Road Rash: The Procedure

Nov 17, 2015 View Comments by

Road Rash: The ProcedureA Humorous Look When Things are Less than Perfect –

Being the center of attention is great when you want it, but it can wear thin very quickly when you don’t. Sharon and I had exited the restaurant about the same time as a dozen or so members of the H.O.A.R. (hop on and ride, no protective gear) faction of the motorcycling community pulled into the parking lot. They weren’t in any hurry to get inside. Instead, they chose to mill about and watch us prepare to ride.

No judgments here, but I’m a big proponent of wearing protective gear—a proclivity that has grown stronger over the years due to a couple of minor accidents and possibly the general aging process. You become a believer pretty quickly once you pick yourself up off of the pavement, make sure everything still works, and stare at the chunk of paint missing from your helmet and the abrasions on your jacket.
There’s a downside to all of this wonderful protection, however, as it can exact a steep toll on one’s patience. The seemingly endless ritual of layering on gear and preparing to ride has become known as simply “The Procedure.”

Well aware that we were being watched with an increasing degree of interest from the H.O.A.R. group, we began donning our gear, starting with our freshly soaked cooling vests. The vests were perhaps the only thing that made the sweltering August heat tolerable, but they looked exactly like lightly quilted winter vests, and it was obvious that our audience thought they were just that. Next came the mesh jackets. Although they hid their “meshiness” very well, they had quite a bit in common (visually) with snow parkas. Our torso ensemble was topped off with high visibility vests, which snagged repeatedly on the jacket arms when we attempted to put them on.

We had the full attention of the H.O.A.R.s by now, and I had the feeling that they were making bets on whether or not we’d pass out from the heat before we got underway. We still had unfinished business to attend to before mounting, however, as our wired communication system still needed to be hooked up. First, I plugged a cord from the communicator into the connector dangling from the back of Sharon’s helmet. She then turned on the unit, placed it into her pocket, and mounted the bike while I steadied it. I then made the awkward mount onto a bike with a passenger seated on it and waited for Sharon to plug the communicator wire into my helmet and test for sound. The inside of my helmet felt like a Georgia greenhouse in August, but we were finally ready to fire up the bike and pull free from the laser-like stares … as soon as I had retrieved the key from my pocket … oops. I can’t get it without dismounting the motorcycle, so my communicator needs to be unplugged again.

We finally managed to make it out of the parking lot, and although I made it a point not to look, I’m absolutely sure that a dozen pairs of eyes tracked our progress until we were out of sight.

Ever the proper Boy Scout, “Be Prepared” takes on a whole new level of meaning before we even roll the bike out of the garage. Donning the proper apparel seems like a minor detail compared with the pre-ride checklist. We’ll start with the bike first. It’s usually not too bad; check the chain for lubrication and tension and the tires for proper pressure. We may choose to pop on the hard bags as well if we need extra space for enough clothing to cover three seasons worth of temperature changes.

Then comes the fun part. Are we going to stop and take a walk somewhere? If so, toss in some shorts and tennis shoes. Is it a sunny day? Sunscreen and sunglasses, of course. Oh, and we must stay properly hydrated, so don’t forget the two different colored water bottles (his and hers). Anyone feel a headache coming on? Toss in some pain reliever, allergy medication, and antacids in case a lunch becomes rowdy. Don’t forget the phone either, just in case we need it during the 10 percent of the ride that offers cell service. Some pictures might be nice. Are the camera batteries charged, and is there some room on the SD card? Which GPS unit should we take? For that matter, which bike should we take? Do we need to take any rain gear or extra layers for warmth? Any heated gear?

By the time we’ve completed “The Procedure,” there may be just enough time left to take a short ride, provided we put off until tomorrow some of the yard work we were going to do in the afternoon. I hate to admit it, and I know I’ll never do it, but sometimes the idea of becoming a H.O.A.R. seems pretty enticing.

 

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