Doing it wrong: it’s a beautiful hot summer’s day so you take your Honda out, probably on one of the local scenic rides. It’s sweltering, so you opt out of your leathers and instead opt for some jeans and a light jacket, maybe even just a t-shirt. Forget your boots, your suede Adidas will probably do just as well.
Nope. Don’t Google it – no, don’t – but there is a viral image doing the rounds on Facebook posted by a guy who went for a ride in a pair of tennis shoes, and ended up in a crash. His foot doesn’t look very well at the moment. Motorcycle boots are specifically designed to protect your feet and ankles in the event of an accident.
Wearing your leathers on a ride is integral. It makes no sense to not – even on a hot day, the wind goes right through you when you’re on a ride. Leather is one of the most wind-resistant materials, so not only will you be more stable, but is actually more likely to keep you comfortable than a t-shirt on a hot day, at least over 10-20mph.
It’s also among the toughest (probably rivalled only by Kevlar) materials to tear or wear, and performs particularly well on impact. It can be tempting to slip on a loose pair of old jeans when you go riding, to keep cool, or just to look a bit more like Bruce Springsteen, but the fact remains that it isn’t worth it. Rapidly approaching tarmac at 70mph isn’t a good idea at any time and could leave your unprotected leg looking worse for wear. Your leathers will not give way to impact, and afford you better protection when putting rubber to the road.
Doing it right: it’s a beautiful hot summer’s day so you take the bike for a run somewhere scenic to make the most of it. It’s sweltering, but you know you’ll freeze at speed in a t shirt or light jacket anyway. So on go the leathers, and you match them with your riding boots because they’d look silly with a pair of trainers anyway.
Riding a motorcycle is one of the great joys of your life. Why ruin it forever by getting yourself hurt? Be safe as it gets warmer this year.