As bikers, we’ve all heard the phrase “Dress for the Slide, not the ride” from bikers all over the world. It is our mantra for ensuring we wear good safety gear at all times, because let’s face it, road rash just doesn’t look fashionable.But one thing that bikers frequently overlook is dressing for the total amount of time you will be away from home on the bike.
Scenario 1: This occurred to me recently on the way home from rather long day out on the bike. With it being summer, I had donned my Dainese Air-Frame Tex jacket and Drake Super Air Tex trousers, and with it being a hot day I’d taken the windstopper out of my jacket. During the day this was absolutely lovely, with the 26-degree + temperatures being kept at bay by the constant airflow through my mesh jacket. But eventually I ran out of daylight. The sun set, and with it, the temperatures dropped. All of a sudden my nice cool riding day had turned into an uncomfortably cold evening. The air temperature was probably not much different, but without the heat from the sun to counter the cooling effect of the wind, I soon began to feel really cold. Stupid me, I’d left my wind stopper at home.
Scenario 2: Another thing that frequently catches bikers out is during the commute. You can head into work on a nice bright summer morning, only to leave the office at the end of the day to find it’s just started to rain, and you’re dressed in your finest mesh textiles. These will do what all good teabags do, and let the water in, and of course you came in without any waterproof gear.
This leads us to our tip.
Both of these scenarios could increase the chance of rider error, resulting in an accident. When riding, it is important to stay warm and dry. Getting wet eventually leads to getting cold, and getting cold lowers your concentration levels, and will slow down your reaction times. This is not what you want when you only have two wheels on the tarmac, and certainly not what you want when going home through a rainy rush-hour.
Before you head out, check the weather forecast and plan for both ends of the day. But remember that the weather forecast can sometimes be as accurate as the predictions of Mystic Meg, (and in the case of the BBC, considerably less accurate than that! I mean seriously, sometimes I think they just check their Weather Forecasting Stone and hope for the best…). If the forecast is looking like the National Lottery predictions, then maybe pack those waterproofs, just in case. If you commute regularly, maybe leave a spare waterproof in the office so you don’t get caught out. Be sure to consider not just rainfall, but temperature too. If you’re wearing summer gear then be sure to take something a little warmer for when the sun goes down.
Ride safe, and stay warm!