MPLS to Dull Hut first day, Duluth to MI second. I'll have my Aerostich and my license by then (safety course in a couple weeks), The bike is more ready than it needs to be for the most part. I'm basically a new rider though, I've only ever ridden a motorcycle like 20 times in recent history and only like 25 times ever. Ever. But I have ridden the shit out of bicycles, and I am ready. Hey! Ho! Let's go.
Are you kidding me? Steve and Heath came over last night to hang out and check out the bike. We evaluated the various upgrades and took turns climbing aboard. Eventually the conversation came around to the engine and I mentioned that I had never inspected the air box. I took the bolts off and we three stood open-mouthed looking at the bird's nest packing the enclosure. I guess this explains the occasional killing at idle. I had had too many beers to test at that point but Heath said the performance was much improved. Hell ya!
My winter of getting to know my motorcycle by taking it apart and putting it back together (with occasional rides) was capped off this weekend with a trip to Aerostich in Duluth. Their retail space has only been open for a couple years now but they have been manufacturing some of the most protective (comparable to leather), lightest (compared to leather), weatherproof (leather has little compare) riding gear since 1982.
I showed up a half hour early for my fitting appointment to take it all in and be able to focus on sizing and spec and my questions. The store has always been in the same building I learned, originally Mars candy manufacturing. Bent Paddle is two blocks away. I love repurposed industrial buildings. Unexpectedly a 50's typical northland mom type greeted me and said she could help until fitting guy got there. We got started determining Darian vs AD1 pants, AD1s fit like 501s by design so there I go. As I sat on the sideways rocking horse motorcycle simulation an early 60's guy comes in the door and unassumingly walks up to us and easily joins in our conversation. He stands there, jacket on, back pack on shoulder, plastic yellow caution wet floor sign and notebook in one hand. As as I start directing my questions to him he says hang on, turns to her, this is your fourth day right? This is a learning opportunity he says to both of us. And we proceeded to talk about all the ins and outs of everything Aerostich from the details of the products to the history of the business, We talked about a lot of concepts including torso to leg length proportion to overall height. We talk about fabric weights and manufacturing and business processes. I mean he stood there for a half an hour talking - jacket on, backpack on shoulder, sign and notebook in hand. Eventually I said I guess you're Andy (the founder and owner and rider of seventeen thousand mile trips) and he nodded. We shook hands several times over the course of our parting as the conversation fell but then rose again. Our communication was super in-tune - my interest to his knowledge and experience. I was on cloud 9. The facilities tour was great too to see the reverse-air hockey cutting table on the third floor and the stitchers and seamers on the second, also looked at to-be-repaired road-rashed garments. Vintage narrow red wooden staircase and service elevator awesomeness - No pictures please unfortunately. Custom leg pants and out of stock jacket come in three to four weeks. I can't wait.
What do you want in boots? Crush protection? Waterproofing? All-day comfort? I want Metal. I want SIDI! I'll waterproof them myself and wear them forever. It's pretty great that the best moto gear anywhere is made in Duluth and Italy.