Fermentation is that odorous process by which something that was once a living organism begins to decompose or rot. It seems my beloved Tour Master gloves, after many years and tens of thousands of miles of sweat, wind, heat and dedicated service, did exactly this – rot.
I knew because I felt more breeze than normal whipping the flesh on my throttle hand, looked down and discovered a long black wisp of whatever that indestructible nylon stuff is had, well, destructed. A sixteen-inch thread was gracefully sailing beside me as I rode the six-lane and the outer-most portion of my right palm was naked against a seventy mile per hour gale. The left one would follow shortly.
“Forty bucks for four or five years service,” I thought, “not bad.” But I’d convinced myself that in have a stable including a Beemer and a Goose, I should ready myself for something more sophisticated, like: The Best Glove. Period.
EACH OF US UNDERSTANDS that the day of reckoning will not be avoided. That’s why we act nice even when others might not be looking, say an occasional prayer and write wills. That’s why we plan ahead. I’d planned ahead regarding the best gloves by using the dealer locator on the Held USA site. To my surprise, the closest retailer was in Modesto some fifty or sixty miles south-southwest of my home. I diverted to said dealer before blasting north.
Cycle Specialties of Modesto floors a nice supply of BMWs, Triumphs and Piaggio products. They also stock higher end clothing and gear. I wandered in and out of the bikes and circled past the end caps where a collection of gloves hung. The selection of Helds was limited enough that I finally had to acquiesce to the nice gentleman at the counter who offered assistance.
“These are dead,” I said, holding my tattered Tour Masters a distance from my nose. “I’m looking for some Helds, if you’ve got ‘em.”
Turns out, mixed in with a good selection of other gloves, samples of the German manufacturer’s product hung from four or five pins. “Best glove in the world?” I asked.
“So they say.”
I did, however, appreciate the Kevlar enhanced gel-type padding at the heel of the hand – and in other places – and the precise stitching that blended fabric and leather. Quality.
“Try ‘em. You’ll love ‘em.”
I slipped the right one on. It felt you-must-acquit tight. The next size up was perfect. Soon both hands cried out to me: “Don’t stop…”
“Walk around in ‘em.”
After telling the young man I didn’t care for the plastic knuckles and being told, “Oh, you will,” I was back on 99 heading north in – coincidentally – ninety-nine degree summer heat. As I acclimated myself to this purchase, I became aware of tiny jets of air passing atop my hands. Cooling them. Keeping them dry. I flexed my fingers enjoying the fresh softness of two familiar things – that pliant Coolmax lining and Olivia again singing. This time: All I need is the Air that I Breathe… from the aforementioned album.
Gob-smacked by this coincidence, I knew I’d made the right purchase.
Held USA may be accessed at: http://www.heldusa.com/ Their website provides a fascinating look into company history and the construction of their product.
Modesto’s very nice BMW shop may be accessed at: http://www.cyclespecialties.com/
Church of the Open Road Press