Occasionally we will insert a previous paragraph or two that appeared
in an earlier update. This is one of them. We hope it can serve
as a reminder for you.
Recently, there was a question on a ListServe about "itchy
scalp" which got us to thinking there are a lot of "little
things" we do that are often not included in the normal scope
of motorcycle training/education. I'm sure many of you have already
figured these out, but in the hopes it will help a few of you, we
thought it worth discussing. What do you think? Send us other "little
things" you do as well. We'd like to hear from you!
Ken and I always wear head skins when we ride. I will be the first
to say, it does not help at all with "Hair Do by Helmet"
(a.k.a. "Hair Don't"), but they do have many benefits.
There are several styles of head skins. I prefer the sateen ones
by Tour King (www.TourKingCovers.com) as they are not bulky and
the helmet slides on very easily. Ken prefers the all cotton variety
as he shaves his head and the sateen is not as comfortable to him.
Many places carry SLIKS - I didn't like the lined effect. Recently,
a Cool Max version has been introduced - I tried these but they
are a bit more bulky and the helmet did not slide on as well. And
of course, there is always your AH-HUM classic "do rag".
Benefits of head skin:
. Keeps your ears "in place" when you slide the helmet
on or take it off
. Is much easier to clean the head skin after each ride than the
. Reduces the "itchy scalp" feeling
. Can be wet in the summer to aid in evaporative cooling
. Keeps the head warmer in the winter
When purchasing a head skin, keep in mind that it should not interfere
with the helmet fit and should not make it more difficult to put
the helmet on. I tend to stay away from head skins that have a band
or ones that are lined as they are generally more bulky and/or tend
to cause an uneven fit in the helmet. Sometimes you have to kiss
a few frogs before you find your prince, but we think it is worth
When we ride, we always wear ear plugs. When/if we mention this
in class, new riders normally ask, "Doesn't that affect your
ability to hear?" I ask them to imagine riding down the road
in their car at 60 MPH - now roll down the windows. I only get about
half way through the second part when I see a big smile - they get
Dr. Flash Gordon recently did an article on hearing and ear protection
in Motorcycle Consumer News. This was a full page article which
I won't repeat here, but the "bottom line" - wind noise
if definitely loud enough to cause hearing loss and hearing loss
cannot be reversed. In his book "Blood, Sweat & Gears",
he says, "What they [ear plugs] do is cut the sound level down
to where your ears can deal with it without distortion. It's like
wearing sunglasses in bright light."
There are many kinds of ear plugs available and the prices range
from about $1.00 to over $100 and can be purchased at sporting goods
shops, drug stores, motorcycle shops, and motorcycle vendors at
rallies. Ken prefers the Hearos brand that has a little plunger
to help insert. I like the custom-made ear plugs. Actually, I really
like the custom ear plugs with the stereo speakers so I can listen
to my iPod :-).
Which brings up another "little thing" - what about listening
to music when you ride? My advice - know yourself and make it a
personal decision! I have found I rider better with music - at least
with an iPod. It only contains music I like (nothing I find annoying),
no commercials or news (causing me to lose focus), and it has a
mixture of genre (mixing things up keeps me more alert - I like
a little Christmas in July!). I am a multi-tasker, and I find without
music, I tend to have "deep conversations" with myself
(don't go there!). Listening to music allows me to focus on riding
and situational awareness while satisfy the "multi-tasking
need". It is "just enough" going on without allowing
me to get into those deeper thoughts/discussions. As they say, YMMV.