Jim & Reba Berry
District Educators

Lessons learned by a “Hard Head”

 Two lessons this old hard head has learned over the years have really helped me live life more comfortably and safely.  The first I learned in the Army in my early twenties.  If you want to stay warm on a cold night in the desert, strip down to your skivvies in that goose down sleeping bag so your body heat can warm it up.  Don’t wear the same clothes, socks and boots you have had on all day that are damp with sweat.  Believe me, you will freeze to death.  It just seemed like the more you wore to bed the warmer you would be.  My mistake!

 Fast forward to July, 2012 and our LA Chapter D ride to Wing Ding in Fort Wayne, IN.  Can you believe the weather soared to over 100 degrees every day?  I thought it was supposed to be cooler up north!  Several days it was in the neighborhood of 106 degrees.  We started home in our ATGATT mode.  That would be “All the Gear All the Time”: Full face helmet, riding jacket (flow thru), gloves (ventilated), riding pants (flow thru) and over the ankle boots with special cooling, coconut socks.  We had our wet cooling towels around our necks and wet cooling vests under out jackets.  We would open up our winged air deflectors which created a nice cooling draft over our wet gear, although I admit that at over 100 degrees, it is best to close them. 100 degree air will heat you up, not cool you down.  We would stop every hour, generally at a service station, in the shade, to have some water.  While we were stopped, a group of bikers, obviously not familiar with our riding style, pulled up.  Most of them were wearing shorts, sleeveless shirts, gloveless, in sandals  and with novelty helmets.  They were sunburned to a crispy red. A couple of them almost passed out as they got off their bikes.  They looked at us and asked “How do you guys ride with all those clothes on?  It’s hot out here!”  I realized they were overheated and dehydrated and although we had gotten pretty warm, we were in far better condition than they were.  I tried to explain to them that we were much cooler going down the road than they were but they were “non-believers”. 

We have friends in our chapter who don’t buy the “more you wear the cooler you will be” concept.  One time, I challenged a friend to walk thru a restaurant without a jacket and to put mine on and walk back.  He immediately recognized his arms were cooler with the jacket on.  He could feel a slight breeze he had not felt before. Next I asked him to ride for an hour in my jacket.  Today, he and his co-rider are sporting brand new, high viz, mesh riding jackets with padding.  A lot of you guys know what I am talking about.  Share this wisdom with your friends.

If you would like to know more about how to ride in hot weather, there is a great GWRRA University training module just for you.  Contact me or Mike Stevenson if you would be interested in having this seminar presented to your chapter.

 Until next time, let me leave you with these words of wisdom from our former Chapter Educator, Charles Parker:  “If you have a $10 head, wear a $10 helmet.  If you want to keep it, cover it, and when you get to a fork in the road, take it!” 


Jim & Reba Berry

Louisiana District Educators