If You’ve Ever Wanted To Feel Like Iron Man

Think about how much stuff Tony Stark needs in order to be Iron Man. He needs to have access to the different suits of armor in different places. He needs all the different pieces and the infrastructure to service those pieces. It takes a lot of work to be Iron Man, far moreso than it does to be Superman or Spider-Man, both of whom just have to worry about someone seeing them while they’re doing the laundry.

If you’d like to get an idea of the logistics that Tony Stark would have to go through each day (assuming he wasn’t a fictional character, of course), consider riding a motorcycle as your primary means of transportation.

The logistical consideration that goes into this process is rather intricate. I have to plan out which pieces of gear I’m going to need, where I can store it if I don’t need it at that moment, and how I’m going to carry it all. Here’s what a typical day looks like:

  1. Since I started wearing riding boots and armored pants, I need to bring a pair of jeans and comfortable shoes with me to work. Into the backpack they go, with the shoes wrapped in a plastic bag so they don’t get anything else dirty.
  2. I wear a smoke-tinted visor for the morning ride, but it’s still a little too dark by the time I leave in the evening, so I pack the clear visor and swap them out for the ride home.
  3. Since it’s still chilly out in the mornings (that 85+ mph freeway commute doesn’t help), I wear an extra layer over my riding pants. They’re snowboarding pants, which are great for being wind resistance, warm, and waterproof, but they’re bulky as hell and don’t provide any protection so I can’t wear them in lieu of riding pants.
  4. The wind chill also means wearing something under my riding jacket. Since I bought my jacket used and the guy had lost the warm insert lining, this ends up being a hoodie on chilly days (and on really cold days, a snowboarding jacket).
  5. What about gloves? I actually have three different pairs of gloves and can layer them in different ways, depending on the level of windchill. These are actually the least space-consuming part of my gear, since I can shove the unused gloves in my backpack’s external mesh net.
  6. Here’s where things get tricky: this setup works for the morning ride, when it’s about 40 degrees before factoring in windchill. But on the ride home in the evening, it’s too hot to wear the warm layers. So now the hoodie and the warm pants have to get crammed into my backpack along with the shoes, the jeans, the unused visor . . . and, you know, whatever things I might have needed to take to work with me that day, like my laptop or books or whatever.
  7. As a fun aside, I tried wearing the warm layers home once in the afternoon even though it was 80 degrees. I nearly passed out after an extended pause at a long stoplight.

That’s a brief look at how I’m handling the logistical side of clothing now that I’m living life on two wheels 100% of the time. I’m considering buying an extra pair of shoes just to leave at work so I don’t have to haul my sneakers back and forth every day.

One thing that’s nice is that the amount of gear I need to be able to haul in my pack is very temporary. In cold months, I wear my warm layers both to and from work and in the summer, I don’t need the warm layers at all. It’s only this weird time of year when we have chilly mornings and hot afternoons that I have to work around the space considerations. The longer summer days will also remove the need to swap visors, making that one less piece I need to carry.

So, yes, there’s a lot of gear and logistics that go into motorcycle commuting, especially if all the gear, all the time is your MO. I could make things easier on myself by not bothering with so much gear, but then I run the risk of one day knowing exactly what cheese feels like after meeting a cheese grater should I go down without that stuff. So I’ll keep wearing it and just work through the logistics with a smile, because the alternative is cheese graters except on my legs and feet. Yeah, no.

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