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Sri Lanka Kit

We have a regular feature in the magazine where we choose people we like to describe their racing/riding kit and we organise a photo of it neatly arranged on the floor. It's not the most original idea, but I like it nonetheless, and it's the kind of thing I'd read in any magazine I picked up.

I've just returned from a ten-day riding trip with Vintage Rides in Sri Lanka. It was a great experience, in a beautiful country inhabited by wonderful folks and you can read about it in the next Sideburn. On the last day I decided to take a snap of the kit I'd worn for ten-days straight and give some details. Here goes.

1. Davida Jet with Davida JPV Visor

Davida are the only manufacturer to make helmets in the UK, and the quality is excellent. The Jet has a bigger shell and more padding than many other open-face helmets, including Davida's own Speedster V3 and Ninety 2 helmets, but it offers more protection and is quieter for it. It's leather lined too.

I originally got this helmet to ride from New York to San Francisco and back again, completed in 19 days back in 2012. It was painted by Ornamental Conifer with all the states I would pass through, so it has a lot of sentimental value.

It's fitted with a JPV visor that's fixed to the strap with an elastic strap. I prefer it to goggles and it works at 95mph in pouring rain without steaming up.

2. Kriega R25

I haven't been on any kind of motorcycle trip in the last 20 years without a Kriega bag of some description on me. This is the first one I acquired and it's probably still my favourite. I have covered 10,000s with this pack on my back. All Kriega products come with a 10-year guarantee, but I honestly don't know what I'd need to do to this back to kill it. The Royal Enfield 350 classic I was riding had a rack and back rest, so I bungeed the pack to that for most of the trip, but I normally wear it as intended.

3. Hebtroco Moto Boots

I wasn't sure how I'd get on with these British made boots when I first got them. They're heavy and seem unyielding, but they've been comfortable since day one. I wore them for at least ten hours a day every day on this trip without a problem, and I climbed to the top of Lion Rock in them. That's a big rock. I also chose these boots as my footwear for last December's trip to Japan and I was walking eight miles a day in them. The Vibram commando-style sole will last for years and is replaceable. If you're thinking of new boots, seriously consider these British beauties from Hebtroco.

4. Rayban sunglasses

Don't know the model, but when one reaches a certain age, and I have, Raybans are one of the few brands of sunglasses to consider. Oakley? You must be joking.

5. Dickies Straight Work Pant

Not the most glamorous trousers, but inexpensive, tough and didn't show the stains. They offer zero crash protection, but that's alright, because I didn't fall off.

6. Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I've been studiously avoiding reading this book for the 30 or so years I've been aware of it, but thought it was time to read it. I was just about to buy a Kindle version to take when I found this paperback a friend had bought me for Christmas a couple of years ago sat on a third division bookshelf in the house. It feels like the equivalent of eating broccoli stalks. I'm not enjoying it very much, but I'm hoping it's good for me.

7. Dainese Wave Back Protector

I feel naked riding without a back protector and this is my preferred road choice, from the company who invented them. It is plastic with a aluminium honeycomb centre and a very wide elastic waistband that almost acts as a kidney belt. Dainese quality is superb and I love it, a true design classic. I left it airing on the back of a chair in a hotel room after a particularly sweaty day in the saddle. I was nearly late for the departure the next morning so it wasn't until I was five minutes down the road that I realised I was 'naked'. I was reunited with the Wave later that day when the Vintage Rides back-up truck returned to the hotel to collect it for me. Thanks!

8. Holy Freedom x Sideburn neck tube

One of the collab neck tubes made for us by Italian company Holy Freedom. Simple, but has kept it's shape well and features everyone's favourite dirt track dingbat, Dwayne.

9. Barbour International Jacket

I struggled to decide which of my mountain of coats would be best and went for this lightweight waxed cotton, over a heavier leather. The International is a proper design classic, but I couldn't find it listed on the company's website, in among their 30-odd mens' waxed jackets, which I found bamboozling. Big patch pockets, cord collar, a level of weather protection. It now smells like an old waxed coat, because it's becoming an old waxed coat, so it won't be entering polite company - motorcycle rides and dog walks only.

If you've noticed, there are no gloves pictured. I wore my beloved metal-knuckled Dainese short gloves, that they don't make any more. I've had them for years, crashed in them once, and worn them a lot. While in Sri Lanka they'd developed a hole on one finger of the clutch hand and another on the palm of the throttle hand. I planned to give them to a local rider when the trip was over, then the lad pictured below rode next to me on the last 20km of the final day. 'I like your bike!' he told me as we rode along. I smiled and thanked him, not getting into the whole 'it's not my bike' thing, then took a few photos as we rode along. A few moments later I thought he'd be a good recipient of the gloves, so I took one off as I rode along and handed it to him. He was very happy. I don't think he expected the other glove, but, of course, I gave him that too.

Have you heard of Valentino Rossi? I asked him. He nodded. He wears these gloves, I said, only stretching the truth a little, and rode away. The gloves might have had a couple of holes in them, but they were better than no gloves at all, which is what he had.

If you like this kind of article below is a list of the ones we've published under the heading 'Racewear'

SB25 Hubert Bastie

SB26 David 'Death Spray' Gwyther

SB27 Cameron Brewer

SB28 Andy Jerkyl's Sahara kit

SB29 Tori 'See See' George

SB30 Jeffrey Carver

SB31 (no one, we ran out of pages)

SB32 James 'Hard Luck' Smith

SB33 Daniel 'La Urbana' Salvadoras Himalayan kit

SB34 John Harrison

SB35 Joy Lewis

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