TCX Blaze Boots
(For the Urban Conquerer in You!)
There are a lot of fads that come and go in the Motorcycle industry. This year’s suede boots were last year’s B-ball looking High-Top type Moto kicks.
We at Motosquirrel are very leery of trends. It takes some persuading to get us to try something different (Roll in the Bates Adrenaline here). But, as in our change of heart for a good try of Bates’s motorcycle line-up of last year, so many times we get burned in either quality, availability, fit/finish or especially in the price of something deemed “New” or “Different”.
We also love (Oh No! We just lost our vegan-save-the-animals folks here) the use of as much leather (Where possible) on bike boots, gloves, pants/parts etc. Leather has proven itself over time as a very protective, long lasting and good looking material. Trouble is…..that the more people complain of it’s use and express it’s usage in products as being terrible, inappropriate, or should not be condoned – then the more expensive it gets! Hence the high price we pay for leather in anything! That said, there are many applications where leather is proving to hold a second place to higher end and not-so high end man-made synthetic materials.
TCX, an Italian motorcycle boot manufacturer, prides itself on making many of their goods out of man-made synthetics. They also pride themselves on making boots and shoes exclusively (Well almost!).
In a world which seems hell-bent on denying individual countries their own heritages, pride in culture, sovereign economies, borders and language, it is hard for we at Motosquirrel to believe that Italy has been able to hold on to their own super history in shoe making- OR motorcycle manufacture for that matter!
The amount of styles and purposes for their boot lines are very great. We were attracted to their Blaze line when we were searching for a pair of boots that fell within these guidelines (Not prioritized here):
1. They must be comfortable
2. These boots can’t have any gimmicks (Weird buckles etc.)
3. Cannot look like heavy boots at a distance or at work
4. Must be water-repellent (We haven’t found a boot that is H20 proof!)
5. Mostly black in color
6. No weird tread that will get in the way of our shifter!
7. Good for mid-season Fall and Spring (Not Summer or Winter)
8. Over ankle height
9. Comfortable to wear for wider feet (Tough One!)
11. Stiff enough
12. NOT EXPENSIVE (Another Tough One!)
13. Hopefully NOT heavy!
When we first unboxed our pair of Blazes’ Blazers...hrmm.., we were impressed with how light they felt in our greedy claws! Although this design by TCX is billed as one of their “More Affordable” styles by many retailers, we couldn’t help but notice how well they were made. The laces were quality and the boot sole itself felt stiff. There was also a noticeable protective cup over the outside ankle areas.
These shoes were simple, sleek and…..wait for it…..well made! Yes they were synthetic, BUT they didn’t feel CHEAP! Also noticeable with this pair is a set of Velcro closure bands that are meant to cover and secure the tied laces which would ordinarily just dangle out of place - nice touch!
Extras: Sets of stickers, warranty as well as reflective tabs on the back of the heel. Good stuff.
Parking our two wheeled monster after our first ride with these boots, we became believers. While dismounting, we scraped the top of the left boot front on the underside of a very jagged lean whisker under our right foot peg. It was instant frustration as we felt that all-too-common: “Dam- we just got these boots!”. But, here is the good part! The small/thin scratch or mark that was left very easily rubbed out with a few brushes of our thumb! Hmmm this microfiber is a …..a bit like leather!
(A link to TCX footwear technology)
The ride itself showed that these boots were comfortable, supportive and inspired confidence when riding. The coolest thing is that you can actually walk a great distance in this pair after you dismount! Pretty comfortable! They were also very comfortable once we got to walking about the studio.
Sixth month update:
The conclusion to this article which began in the Spring is that this pair of boots is very special indeed. They provide comfort and a sense of security at the same time! They are also very wet resilient! Well done TCX! (They are a steal at $99.00 U.S. via
Blaze Me Baby!
P.S.- The sizing of these particular TCX boots were spot-on for U.S. Sizing. They also fit a wider foot quite well…..without discomfort or splitting!
Should YOU ride your motorcycle at night?- The short answer is …..YES! Absolutely!
Before we buttress this and ADD our own take, we want our Motosquirrelfriends to know that
we are not going to take on the typical caveats. You are aware of the continuous, ubiquitous and constant “Safety Culture” we are barraged with everyday! In the area of motorcycles alone, there is an endless stream of safety classes, equipment, digital rider aids, smartphone GPS applications, inertial motion sensing engine management and on and on and ON!
We absolutely REFUSE to be your Safety Susan friend (Apologies to all the great Susans out there!) who is here to make you believe that, as a rider, you can be ALL SAFE by using these certain cutting edge products. Not here. Nope, not gonna happen!
Motosquirrel understands that at any given moment there are literally millions of riders (And Billions throughout history) who take on the challenge of riding in all sorts of conditions throughout the world and at all times of the twenty four hour slice of pie! India, Columbia, Phillipines, Malaysia, China, Thailand and so many others still have many intricate, beat-up, pot holed, ruined and otherwise barely navigable roads. Add in millions of people, hectic byways, terrible weather systems and you have the makes of challenges to those who would most likely not even COMPLAIN about their commute.
Here in the west, many of us are sitting by and sucking our thumbs!
If you are a weekend, sunny day rider or someone who has had tragic happenings at night- we understand. But, if you are someone who is on the fence about riding, or is considering riding more after the sun goes down, we are are giving you the full thumbs up!
Before you go, here are a few things to consider:
1. Are all your signal, headlights AND speedo equipment in full functioning order?
a. If so, CAN you read them? (Do you need to purchase an L.E.D. turn signal kit?)
b. Did you know that if your headlight is TOO bright, you can blind oncoming drivers? Scope it out first!
2. KNOW where you are going BEFORE you get there- NO EXCUSES and DON’T rely on GPS only!
a. At night everything happens, seemingly, quicker than at any other time. Be ready, travel slower AND don’t be distracted by extra displays or phones- Use these as supplemental only!
3. DON’T over do it with crazy reflection add-ons or Super Flourescent brights! Remember to dress as to be seen BUT – don’t be ridiculous. If you have a million Mirror Ball reflectors all over your helmet and a Giant Reflective light-up phrase on your Rider jacket- there is the danger of TWO things:
a. Target Fixation: Humans have a tendency to guide, walk or drive towards something unfamiliar, overly attractive or bright. Most of the time this is completely unconscious on the part of the driver.
b. Target Fascination: (Especially in today’s climate of Video Everything) If you have a strangely written or bright phrase on your jacket back (Not talking Harley Club names here)- there is a good chance that this will ATTRACT drivers to get close in order to read what it says. Especially in poor or wet weather. The last thing you want as a night rider (Yep Said IT) is to have a bunch of youths in THEIR first ride at night on the highway trying to film your crazy phrase done in reflective glitter and homemade……only to get run over for them to read it!
4. For the WEST: If you have the opportunity (This can be difficult), ride with others at night. If there is another person at your work or school who rides a motorcycle, but doesn’t commute- there could be a good reason. Or, they are apprehensive about traveling alone. The chance that this person would be more willing to ride to work with another is high. (Of course this depends on where and when you work etc.).
a. You can always approach another rider on the road (Forego the snobbery if they don’t RIDE YOUR RIDE) that you see who also travels your way to work or the events or places that you go to. Strike up the conversation. Ride together DAMMIT! (Motorcyclists should LOVE other Motorcyclists!)
5. Dress for the cold. Duh. But also bring along in your pack a few extra mini lights along with your tool kit as well as a few snacks. You would be amazed at how much better you will feel about a break down at night if you have a few of these small but essential things.
6. MOST IMPORTANTLY: RIDE AT NIGHT. The more you do it, the more you will figure out what you need, where and how you will use it and …...wait for it…….HOW MUCH FUN IT IS!
Note: We will be reviewing (Showing off) some of the mods we have made to our night ride helmet, for better night riding, in the future…….see you then!
(Note: Only had a cheap cell-phone to take photos due to security....blah ....blah!)
Recently, Motosquirrel (Yours Truly) had the opportunity to travel, relax (Nope) and generally step away from the new Mega-opolis which is Seattle. Our travel to Port Townsend took approximately two and a half hours when you include waiting for the Bainbridge destined Ferry by which we loaded ourselves and embarked via downtown Seattle.
If you are new to the area (Good Luck retaining the timely memories with which you will attach yourselves!), then Motosquirrel would absolutely suggest taking a few rides on any of these local masterpieces of vessel engineering. You will marvel at how many cars can be stuffed into the Ferry, it’s stability (In most weather), the fantastic views of the Puget sound and surrounding areas as well as all of the wonderful and not-so wonderful behaviors of your co-passengers! No Food? No Drink? Need a place to bathroom? No need to fish off the side of the boat! No need to drink the water (Don’t)! And, most importantly there isn’t a need to relieve yourself off the OTHER side of the boat! Washington State Ferries have got you covered with all the on-board comforts and amenities you could wish for!
Enough about the stupid Ferry (We mean beautiful Ferry which costs billions in tax revenues). This isn’t a travel log supporting Washington State excursions etc.
Let’s just note this post as reflections on a weekend past.
Being related to someone who is involved in the Entertainment Industry as well as being a volunteer (Under the producers of the Festival (As Moto was for almost twenty years), we were instantly privy and had access to the pre-show load-in(s) and construction of a large music festival taking place at Fort Worden State Park. There truly isn’t anything that Motosquirrel can add here or in following about this subject without sounding completely jaded. It is just what it is. We are jaded, BUT the show/fest is jaded as well.
It is a show that the local townspeople DID NOT ask for, but will soon be conditioned to love (Through their children), because of the money, socializing, property value and eventually gaining access to more robust cell and other utility services. It is the money with which they hadn’t had for a while, will taste for a short period and eventually move away from due to the higher cost of living. The joke will be on them. It makes me sink inside to know how many millions will be made for another fake ‘Non-Profit’ Theater company. It makes me sink further to think about how so many towns likes these across the U.S. no longer consider the need for actual economic incomes based in industry, not entertainment. But I digress. Jaded, but I have my reasons.
Had to take this shot quickly outside while driving.....!
When we arrive in the evening it is still an amber-like light catching the Fort from the west and there are wild and not-so-wild deer eating everything they can. Already, there were tents being unpacked, orange cones delineating walkways, trucks pulling in and the windows of the Old Fort Barracks seemed to open drowsily, eyes dismissing cold misty morning revelries.
After some impromptu meetings, Motosquirrel’s motosquirrelfriend indicates that it is time to find our very private place to stay in the form of a tastefully constructed shed that thinks of itself as a cabin. The cabin is situated on private property some five miles or so due Southwest of Fort Worden. It is joined on site by a few other rentals owned and operated by a semi-retired (Never retire- Cuz you can’t!) older couple who have found some very inventive ways of creating rental spaces out of things like older non-sea worthy sailboats and our very own unique stay.
There ARE NO coincidences!!- The key fob for our rental! And it lit and Quacked!
It is windy that first night and my Motofriend reminds me of an existing Artillery Museum which is technically a part of Fort Worden State Park. Since we arrived on Thursday evening and set-up of the music Festival will last through Friday into the very final minutes of Saturday morning, we sketch a plan of dropping the extra Squirrel off at the designated employee Barracks (Soldier Housing) building and the Motosquirrel will visit the Artillery Museum in the afternoon. Hell, it was going to be four bucks! I can think of many things that I wasted four green-backs on!
That very next Friday morning was cloudy and eventually rainy. It was evident that the weather had the possibility of changing on that cornered peninsula at a moments notice- and it did.
Entering the Museum as the day began to clear again, I laid down my wad of cash and fully expected to be through with the deceptively small location within what I thought would last a half- an-hour max. I was there almost three hours!
Let me explain.
After entering the museum and making some funny remarks (I’d like to think) to the counter/cashier lady: something like “What the hell happened to this place!- This is supposed to be a Fort? A barracks? I was born and raised on a military barracks…….WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED!?” - She laughed! (Thankfully). So did an older Veteran by the name of Ron Ragle who took a liking to me and offered to spend the afternoon telling me everything that he could. He said, “____________(My real name) I am making you my special project this afternoon- Are you up for it?” and I answered “Hell Yes!”
Ron showed me everything he could. Answered every question that I had. His illustrated knowledge and thorough understanding of the base, it’s equipment, their relative changes throughout the decades, surrounding areas and even his vast comprehension of the realities of war, it’s meanings along with his candidness was jaw dropping! You want to learn a thing or two? Talk to a veteran. Make that a Korean or Vietnam War Veteran! Thank you Ron! I learned much!
Much like entering Dr. Who’s Tardis (Sorry- overused I am sure), it truly was a small but very jam packed museum. And, like the Tardis, I went in for what felt like ten minutes and came back out- losing three hours! I would do it again in a heart beat! I wish we could guide WHERE our State Parks monies and taxes would go. I would definitely select more monies toward museums like this!
It's FUZZY! I know it's FUZZY.....but this what I could get- OK!?
After my museum visit I explored downtown (Sort of a Main Street) where there are older buildings and some boat docks etc. There are quaint Ye Olde flavors going on (I love the old buildings) and a decent amount of motorcycles who are making their stops on treks to and from the peninsula or to Port Angeles. I quickly realize that although property values are lower out here than on some of the adjoining Islands, inlets and other peninsular areas, Port Townsend’s tourist area is NOT cheap at many stops!
Does ANYONE know that rainbow symbolizing is Masonic?
I actually encounter many people that I used to see as acquaintances who were from Seattle proper- areas like Ballard, Queen Anne, Capitol Hill and on and on. There are bands playing and …...well …...they are the same people who I used to see in the late nineties or early 2000’s. Do they sound better? Yep. In some cases smoother, wiser and better. Some more melodic. But I can’t help but feel that they got “Kicked-Out” or out-priced of their old living digs now that Amazon, Google, Adobe, Microsoft and on and on and on has taken over Seattle and artists/musicians can’t afford to live there. Moto included.
You can’t go back. BUT you can inform the future. Will YOU inform our future?
I decided to avoid the debacle which is Thingfest as much as possible, reducing my connection to dropping and plucking up my Motosquirrel out of the madness at the end and beginnings of each event day.
Deserves to be FUZZY!......really who cares?
On my return to the “FEST” on Sunday evening I park at the employee parking lot and have a look around. I venture over to the “Blimp” stage where there is an act that was old TEN years ago (But they are good friends with the producer). They are doing their hip-hop karaoke that is based on Hall and Oates’s “Can’t Go for That”- of course the sample is reduced down to three beats, a lowered octave and their own rhymes added- so as not to (EVER) having to pay royalties to the creators. To me, it sounds like really bad wedding reception DJ music. But when there is a crowd, alcohol and kids who ...”Never saw them before!” it is somehow exciting. The singer, rapper, MC (Whatever) I have seen on many occasions due to the work that I had done for so long. He is old. I am old. He see’s a drunk young blond in the front that he likes. He will meet her after the show. I walk away. Too much rhyme.
Out to Port Angeles......place my house here!
I think back to when I lived in an old converted Japanese Theater turned into an apartment building in the early 2000’s. Several artists, designers, musicians, crafters, writers, intellectuals and even a very well known young filmmaker all resided there.
When coming home one afternoon, I waited for the small elevator to do it’s slow travel from the top sixth floor down to the lobby where I stood. I could clearly hear a gentleman's voice singing loudly, unabashedly reverberate from the elevator and it’s surrounding elevator shaft. He was singing Hall and Oates’s “Can’t Go for That (No can do)”. And I mean loudly. The Elevator door opened abruptly in front of me (It was erratic and never signaled when you got to the floor you needed). A young African American man with earbuds on was surprised at the door opening and quickly stopped his singing. Startled, he quickly grabbed his music player to make some changes (I assumed) and started rapping loudly, almost meanly. He looked red! I remember thinking that he was a student and that I hadn’t known he had owned such an incredible voice!
But then, later, I considered whether the world would want to hear it.-If everyone hated bands like Hall and Oates, Foreigner or Journey (Add list here) who the hell bought all those millions of albums?
Thingfest- “I Can’t Go for That- No Can Do”……….use my body ….now you want my soul….
Motobike stuff coming soon!
Finally Home (Seattle).....only to experience our Neighbor's new TESLA that seems to sense us and assumes we are terrorsists! Lights go on, City Sounds Blarring........Arghh!
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