My trip to Aerostich - 08 Apr 2000

(A ride report)


My friend Charles and I decided that we needed to head up to Aerostich headquarters to try on Roadcrafters. You see, Charles had a little accident last fall and banged up his bike and his knees. He is all healed now, but he decided that perhaps some better protection than a pair of bluejeans was in order.

So, on the nice and sunny day of Saturday, April 8th, 2000, we headed up to Duluth. Charles lives in St. Paul and I live in Minneapolis, so we decided to meet at my house at 0700 hours. We had a third party that was going to come with us, but he decided not to come. There were a couple of factors in that decision including the fact that it was only 27° F that morning and he had no electrics. Probably a wise choice.

What with all the mucking about trying to decide whether we were going or not, we didn't get started until 0800. Ah well. That's to be expected, but I hope we get our shit together better than that for the Minnesota 2000.

Anyway, at 0800 Charles and I headed North on I-35W.

Did I mention that it was 27° F that morning? Charles rides a Yamaha FJ1200 and I have a BMW R100RS. We both have electric vests and were wearing leather jackets. (And other layers.)

It was cold. Not the coldest I've ever been on a bike. I'd been colder before I got my electric vest, but it was still cold. Speaking of electric vests, If you don't have one, and you live somewhere where it gets cold, then you ought to. Imagine riding along in your black leather jacket on a nice, warm, sunny day. The sunshine beats down on your back and spreads a nice toasty warmth through your body. We've all felt this. Now imagine that it's a cold, gray, rainy day. If you were wearing your electric vest, you wouldn't care. It feels just like that nice sunny day inside your jacket.

I got my vest last year for my birthday. Charles, my wonderful wife, and some other friends and relations all chipped in a bought me one. After I started riding with it, I can't imagine how I rode without one. It has definitely lengthened my riding season. (Can you tell that I really like my electric vest?) BTW: My vest is manufactured by Widder. I highly recommend them. (The vest that I got has the extended, heated collar. Also highly recommended.)

Anyway, back to our story. Did I mention that it was cold? Even with the electrics, it was still pretty cold. About 10 miles up the road, I started having pretty bad intestinal cramps. Man, what a pain in the ass. (Well, actually, in the gut.) We pushed on until we got to Hinckley. (About 81 miles - approximately half way.) I had to stop.

We stopped at Tobies, a restaurant/gas station/tourist trap and had a bite of breakfast. Then we stood around for a while and talked about turning back or going on. I decided that what I needed was to go for a walk, so we did that. We walked around for about 15 minutes and our total stop time was probably around an hour and a half. Not a stellar rest-stop. Charles brought along his digital camera and took some photos.

Me with bikes at Tobies
Me closer
This is me at Tobies. That's my BMW on the left and Charles' FJ doing the burger-pod imitation. (Click on the image for a larger version.) This is me up close. Do you think I look fat? I do look cold. (Do the click thing for a bigger image.)

By the time we got done farting around, (Charles figuratively and me literally,) and got back on the road it had warmed up a bit. We also looked at a map and discovered that about 5 miles up I-35 was a two-lane road (23) that ran into Duluth. Charles had taken this road in the past and declared it good. Anything had to be better than the super-slab. It was. 23 is a nice two-lane that runs into an industrial section of Duluth.

I was feeling better, it was warmer, life was good. We hauled up 23 to Duluth. Of course, I had coffee with my egg and toast. I should know better by now. When I rent coffee, I have to return it much sooner that any other beverage. (Even sooner than Mt. Dew!) So, of course, I had to stop before we got to Duluth.

I pulled off in a scenic overlook and did my business. Charles got out his camera and documented. (Sorry, no photos of me going to the bathroom.) That's a Shoei Syncrotec that I'm wearing. I just bought it and I'm liking it.

Bikes at scenic overlook Me again!
Look out!

As always, click on the images... you know the rest. (There is Charles' bike doing the burger-pod thing again.)

After that stop, we continued into Duluth. Charles had his GPS mounted on his bike, so he navigated us to Aerostich. We drove around a bit, meandering this way and that and then suddenly Charles pulled over and started to park. I thought maybe he was lost and needed to stop to figure out where we were, but he just pointed across the street.

Aerostich Building
Sign inside

Sure enough, there was a small sign over a nondescript door in the side of a brick warehouse. The sign said "Aerostich". We were here. (I'm not going to tell you to click on the image again... doh!)

We went in and found the showroom. This is definitely not a big storefront type operation. The showroom is just a small area off the shipping department.

We were greeted by a very helpful young woman, (whose name I did not get, sorry,) and she assisted us in trying on various different sizes of suits to ensure we found the right size. She even made us go out and sit on our bikes with the suits on to be sure that the fit in our riding positions! After we noodled around for a while doing that, she gave us the grand tour. It's quite an operation there.

Chaz in RED Roadcrafter
Me in Roadcrafter

Here is Charles trying on a RED Roadcrafter.

Here is me trying on a Roadcrafter.

Charles decided that he needed to buy a wind triangle and so he did that. I mentioned that I should at least buy something and the young woman disappeared for a moment and then came back with a thermometer and three stickers for each of us. Free.

What a class act.

After we realized what time it was, we decided that we had to scoot. (I had a deadline to make at home.) We hit the road and stopped at Hardees for a bite of lunch. Having learned my lesson, I had water with my meal. Then we hit the road. We decided to stop in Hinckley again, as I would not make it all the way home on my tank. (Besides it's a good halfway stopping point.)

We headed out the way we came and got to Hinckley with no incidents. In Hinckley we stopped for gas and a stretch. We gassed up, stretched and got out in seven minutes! That's better.

We blitzed down the road to where I-35 splits into I-35E and I-35W. There Charles headed to St. Paul and I went home to Minneapolis. I managed to make the 81 miles from Hinckley to my house in an hour and a quarter. Pretty good time I thought.

That evening, Charles called me to tell me about a Roadcrafter in my size that was on eBay. Oh boy. Can I afford this right now? Talk to the wife. She says, "Well... You know I'm a sucker for safety. Go ahead." Whoo-hoo!

So I check it out. The auction ends at 0700 Sunday my time. So I set the alarm clock for 0615 and go to sleep. 0-dark-15 rolls around pretty quick and I stumble into the computer room. Refresh the auction page to see how we are doing. It's still at $430. Good. So I place a bid at $440. Damn. Outbid by the last persons proxy. I keep bumping my bid up by $10 until I get to $510. Then I have the high bid. I sit tight for a while and hit refresh occasionally.

With about 15 minutes to go, I start hitting refresh more often. At 5 minutes, I'm hitting it about every 30 seconds. (Thank you, DSL.) With one minute to go, someone bumps my bid by $10! Damn. I quick put in a bid for $530 and hit the confirm button with about 9 seconds to spare. One more refresh and the bidding is closed and I'm the winner! I got a Roadcrafter, with the backpad for $530! Yah-Hoo! (It's gray with black accents, the exact opposite of the one in the picture above.)

Now I just have to wait for it to get here. Poo. I'm not the most patient person. Finally, on Thursday, it came! I am now a proud owner of an Aerostich.

Charles just called me again. He was just high-bidder on a two-piece suit on eBay. Cool. Now we are both ready to rock! (Charles' suit is all gray.)


Copyright 2000 - Timothy W. Foreman -

last updated: 9 May, 2000