Behind the Handlebars header


Battling the elements


Seems the riding season is getting off to a slow start this year as the temps continue to take dives and snow will not go away. It’s a lovely 35 degrees as I write this and it’s May. Donning extra layers is okay, but the sun on bare skin sure feels better.

As you prepare for trips this summer, it’s wise to buy that sunscreen for the saddlebag now. I always carry some spray on waterproof sun block. If you’re applying it, make sure you’re downwind of bikes as it does leaves a nasty residue that I am sure your biker buds will not appreciate. Yep, learned that the hard way. Sun-blocks with a minimum of 15 SPF are recommended to prevent early signs of aging and skin cancer.

I added a half face shield with tint protection to my half helmet this year, after a lady rider recommended the extra wind and sun protection for our faces. You have the option of clear, smoke, or fully tinted shields that often are mirrored. I opted for a smoke shield, as I can wear the additional glasses to adjust to noonday glare or evening dusk light. Depending on what you ride and updraft, the visor is often sufficient for windbreak for your eyes. It is nice to not have to wear glasses when you are on a long trip. Eyes need protected from the sun too as the exposure can lead to cataracts and macular degeneration. Prices vary from $20 for basic shields to upwards of $120 for transition shields.

It seems our cruise-ins were a bit of a bust in April because of our unpredictable weather. Willow Springs cancelled its cruise in for May due to inclement weather. Sue Daniels was the only cruise-in coordinator who had a good evening for cruising at her Licking site. It was well attended and riders were able to connect after a long winter as well as experience new rides by the Harley Davidson folks at Lebanon who brought some demo rides to try. We are hoping for some nicer evenings. Don’t forget the Thursday night cruise-ins, April through September – first is Willow Springs, second is Salem, third is Houston and last is Licking. All are at 6:30 p.m.

If you don’t ride, come anyway and fall in love with the machines.

Let’s hope for warmer temps and brighter days, and we will see you down the road. Keep in mind: when you are riding lead, don’t spit.

Kerry York is a lady rider and resident of Houston, Mo., who coordinates monthly Houston Downtown Cruise-In events from spring to fall. Email