13 12 2008

I’ve been in the process for a few weeks now but I’m ready to finish my move to a new host for this blog.

Check it out Here


Cold Weather Tips: Protecting Your MP3 Player…

15 11 2008

As I have mentioned, I do a lot of riding in the cold.  I decided to start a series of tips and tricks I have picked up over the years that may prove useful for new scooterists.

First topic that comes to my mind (as with everything) is music.  In today’s modern age everyone seems to have an MP3 player of one flavor or another.  Some more expensive then others.  This is all more catered to folks with a higher end MP3 player but is applicable to anyone who wants to apply it (amazing, eh?)

So here’s what happens; it’s 27 degrees Fahrenheit when you leave your house for work.  Now forget that at a cruising speed of 40mph the temperature easily drops to somewhere around the 0 degree range.  Most electronics manufacturers recommend never exceeding a temperature below freezing, so an exposed piece of electronic equipment is really not safe the moment you walk out the door.  Typically you would throw it in a pocket, which in normal jeans, on a normal scooter, offers it no more protection than if you taped it to your forehead.  You could put it in a pocket if your riding jacket is equipped with one but these pockets are usually towards the front of the jacket and offer not insulation.  So finally you check to see if you could put in another pocket and realize your Corazzo Under-Hoody has no pocket for it.

What to do, what to do?  Here’s what I do.  I figure the warmest you can keep your MP3 player is too keep it as close to your body as possible.  Your body is going to be the source of any heat inside your clothing so if you put it as close to the source as possible it should, in theory, stay toasty and warm.  Fortunately, people who like to do a lot of physical activities have created demand for a product that suits our purpose perfectly, armband cases.

I’ve bought and returned a few of these in an attempt to find the best, and I think I have done it, at least in the case of the iPod and iPod touch. The DLO Action Jacket seems to be the best fitting, most functional case I have found, which doesn’t surprise me as I have always had good experience with DLO products for my iPods.  The Action Jacket has a thick, neoprene case with a clear screen protector and an adjustable (via Velcro) armband along with a cell phone style belt clip.

The concept is very simple.  Get dressed like you normally would, put the MP3 player in the armband, put the armband on your arm, and headphones into your ears.  A point I think I should make at this junction is that you need to make sure your volume is set how you want because it can be tedious to get back to it and adjust on the fly, unless of course you have a volume adjuster on your headphones.  Anyways, the next step would be to throw your Under-Hoody on and then your riding jacket, helmet, and gloves and head out into the world.

A very simple trick to make your ride a little more enjoyable and protect that expensive music box.

Review: Corazzo Under-Hoody (part 2)…

22 10 2008

I have now had the under-hoody for over 24 hours.

I have ridden in the wind, dark, and cold and all I can say is this jacket is the best hoody I have ever bought.

It was sub 30 when I left work last night.  I ride about 4 miles, most of it along the river, and I (for testing purposes) maintained an average speed of about 45mph.  I was incredibly impressed.  There wasn’t a single moment that I found myself feeling chilled or cold.  I was very comfortable the whole way home.

I experimented with the actual hood as it is one of the major points of the hoody.  I noticed that the baklava does not seem to work as it would seem.  As I mentioned in Part 1, I have a large head, which seems to have stretched that part of the hood out.  This is not bad though.  I wear an HCI 3/4 helmet when the cold weather comes and I notuced that with the baclava up, although it didn’t cover my nose or most of my mouth, it created a barrier on the bottom part of the helmet.  This was far better then any baklava I have ever worn.  Instead of may face being kept warm while being pummeled with cold wind, it was kept warn and kept out of the wind.  This may be an atypical situation but I was very pleased with it.  I then rode around for a while using the hood as just a lower face cover.  The helmet strap seems to make it hard to keep the hood like that but it still worked pretty well.  As a neck warmer it did very well.

All in all this is an awesome piece of clothing.  It was overcast and cold when I left for work this morning and I didn’t think twice about changing gear.  My riding jacket keeps me dry and now the under-hoody keeps me warm.

A few criticisms though.  My first problem with the hoody is that there are no pockets.  This becomes a problem if you listen to music when you ride.  It would be very nice if it had an internal, mp3 player sized pocket inside the jacket so you could run the headphone cables through the jacket and into the baklava/helmet.  I can also see room for a different color.  The black is nice but if you do a lot of traveling or stopping different places it can get dirty pretty fast.

All things considered, I would consider this to be a good investment for anyone who rides/works/lives in a cold weather area.  I also consider this to be, for me, a gateway product.  I find myself more inclined to spend more money on Corazzo products because of this hoody.  The craftsmanship/design of this is absolutely amazing.  Only time will tell how long it will hold up but I’m willing to bet that this is a product I will have for a very long time and will probably get one for my significant other if I can ever find her a small frame.

I say pick one up.  And while your at it let Corazzo know I like their stuff.  Maybe thet’ll hook a brother up with a coupon so I can get a shop jacket.

Review: Corazzo Under-Hoody (part 1)…

20 10 2008

It’s cold in Idaho.

Most scooterists and motorcyclists put there bikes away around the end of September and don’t bring them back out until May or June of the next year.

I, however, am devoted to my 2-wheeled conveyance.  I love my scooter and find myself hard pressed to ever leave it.  Over the last 5 years my cold weather gear has improved but was still always nothing more than snowboarding gear that I had adapted for use on my scooter.  This is all well and good but unfortunately a Columbia coat doesn’t offer much protection from a 30 mph crash. This summer finally was able to invest in an armored riding jacket.  Unfortunately though, the Power Trip “Mojave” jacket isn’t the warmest jacket, which is kind of the point of a mesh jacket, it’s awesome in the summer and not so awesome in the winter.

Enter the Corazzo “Under-Hoody.”

Corazzo is a Portland, OR company that has always been at the fore front of scooter-based armor, clothing, and accessories.  They make jackets and bags that are not only functional but also have a sense of style that is truly appreciated by all scooter enthusiasts.  I have been following the company for a while but due to the issues in sizing a motorcycle jacket and my lack of a local dealer I have not purchased anything from them until now.

I first noticed the “Under Hoody” last spring and decided I would wait til this winter to get one and try it out.  Winter snuck up on us this year so I found myself in a hurry to get it.  Overall the shipping time wasn’t too bad.  They processed the order on a Tuesday and the hoody was on my front step the next Monday.  I ordered a size xl, which is what I usually wear in t-shirts, because I figured it would be loose enough to be comfortable but tight enough to fit under all of my riding jacket.

First order of business was to try it on.  I was already dressed for work so I just threw the hoody on.  I was very nervous about the sleeves of the jacket.  I have very long arms and find that a lot of jackets just aren’t long enough.  Even with the extended sleeves I still was worried that the thumb holes would be of no use to me.  I was very, very pleased and delighted to find out that the jacket is actually almost too long in the sleeves.

Without HoodyWith Hoody

The real selling point in this jacket is the neck warmer/baklava/hood.  That is probably the best part of the whole damn thing.  I’ve noticed that since I have a big head it makes the baklava a little loose as your head has to go through wear your eyes are.  Because of the design it is a little tight around the neck and sits a little high, which is what it’s supposed to do but I know some people can’t handle things being too high on the neck so it is definitely worth considering.

Now to the real test, warmth.  When I left the house this afternoon it was about 53 degrees. I noticed immediately, after getting all my gear on and before I gave the family their obligatory kiss good-bye, that I was warmer than I’ve been for the last few weeks.  I started the Stella (which still doesn’t have a working tail-light) and got on without putting any gloves on.  For the last few weeks I have had to wear my thick, gauntlet winter gloves so I figured this would be a good test of the material itself.  By the time I got to Wal-Mart (about a mile away) the part of my hand that is covered by the hoody was substantially warmer then my exposed fingers.  I also noticed that with the breeze and +40 mph speed I was incredibly warm.  Definitely much more tolerable of a ride then I have experienced for the last few weeks.

Tonight the forecast is calling for low to mid 30’s.  So we’ll see how it does in low temperatures.

I will cover that, as well as more thoughts on the hoody itself, tomorrow afternoon in part 2 of my review of the Corazzo Under-Hoody.

It’s the little things…

19 10 2008

Riding around last night with my friend and he says to me “are you not using your brakes” and I was like “yeah.”  Come to find out my tail light had completely died.  So we stop at the local auto zone and I pull off the tail light to check the bulbs and the bulbs were fine.  Wiggle the wires and it turns off and on.

So basically I have a broken wire somewhere along the line.  Which means it could be on the light end of it or it could be anywhere between there and the switch that controls it on the ignition.

Which means I may need to take the motor our depending on where the break is.  Which will leave me with no scooter.



15 10 2008

Today the ride to work was tolerable.  Looks like the ride home may not be so much.

After my ride last week I’ve considered re-registering the Elite and riding it this winter.  It seems to be less squirly on slick roads.  If I did that I would have to fix the breaks though which I think I’m too lazy to do.  I’ll tough it out on the Stella.

Looks like with the swing in the weather I may get another few weeks of decent/cold riding before the shit really hits the fan and every day becomes an adventure.

Scariest ride ever…

12 10 2008

I’ve been riding scooters for over 5 years.  In that 5 years I’ve ridden through some really shitty weather.  Rain storms, blizzards, and 40+mph winds but yesterday was by far the scariest ride home ever.

It’s not terribly uncommon to me to ride home with snow on the ground.  This was the first time it’s been so cold that not only was it snowing but the moisture on the ground was freezing.  At every stop light I ihad to put my foot down and hope to god that it stuck enough to keep the bike up.   There were a couple instances I left the stop light with my feet still on the ground just in case the rear tire decided to give up and go sideways.

It was bad enough that for the first time ever I called the Mrs. and let her know where I was, where I was going, and exactly how I was getting there.  Just incase something happened and I didn’t make it home.

Needless to say I left all my gear in the garage and scraped the snow off the car this morning.