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Sport-Glide / Sportster Motorcycle Touring This section is for the discussion of setting up you Sportster motorcycle touring and long distance riding.

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  #1761  
Old 1 Day Ago
Crusty Crusty is offline
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Custom Boots

When I was around ten years old, my dad took me to the department store to get a new pair of shoes. They had a pair of Engineer boots in my size, and I thought they were the coolest things I ever saw and I talked Dad into buying them for me.

When we got home, my mom was beside herself. They weren’t quite the usual footwear for school and she figured the nuns would have something to say about them. I went to a Catholic school, and we had to wear white shirts and blue neck ties and nice pants. The boots didn’t quite match the ensemble. I loved those boots and wore them until I wore them out.

I wore Engineer boots most of my adult life. I had good ones and bad ones. I got them from various Manufacturers. For many years, I wore Herman Boots. They had four rows of stitching in critical areas. They were very well made boots until they moved overseas. I wore Engineer boots on four continents. I was wearing Engineer boots long before they became known as Biker Boots.

In the mid 90s, I heard about a boot company that made custom engineer boots called Wesco Boots. They made heavy duty work boots for Loggers and Ironworkers and they had a good reputation for making durable footwear. I really liked the idea of getting a pair of custom made boots, so I sent for their catalogue.

There were all kinds of options available. I didn’t think I needed the Kevlar lining to protect me from chain saw cuts, but it was available if I did. I drew an outline of each foot on the form, so they could make my own personal lasts, and picked out which soles I wanted, and other features and figured out the price. My custom boots would cost me $300.00. That was about five times the going rate for good quality Engineer boots, and I really couldn’t afford it.

At the time I was working as a miner on a flood control tunnel. My job was being a signal man for the trains that came into the Tunnel Boring Machine. The open cars would pull up under the conveyor and as each car would fill, I’d signal the Operator of the train and he’d move back a little until all the cars were full. Then the TBM would stop boring and the train would leave. While the train was gone, I’d jump down and shovel the rock chips that had spilled off to the side. Then the next train would arrive, and we’d do it all over again. I was in pretty good physical shape then, but still, shoveling rock for a shift was tiring.

Now, I was working second shift. My hours were 4:00 to Midnight. One night, the third shift was shorthanded, and I was asked to work a Double. I figured, “Why not?” I could use a little extra money. By 3:00 AM I was falling asleep on my feet. It was a tough shift, but I made it through. During that shift, however, I’d figured out that the extra money I got for pulling a double would be enough that I could buy the boots.

So I sent in my order forms and a large check for my Custom Made Engineer Boots. I knew that by the time the check came back to my bank, I would have gotten paid and would have the money in the bank to cover it. There was only one problem; I had figured the amount of money I was making wrong. I only made half of what I thought I’d earned. Doing math in my head after 12 hours of shoveling rock was a bad idea. Not checking that math once I’d gotten some sleep was an even worse idea.

I had a very lean month. I had to cut every corner I could to get by, but I survived. And I got my boots. They were everything I’d hoped they’d be. They took months to break in, but they were really well made. Wesco had lived up to their reputation and in the end, those boots were worth what I paid. Not just the money, but the effort and wear on my body. I wore those boots in the USA and in Australia. I wore those boots in sub-freezing temperatures and when the thermometer was reading well over 100F. They got waterlogged in the rain and parched in the sun. They held up like no other boots I’d ever owned. I wore them until my ankle got crushed. Then it hurt too much when I put them on, so after waiting a couple of years for things to improve, I finally resigned to the inevitable, and the boots went away. I’ve never regretted buying them.

I just bought a gas tank for a bike I don’t have yet. I hope I figured my finances better than I did at 4:00 AM while shoveling rock and falling asleep on my feet back in 1995. And I hope that when I get that bike, it’s as good to me as those Wescos were.
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  #1762  
Old 1 Day Ago
SonWon SonWon is offline
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The Roadster is a very nice bike missing the touring options it is screaming for.
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  #1763  
Old 1 Day Ago
smilinbrad smilinbrad is offline
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Sort of along those lines, I wanted a stock exhaust for my 93. Ebay was offering junk for high prices. I went to two local swap meets, at the second one I found a complete set with muffles and heat shields, taken off an 89 that the fellow just sold at the meet New owner didn't want the old set (it was like new). I got it for $50 including an ignition module cover and drive belt guard. Take your time, keep your eyes and ears open, stick to your plan, it will come together. Pie AND coffee?? When does the weather break down your way??

Last edited by smilinbrad; 1 Day Ago at 18:20.. Reason: spellin'
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  #1764  
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ChinCactus ChinCactus is offline
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Damn John, you can make any subject interesting! I used to wear engineer boots when I was younger. Got my first pair in high school.

Now I wear Timberland Pro Pit Boss boots. I buy the same ones everytime. Two pair at a time. New ones are for riding/not working. When my work ones wear out, the riding boots become work boots and I buy another pair.

I've been buying them for years. I like them because they are comfortable and need zero break in time.
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  #1765  
Old 4 Hours Ago
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http://xlforum.net/forums/showthread.php?t=2071911
Thought you might want to see this John, I know you enjoyed it last year.
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