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 *Copyright 2012.  Not for re-distribution without permission, and listing the source (vrumblesramblingbikerblog.wordpress.com). 

The following is taken from Motorcycle Illustrated, Jan. 18, 1917.  In an article on winter riding, the writer discussed the clothing worn during the winter to keep warm. 

 “Do they wear B. V. D.’s?  Nay, nay, not if they are wise.  Most of them will whisper, if you ask them, that they have on two pair of warm and wooly ones as close-fitting as can be.  And the pedal extremities?  After being well smeared with talcum powder, they are housed in a pair or even two pair of soft woolen socks while some of the Winter riders go in for thick heavy and long woolen bicycle stockings that afford greater protection for the limbs.

Top that off with a pair of corduroy trousers, a woolen shirt, spiral puttees over good heavy army or walking shoes, a sweater beneath a heavy jacket with a good warm mackinaw over the whole and you can pretty nearly gamble that that rider is going to be warm about the body at least.  Some of the fellows, the ones who can afford to go in for that sort of thing, wear forestry cloth suits in Winter weights, and once in a while you will see one with a long coat instead of the regulation mackinaw.  And that said long coat stunt has its good points, for the extra foot of coat provides a measure of protection for the upper portions of the limbs that the “mac” does not.  But of course, length has its limitations, for too long a coat will catch in the places where it should not catch, and will roast a bit on the cylinder flanges or otherwise behave in a manner to try the best of tempers.

For the Winter stuff, there’s nothing quite like the heavy weight spiral wool puttee.  It certainly does keep the chill from reaching the funny bone and is far more comfortable than the regulation legging.  However, a good leather legging, or puttee which fits perfectly to the leg will be found quite warm and comfortable, but care should be taken not to pull in the straps too tightly else the circulation will be impeded and the purpose of the covering defeated.

We have not yet considered the head and hands.  You will find most of the boys using woolen caps, the pull down sort which cover the whole face save the eyes and nose and which give one that “aviator” look.  They are the real things for warmth, and topped off with a nice warm fur cap or even with an ordinary cap are not lacking in appearance either.  It is most important, by the way, to keep the face covered for the cold blasts are certain to chill the cheeks so that after a while the whole body gets chilly.

That completes everything save the hands.  They are mighty important.  Most of the riders wear lined leather gauntlets with good large cuffs which prevent the chill breezes from blowing up the sleeve and getting in their good work on the forearm.  Others prefer the double glove with a woolen mitten inside that is separate from the outside covering; but in either case the provision of a suitable cuff is of the greatest importance.

The provision of a hand windshield on the handlebar of the machine makes for greater hand comfort and these little devices are for sale at practically all motorcycle supply stores. 

Puttee:  1. A strip of cloth wound spirally around the leg from ankle to knee. Often used in the plural.  2. A gaiter covering the lower leg. Often used in the plural.  – Merriam Webster Dictionary.

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