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Pardon me, but you're going to look like some sort of space alien with your bike no matter how you dress. We all do (with a few possible exceptions), and thinking you won't is pure delusion. Those who see you as a walking wallet won't be confused by a pair of jeans, some flip flops, or your favorite Hawaiian shirt.
What's more many of us have had occasion to be thankful we were wearing armor when our luck ran dry. So take the above as one point of view among many--not as given truth.
The choice of jackets doesn't limit itself to leather. Personally don't like it. For Queensland summer heat in muggy forrests on the adventure bike I wear a mesh jacket. You can get convertable ones with zip on panels. Heaps better than vents. Don't care how much klim and others work with the venturi effect. They just don't do it as well. In similar conditions I was swealtering with a vented jacket and pefectly fine with a mesh jacket riding into the 40's C.
On the trail bike I wear a pressure suit only, but wouldn't even consider wearing it RTW. I get sore after wearing is for a few days and it does suck putting on and off. Fine for a weekend. But with a mesh jacket you get just as much air flow. Only down side is protection (due to movement of armour) but that is with any road gear vs off road gear so a non issue for RTW really.
I've toured in West Africa on a little local DT with just a tatty duffel bag tied on for baggage, dressed in nothing special. I got as much attention from the local populace, including police and soldiers, as when I've toured on a giant bike (KLR) with hard cases front and rear and a mass of stickers. Believe me, locals know you don't belong; they're more observant than we are, and they know how to separate significant input from visual background noise.
It's true that full-on MX gear from toes to cervical collar might draw more attention in some quarters than yer favorite time-mellowed leather jacket....but we're talking about touring in Africa here. Or at least, that's where you started the thread....asking questions, then ignoring the answers, then adjusting once or twice enroute until you ended up right where you might as easily have begun.
Or do I mis-remember? I get so confused by all the "what-to-wear-hard-or-soft-panniers-how-to-farkle threads.
(saving for another trip someday--maybe 2025 or so, when my accounts return to positive terrain)
Soooo spill the beans TTed what did you find was practical in the end - experience is the best teacher and I am happy to say I'm a student.
Once in Barcelona and totally pissed off with the MX Armour, I put it in a box with a load of other stuff I had over packed (as always) and sent it home.
I went to a big bike gear outlet with the help of some local bikers I met. I bought a SIDI lightweight summer jacket with shoulder and elbow armour. It had no back protection so I also bought a 40 euro C.E. Back protector to go with it. (which also makes a great campsite seat)
It was actually a really nice combo. It was way cooler in the heat (it had vent zips too) and I could just wear a jumper under it if it was cold and throw an anorak over the top if it rained hard.
I kept my Akito Desert pants which lasted REALLY well (I was surprised). My only fault with the pants was the knee armour was all over the place so I discarded it.
I used AlpineStars Tech 10 boots which saved my toes from certain breaks in a few offroad tumbles. However, they're very rigid and not at all waterproof. I would maybe use the tech 3 All-terrain boot now or Sidi Couriers.
I will offer the relevance of my research, to this thread, after the research design and results are described.
This may be of some interest to you, as 'fashionistas' and others posting here and then again, maybe not, no acccounting for the taste of HUBBERS but, I could not in good conscience resist posting. Others and yourself have covered appropriately the issue of body protection in the event of accident or personal attack by man or beast.
But the social aspects, although touched upon, lack any real validation by accepted statistical research standards.
While in graduate school for a graduate course in Cultural Anthropology, at the University of Florida I wrote a journal article entitled "Dress Styles and the Effect on Social Interaction" my paper was very well received and I was able to sell the research results to a company known as "Banana Republic," specializing in cross cultural garb.
Now, here is a brief overview of the results to one of my research survey questions that was asked of 40 male students and 40 female students.
After providing 10 photos of a male with the face blurred out, but dressed in 10 very different dress styles beginning with cut offs (faded jeans cut into short pants) and tank tops to three piece business suits with tie...
....the question was asked of the 40 male and the 40 female students "who would you rather spend a free hour with in the *Empty Keg."
*local student gathering place
Then, I provided 10 photos of a female with the face blurred out but dressed in 10 very different dress styles beginning with the same "Daisy Duke short shorts and tank top" through "professional work appropriate" dress styles to a black cocktail dress.
....the question was asked of the same 40 male and 40 female students "who would you rather spend a free hour with in the Empty Keg?
Although the male model was posed exactly the same for all 10 fotos male dress styles and the female model was posed exactly the same for all 10 female dress styles, the test subjects did not know it was the same male in all 10 photos and it was the same female in all 10 photos.
For each of the 40 males and 40 females interviewed I noted which of the 10 male or female dress styles represented in the photos best described the way each was dressed at the time of the interview.
Here is an overview of selected results of my research.
1. The 40 men interviewed selected the photo of the man dressed in a style that most approximated , what he was wearing at the time of the interview, or selected the photo of the man dress more formally.
2. The 40 men overwhelmingly selected the photo of the woman dressed in a style that revealed more bare skin. You might say the "sexy" dress styles were overwhelmingly favored.
3. The 40 women overwhelmingly selected the photo of the woman who was dressed more similarly to what she was wearing or strangely enough - looked more casual than she was dressed during the time of the interview.
4. the 40 woman overwhelmingly selected the photo of a man dress much , much more formally than she was at the time of the interview. It was quite interesting to discover that woman would rather spend time with a comparatively well dressed man.
There were many more results - but I need not list them here as my point has already been made.
One - Vietnam veteran - who was older than most of the other students I interviewed, was the only male who refused the survey by stating" I cannot judge who I would like to spend time with - by their clothing alone"
No woman interviewed made such a statement.
OK - what we have here is a willingness to be social on the part of men with other men who are dressed in a "familiar" fashion.
And, women are willing to spend social time with men who look sharp, are dressed well rather than dressed down to the level they may be dressed like at the time.
Survey results for the purpose of this thread. Go with the Marlon Brando "wild one" , James Dean "rebel" look no matter where you go in the world - influenced by media ,with very few exceptions the heat you will experience will not only be the result of the Sahara winds, but the perhaps the winds of friendship and even lust.
After a few s and reading garmei's comments I realized:
1. no idea the definition of the descriptive adjective (I think) "fecking" used by garmei in his latest post to this thread. Linguistics mandates the "ing" ending might serve as a clue for a possible euphemistic idealization of another "ing" word that generally would be interpreted in this context as giving superlative emphasis to the following descriptive noun/adjective, (I can't figure out which) that follows.
2. I need to disclose that the opinions of dress style of an equally gender mixed sample of University of Florida students (cerca 1976) may or may not be representative of people encountered while touring Africa on a motorcycle.
3. Based on more extensive and conclusive research I can say when riding on any continent "Ride Hard" has a whole new meaning when one wears leathers.
So glad that we're still discussing teds fashion choices ages after he has returned because I need help too!
Planning Africa, west coast, currently in gear obsession mode.
Opinions please from those in the know - this is what I've got :
Top: armored jacket with mesh panels(rev it turbine) light insulating layer, waterproof layer
Bottom: either armored riding pants with mesh panels. OR carhartt double front pants with knee and hip armor inserted (this seems to work great! very comfortable and not sweaty) Waterproof pants over top of either
Will my all polyester nylon riding pants stink so bad that I won't want to put them on?will my heavy canvas pants take forever to dry when Im slogging thru mud in the Congo? Best compromise between the two?
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