Oklahoma got a visit from some unseasonably warm weather last weekend. Naturally I took advantage.
I hadn’t had my motorcycle out in a hot minute so I thought Sunday would be good for an afternoon buzz. My plan was to get a few easy photos near some fun photogenic spots around Oklahoma City. There is a seemingly endless list of places, so I chose a few in the downtown area that were all within reasonable distance of one another. These were all visited in the span of an hour or so. If you found yourself running around, maybe looking for some neat photo ops with kiddos, a significant other, a cool car, etc. you could easily knock these out and still have time to catch a nice meal or hit one of the breweries! (Always my top recommendation)
I also decided to combo this blog and briefly discuss some of the gear I typically ride in. I kept it simple and didn’t include touring gear, winter gear, or rainwear. Again, just a light rundown.
My first stop was the state capitol building. Love it or hate it (I’m a teacher in Oklahoma....but I’ll keep a lid on that for now), it’s a pretty neat place to snap a few shots, especially on a clear day like Sunday.
Another shot from further back. The capitol is undergoing some renovations (yes...I know), so the view straight ahead isn’t great right now. I’m certainly no professional photographer, but by simply adjusting the angles a bit, it’s still possible to get a neat shot, as in the first up-close photo.
Next stop was the Overholser Mansion, just north of downtown. Built in 1903, it is considered to be the first mansion in Oklahoma City. They offer tours but I’ve not partaken yet. I’d be interested though.
After a short ride through midtown, I arrived in the up-and-coming Plaza District. The Plaza is a hotspot in OKC lately, featuring fun and eclectic restaurants, bars, and shops. It attracts a wide variety of folks, from funky to family, especially depending on the day and time you visit. There a couple of murals in the area that make nice backdrops. I like this one because of the playfulness and legibility.
A short scoot down Classen Boulevard landed me at the Myriad Gardens with the massive Devon Tower guarding from above. Again, a limited amount of creativity and angle can produce a fun picture. I’ve taken some down here with my car as well. As a bonus - you can always stroll around the Myriad Gardens while you’re here. As long as there isn’t a Thunder game, finding parking usually isn’t too tough.
I used the Gardens to take a few pics of my riding gear.
There is a school of thought called ATGATT, meaning ‘All the Gear, All the Time.’ By definition, I’m not a pure disciple as I occasionally ride in jeans, or without a jacket, gloves, etc., especially in hot weather. I always ride in a helmet though, and I’d say 95% of the time, I’m in full gear. Part of the allure of motorcycling is its inherent danger. It's just a part of the activity.
‘Proper’ gear, or no gear at all, doesn’t close the gap for:
A. Poor riding skill
B. Poor decisions by the rider
C. Inattentiveness of other drivers or the rider
D. Any combination of the above
In short, riding safely and smartly is the best piece of gear one can own.
Enough of that.
Pictured above is my jacket. It’s made by BMW Motorrad. Though a bit pricey, I got it on sale as it was a ‘last-year’ model (several years ago of course). I like the high-visibility yellow because it’s exactly that; high-visibility. The sleeves and chest have mesh panels so it’s tolerable in hot weather. It also has a zip-in liner that works well in cool weather. I also have a grey Olympus jacket that I wear occasionally, especially if I’m running quick errands or riding to a more social type of event. Both jackets are highly abrasion resistant and feature armored shoulders, elbows, and forearms.
Above are my pants, also offered by BMW. I believe they’re called ‘City-2’ pants, though they may be the original ‘City’ pants. I can’t remember exactly and, frankly, it doesn’t really matter. Again, they’re abrasion resistant and feature armor in the hips, knees, and shins. One big reason I went with the bmw system is that the jacket and pants zip together at the rear of the waist. This is very handy in cooler weather, as the airflow down the rider’s back can often lift the tail of the jacket, creating a very cold updraft. The zipper eliminates this situation.
My gloves are a very basic pair of Bilt mesh gloves. If it’s cool, I wear a pair of liners (in my case, Mountain Hardwear hiking gloves) underneath. These gloves are armored along the knuckles as you can see.
Bilt motorcycle boots. Nothing super fancy here, just some standard motorcycle-specific boots. The toe and shin are armored. They're comfortable enough to wear all day and walk around a decent amount.
I currently have a Shoei Neotec modular helmet. This helmet was a complete game-changer for me! It’s very comfortable, quiet, and vents quite well. It’s rare to get any sort of fog on the inside of the visor. It’s also equipped with a Scala G9x Bluetooth system. This pairs with my iPhone, allowing me to listen to music comfortably. I can also have a phone conversation while riding at speed without issue. I don’t do that often, but it is quite handy, especially on a long trip. There’s also an FM radio in the unit.
Another great feature is the drop-down visor. No need to cram sunglasses into the helmet or squint in the sunshine.
Lastly, this helmet is modular, meaning the front opens up. This is great when fueling up, paying tolls, etc. Occasionally I’ll putter through a town with the helmet opened up, but I don’t generally ride that way.
Back to the bike.
My next stop was the Skydance Bridge across I-40. The access was partially blocked, so I took that to mean partially open, and rode up. Since no one was around I puttered up the sidewalk to get a cool photo. Obviously I would not have done so if there’d been anyone nearby.
The bridge lights up at night and is really neat to drive underneath. Daytime is cool as well with downtown in the background.
Last stop was Wheeler Park, home of the Wheeler Ferris Wheel. I’ve not had a chance to ride the wheel yet but I hope to this spring when it reopens.
One of the newest and popular photo ops in the city is the OKC sign here as well. The wheel, sign, and downtown buildings make a fun picture. This shot is beginning to really become a popular one!
I hope you had a chance to be outside during our fabulous weather! If you're around the metro, check out a few of these spots for some fun and easy photos...and if you're on a motorcycle....keep the shiny side up!