We’ve owned sports bikes, naked bikes, adventure bikes, trials bikes, you name it, we’ve probably tried it. Along the way, we’ve tried to make our riding lives a little more comfortable, convenient, or, well, just anything for an easier life!
Motorcycle navigation, the problem we’re trying to solve, the options we tried, and our conclusions. We will cover subjects like; Touring jackets, Noisy helmets, Bee Stings, Big calves on small ladies, Packs and pack racks, Ventura packs, Hard luggage (Germany…), Semi hard luggage, the current ventura racks.
BEE STING KITS
“Just another bee sting” escalated far too quickly into uncontrollable itching, incoherent gabbling, near unconsciousness, two ambulances and finally 11 hours in hospital. Not good. At my follow up doctor’s appointment, I wasn’t ready to receive the news that the next sting would probably cause an even worse reaction.
Motorcycling has been part of who I am since I saw my first ‘bike’ aged 4. I got my licence as soon as I could, and it has been my single enduring hobby ever since. But, every time I went for a longish ride, I normally got stung.
So no stings allowed, really equated only to giving up riding. This seemed an impossible conundrum so I set out to balance the pleasure of riding against the risk of being stung. Prevention, prevention, prevention.
All this for a girl that frequently rode all day with her visor up (yes, big red eyes at the end of the day, but a big grin too) and jacket unzipped just enough to let in air (and, ahem bees and wasps) but not enough to defeat the armour doing its job if I needed it.
Over the next couple of years, I researched all manner of options (and bought everything that looked like it might help too! $$$$). I also survived a couple of decent stings and worked out which drugs I needed to take, which quantities and for how long afterwards. I discovered that knowing this, I wasn’t going to fall unconscious before I could help myself. I also discovered that some antihistamine drugs can cause me to fall asleep when riding (or the moment my side stand went down next to the petrol pump).
Overall, I discovered that whilst many many motorcylists get stung when riding, there is no go to source of advice or motorbike specific bee sting prevention gear.
Until now …
OVERHEATING ON YOUR BIKE RESEARCH
We first discovered Ventz shortly after Corinne became a Motorcyclist with a Bee Sting Allergy. The need to seal any possible bee or wasp access to her skin, also quickly led to overheating, lack of concentration and enjoyment sapping.
A touring jacket with closable ventilation panels seemed to be the answer, but on some days this just isn’t enough. The Ventz are small enough to carry on those “how hot it is going to be?” days and really easy to slip into your sleeves at the petrol station or on the side of the road.
Getting a shot of air sent up your sleeve is definitely a welcome bonus!
A wrist ID: My doctor initially signed me up for a medic alert bracelet, but after a couple of years (and a bit of terse correspondence with the charity who weren’t keen to let go of a paying member) I resigned. Why? Firstly, the bracelet was waking me up at night by cutting off my blood supply when it slid up my forearm. Consequently, I stopped wearing it 24/7 which meant eventually I stopped wearing when I should too as it was so fiddly to put on. Secondly, the only use I had for it was having my allergy printed on the bracelet, I couldn’t see a use for an international 24/7 help line for would-be good Samaritans to ring to get an update on the cause of my babbling when all they would find out was either already printed on my bracelet, or Andrew’s contact details which are on the lock screen of my phone. Bye Bye Medicalert.
Enter a comfortable, take it on and off a lot, silicone bracelet that tells people I’m allergic to bee stings. I wear it on my motorbike and bicycle and take it off the rest of the time, Job Done.
Helmet vents: I went out and bought a decent helmet with the biggest vents I could find – a Shoei GT-Air. If I was going to have to close my visor, I was NOT giving up some decent airflow. But, aargh! The vents were big enough to let bees and wasps in. I was constantly distracted by any large insect fired up the inside of my visor like a pinball machine as they came in the chin vent and fired up to the forehead bar then sat dazed on my chinbar while I tried to let them out without getting them blown back into my face. I tried using porous medical tape to cover the vents, but this blocked too much air. And the day I was luxuriating in great airflow… was when I panicked because it meant the tape had come unstuck. The answer – coarse foam inserted into the vents. It still blocks a bit of airflow, but it’s a good compromise to keeps the bugs out of my face.
Epipen carry case: As a girl with no handbag, I was struggling to keep all of the meds and related paraphernalia together. I use this handy pouch to store my epipen, antihistamines, medical cooling gel, Epipen instructions and Andrew’s contact details. It’s bright enough that someone else can find it for me with minimal instructions, and has a clip that helps stash it somewhere obvious when the need arises. I’ve included this thermally insulated pouch in this kit, so you can fill it with your personal survival gear.
The neck! Oh, this one cost me a lot of money to get right. I tried jackets with big wraparound collars and all sorts. Ultimately the answer came in this neck sock that come up to your chin (inside your helmet’s chin curtain) but also provides a thicker layer to bounce the bugs away. The single layer neck socks make me nervous as a bee sting can get through them. The impact might kill the bee, but the sting still packs a punch I don’t need.
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