Prepare for the open air with the right layers
In previous blogs, we have talked about how the right helmet and jacket can make your ride safer and more comfortable. But underneath it all is another very important component of your ensemble. No, we’re not talking about underwear, but we are talking about what you wear under your jacket – your layers. And like anything Harley, our style isn’t just about looks. It’s all there to serve a purpose.
A new rider learns pretty quick that being prepared isn’t just a good rule for boy scouts. But even seasoned riders can forget from time to time how that little bit of foresight makes all the difference between pleasure and pain when you’re out the open air. We asked our MotorClothes manager Jodi for a few tips that all riders should follow when planning their ride attire.
When it comes to clothes, what’s a good rule of thumb when you’re gearing up?
Most riders consider wearing three layers; base layer, mid layer and outer later – like a shirt, a hoodie and a leather jacket. You want to be able to add and remove layers as the temperature changes throughout the day. Harley-Davidson also offers a Rider Comfort System line of clothing especially for women.
Your base layer should be thin, stretchable, and well fitted. Nothing is more annoying than a shirt that hikes up as you ride. All MotorClothes run long in the torso and sleeve, and many can be ordered in tall, if you need even more length. Some of the newer base layer garments are made with wicking fabric, to help keep your skin dry if you perspire. Your base layer can be a thin shirt or a thermal shirt.
A middle layer helps to insulate your body on cold days. Sometimes your middle layer is just the insulated liner in your leather jacket. If you start to get too hot, you can always take that layer off, roll it up and stow it on your bike. Once the sun goes down though, you might be very glad you still have that middle layer available.
Your outer layer is really what’s going to protect you from the elements. Rain, wind, cold – you want to check the weather and prepare for whatever conditions are in the forecast. This outer shell should be roomy enough to fit over your other layers. If it gets too warm you can open unzip the vents on your jacket for more temperature control. I avoid unzipping the wrists though, because anything could fly up your sleeve.
What other things should a rider consider when preparing for the weather?
Aside from jacket layering, riders have a lot of options and accessories. They can add insulated pants or chaps for warmth. You should have two pairs of gloves, one for cold months and one for warmer (happy hands, happy rider, I always say). You want the right footwear the season. Something for your neck – neck gaiters that keep you warm in the winter and bandanas that you can wet down to help keep you cool in the summer. You should bring two pairs of glasses, your regular glasses and your sunglasses. Just remember that you live in Wisconsin, and the weather can change a lot throughout the course of a day.
As a Harley rider, you love being our in the open air. Be prepared for all that may entail by dressing in the right options before you hit the road. It can make a world of difference in the journey ahead.
Got a layering tip of your own? Share it with you fellow riders in the comments section below.