, had to be 40 motorbikes at least parked at it and very crowded. However the café had parking and choice of tables out front and I know the food and coffee are ok so it seemed to be made for me today.

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Todays route is here

Sunday, October 02, 2011

First Gear Scout Jacket review (and some long term updates)

I was going to get out for a ride today but just did not feel up to it.

First of all I want to post an update on two items.

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Dainese Guanto X-ILE gloves. Following on from my previous review all I can say is - very disappointed in these. The way the fingers are stitched means they end up being uncomfortable after 1/2 a day as the seam rubs against the area between your fingers. Look great but crap design. I already have sworn off Italian bikes and am extending that to rider equipment.

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Vitessi boots. Well I have been using these French made boots for some time and they are both comfortable and stylish however the suede leather parts sure got soiled quick. I have not had problems getting them on and off with the laces as talked about previously and I don’t find it takes any extra time. I like them but hope I can keep them looking ok moving forward.

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First Gear Scout Jacket. I purchased this on close out at nearly half price to replace my Alpinestars leather jacket.

To counter some of the negative press I have given Alpinestars newer products my old Alpinestars dyno jacket was one of the first/original items I saw here from this company. It was not made in China and it still looks and functions almost like new despite years of use. The styling is timeless and I simply have put on weight that makes this shorty sports cut jacket ride a little high or I would not have replaced it.

And now to the Scout jacket from First Gear. This is a jacket I want to sit in the middle of the road, not a full winter jacket and not a summer mesh but able to cover a wide temperature range for touring. My mesh Cortech summer jacket has liners but really does not work well in cooler weather and my winter jacket is the Alpinestars WP10 which when zipped to their winter pants is a great cold weather combo but doesn’t breathe so well as the day warms up.

The Scout has a removable liner and it does a fair job with cold weather. Add a windproof midlayer and thermal base shirt and with other suitable winter gear you can get through a Brisbane winter morning then when the day warms the jacket will really work well to adjust.

I tried it in the first hot weather of the year 2 weeks ago and the venting also works well. It has two rear zip down exhaust vents and two large front zip down intake vents that can be pulled open further at the top. It also has dual zips at the lower arms which let air into your sleeves. 

There are lots of textile jackets that probably do the same thing however I wanted a leather jacket again and the Scout seems a fairly good thing so far. It weighs a ton in comparison to my textile jackets, even to the old Dyno jacket and the cut is a bit looser than I wanted but that is really as I am now in between sizes and not a fault of the jacket. Purchased before I decided on my North America tour next year I am not sure if it can cover the temperature ranges there however if it lasts like the Dyno has then I will more than get my value from it with only local use.