Tekvest: Peace of Mind While Snowmobiling
Tekvest: Peace of Mind while Snowmobiling.
Close calls happen everyday. A simple drive to work challenges both mind and body. Encountering a dog, cat or cow in the middle of the road can be a weekly occurrence. Imbeciles holding a phone in one hand and a coffee in the other defy logic as they haplessly rudder two tons of steel on public ways. It seems that many consider a car little more than an extension of the living room couch. Watch out, Lazy-Boy drifting over the yellow line.
Operating a snowmobile has its challenges but most accidents involve solo riders and aren’t the result of another driver’s actions. Sure, there are hazards, after all, we ride on trails, not engineered interstates. Thankfully we don’t have to worry about brain-dead zombies in the woods applying makeup at 65 MPH. It’s all about personal judgment.
Unfortunately, no matter how attentive we may be, poop happens. Visual distractions, glare, a snow-covered stump, even flat lighting as the sun goes down can be enough to catch you off guard. I’ve had a few close calls but only one dismount. That one plays over in my head like a viral video on YouTube.
A few years ago I pulled my sled out of the trailer in the back yard. A little maintenance was in order before a weeklong trip. I gently circled left and pointed the machine towards the garage, the terminal velocity hovered around ten miles per hour. Hidden under the fresh fluff was a 2-inch stump that caught the right ski perfectly. It was so small it wouldn’t have even registered at a faster pace.
As I recall, the sled stopped suddenly. I did not. Gripping the handlebars and locking my elbows had little effect on the law of physics. I pivoted over the windshield like a gymnast performing an Olympic-quality handspring. A gold medal performance for sure.
The landing was butt-ugly. There was no rush to get back on my feet. Lying flat on my back seemed oddly comfortable as I took inventory of body parts, most of which were intact.
Strange as this may sound, I was wearing a helmet. The ride from trailer to garage was little more than a few hundred feet and would normally take less than 60 seconds, not a circumstance that compels most to wear a brain bucket. When I first went into the trailer the helmet was on the seat of the sled, it was cold outside, so slipped it on. Luck, fate, karma – I’m not sure what it was but thankfully I wasn’t hurt. The sled was fine, except for the deep black marks that my boots left on the sides of the seat as I was launched skyward.
I’d been pondering body armor for years, something similar to what motocross racers wear. That minor incident convinced me that my old-man ribs could use the same protection as my head, so I bought a Tekvest. It actually looks like a life vest you would wear while kayaking, and is far more comfortable than I would have thought, plus it’s incredibly warm.
Does it make me feel safer? No, not really, it’s more of a peace of mind thing, taking reasonable precaution. In some ways I’d compare wearing a TekVest to a seat belt. There are no realized day-to-day benefits to wearing one, but hopefully that will never be tested. You wear it just in case karma looks the other way.
Photo by Brent Gould
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