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Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
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Sheepskin - which one and does it make a difference?
I'll be putting a sheepskin on my bike before this year's trip and I wasn't sure whether there are differences between different sheepskins. Are there or is it completely bananas which one I pick?
Like, for example, my local Ikea has sheepskins for sale (even in pink which would just match my pink flip-flops incredibly well.... yes I'm a guy... no I'm not gay... but it's fun to see the expression on people's faces if you walk, or in this case drive, by!) for 25€ (might've been 29€, not sure), quite large though so it seems kinda like a waste of money since I could easily do two saddles with one sheepskin. Anyhow, are there differences between say, the 29€ IKEA sheepskin and a fleamarket one or, for the sake of argument, any other sheepskin out there, either more or less expensive.
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to skid across the line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, shouting GERONIMO!"
I just fitted one today. It was a full size sheep skin which I cut down to size, made lace holes in, and laced it up with nylon string. The ones you purchase prefabricated for your bike are often shaved down a bit. I tried to use my electric hair cutter/shaver, but the sheep fur was too tangled to push the comb through it. I guess I could have cut it down with regular scissors, but I ended up just using it as it was, with the long fur. It turned out a bit big looking, but was extremely comfortable. In fact, I bet that the extra fur made it even more comfortable. I'm yet to test it out thoroughly, but I could instantly feel that it will make a significant difference. Tomorrow I will make another one for my wifes scoot.
One thing though, if it gets wet...
You should make it so that you can remove it easily in case of rain or morning dew, or atleast make some water proof cover... i.e. a plastic bag.
Another thing, the fur will make you sit a bit higher. For those that are vertically challenged, with a bike with a seat height that is a bit high to begin with, this might not be the thing. For others, the added height will expose your torso more to the wind, which also might not be what one is looking for.
I guess using bungee cords for lacing it up, or some sort of elastic band, could do wonders in terms of convenience, making it easy to take the cover on and off. I have a saddle type seat (like the ones on bicycle), making fitting a little more difficult (more shapes). I guess a bench seat would be a walk in the park if you have a seat with a quick release fit.
Its not only the extra padding one is after, but also the extra air flow close to the bum to ward off sweat. Also, keeping the insultion material closer to the bum also keeps your bum warmer I guess. Turning it inside out would defeat this purpose.
In terms of waterproofness, the swade texture of thge backside of the skin, would itself collect water on the outside of the seat, even if you were able to treat the leather to prevent water from seeping through to the whool. I guess the only viable option to keep your bum dry then, would be to add a waterproof textile layer to the backside of the skin. Then, it would be much easier to simply add more padding to the existing seat or buy a prefabricated seat with better padding, or pursue just about any other option out there.
So in short, I guess the answer would be no, this is not a good idea.
I have used sheepskins for years and they add about 1/3 to the time you can travel before the the dreaded numb-bum sets in. I think it works by sort of moulding to the shape of your arse and therefore spreading the pressure better. I have alway bought pet pads, which are oval sheepskin mats in various sizes for various sized pets I guess. I get them for about NZ$20 which is about US$12. I then sew a band of curtain webbing long enough to go around the seat of the bike under the pad, and then put pieces of wide Velcro on the ends of the webbing. It's easy to take on and off. If it gets wet then I just find somewhere to strap it on the panniers until it dries out. You do notice the extra height though.
probably very unimportant as any sort of sewed patch with velcro on would work, but i'm curious: what on earth is curtain webbing? googled it and found places it could be bought but no pictures (admittedly didn't spend very long...)
I just ckecked with She-Who-Knows, and I am told it is usually called curtain tape. It's about 50mm wide, very strong, has lots of little loops for the curtain hooks, and is cheap! It goes along the top of the curtain and can be pulled short, concertina-style. Hope this helps.
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Not only usefull as extra padding and comfort.I use my patagonic lamb skin(extra thick)as a pillow at night,you roll it and cover it with your towel.
Or if you don´t have a thermarest put it under your sleeping bag.Specialy when you find a small stone under your tent!!!! Hahahaha.
Usefull feed warmer device too.
Of course you need to put a cotton liner on the back side(leather side).
I attached it to the bike with utility straps.(those for the Ortlieb sacks etc.)
No problem of gettin too wet when riding under rain.DO NOT PARK the bike with it under the rain!!!
If anyone's looking for a sheepskin in the US, www.hidesonline.com does them in white or black for $45 plus delivery.
I've also found a talior in LA who has said he'll chop/sew it down to fit onto my klr snugly (it should be removable easily if he does a good job) for about $40.
In Australia try www.sheepskinfactory.com.au for cars bikes etc. I agree it extends the time in the saddle by about a third before you get monkey butt. The slight extra height is only noticable for a short time before it packs down and you also get used to it
A friend also swears by putting a patch of sheepskin between your jocks and skin. He has done offroad endurance rides and reckons it works a treat. And no, he is not a Kiwi!
All this is very informative, but no-one has mentioned how bad sheepskins look. They're so grubby and shabby dontya think?
Come on lads, dont let yourselves down....
...and how it holds water like...well...like a sheepskin. So for days after being caught in one light shower you get wet-bum every time you sit on the bike. And the combination of wet-bum and numb-bum brings pressure sores to mind. And wet sheep skin must surely start getting a but funky after a couple of downpours.
I have actually found a very effective and cheap alternative. Do you know that stuff that Oxford sell to protect your plastic from soft luggage. Well take that mesh, fold it double, and strap it to your seat. The mesh allows for good circulation which is the main cause of numb-bum. I though my idea was original until I saw a proper patent made one with straps and trimmings and all on a GS at Poole quay recently, but it only had one layer of mesh.
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