The point is, ladies and gentleman, that gear, for lack of a better word, is good. Gear is right, gear works. And gear, you mark my words, will not only save time and money, but that other more important asset, your butt. Thank you very much.---- With obvious apologies to Oliver Stone and Michael Douglas, I have paraphrased the famous speech from the movie Wall Street for good reason. Gear is good. It is especially good in the middle of a record-breaking northeast winter when you cannot ride or drive. There is nothing like the acquisition of gear, however simple, to stave off the madness of cabin fever and change your outlook.
Gear has several magical qualities, but one is leading you to believe that things formerly not possible are now possible. For example, gear gives you the impression that you can perhaps ride your vintage bike in the frigid cold, rather than waiting for the more friendly climate of spring. I got a new motorcycle jacket over the holidays and not only is it much better than the old in construction and materials, it compels me to ride in lower temperatures and in adverse conditions. Were it not for the fact that I was away for the last 3 foot snow storm, I'm sure that the jacket alone would have made me go out for coffee on the R75. However, on a recent ride in balmy 35 degree weather with the jacket, I discovered that it cannot compensate for a lack of windshield, aging knees, or drafty boots. A few years ago, when I got some Gerbing heated gloves for christmas, they failed to compensate for those things as well. However, heated grips and a touring windshield, when combined with the jacket and gloves, makes me ready to replace the sled dogs of the Iditarod.
The second magical quality of gear is that it makes you want to drive or ride more. I once got one of those beaded seat covers for my VW bug. I immediately went for a very long drive into a neighboring state just because I thought I was immune to fatigue. It turns out I was not. Speaking of seats, I got an inexpensive closeout Alaska Leathers motorcycle seat cover on the way back from a rally, and thought that it made a significant difference, so you never know. New panniers are virtually a guarantee that you will embark upon a trip, the nature of which causes them to be as overstuffed and battle tested as your old ones.
The third magical quality is the ability to make you a better driver or rider. I swear that when I got my old Sparco racing suit, it made me 3 seconds a lap faster at Lime Rock. Ok, it did not really do that, but it felt like it. When I got my Alpine Stars boots, I increased my lean angle at the next track day, because it had toe sliders. They never came close to touching down, but my knee pucks were more worn out than ever, and times actually went down by 2 seconds. In the late 70s I got a pair of mesh driving gloves from somewhere. You should have seen me on the next drive through the twisties. I was Niki Lauda.
Gear will also save your butt. I have thankfully never had to prove this in any significant way, but today's gear is particularly good if you ride or drive old stuff. Today's helmets are unbelievably better and more comfortable. Racing suits are half as heavy and twice as cool, panniers can withstand crashes, padding will save your ankles knees and collar bones, GPS will get you where you want to go, etc. Its all good.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, gear lets you dream. It has a Walter Mitty quality to it much like the current Holiday Inn commercials. A dashboard camera mount makes you fast and smooth like Sebastian Loeb, a new race replica helmet makes you your favorite GP rider, new driving shoes were the only thing preventing you from winning the SVRA events in your region, a new seat makes you ready for The Long Way Up/Down/Round, a new GPS makes you dream of the places it will display this coming summer when it is warm and you are on the perfect road heading to a great destination and enjoying a perfect day.
Gear is good.