So you’re looking for a first bike, well here’s some things that I recommend.
- Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. (MSF) It’s approximately $350 for a weekend course and you can get your license. First make sure to get your permit from DMV.
- Insurance: I’ve had good luck with Progressive, but Rider’s Insurance in NJ isn’t bad. I don’t like Geico, but ymmv (You mileage may vary).
- Helmet:($300-$500) I like Schuberth, Nolan, Shoei, Arai helmets. There are plenty of other good ones out there. Never buy a used lid. If it falls on the ground, you must check for internal damage. I prefer modular/flip up helmets. Full face helmets are safer. The most important part of any helmet is that it fits properly. It should be snug and if you move it forward and back, the skin on your head should move with it.
- Jacket: I ride in all weather. I like the Aerostich Darien, it’s my go to jack in all but the hottest weather. Then I might wear a good quality perforated jacket. http://www.aerostich.com/suits/jackets-pants/darien/darien-jacket.html – As cool as black looks, wear a bright color to make sure you’re visible.
- Pants: Kevlar riding jeans are ok for commuting, but the Aerostich AD1 is my preferred pant.
- Gloves:($50) Geier Elk Skin gloves. Also good, but a little more are the Aerostich digital glove. It’s probably made by Geier with the Aerostich name on it. http://www.aerostich.com/clothing/gloves/elkskin-and-deerskin-gloves/aerostich-touch-screen-elkskin-ropers.html
- Boots:($270) BMW All-Around Goretex boot. There are others by TCX, Oxtar, Alpinestar etc that are also good.
- Conspicuity Vest: ($30) Makes sure traffic can see you. Get this on sale for around $30.
- Socks: ($10) Wool socks keep your feet dry. In the summer, I’ll use a thinner sock, but you want something to wick moisture away.
- Base layers: I tend to wear Jeans or shorts under my pants, but you’ll want some good layers to wick moisture. Think of the running clothing or workout wear that’s very thin and made from polypropylene. It wicks moisture and will keep you more comfortable. Even a long sleeve light colored workout shirt is helpful. Walmart has a great selection that’s inexpensive.
- Underwear: Puma makes a wicking underwear that works really well. I think it’s called: “Seamless Quick Dry Boxer Briefs” (Costco might sell it or Amazon) They also don’t have a seam where you sit, so it’s more comfortable.
- Bandana (optional): they make ones special for the purpose, but soaking fabric in cold water and wrapping around your neck is like adding air conditioning. Something like this works too:
- Beanie: I wear one to keep my head from itching and keeps the inside of your helmet cleaner/less sweaty.
https://www.amazon.com/Schampa-BNDNA003-0-Stretch-Z-Wrap-Black/dp/B005345F80?th=1 ( I like the mesh)
- Hydrate! Drink lots of water. Pee a lot. It will keep you cooler and more comfortable. Trust an old guy. Better: Fill a water bladder (camelback) with Ice cubes and water and wear under your jacket. The ice will melt and keep you cool. Some jackets have pockets for this or you wear it with a holder. The Conspicuity vest has a pocket for it. Not this! You can find it cheaper, but this is the idea: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00W9O4BQO?ie=UTF8&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738&tag=bhiking-20&creativeASIN=B00W9O4BQO
- Suntan lotion: Even though you’re buried in all your gear, you can still get a burn on exposed areas like your nose, neck, etc.
Rain: You have about 70% of the stopping and cornering power you do when it’s dry. Leave extra space and if you go through deep water, dry out your brakes.Tar snakes are the cause of a lot of accidents, they’re slippery when wet. Leaves, sand, gravel and the yellow line are also cause for concern. If it’s raining, put medical Nitrile gloves on over your gloves. Get a large size than you usually wear.
If you have rain gloves, tuck them inside the sleeve so that rain doesn’t drip down into them.