Having grown up in the hills of Southeastern Ohio, I thought I had ridden some incredible pieces of asphalt. However, this trip had me go slack-jawed at the endless miles of twisties in this area. We stayed at a cabin-style campground called High Valley Resort off RT180 in Suches. Day trips included rides to Helen, GA, nearby Tennessee and the Ocoee River, the town of Dahlonega, and a ride on the Richard Russell Highway. The leaves were just starting to turn which meant beautiful scenery, but no annoying and possibly troublesome leaves on the road. One thing that particularly surprised me were the limited amount of tar repair strips on all the roads we traveled. Being from Ohio I have learned to beware of these, especially on days where the temperature soars above 80 degrees. On the return ride home on Sunday I found myself smiling inside my helmet and dreaming of visiting this are again soon.
I was riding a rented 2010 Honda VT700 sport touring model from Eaglerider Honda Rentals in Columbia, SC. They are located within the Carolina Honda Powerhouse dealership at 901 Buckner Rd. Columbia, SC 29203 (877)284-8074. Call Traci Coleman and she will hook you up with a great deal on any of the rentals they have available. She even came into the shop to meet me and other riders on Sunday to return the bikes despite being her day off! This bike had ample power and luggage capacity for me and my gear and the Bridgestone Battlax BT023 tires performed well on the aggressive mountain roads.
The Helmet and Scala Rider G4:
For this adventure I was dying to try out the Scorpion EXO-700 helmet and the Scala Rider G4 headset. I chose the helmet in bright Neon Yellow for obvious safety reasons. This helmet performed flawlessly due to the KwikWick moisture-wicking liner and EverClear no-fog face shield. The face shield is a welcome bonus for those of us unfortunate enough to have to wear eyeglasses. The exterior shell is made from Fiberglass Kevlar composite and comes with a Snell/D.O.T. certification. I also had a chance to try out the Scala Rider G4 intercom system by Cardo Systems. This unit can perform the following functions: bike-to-bike communication with 2 other bikes (4 people) or 3 single bikes, Bluetooth mobile phone, stereo Bluetooth enabled MP3 player, non-bluetooth MP3 player, Bluetooth enabled GPS, 6 station channel FM radio and up to 10 hours of talk time. I have tried other communication devices in the past and they do not even begin to compare to the Scala Rider G4.
I went with quality gear from Firstgear for all my needs. The 2 year warranty for textile items coupled with a consumer-direct warranty number inside of every garment (866)302-5676 made it a no brainer. I chose the HT Air Overpants so I could wear them over my jeans and in the event of rain the waterproof breathable liner would keep me dry. I had piece of mind knowing they were equipped with CE rated armor in the unlikely event of a fall. These are sized to go right over your pants so there is no guesswork in buying a larger size. Just simply order the same size as your everyday pants or jeans and you are ready to roll. The jacket was the Firstgear Mesh Tex jacket which is totally vented, CE armor equipped and comes with a removable, water resistant wind liner. Since I did not choose fully waterproof gear due to the 70-85 degree Fall weather, I chose to bring along raingear. Firstgear’s Rainman 2-piece rainsuit is an affordable lightweight waterproof nylon suit that packs into individual Kangaroo pockets in the back of both the pant and jacket. The storeable size for each piece was approximately 8”x8”x4”. I also opted for the Firstgear overgloves and overboots which store and travel in the same manner. Thankfully I did not need these items on this trip, but it was an economic way to be prepared and still be comfortable in my mesh gear. All in all, I would recommend these storeable raingear items to ANY cyclist who can store them on the bike or in a tank bag or backpack. Remember, discomfort of any sort can make for a very short ride!
Written by Matt Ruff, Tucker Rocky Distributing