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Why do you wear what you wear?

It’s YOUR choice … but what drives your choice?

The purpose of this article is NOT to tell you what you should do. It’s NOT to say who is right and who is wrong. The purpose of this article is simply to encourage you to ask yourself some serious questions about your choices of riding gear.

I’ve talked with many riders about riding skills, techniques, training, and gear. In our conversations, I often hear them say "I never really thought about it that way before …" If that’s your response by the end of this article, then I consider it a success. Ask yourself‘Why do I choose the riding gear that I wear?’  

Whether you ride in a bandana, a t-shirt and leather chaps; a half-shell helmet, leather jacket and jeans; an open-face helmet, textile/armored jacket; a full-face helmet and riding suit (or motorcycle jacket and pants combination); or something in between
you are choosing that gear. I encourage you to ask yourself "What is it that drives my choices?"

Maybe one or more of these will resonate with you:

  •  "I like the feel of wind on my skin and through my hair."

  •  "I want to stack the odds in my favor for surviving a crash with minimal injury and without a long hospital stay."

  •  "I don’t like anyone telling me what to wear."

  •  "All my riding buddies wear full gear, so I do too."

  •  All my riding buddies wear bandanas and t-shirts, so I do too."

  •  "My loved ones need me and want me to come home in one piece."

  •  "I know that crashes happen and sometimes those crashes are the fault of car drivers. I want to be prepared to survive if/when I am in a crash."

  •  "The law doesn’t say I have to wear gear, so I don’t."

  •  "If I crash without gear on, my wife will KILL me!"

  •  "You either have been down, or you will go down … I dress to survive it when it happens to me."

  •  "I’m a good rider; I don’t need to wear gear."

  •  "I don’t know which day or which ride might end up in a crash, so I am prepared with full gear on every ride."

  •  "I like to look like a ‘biker’ so I dress in a leather jacket and a bandana to look cool."

  • "When I trip and fall while walking, it rips my jeansI can only imagine how much more they would rip in a motorcycle crash. I wear riding pants and a jacket to minimize road rash."

  •  "Head injuries and road rash can take months or even years to heal. I don’t want to put my family through the heartache of watching me in the hospital. I gear up for them."

  •  "I know someone who was in a motorcycle crash. Their injuries were severethey couldn’t work for months, they were in the hospital for a long time, the medical bills were huge, and even now, they are still feeling the effects (both physically and financially) years later. I don’t want my family or myself to go through that."

What you wear when you ride is up to you. Just make sure it is a choice that is right for you, your family, your values, and your future. If you want to learn more about riding gear, visit your local motorcycle shop, or you can visit the "Gear 101" page at RockTheGear.org

Ride safe, ride well, ride lots … and make choices that help you to come home to your loved ones after each and every ride.

-Ax/Spring 12


Stacey Axemaker heads up the Idaho Star motorcycle safety training program.


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