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One the Road: Our Biker BA goes on a Poker Run

Tim James! Our resident biker with a genuinely interesting and pretty hilarious blog 🙂 Recently, he participated in a charity bike ride known as the “Chill Out”, where a group rode in the notoriously-cold Midwest winter weather on 20 February. Also, he’s got a sweet two-tone Ultra Classic Harley. Tim’s review is a bit longer than some of the others, but I had to post it in full because it’s written as a story, genuine, and (as a true Rhode Island/Massachusetts native would say) wicked funny.



Gear Reviews

“As an interstate-sofa riding old-fart biker, I am constantly looking for ways to be more comfortable as I take my Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic down the highway for hours at a time. Being one of those annoying “all the gear all the time” type folks, I am usually clad in as much leather as my closet can supply: vest, heavy duty jacket, chaps, gloves, and boots. Needless to say, this can be somewhat warm; which is the desired affect when travelling down the road. Unfortunately, it can turn into a sauna as soon as one stops for a Geritol biker break. And, of course, as soon as one gets back on the road and the 60 mph wind hits all the sweat that has suddenly appeared under the leather, one feels as if they are encapsulated in an igloo. ‘There has to be a solution,’ I told myself. Well, I think I have found it. I began with looking at sports which involved strenuous activities followed by cooling off periods, such as hiking mountain trails and biking. I ignored the sports which allowed the participants to change clothing after they were done with their activities, because that is not what a biker does. They get done with a portion of their ride, spend some quality time in the watering hole of their choice, get back on the bike and off they go. And yes, I have heard of the concept of removing the leathers and then re-donning them before taking off again. It is an interesting concept, but one which is seldom embraced among the fellow mental cases whom I ride with. So, After some very intensive “Googling,” I came to the conclusion that what I needed was to treat this activity of motorcycle riding as if it were an actual sport. A couple of solutions presented themselves: 1) I could stop riding and start acting my age; or 2) I could start dressing as if this was a true sporting activity, such as by layering the clothing I wear, starting with what is called a “base layer.”
According to the internet experts, a “base layer” is designed to wick away the sweat from a person’s body while still allowing retention of some heat and yet not feeling like one is being smothered. It is a fine line between too many and too few clothes. Cotton is great for absorbing the sweat, but the moisture stays next to the skin and causes one to feel cold when a breeze is present. Polyester is like being wrapped in Saran Wrap and while it may help in reducing the wind chill effect, it does nothing to absorb the sweat. Wool seems to be the wonder material in this instance. It does a great job of wicking away the moisture from the body while providing warmth at the same time.
Having done my time in the Army back in the day when the Jeep was a staple of transportation and we ate C-rations held over from the Korean Conflict, I was extremely hesitant to wear anything that remotely listed wool as an ingredient. I could not imagine riding down the highway with some rough scratchy material rubbing against my skin for hours at a time. Then I laid my hands on the WoolPro Scout. It is without a doubt the most comfortable wool garment that I have ever had against my skin. This is apparently due to its being made of soft 100% Merino wool, and the fact that the way the seams are made make them virtually undetectable to the skin. “Okay”, I thought, “It feels great walking around, but how will it do in real-world use?” As luck would have it, I had a Poker Run scheduled for the next day and I resolved to try it out then.
For those unfamiliar with a Poker Run, it can best be described as a multi-stop motorcycle ride where bikers go from location to location stopping to draw a playing card at each location in an attempt to acquire the best poker hand. It involves riding, then stopping at (in this case) a tavern, telling lies about ones exploits to the other crazy souls doing the Poker Run, consuming one’s beverage of choice (mine happens to be Diet Coke), standing in a small closely packed area while doing so, and in general just having a good time. Having 50 people suddenly converge into a small bar can increase the room temperature of said bar to the point where one feels that the furnace has suddenly gone haywire. And if everyone is wearing copious amounts of leather, it gets even worse. Then everyone leaves the tavern, gets back on their bikes and rides an hour or so to the next tavern where the process is repeated.
Keeping in mind that this little foray into silliness is taking place in Iowa in the month of February, I threw on the WoolPro Scout underneath my leather vest and jacket, donned the rest of my gear and hit the road to meet up with the rest of the geriatric biker crowd. Temperatures were up in the low 40’s when I took off, rising eventually to 60 degrees later in the day and then dropping back into the low 40’s by the time I headed home. I would venture to say that the temperatures in the various bars rose to the low to mid 80’s while we were all packed in like sardines, so this was an excellent test of the properties of the new acquisition. And here are the results of my entirely unscientific testing: I will never ride without this WoolPro again. It kept me warm during the cold ride to the first tavern, it kept me from feeling hot and clammy during the stop-overs, and it prevented me from being subjected to the cold during the subsequent legs of the Run. In a word, it was fantastic; and I see no reason why I would ever subject myself to the old ways again. Given its well-made construction, I foresee it providing me several years of comfort to come, and after all, that’s all I can ask of my gear.


Your mileage may vary, as the saying goes, but if you want to give yourself a treat I recommend checking the offerings of WoolPro out for yourself. You can see what they have available at, and if you decide to buy one or more pieces, let me know and I can get you a code to save 30%.

Wishing everyone a safe ride,

Additionally, on Tim’s second post featuring WoolPRO from his Nomads on the Road blog (!Windy-Day-ride/cmbz/57048ab70cf2c53596aa6a52), he talked about his Scout on a windy day ride:

“By now the temps were getting up there, and John was peeling off the layers. I was still very comfortable. I had worn the WoolPro Scout which has a zipper up by the neck and all I did was unzip it a bit. I am constantly surprised at how versatile this shirt (base layer) is. It was getting dark and rain clouds were forming on our way home, and the temps were dropping. we stopped about halfway home and John decided to add some layers. I zipped up the Scout and was perfectly fine. We made it back to my place about 10 minutes before the rain hit (haven’t checked to see if John made it back to his place without getting wet, but I’m sure he was ok). All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable ride, even with the high winds.”

Biker Scout

Happy adventures!

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