Once a person decides to ride a motorcycle, they’ve already assumed some risk. It is more dangerous than a car or public transit. We try to mitigate that risk with safety equipment. Helmets, gloves, boots, leathers. All can help a little bit.

The talk of safety gear gets religious. On one side you have the people happy to ride hair in the wind. And on the other, the All The Gear All The Time (ATGATT) that won’t leave the house without head to toe coverage.

Having been at each extreme, and finding myself now firmly in the middle. I want to talk about footwear.

Vans Half CabsI’m no longer entrenched in the motorcycle boot camp. And here’s why. Vans. I skateboard and longboard quite a bit. I trust these shoes to grip my board, catch me when I call from ramps, and keep me covered when I fall off a longboard going 20-30 MPH. If I’m riding my motorcycle to skatespots, I’m not going to change my shoes going from one dangerous activity to another.

Chippewa LoggersThe next step is a regular work boot. Currently I’m wearing these Chippewa Loggers. These are much sturdier than Vans. Oiled leather, steel toe, more ankle coverage. These are serious boots. And they look excellent. They don’t look like a “motorcycle boot”.

Sidi Sport RainNow we’re to the purpose built motorcycle boot. These are Sidi Sport Rain boots. They are rigid, have no laces to catch on things, and one of the few items I’ve owned that are (really) waterproof. There’s a little pad for the shfter. Armor over the ankle bones. I’ve had two crashes in these boots and the only foot injury was a bruised toe.

I will always advocate boots as the best choice for a motorcycle. But sometimes you have to weigh the risk and make a choice that is more comfortable or more convenient.

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It looks like rain.

The rain never appeared. But I was ready. At least as ready as I could be.

I no longer believe claims of being waterproof. I see it as less wet. Despite the materials and construction, these pieces have let me down. Tent seam sealer has been used to sure up the weak areas, but I never expect to stay dry.

I do expect that when I take the time to put this on the clouds will hold onto their moisture. If I don’t they’ll release and I’ll ride home in wet jeans.

Not wet

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The Parallel by Bailey and Watkins

Motorcycles and leather. A pairing based in functionality but often embraced for style.

Being close friends with the wonderful people behind Bailey and Watkins, I get to see their work take shape. This piece, The Parallel, doubles as a day bag and saddle bag for a Triumph Bonneville.

The Triumph influence carries through the name and into the entire concept of these pieces. His and hers, in parallel, just like the motor powering them down the road.

The Bailey and Watkins website has the entire backstory for this, and all, of their amazing creations.

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