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Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Convergent Evolution

My adventure touring gear arrived in the mail yesterday. Naturally, I couldn't resist putting it on this morning and riding the bike to work. I was only wearing jeans and a T-shirt under it, but I felt much warmer than when I wear heavy clothing under my other riding gear. If anything, I sometimes felt too warm in it, as I'd left the quilted liners in and didn't open the vents. It was only about 55 degrees F out today, but it should still work in colder weather if I add a scarf or neck warmer and wear some warmer things under it.

Motorcyclists often call gear like what I wore today their "Power Ranger gear." With my full face helmet and a red and black riding outfit, I'll have to admit that I do look sort of like one of the characters from the TV show. Or is it that Power Rangers look like motorcyclists? Both sorts of gear cover the whole body, fit rather tightly, include a helmet to cover the face, frequently use leather, have brightly colored patterns, and look, well, a bit more sci-fi than normal casual attire. But the motorcycle gear came before the show. Could it be that the Power Rangers are trying to look like they ride motorcycles?

Or maybe it's that the Power Ranger suits simply need to be similar to motorcycle gear because they happen to have similar needs. Why do the Power Rangers wear Power Ranger suits, anyway? It doesn't seem that the suits give them their powers, so presumably the suits are there to help them fight whatever the show's villain is.

One rule of superheros is that the bad guy always has some way to get the best of them when they first meet. Otherwise, the story would never be very interesting. Since for a Power Ranger, this can easily mean getting thrown all over the set, it's likely they need to be protected from falls and road rash even more than motorcyclists need that protection. So a leather costume and a full faced helmet really make sense if you're in the superhero business.

That would explain a lot of the similarities. If I ever wrote a movie about a superhero, I could probably do worse than having him pick out his superhero costume from a motorcycle shop. But there is one thing I'm a bit puzzled about with the Power Rangers. I wear a brightly colored suit so that other drivers will notice me. But why do the Power Rangers wear bright colors, with each of them having a different color?

I can't quite figure out that one. Maybe their base on the moon happened to be near an outer space motorcycle dealership that didn't have very much in stock.


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