The Insidious Nature of Gear Creep
Have you noticed how much “stuff” you carry with you each day? Of course, we now have the moral and logical obligation to carry and wear mask to slow the spread of this awful virus. I have two masks in my car, one in the tank bag of the motorcycle, and three in the house.
But beyond that…have you had your day altered because you left your “smart” phone at home and can’t stop worrying about it, even though you know where it is and do not need it? I went for a motorcycle ride last summer that began at my house. My two friends were both a little early, and after we left, I realized I’d left my phone in the garage. This bothered me for the entire ride, which is stupid, since both of my friends had better phones than mine if one was needed.
If you are like me, you have to wonder how this happened. In 1968 I rode a Yamaha 250cc motorcycle from Minneapolis to Seattle and back – camping. I had no charge card, no cell phone (did not exist), no tools, no tire repair kit, no first aid kit, and of course I had no problems. Did the same thing in 1971 on a Honda 450 SS from Seattle to Florida. In both cases the entirety of my “gear” consisted of what I could fit in a surplus army back pack.
By 1977 I had moved up in the world and added – a tank bag. Then the pace accelerated. In 2000 I went to work in the motorcycle business, and part of my job involved leading customers on rides of one (most of them) to three to nine days in length. Over time I added a first aid kit, a tire repair kit, an air compressor, and of course by now I always carried a charge card and a cell phone.
I was rather proud of the “flip phone” I had that reduced my friends to laughter. Until 2016, when on a motorcycle trip to California I got into a series of difficulties that would have been solved much more easily if I had a “modern” phone with internet access and other bells and whistles.
So, I got one.
This year I purchased a Triumph Rocket 3 with the optional saddle bags. Many folks on the enthusiast web sites bemoan the size of the bags, which seem cavernous to me. What do they want? I added a bag that goes across the seat for longer trips, and I am set. I think.
I would love to add a Triumph Thruxton to my stable, but would I be able to be comfortable with just a tank bag and my phone and charge cards in my pocket? A Thruxton with added luggage would look – to me – just wrong.
Does this happen to people in whatever area they aim their enthusiasms”? If you are a snow or water skier, do you add bits of gear and doodads and all sorts of things that begin as luxuries or gifts from indulgent friends and now you can’t go skiing without all of your clobber?
In high school I spent many idyllic summer days on Lake Minnetonka water skiing. My friend had an awesome ski boat, and I had a terrific slalom ski, and we would head out for the day with a full fuel tank and the one ski. Maybe some sun tan lotion. And sunglasses. And on occasion, two girls. I don’t recall that we carried any water or pop or food, but maybe I’ve forgotten. Today we would probably have food, water, pop, beer, a first aid kit, cell phones…
My latest add-on is a RoadID. This is a bracelet on your wrist that has your name, the phone numbers of two emergency contacts, and any medical info an EMT might need in the event of a disaster if you were unconscious. After the first day it occurred to me that a disaster could occur at any time, so now I wear it whenever I leave the house.
The irony is that in my 20s I could launch across the country without a care in the world and virtually no recourse in the event of a disaster. These days I have a clean charge card, a charged cell phone, insurance, the business card of my attorney and cash in my wallet, and money in the bank. …And I worry. You?
Ride safe, ride fast, and ride often!
Copyright 2020 David Preston