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Joe Noonan
It's All About The Ride was founded by Britta and Joseph Noonan. Britta and Joe are a happily married couple who share a love for travel, exploring and experiencing all that life has to offer. Currently on a work assignment away from their home in beautiful Coeur d' Alene, ID, they are presently living full-time in a fifth wheel near the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. Both Britta and Joe are adventure seekers with experiences and insights into all aspects of exploring and visiting unique locations. From camping off the back of a motorcycle to living out of an RV and exploring off the beaten path, their product and trip reviews come from first-hand knowledge and a love of seeing and experiencing all that life has to offer.

Riding Long Distance and the Importance of Quality Baselayers

You have poured over specs, read all the reviews and compiled what you think is the perfect kit for every situation on the trip of your dreams, which you embark on in less then two days. Holy cow, are you excited. I know we were on the start of our Pacific Coast Highway trip this past fall.
Icebreaker Merino Wool 260 weight
Joe on the Dempster Highway in the Yukon. 4800 miles from home. Wearing Icebreaker merino 260 weight.
Britta and Joe on the Pacific Coast Highway

Hang on there, Road Warrior. Have you tested your gear personally or are you just taking the word of the reviewers and your 1 minute prance around your living room showing everyone how awesome your newest gear is?

Stop the last minute prep on your bike and get geared up and go for a full days ride, now!

It's better to find out any weaknesses, defects, chaffing or rubbing spots or malfunctions now than on the road.

Now, did you notice the slight burn on your rear at the 2 hour mark? Are you wearing just cotton underwear? Guess what? After 4 hours, you will be screaming to get off the seat. Monkey Butt is real, my friends, and yes, they have an app for that.

You're going to ride 8 hours a day for 4 weeks? Not without quality base layers, you aren't.

Enter the motorcyclist's saving grace, merino wool and compression shorts. That's right, compression shorts. Your base layer starts you off right, not your airhawk seat cushion or $1000 Russel Day Long custom seat. Those come later. I loved my Airhawk, btw. Originally design for long term wheel chair patience to prevent sores. The Airhawk is an inflatable bladder that takes unweights your seat bones. This eliminates pressure points that create hot spots. theses hot spots can become quite painful on a long distance journey 

For me, the path to a Monkey Butt-free ride is using a good quality compression short that wicks away moisture and has no seams in the key weighted pressure point areas of your seating area. I have had a seam area turn into a blister and painful sore that, unfortunately, because you are on the road and weeks from home, you have to just live with.

Enter LD Comfort -not a paid advertisement, just a satisfied customer. Trust me, your butt will thank you.

Next, the key layer often overlooked, but vital, is your feet. They sweat all day, every day. Like Lieutenant Dan told Forrest Gump, "Two standing orders in this platoon. One, take good care of your feet. Two, try not to do anything stupid, like gettin' yourself killed."

Before I put on my boots,  I use pure silk liners under my socks and then a good quality over the calf merino wool riding sock.

start with quality base silk liners
Terramar Silk Liners

These Terramar liners are the best! Quality silk liners wick moisture and prevent blisters both on and off the bike.

Merino wool socks
Darn Tough Merino Socks

Then, depending on the time of year will determine how heavy a sock to use. I use a good quality merino over the calf merino sock, like these from Darn Tough.

Lastly, you need quality touring boots. Remember, you get what you pay for. For me, I usually see a mix of dirt and paved roads on a tour so I have settled on these Sidi Adventures for my go-to long distance touring boot. Having tough-tested these for 6 weeks across Canada, into Alaska and then back across the US, I can say with confidence that they can do it all. They have never leaked on me once. I rode in rain, snow and have hiked more than one trail in these. I had to step in puddles and cross streams and water never entered my boot. This is a fantastic boot that is still going strong for me after 7 years. Remember, pay now or pay later!

The final piece of kit that you will thank me later for telling you about is Icebreaker. Icebreaker specializes in merino wool products. I always wear a long sleeve shirt and long under wear. In case you are unaware of one of merino wools best properties, I'll tell you now that it is that it has a natural antimicrobial resistance. This means that it will not develop an odor in-between washings. It is ideal for the camping motorcyclist! I wore mine for weeks in the rain, hot conditions, cold, you name it. At night, I'd toss it into the tent and never give it a second thought. The next morning it smells just as fresh as when I took at out of the wash a week ago. With space at a premium when traveling on a bike, you only need one of these shirts and jacket liner (if temps drops) and your jacket. Toss in a couple of plain tees and a fleece or hoody and you are set. Merino wool has another amazing natural property. It creates its own microclimate. When it is hot out, it has a cooling effect. When it is cold out, it has a warming effect.

I like the two weights of wool, depending on the time of year. For most of the year, the Body fit 200 gram is perfect. The 260 weight is good for cooler autumn and light winter rides. As a bonus, the top looks great on or off the bike. So after a ride, going into town for dinner or an evening outing won't require you to pack another item.

The merino leggings are a must have

Britta Kay loves and looks fantastic in hers!
Icebreaker Oasis long sleeve top
Britta Kay in her Icebreaker Oasis top and washable leather jeans. 
Looking beautiful after a hike up Oregon's Multnomah Falls.

So, there you have it. My years of riding/pain and sweat/trial and error advice for you for free! Follow these tips with quality base layers and you will have an amazing riding experience for the long haul.

Cowboy up, rubber down!


It's All About the Ride