Gear anxiety for motorcyclists

Author: Alun Davies

Good morning. It’s a wild, windy, showery day in Stratford upon Avon and I’m due to set off to London within the hour. But first I have to deal with a serious bout of gear anxiety.

My gear anxiety levels have grown over the years as I’ve assembled a wardrobe to rival a squadron of super models – I’ll be contacting the Oxford English Dictionary to submit ‘squadron’ as the collective word for Kate Moss and co presently. It’s a dilemma alright.

Which jacket will best shrug off today’s showers (as if they are any different from yesterday’s), which thermals will cope better with the expected temperature differences between the northernmost reaches of the M40 and the sub tropical M25, and would insulated or non insulated pants look more appropriate when I pull up for a curbside fag?

My madness is almost complete; but then I think back to the late 70s and remember that cold, wet early spring day when I set off for a ride down to Morocco on the old Norton sporting thin woollen gloves a Levi jacket, Wrangler jeans and a mullet. As for my waterproofs, they were stuffed in my jacket pockets, those 50p pacamacs and emergency bin bags sure rolled up small back then.

There’s no doubting the advancement in the technology, practicality, safety and performance of modern day motorcycle clothing which make it possible to stay warm and dry in just about all conditions. But there’s been far more advancement in the marketing of this gear to the point where we, as the consumers, are starting to question our mortality if we leave home dressed in anything less than the clothing equivalent of a nuclear fall out shelter. And more to the point – which fall out shelter is best for the conditions today?

Oh for a return to the simple days of the 70s when bin liners came in one colour and size, you knew your bike would break down on a daily basis and losing a limb to frostbite was the slightly unfortunate badge of honour for a biker. The uncluttered mind was bliss.

Now, shall I wear the Rukka or the Hein or maybe the…