Waiting 19 years for new riding gear was well worth the wait.
In 2003, on a ride from Ottawa to Saskatoon for a family reunion, I made a point to stop in the town of Duluth, and its fabled Aerostich factory store. After staying at a dump of a motel just outside of Duluth, I made my way to the store on a rainy, foggy Monday morning. I was impressed with the suits and jackets, but my budget was limited and I already had a fairly new, high-quality leather jacket. I settled on a couple of T-shirts and a few other odds and ends.
On my way out of town, I found myself in fog patches, some of it very thick — I could barely see in front of me. While climbing a hill at about 10 km/h, trying to see something — anything — I had the fright of my life when I noticed a red light, very close, and almost above me. I was in the middle of an intersection, going through a red light! I couldn’t see, and the realization that traffic could be coming the other way sent a bolt of fear through me. I made a quick calculation and realized I was probably mostly through the intersection, so I carried on with a little more speed. Within about a minute, I was out of the heaviest of the fog, and pulled over to let my heart rate settle before continuing on. It remains the most frightening moment I’ve had on (or off) a motorcycle.
The cold rain, the crummy motel, and the near-death experience left me with a bad taste in my mouth about Duluth. I still craved Aerostich gear though, and hoped to be able to afford a suit one day.
Cash in When You Can
Fast forward 17 years to April 2020, and the start of the Covid pandemic. With the world full of uncertainty and businesses struggling to stay open, Aerostich offered something I had never seen: gift certificates for 25 per cent off. I had been noticing that my trusty 20-year-old leather jacket had been shrinking over the past decade — it’s true, they do that — so I jumped on the offer. I bought myself a giant gift certificate, enough to buy a Darien jacket and pants.
Aerostich has an online sizing tool, which would be fine for the jacket, but I’m blessed with a short leg-big butt-big belly style of body (I’m lucky, I know), and pants that fit my waist are usually too long in the leg, so I wanted to get sized in person to be sure they fit properly. I figured, “Once this pandemic thing is over in a few weeks and the border re-opens, I’ll…