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Posts Tagged ‘Boots’

The COVID-19 Motorcycle Back Rider Barrier

Like most of us, I’m thoroughly sick and tired of the pandemic at this point!

The confusing and contradictory advice along with the arbitrary changes with mandates and shutdowns by government “experts” has created a lack of trust.  Are the decisions really based on evidence and rigorous analysis?

In a crisis like the pandemic, predictability and consistency in government policies are not only ideal, they’re a lifeline.

And, just as there was some semblance of normalcy returning in late August/September, after an impromptu ride to Glacier National Park and a few Starbucks coffee runs with the option of actually sitting INSIDE to enjoy a dark-roast brew…the long-predicted fall surge hits.

This time around it felt different.

Some people I know became sick, and as I write this post some are just now recovering from COVID, which is good news and very fortunate.

In the meantime, consideration of your feet is now a key requirement for Harley-Davidson. Especially for who’s in, who’s out, who’s promoted and who’s been hired at the motor company.

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t see this coming.

Harley-Davidson executives with footwear industry expertise — being the new turnaround vehicle of brand insight into what Harley’s customers truly need — and how to deliver it without previous motorcycle and/or riding experience.

So, what does Clarks, Croc’s and the world’s leading footwear manufacturer, Bata Group, have in common with Harley-Davidson motorcycles?

I’m referring to Serena Di Sarra, who recently joined Harley-Davidson as Director of Marketing, Asia Pacific and Latin America.  It’s likely coincident, surely not cronyism, that Harley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz, who previously ran PUMA, a company that designs and manufactures athletic and casual footwear, awarded an executive marketing position to Di Sarra.

Given the various 2020 “x-Wire” strategic “walk-backs” at Harley-Davidson it leaves the impression that decision making is (has been?) wishy-washy. Similar to some of the arbitrary government pandemic mandates, constant changes to strategic directions at the motor-company could be symptomatic of a flaw in the process. Some of the walk-back examples are almost as pointless as the head-scratching motorcycle back rider “protective shield” — a motorcycle barrier adopted by the Philippine government that was mandated to fight off the spread of the pandemic.  Don’t get any ideas Gov. Kate Brown!

But, I’ve digressed

Once again I’m writing this post from a virtual lockdown situation, missing my family, friends, colleagues, and the events that didn’t or won’t happen this year.

We can all absorb the gut punch of a one-year interruption in our riding passion if it means coming out stronger on the other side — and I believe that will be the case. When riding events and rallies come back, they’ll return with an “unprecedented” sense of what had been lost and a greater appreciation of our riding relationships.

What gets a motorcyclist through a mask-wearing northwest pandemic winter?  Reading technical manuals, making a bucket ride list, repairing, upgrading and waxing your way out of discontent.

Photo courtesy of RAPPLER.com 

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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It’s that time of year where I start thinking about rides and I’ve been looking around for a new pair of motorcycle boots.

Not the bulky steel-toe armor mid-shin style, but something that provides more wind resistance in the cold than my low-rider Doc Martins, but more important during those hot summer days doesn’t have me looking for cold water to stand in!

You might already know this, but I stumbled across a set of 6-inch Moc-toe boots with wedge soles from Duluth Trading Company (Item #43141).  Given that Duluth boots are made in the U.S.A. and have a “no bull” guarantee where you can return them for any reason… I decided to hit the BUY button on a black pair to give them a try and in a couple of days I had them at my door.

Clearly no two riders will agree on style or type of boot and I’m not giving advice other than riding with flip-flaps should be discouraged.  Motorcycle safety courses recommend “boots” that completely cover the ball of your ankle, are made from leather and have good traction soles.

At any rate, after receiving the boots and inspecting them I was reminded of a pair of wedge soled contractor boots I purchased back in my electric tradesman days when buying a pair of boots was a right of passage.  It turns out these are made in Wisconsin just like the famous motorcycle company and they are made with real Vibram soles and a Goodyear welt.  Once I laced them up and slipped them on it felt like I’d been wearing these boots for months.  A truly genteel leather feel which wasn’t like the last pair of boots I purchased where after a year they were still stiff enough to hold up a cinder block and left my feet feeling just as rough!  I also discovered that the boots come with a high-end shock absorbing gel insole that works quite well.

I haven’t had an opportunity to take these on a long road trip, but right out-of-the-box they seem durable and broken in for comfort.  These are not overpriced China built knock-offs and if you plan to invest $150 in a pair of boots I recommend giving the “Ultimate Contractor” Duluth boots a try.

Photo courtesy of Duluth Trading

All Rights Reserved ® Northwest Harley Blog

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