Saturday, May 06, 2006

Rainy Day Plans

Just because you don't want to ride when there is a 60% chance of heavy weather, doesn't mean you can't feed your motorcycle appetite on a given weekend.

While some of the more adventurous of our riding friends left in the wee hours for a trip to Hodges Gardens, and undoubtably chased the rain East until it finally outpaced them, those of us who either couldn't or wouldn't take a trip in such conditions were left behind to sulk and second guess our decisions.

Not being one to sit and sulk (much) I decided that today was a great opportunity to load up in the cage and see if we could find Brenda some new motorcycle boots. We hit five stores and never bought a boot, but it made for a nice day and here is how you can shop around a bit too if you are so inclined.

A long trek up I-45 took us to stores that we don't normally get to visit. Our first target was BMW Motorcycles of North Houston. I have a pair of BMW Contour boots that I have used since 2001 and they are the best motorcycle boot I have every worn. Comfortable, light and rugged, these boots suffer through all my abuse and still look decent and perform flawlessly. As a consequence, I wanted Brenda to at least consider what BMW had to offer before buying anything. I'll admit up front that the BMW line doesn't always appeal to the visual senses (they are ugly) but they are so good at everything else, I'm willing to overlook a little quirkiness in the looks department.

BMW Motorcycles of North Houston is one of only two stores in Texas that is allowed to carry a full line of BMW apparel. Lisa, the Apparel Manager does a good job merchandising the store and helping the shopper. I assume that her management is happy with her too, since when I bought a new pair of boots for myself (not for Brenda) she also talked me into trying a $15 pair of BMW socks that promise to keep your foot "Pleasantly cool and dry" by using some sort of "silver ion" in the weave.

BMW of N. Hou will open a second store this summer that will be much closer to most of us. See the map below for the general location or their website for more detail. In summary, I give this store a very high rating for selection and for their customer care.

Next, we wanted to drop in on Harley Davidson of the Woodlands since we usually go to Stubbs and rarely get to see the stores farther away. This is a typical "New Harley" store with all the chrome and glitter that we've come to expect. They had lots of HD stuff and succeeded in selling us a Tee and Jeans for Brenda. I enjoyed a cup of joe while I watched my personal fashion show and we ponied up the $100 or so that we expect to spend when we go to one of those places.

What does HD stands for? Hundred Dollars!
What does BMW stand for? Bring More Wallet!

Making our way back to home turf, we stopped by Gulf Coast Motorcycles to see if their boots were going to work out. Still no luck, but it is always fun poking around those old style stores.

Then we were off to Texas Yamaha in South Houston. This is where we came closest to finding what we wanted. But after some fitting and fussing, the boot just wasn't comfortable enough for the all day type of rides that we find ourselves on.

So off we went to our final stop, Biker's Passion in Pasadena. The Passion didn't have what we were looking for either, but if you haven't gone by some of these independent stores, you really should. They usually sell aftermarket bits and apparel cheaper than you'll find at the OEM stores and the folks inside are generally the owners, not hired help. They are fun to talk to and usually have gathered opinions about the accessory you are thinking of adding and they are happy to share their thoughts with you. Wing Toys, Bikers Passion, Global Motorsports and others have all earned a share of my bike hobby money.

Here is my final piece of advice for today. Ladies, if you have trouble getting your hubby to shop with you, try shopping at bike stores every now and then. I hate the mall, but today was fun.


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