Shrinking The Planet – One Ride At A Time

boots

Sidi Adventure Goretex Boots – Mid Term Update

It’s been a little over a month since I wrote my initial impression of the Sidi Adventure Goretex Boots.  In that time I’ve had easy pavement and gravel rides lasting for hours as well as some fairly spirited single track woods riding with friends and can say that the Sidi Adventure goretex boots have come through with flying colors.  Smooth tarmac, loose gravel, mud, rocks, water crossings small fallen trees and hidden obstacles have all been easily dispatched by the watertight armored boots that can.

So what do I mean by all of this?  Well on the pavement, smooth gravel and just plain walking about where outright boot performance is not put to the test and comfort is the deciding factor, the Sidi Canyon goretex boot has been up to the task and the more appropriate choice.  On the other hand, the Sidi Adventure goretex with each wearing, seems to become more and more comfortable.  I would not rate it as comfortable as the Sidi Canyon goretex, but comparing the two is like comparing an armored car and a tank.  Both can do protective jobs, but you’d only really bet your life on the tank in all out war.

The Sidi Canyon is the armored car, protecting you from small arms fire, like light gravel roads and the average rain storm.  The Sidi Canyon gortex is the M-16 tank, capable of securing the troops from all sorts of mayhem, such as big rocks, trees, water crossings and the like.  The trade off is that you are a bit more cramped in the tank than in the armored car, but when you need to protect yourself at all costs, bet on the Sidi Adventure goretex boot.

One thing I really like about the Sidi Adventure goretex over the Sidi Canyon goretex is the stiffer sole.  Not that noticeable while walking, it is immediately noticeable while standing on the pegs, especially when taking any hits.  Far less jolt is transmitted to the feet and to my 50+ year old feet, that is a godsend.  For some, that may represent a tradeoff in “feel”, but if you’ve ridden in motocross style boots, there will be as much if not more feel in the Sidi Canyon Adventure than in a pure motocross boot.  However, if you’ve only ridden in street boots, you’ll notice the extra stiffness and that may take some acclimation time.  It should be no big deal.

There have been reports of squeaking with walking but I’ve yet to experience it which is a good thing.  I’ve read reports that if it does occur, WD-40 or such lubricants will stop the noise, but the downside is that they generally dry up and would require reapplication.  However as I said, I have not experienced any squeaking in over 3 months use to date.

The Sidi Adventure goretex boots are also fairly heavy, significantly more than your average street boot.  But if you are going to buy the Sidi Adventure goretex boot, you should be a more off road oriented rider, otherwise you are wasting your money.  You’d be better served buying the Sidi Canyon goretex which is less expensive and more on road oriented.

So when all is said and done, are the Sidi Adventure Goretex boots worth their significantly lofty price?  For those people who spend a good deal (i.e. more than 50% of their time on gravel or off paved roads, but still want a boot that is comfortable and usable on the street; the answer is a resounding yes.  They can be the single pair of boots that do it all for you.  On road, off road, woods, walking about, these boots can do it all.

But if you do more than 50% of your riding on pavement, you may want to look at less expensive alternatives.  The Sidi Canyon being one since they can do 75% of what the Sidi Adventure can do and is signficantly less expensive.  In any event, you can’t go wrong with either of these boots; it’s just that to me, a more off road oriented rider, the Sidi Adventure Goretex boot represents a very smart choice.

Ride2Adventure – Shrink The Planet One Ride At A Time


Alaska – Gravel, Grandeur & Goofy Grins (Part 4)

Having seen Dawson City’s colorfully painted downtown town district calling to us from above, we were excited to finish the rest of our descent and take it all in up close and personal.  We jumped back on the bikes and scooted quickly down the rest of the mountain until we reached the Yukon River and the free ferry across.  There was a short line of cars and trucks waiting for the ferry to make its way back across the river and pick us up.  But before long, the ferry arrived and we were making our way back to Dawson City.

After a brief ten minute crossing, the ferry ramp came down and we had landed in Dawson.  Suddenly we found ourselves in a wild west town of the 1800s.  The streets were all dirt and the sidewalks were not sidewalks but elevated wooden board walks.  Two story gayly painted buildings stood in front of us with hand lettered signs.  There wasn’t a chain store in sight.  There was even a horse drawn wagon.  From our surroundings, I thought I could hear spurs jingling on my boots as we rode.

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As we rolled into the center of town, we found the town hall/information center.  It too was fronted by a dirt road and elevated wooden boardwalk and we decided to stop there and pick up some information on Dawson and the precise whereabouts of our little hotel.  We pulled off the dusty roadway and parked.  Kim dismounted and I was about to dismount when a bearded gentleman approached offered his hand and said, “You must be Kim and Mike.”  We were flabbergasted.    Here we were, in a tiny town in the Canadian Yukon literally almost 4000 miles from home and a guy we’ve never seen before in our lives picks us out just as we are getting off our bikes and says hello like he’s known us all his life.  We love adventure riding.

Ahhh… Yes, yes we are, we mumbled or something to that effect.  He introduced himself as Tracy.  Tracy was the person that the couple at the McKinley View Lodge had told us that they wanted our email address for.  He had emailed us previously and said he hoped to meet us at the Dust to Dawson (D2D) gathering, but wow, this was something.  We both hadn’t even gotten off our bikes yet!  We hit it off immediately and Tracy, Kim and I spent quite a bit of time together at D2D enjoying the events, meals and even a ride or two or three.   By the time we had to say goodbye, we knew we had become steadfast friends.  In fact, we are still friends to this day even though thousands of miles separate us from Tracy and his wife MaryLee.  But we haven’t let that stop us, we’ve taken the time to correspond, and this past summer rode a good portion of the Trans American Trail together.

So when we tell you that adventure riding means more than just riding a motorcycle, think about this.  Two people from New Hampshire have a chance meeting with a couple they’ve never met at a  lodge near Mt. McKinley.  This couple asks us for our email address to give to their friend who rides motorcycles.  That friend tracks us down in a town in the Canadian Yukon and we hit it off so well that we spend three days together.  That relationship is so cemented by the passion of adventure riding that the long distance relationship is maintained for four years and two couples then get together in Tennessee and ride across the country together mostly off road.   I think you’ll agree that there aren’t many activities that provide the zest for life and yearning to be together to explore than adventure motorcycling.

But let’s get back to Dawson City, the D2D event and what can be found around Dawson.  For a pretty small town, there is much to be found in Dawson especially during D2D.  For those of you who may not be familiar, D2D is an adventure riding event hosted by members of AdvRider.com.  It’s a gathering of like minded adventure riders from all over the world.  Adventure riders are indeed shrinking the world.  While we were there, there were riders from Europe and Australia.  Planned events include group rides, a riding skill challenges and a large sit down meal.  It’s just a terrific gathering.

But Dawson isn’t just about D2D.  They also have some interesting historic venues.  They have recovered and recreated one of Jack London’s actual cabins.  It’s a tiny structure with a sod roof.  It wouldn’t be big enough to be considered a one bedroom apartment today.  When Jack lived in it, he shared it with at least one other person and sometimes more.  Outside was an elevated and enclosed perch where food and other supplies were stored lest you attract bears into your living quarters.  Every time you went to get food, you had to climb that high tree and get it.  It was difficult to imagine all the hardships of dealing with the lack of running water, electricity, and just surviving the environment, never mind the addition of the absolutely challenging and unrelenting Yukon winter.  The people of that era were the true examples of pioneers.  To survive in these conditions, these people had to be ever stout and unbreakable of heart and mind.  Some became rich, others bent or broke returning from whence they came and others unfortunately just perished.

With the conditions being so difficult, you may be asking yourself, why would anyone travel to such difficult climes?  It was the lure of wealth.  Gold.  It was reported all over the lower 48, that gold could be found lying at the surface in the areas near Dawson and all one need do is travel there, stake a claim and riches would soon be theirs.  So it was that Jack London was lured to Dawson and so it was that gold mining companies were lured as well.  And they brought great machines at great expense.  Huge floating machines called dredges capable of swallowing vast quantities of earth quickly.  Many large iron buckets were suspended from a boom and they rotated one after another, endlessly 24 hours a day, gulping the earth from swamps, ponds and rivers.  These machines, built more than 100 years ago, were so well designed and engineered that they extracted more than 95% of the gold that entered them.

In consuming the gold, they also consumed the men that operated them.  No grease or oil was used in their operation for fear that the gold would be lost in the sifting process, as such, the metal on metal grinding sound was abominable.  Men lost their hearing.  There were little to no safety considerations and men were often injured in their operation and merely replaced with another man.  The men worked in muddy swamps in the summer and as if to taunt them, extreme sub zero temperatures in winter.  But there was gold to be found and this ensured a steady stream of people willing to try their luck to become instantly wealthy.  This ultimately is the story of Dawson City.

Although Dawson  revolved around gold, there’s more to talk about and we’ll tell you in Part 5.


Sidi Adventure Goretex Boots – Initial Impression

I’ve had a little time to ride in Sidi’s Adventure Goretex Boots and have formed an initial impression of their performance.  On a sunny Vermont day, we were able to put in a little over 100 miles mostly on pavement with some dirt and gravel and a tiny amount of slimy mud left over from the Vermont mud season.  With temperatures in the high 30s to low 40s, we did everything from low speeds to some higher speed twisties, so we had a fairly good day and mix of conditions to get initial impressions.

In keeping with a more pure off road bias, the Sidi Adventures are a fairly tall boot.  If you are used to a “normal” road boot, you’ll immediately notice the increased height of the boot.  In addition, it’s also significantly heavier than many road boots so when you first pick them up to put them on, you’ll immediately notice the increased weight.  Once on though, the weight is less noticeable.  Also immediately apparent is the increased stiffness of the boot.  It’s not as stiff as a pure off road boot, but it is fairly stiff and it will take a bit of getting used to if you have previously only been a road boot user.  If you’ve been in pure off road boots before, the Adventures will feel soft.

I found that the boot was a bit fidgety to get on, particularly the upper buckle.  It’s nothing significant, but you will have to do a bit of adjustment to get the buckle to overlap correctly.  This will likely go away with use, but it was a bit of a fuss on the first few fittings.  Not a significant worry however.   On the other side of the coin, adjusting the length of the buckle straps couldn’t be easier and Sidi has done an excellent job here.  A mere snap of the strap downward releases it for adjustment and when you have it adjusted properly snap it up back into place and you are done.  Wonderful!

Once you get the boot on, one thing you will immediately feel is the security of the boot and that is a good thing.   Your foot and leg feel encompassed by the boot; not oppressed by it.  It’s stiff but it feels stiff in all the right places.  It has a large shin guard plate and guards at the ankles and shifting areas.   I felt protected in this boot.

The interior of the boot was roomy enough for my very wide feet which are EEEs.  Normally, I take out the footbeds of my boots and insert rubber insoles as well as a 1 1/4 lift due to a previous motorcycle/car interaction.  I can say that the interior of the boot was roomy enough to accommodate my lift but not my rubber foot beds which are thicker than the factory originals.  So I did have to go back to the factory original footbeds to use my lift.  To translate all of this, I’d say that the toebox and overall interior is fairly roomy.  If you have very narrow feet, you may want to think about adding a thicker footbed, but for folks with normal to wide feet, you should be all set.  As far as sizing goes, I wear a 8 1/2 US shoe and wear a size 43 Sidi Adventure boot.

Initially, the boot had a couple of hotspots in them for my foot and leg.  There was a slight squeezing at the side of my foot, but that eased up as the day went on so I don’t anticipate any problems.  The other noticeable issue was a hotspot on my right shin.  It seemed to be right under the beginning of where the shin guard started only on my right leg.  Once again, this let up as the day grew longer so I attribute this to a break in issue as well.

As was stated earlier, it was fairly chilly out with temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s.  I was wearing one pair of smart wool socks and my feet were always warm and toasty.  They seemed to retain the heat in my boot but never got wet/clammy and therefore did not get cold.  Again, thanks to the wonders of Goretex, these boots can breathe and breathe they do.  We did not encounter any rain or hit any water crossings during this ride, so I can’t comment on its waterproof capabilities at this time but I will update you later in our long term review.

The boots have a lugged sole and offer excellent traction on pavement, gravel or mud which we experienced on this ride.   Since I’ve only worn them one day, I can’t comment on the longevity of the sole, but it does appear to be the same sole as on my previous Sidi Canyon Goretex boots that are 3 full seasons old and the soles look like they have a couple more seasons in them at least.

So can I say that the Sidi Adventure Goretex are worth their lofty price at this point?  It’s hard to tell since this report is only on one day’s ride in the cold.  So once I get some more miles and rides on them in warmer (i.e. hot) weather, I’ll update you all with a long term update and let you know whether I think the boots are worth their high price.  But for the time being, it’s looking like a good investment!

Ride2Adventure – Shrink The Planet One Ride At A Time