Scoot Commute

Gear Report

Today is in the mid-20s (Fahrenheit) and really, really windy (read: windchill in the single digits). I got to try out the Gerbing’s Hybrid Heated gloves for the first time. And my Foggy. Thanks Santa!

I’ve labelled this a total gear report because I wanted to comment on everything I was wearing and how comfortable I was.

1. Gerbing’s Hybrid Heated Gloves
These are heated gloves that can either be hard-wired to the bike’s battery or use a rechargeable lithium battery pack. I never, ever, would have bought these for myself, but my mom sent me a check for $100 in early December inside an envelope upon which she had scrawled “Spend this. Do not Save” and the ‘not’ was underlined. I thought for a few days, what do I want (because I’m lucky to not need anything right now), and after dealing with frozen finger syndrome for a series of chilly December mornings, I thought, you know what, I’m going to look into heated gloves.

Well now, if heated gloves aren’t expensive! And these hybrid half battery/half live hook-up aren’t really, really expensive. But I decided I really liked the hybrid-ness because I could use the battery packs when I’m riding the scooters and hook up the battery when I’m riding the bikes. I showed them to Erik and said, hey, I’ll kick in $100 and I also sold him a gift card I was given, so I gave him a total of $150 toward the, wait for it, gulp 3 hundred dollar price tag. (Yes, it’s silly, as it’s still both our money, but whatever.)

The gloves were warm this morning and even though my hands weren’t entirely rosy and pink when I got to campus, I could still feel all my fingers; a new experience. Usually my hands are so cold I can barely unbuckle my helmet strap. I think they’d be absolutely perfect with the addition of muffs or wind blockers.

Grade: B+

2. Olympia AST Jacket (in hi-viz, of course!)
I still think this is the best item of gear I’ve gotten in the last year (thanks ADVRider flea market!). I only had a short sleeved t-shirt and a thin fleece pullover top underneath my AST with full liner and I didn’t feel the cold. I cannot rave enough about the AST. It’s windproof, it’s waterproof, and it gets me noticed (because all the nimrods in my neighborhood slow down or pull over when they see me because they think I’m a cop because of the yellow color). My only complaint is that I cannot velcro the collar snuggly, but Erik thinks that’s because of the thick fleece neck gaiter I wear. I accept that.

Grade: A

3. FirstGear Escape Pants
Again, was I cold? Nope. These pants are fantastic. Easy to get on, easy to get off (I wear them over street clothes) and still comfortable with the liner in over street clothes. Waterproof and windproof. The reflective stripe down each leg SCREAMS at night. My only complaint is the length. They’re just too damn short. Yeah, yeah, I’m 5’11”, it’s to be expected, but just another 2 inches and these would be the most perfect pants in the world. Seriously. They do come in tall sizes but only in men’s, and the smallest men’s waist size is a 30. I’ve been told my whole life how wonderful it must be to be tall and thin. Oprah, let me tell ya…tall, thin women need high-quality, protective motorcycle pants that cover our ankles when in a seated position, too.

Grade: A-

4. Oxtar Matrix Boots (Oxtar is now TCX)
I like these boots so much I have three pairs. One pair is too big and I need to sell them. One pair is a size 40 which fits like a US9. I wear these in the winter with thick socks. One pair is a size 39 which fits like a US8.5 (my shoe size). I wear these when I wear regular socks and/or tights.

My feet were toasty warm this morning and I only had on a thin pair of argyle socks. No special fleece or SmartWool for the cold weather, just cheap-o argyles from the Building 19. Warm feet, waterproof and not bad stylin’ make these boots perfect. The model is now discontinued so I’ll have to check out the revised version when my 39s wear out.

Grade: A+ (seriously, I love these boots)

5. Respro Foggy
Fog is a problem on my helmet shield. My commute is a mind-numbing maze of four-way stops, traffic lights (of which I always get the red) and left hand turns. There’s a lot of stopped breathing going on. Which translates to condensed breath on the inside of my shield.

I tried Cat Crap. I think I’m just too much of an idiot to figure out how to put it on correctly because it did nothing but make my visor streaky (yes, I buffed, I promise). I generally crack open the shield at longer stops, but it gets cold in New England.

I saw the Foggy on the Aerostich website and sent it to Santa on my list (note: there are cheaper places to get it in the US but I support Aerostich because they support the community). I was lucky enough to receive said Foggy which I immediately inserted into my helmet. I took it on a test run last Sunday on a mild (for December in Rhode Island) 50 degree, wet, damp day to get gas for the Buddy. It worked wonders and made me look kinda tough at the suddenly now full-serve BP on Broad Street. As the guy came up to pump the gas, I growled, “oh no, I’ll pump. I don’t want it spilled all over the place.” He handed me the nozzle, I dropped $2.78 worth of gas into the tank, handed him $2.75 (at his suggestion, so yet again, I get 3 cents for free!), and sped off on my merry way, all the while looking like a deranged bank robber in a Foggy and pink helmet.

This morning was coooold and I got another run of the Foggy. Not once did I have to crack the shield, nor a drop of condensation form. I have the same complaints as other wearers, which is when you remove your helmet, Foggy sorta scrapes over your forehead as it has a small metal piece to keep the neoprene shaped like a nose cone. I think I can get used to the inconvenience if it continues to work so well.

Why not just use my fleece neck gaiter? Because the water droplets that form on the fleece move all along the inside of the fabric against my face and chin, and then they freeze. It’s really a nasty feeling.

Grade: A

All in all, I’m very happy with the current cold weather gear and feel comfortable recommending any of the above items to fellow winter commuters. Ride safe, watch out for black ice and 35 mph gusts of bone-chilling wind.

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  1. […] a cold, wet ride home. I could barely see, wiping slush off my shield every couple of blocks. My Foggy failed me, but I think I didn’t have it pulled tight enough across the bridge of my nose. Or […]


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