The next segment of our Planet Ramble has just been published. This time, we ride to Montreal Canada to drop off the bikes for shipment to Europe. We eventually get there and pick up the bikes. You can catch up by clicking HERE or by copying and pasting the below link into your browser.
We hope you enjoy. There’s much, much to come soon.
Today we rode through Custer State Park and we can say it is all it’s cracked up to be. Significant twisties, deserted gravel roads and wildlife abound. Had a great time until we hit thunderstorms and headed for home.
I received an email the other day from a Kiara Wilson of Motorcycle House (www.motorcyclehouse.com) a few days back. She had seen our site and asked if we were interested in doing a review of some of their riding gear. They would make the gear available for free if we would agree to review it on our site giving our honest opinion.
I did a precursory check of their website and found that much of Motorcycle House’s gear is cruiser oriented, so I initially declined adding that we don’t really use cruiser gear and therefore couldn’t give an honest opinion.
Kiara suggested that I spend some more time on their site and browse through all their items and let her know if there was anything we would be interested in reviewing. While I was browsing, Kiara suggested that I might be interested in the Thor Phase Jacket. So I checked it out and it seemed to be a nice piece of enduro gear.
I reinforced the fact that I would give an honest review and that there were no promises that the review would be positive. But I did promise that the review would be honest. I also let her know that it was the middle of winter in New Hampshire, so I likely would not be able to give a full riding impression until things warmed up. Kiara agreed to all of this and as such I agreed to do a review of the jacket. Before I knew it, a Thor Phase Jacket arrived at my home.
I opened the box and was surprised at the contents. My first impression was positive. The quality seemed good, but the engineering of the jacket was what impressed me. The front of the jacket had two 12 inch long air vents complete with waterproof zippers. These types of zippers are more expensive compared to the normal zippers. The pulls are good sized and you can open and close them with a gloved hand. There was none of the “stickiness” that waterproof zippers sometimes have. The main zipper of the jacket is not waterproof but it does have an inch wide flap covering it with Velcro to hold the flap over the zipper. For normal riding it should do a good job of keeping the wet outside where it belongs. The back of the jacket has a similar 15 inch air vent zipper.
Inside the jacket is a mesh inner liner to help move the air around your body and keep the outer shell of the jacket off your body. There is also a an inner pocket lined with fleece big enough for your smart phone/music player. It even has a flap with Velcro to hold your ear bud cord in place. Nice.
An interesting feature are the zip off sleeves. So if it’s really hot out there and you are comfortable riding without the additional protection sleeves provide, they can be quickly removed and replaced when things cool off a bit.
Near the cuff of the left sleeve is a small 6 x 4 inch zippered compartment with a clear cover. It seems to me that this would be a good place to store your license or other motorcycle documents. This is perfect if you find yourself in one of those aww, sh!# situations where you have to produce documents.
The cuffs are also adjustable with a zipper and Velcro tabs to set the adjustments. So on those hot days with the sleeves on, you can also open the cuffs and leave them wide open for some cooling airflow.
In the back of the jacket is a built in ditty bag that could hold perhaps some light tools, a tire tube and similar gear. It could even hold those zip off sleeves. The compartment also contains a belt so that you can fold up the jacket into the compartment and wear it like a bum bag. This is a great idea for those “off the bike” times.
So all in all, not yet having ridden with the jacket I am pretty impressed. It seems like a good piece of kit and I am anxious to try it out.
Does the above mean that there isn’t anything I don’t like about the jacket? No, but my concerns are quite minor. This is a Thor piece of gear and has roots in the Motocross world. As such, the graphics are a bit much for me. The jacket itself is black, but there are some graphics applied that I could do without. It also has some sewn on rubber bits with the Thor logo on it that I don’t care for. But other than those niggles, I’m a pretty happy camper with the jacket and the fact that Motorcycle House made the gear available to us for free.
Stay tuned for a riding impression and video when things warm up.
I don’t generally write about podcasts, but lately I’ve been listening to a podcast that stands heads and shoulders above anything I’ve heard in the past about adventure riding. Adventure Rider Radio (www.adventureriderradio.com) has had my attention for weeks and it’s time that I let everyone in on my little secret.
Adventure Rider Radio’s host Jim Martin not only is the commentator, but also produces a high quality podcast filled with interviews from well known and not so well known adventure riders. In fact, I was quite surprised to listen to a list of guests that included:
- Simon and Lisa Thomas (aka 2RidetheWorld)
- Grant Johnson from Horizons Unlimited
- Simon Pavey (Dakar Competitor and Instructor to Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman)
- Sam Manicom (author of 4 world wide motorcycle adventure books)
- Austin Vince (round the world rider and producer of the films Mondo Enduro and Terra Circa)
Obviously, interviews with people like these is entertaining and with the thoughtful questions posed by Jim, the interviews are nothing short of spellbinding.
All in all, Adventure Rider Radio is a treat to an adventure rider’s ears. Do yourself a big favor and listen to one of the many podcasts. It won’t be the last one you listen to. You can download the podcasts at iTunes or via RSS feed at the Adventure Rider Radio site (www.adventureriderradio.com)
Give Adventure Rider Radio at try, you’ll come away impressed!
Ride2ADV along with their faithful companion Mr. Cotton will soon be riding the Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route (CODBR). From the 4 corners of the US where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah merge all the way to the Wyoming border. There are sure to be lots of exciting gravel roads/trails to ride. We will be posting as we travel so if you want a taste of the Colorado Backcountry Discovery route, be sure to follow the R2ADV site for real-time updates and photos.
We’ll be using a Spot satellite tracker so you can watch us travel read time with position updates every 5 minutes. The map will become active Saturday, June 21, 2014.
With the publication of my first book, Mr. Cotton Wanders Europe: Where To Next? I learned my first lesson about being an author. I quickly learned that I needed to grow a thicker skin. As many of you know, for the first five days of the book’s publication, I offered the electronic version free to everyone who would like a copy. A few hundred copies were downloaded and I eagerly awaited the first review. It took a few days, but the first one appeared from Jennifer H-W “allweathers”
As I started to read, I immediately knew that the review was not a good one. In fact, it was a scathing and deeply venomous one. I’ve inserted the entire review below:
“I feel a little bad about this review because the author comes across as a nice man but he cannot write. It is patently obvious from the beginning that he is totally out of his depth. Painful is the only word I can use, I am still completely perplexed as to why I finished it, I wanted to be fair I guess. What is more, he waxes lyrical throughout about the ‘adventure’ he and the saintly Kim are having on their motor cycle trip through Europe but this is NOT an adventure. This is a high end tourist visit, they stay in the very best of accommodation and eat in high end restaurants and barely experience the true nature of the various places they visit. I got this e-book through Amazon for $0.00…..and that was too expensive.”
My heart sank. Could my book really have been that bad? Prior to its publication, it had been read by a few friends and each of them said that they had enjoyed it. So how could several people pre-read the book, and when published, generate such a negative and personal review?
My initial feeling was one of hurt. I had spent much time and effort writing the book and it had taken a significant part of my life. The next feeling was anger, particularly when the commentator personally ridiculed Kim. She doesn’t know Kim and the personal verbal attack was way out-of-bounds. In closing the commentator felt it important to state that the price of the free book was too expensive.
After reading the comment, I spent a couple of days being quite down. I felt like the review was inaccurate, as well as personal assault on Kim and me. I wasted a fair amount of time dwelling on the topic but then it dawned on me. I was indeed wasting my time worrying about the first review.
I know that everyone is entitled to their opinion and this person was entitled to hers. But as I re-read the review, I could see that she was writing not about the book, but about herself. She seemed like a jealous, angry person who was attempting to prove their worth to the reading community. But in leaving a review such as the one she left, she made it clear that she hadn’t really comprehended the book and was more intent in leaving a negative review than in providing the community with a helpful summary.
Some of her stated facts were wrong “they stay in the very best of accommodations” is an incorrect statement as we spent several nights places that were far from the very best. For example, our night outside of Rodez in a third floor, 6 X 8 un-air-conditioned 90 degree room with music blaring until 2:00 AM was certainly not the very best of accommodation. But it certainly was a safe place to lay our heads for the evening.
Accordingly, what I took from this part of her review was that my story telling attempts to relay the best about the particular person, place or thing had been accomplished. She apparently keyed on these descriptions and transposed her dislike of these good things. In her mind, clearly you can not have an adventure if you are not feeling pain or discomfort. Suddenly she seemed to be a very sad person.
Her verbal attack on Kim, referring to her as “saintly” once again seemed to point to her sadness. To take the time to distinctly single out Kim as “saintly” seemed to me to indicate that someone special was missing from her life and her lashing out was an indication of jealousy.
It also seemed she knew that she was going to be over the top with her review and felt it necessary to point out that she was trying to be fair. Her words were. “Painful is the only word I can use, I am still completely perplexed as to why I finished it, I wanted to be fair I guess.” If she really wanted to be fair, she would have been factual and left out the barbs. But no, she felt it important to include them to prove her own superiority. Sorry Ms. Jennifer H-W “allweathers”, writing a “review” and filling it with personal barbs does not make you a superior commentator, it just makes you seem lonely and angry.
Lastly, she felt it important enough to indicate, “I got this e-book through Amazon for $0.00…..and that was too expensive.” Well Ms. Jennifer H-W “allweathers”, I am sorry that you apparently feel that way, and that you spent $0.00 for the book. That was the lowest price I could offer. Now that you’ve read Mr. Cotton Wanders Europe: Where To Next? you will not have to endure such misery again.
In closing, I sincerely wish Ms. Jennifer H-W “allweathers” a happier and less angry life. I also want to thank you for teaching me a lesson. Going forward I promise to have a thicker skin, and take each review for its true worth.
If you’d like to know a little more about us, check out the article in today’s Sunday Manchester Union Leader. It was fun to be interviewed and even more fun to see it printed!