I have pants again.

My armored leather pants had been at Helimot for a couple of weeks now; I just got them back this weekend. I’d been joking, “My pants are in the shop for a tune-up”, but that’s pretty much exactly what was going on. I bought the suit in October 2002; 21 months and about 25,000 miles later, the velcro on the belt was starting to come off, and I’d lost one of the little rubber “Helimot” logos on the knee.

Proving that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Helmut and crew ended up replacing the entire waistbelt on the pants (“You have been pulling on the waist! Look! It is stretched! Look! We will fix!”). This is good because, well, brand-new leather. This is bad because, well, brand-new leather. I hung off a little in a turn yesterday and immediately thought I’d eviscerated myself. Hopefully the wasitband’ll break in soon.

Helmut also gave the pants legs new zippers. I can’t honestly say I notice any outstanding performance difference with the new leg zippers, but Helmut claims they’re the Newest Thing and that All The Kids Are Wearing Them These Days. *shrug* Who am I to argue with Helmut?

Of course, they also sewed on a new little rubber Helimot logo on the knee, leaving me with a shiny brand new logo on the right leg and a dingy worn-down logo on the left leg.

Holy cow, does it feel good to be wearing the armored pants again. I’d been commuting in jeans like a big squid. I have to admit that the convenience factor was high: I could just come into work, take off my jacket, and swap shoes. No shoving jeans into the tankbag and having to change in the bathroom first thing after entering the office. That part was nice.

It was odd, though. I don’t ride in jeans very often, and I found that it made me super-overly-cautious when doing any sort of turn. I don’t think I leaned at all during the entire pantsless two weeks. I eased around corners (we’re talking city street intersections here, not twisties — I stay out of the hills when I don’t have armor on). My heart jumped into my throat if I hit a pothole when turning out of the driveway. Interestingly, my freeway riding wasn’t affected in the slightest, and I still lanesplit with impunity. Don’t ask me to explain how my mind works.

At any rate, I got the pants back on Saturday, and went on a Wind Dancers ride on Sunday. So nice! Suddenly I was free to lean again, safe in the knowledge that, were I to mess up and lowside, I probably wouldn’t need skin grafts. Even my neighborhood riding improved. My commute today was much more pleasureable.

So, in addition to all of the common-sense and medical-related reasons to wear my gear, now I have another one: I ride like a total doofus without it.

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