Riding with California Superbike School

I Made a Code Sandwich! (Left to Right: Keith Code, Founder of California Superbike School - Me - Dylan Code, Son of the Founder of California Superbike School and Instructor)

I Made a Code Sandwich! (Left to Right: Keith Code, Founder of California Superbike School - Me - Dylan Code, Son of the Founder of California Superbike School and Instructor)

Last month I was fortunate enough to attend my first Track Day with California Superbike School (CSS)

OMG. OMG. OMG. SO AMAZING. 

That just about sums up my experience with them. This was my 4th trackday ever, and I enjoyed my experience so much that I'm about to do my 5th in another week with CSS yet again. I've never done two track days in one year, let alone two track days in 4 weeks! Yikes! 

But I learned so much, and really had such an incredible experience that I was willing to spend another $475 to do another 1 day class again with them so soon.  

I had very different experiences with each school I've attended and up until now I honestly didn't know that a track day could be this good! Whenever I talk to people about going to do a class like this I find that many of them have misconceptions about what a track day is, and isn't. Even the name sounds intimidating "TRACK DAY". Racetrack. Speed. Racing. Isn't that what everyone thinks of when they think of a track? 

Firstly, I want to note that doing a Track Day means you *already* know how to ride your motorcycle aka have proficiency in operating your vehicle in a capacity beyond the parking lot and your introductory MSF Course. Ideally, I would say that you should have some experience riding at highway speeds and some comfort riding in the twisties. This school along with almost all the others are not there to show you how to ride your motorcycle. You should already know how to do that. What you might not know, is how to ride it better :D.

Tech Inspection bright and early at 7AM. Thanks to their inspection, someone realized his throttle was a little loose and they promptly provided a quick fix to make sure he could ride safely for the day. 

Tech Inspection bright and early at 7AM. Thanks to their inspection, someone realized his throttle was a little loose and they promptly provided a quick fix to make sure he could ride safely for the day. 

Second of all, it's important to note that track days vary by the organization you choose to sign up with. My experience with the organizations I chose as far as what I learned and what I walked away with varied tremendously each time. And with CSS they also took care of us all day including: 

  • breakfast snacks and coffee
  • hydration station all day with unlimited water
  • assigned coaches
  • lunch
  • mechanic on site in case of emergency repairs

I would say that CSS offered another level of service you won't find at a traditional track day. Typically, it's up to you to feed and hydrate yourself. Coaches are usually floating with a larger student to coach ratio (more like 1:6) and they're not always required to follow you and give you feedback. 

Initial introductions of the staff and coaches at CSS before our first classroom session (which was before our first riding session) 

Initial introductions of the staff and coaches at CSS before our first classroom session (which was before our first riding session) 

Looking at each 'school' gives you a slight idea of what they are trying to accomplish with you as a rider, and a student. Every school is different, as far as how much teaching and coaching they provide, and the level of oversight they give as you ride throughout the day. The biggest difference between a program like CSS and traditional track days is instruction. You simply get a lot of it. 

We opted for a 1 Day Course on our Triumphs. My goal was to learn how to ride it better and get to know it a little better on the track. When I rode on the same track 2 years ago I felt like I didn't leave feeling that much more confident about my skills. This time I felt completely different. 

Something I noticed in my group (Novice, Level 1) was the varying degrees of experience that each rider had. There were people there who'd never ridden a track, people who raced competitively and people who were somewhere in between like myself. The coaching ratios were extremely low as well, which is MUCH lower than traditional track days. 3:1! For every 3 students, there was 1 coach who would follow you *every* time you went out on a session. And you would follow your coach once every session. Feedback was always given every time, before proceeding onto the classroom. And classrooms weren't optional. You had to attend, or no go for the next session. 

Debrief with our Coach after a session. Photo: ETechPhoto.com

Debrief with our Coach after a session. Photo: ETechPhoto.com

What I also loved in every class was a specific lesson for that session. We discussed strategies that we needed to implement so we could apply that skill to the next session. Then we'd do that all over again for the following session. Every time I went out I had a goal in mind and I did my best to achieve it. 

I'm not going to tell you what those are, so you'll just have to register for a class to find out!

I wasn't going nearly as fast as some of the more experienced riders in my group, but I did have fun passing a few people :-D. My goal wasn't to pass as many people, or to ride as fast as everyone else. My goal was to learn, learn and learn and hopefully pick up a little extra speed, consistency and confidence at the same time. I would say that all of those goals were achieved and exceeded. 

Focusing on improving specific skills for each session helped me greatly focus in on where my weaknesses and strengths were. Having a coach provide constant feedback was also helpful, so I could ask questions and get immediate answers. 

There are two tracks at NJMP, but we rode on Thunderbolt, which is more technical and has more turns. It's a very fast track with higher average speeds. 

There are two tracks at NJMP, but we rode on Thunderbolt, which is more technical and has more turns. It's a very fast track with higher average speeds. 

I didn't get my knee down, but that wasn't the point. 

I didn't get my knee down, but that wasn't the point. 

One goal that I achieved which I was really excited to understand was my body position as it related to my elbows. My Triumph has handlebars, so as a result my hands are much higher than a racebike would. 

I could never tell if I they were in the right position or not. It just doesn't feel as natural as an aggressive racebike would with lower bars. The weird feeling of my arms way up in the sky is normal! 

Michelin Power RS Tires

I feel like Goldie and I rode away feeling a little closer to each other. I trusted her, as well as her new Michelin Power RS Tires and she performed better than I expected. 

They warmed up quickly, and I certainly didn't need tire warmers (I never have). 

After 1-2 laps around the track, they were ready to go. After we mounted the tires at Moto Guild we headed straight to the track the day before our class. So I didn't even have time to wear them in on the street!

They were awesome, I highly recommend them as an aggressive street tire with a much softer compound than say, the Diablo Corsas which come with the bike. 

THANK YOU California Superbike School for teaching this old dog a few new tricks. 

See you in 5 days! 

Visit www.superbikeschool.com for more details about classes and schedules. 

Sonic Troy Lee Design Toolbox

Ooooooo Shiny

Ooooooo Shiny

Sonic Tools is a Netherlands based company that makes solid tools. They have distribution in the US based in Alabama. 

This special edition Troy Lee Designs Filled Moto Toolbox includes a specific motorcycle-friendly kit that has unique tools like safety wire pliers, Torx AND Hex sockets. Gimme a 10mm hex and I'm a happy woman (almost everything on Goldie is a 10).

The box itself is solid steel (all one piece to be exact), and the all of the tools are European manufactured, and the quality is supposed to be fantastic based on various reviews we read on the interwebs. I especially like this feature: 

"All three drawers feature ball-bearing slides and are retractable and a front centralized safety lock."

Sonic offers more than just tools, they also offer storage accessories for your garage including drawers, toolboxes and cabinets. Check out their full catalog here

Since the box comes totally filled, it'll cost you a little bit. $600 to be exact. So if you're ready for adult tools, these are a nice way to go. 

I'll try to do a little video on how the drawers open, close and lock soon. So stay tuned to this post!   

New Arai DT-X Motorcycle Helmet and XXS Helmets

Side Profile of the DT-X Helmet from Arai

Side Profile of the DT-X Helmet from Arai

If you have a very small head, or know a woman (in my experience, 99.9% of XS fit women or small children) who may even need a XXS helmet, Arai Helmets has just released a new street helmet called the DT-X

This helmet will feature an intermediate oval shape (most common shape in the US) similar to the Corsair-X and Vector-2.

Supposedly it will offer a XXS size, per the website. However, they have the same information for the Vector-2 which was never offered in a 2XS that you could actually order. The only 2XS helmet available to order from them at this minute is the Defiant (although it's currently OOS). 

I miss my trusty Arai, but it didn't fit me small enough like my Shoei does. I'm hoping if they do offer a 2XS that it'll fit my head! I've always respected Arai and their design / protection philosophies. They defy mainstream expectations and always strive to deliver the most protective helmet even if it means not having the best selling helmet, or the one that everyone thinks is "coolest".

But if you are looking for a Full Face or Modular 2XS Helmet, these are the ones that I'm aware of: 

Full Face:

  1. Arai Defiant and Defiant Pro Cruise (certain colors) 
  2. Icon Airmada (certain colors)
  3. Nexx XT1 Carbon Zero
  4. GMax GM38
  5. Nexx XR2 Carbon Pure (currently OOS)
  6. Shoei Qwest (black only)
  7. Shoei RF-1200 (if you purchase the 17mm Centerpad, then it's a 2XS)
  8. AGV AX-8 DS Evo

I have to mention the Bell Star (Street Star, Race Star and Pro Star) Helmets, because they fit so narrow. I can barely fit my head into an XS (that I can fit into pretty much every XS helmet) and the S fits like a Shoei XS. I'll bet that an XS fits like a 2XS. 

Modular:

  1. Schuberth C3Pro Women
  2. Nolan N104 Absolute 

Article from Racked.com about Women's Gear Options

I recently talked to the author of this article from Racked.com about the increase in options for women's gear over the past decade. 

https://www.racked.com/2017/7/26/16003312/biker-women-style

 

There are many things we're not seeing in the growth of women's gear but it's nice to see more options surface, even if it doesn't necessarily work for 100% of the women riders out there. 

Two Weeks Later, And My Boots Aren't Killing Me!

Dainese Torque Out Boots

Thrilled to report that 2 weeks after I bought these beautiful boots, they fit great. A teeny bit long in the toes but I can live with that. What I couldn't live with was the pain over my instep. I've logged a little over 400 miles in them so far and they're working out really well. I'm hoping to do a video overview of them this week so stay tuned. 

Breaking in New Motorcycle Boots. Ugh.

Last year I wrote about the newest women's motorcycle boots from Dainese, the Torque D1's, the first true women's motorcycle boot that offers real ankle support. What this means they make it incredibly difficult for you to twist your ankle. Of course, the impact protection is also incredibly supportive as well. 

I didn't think I could wear these. I still am not 100% sure. My problem was that as a woman with a very small, wide foot boots like these from Dainese are incredibly difficult to wear. 

Typically I size into a US 6.5-7 (7 if it's a narrower shoe) which translates to about a Euro 36-37. These are a Euro 38. My feet are also incredibly high at the instep. My other weird issue is that I have a small cyst on the top of my left foot, so that makes wearing any tight shoes (like if I lace my shoes too tight) especially painful. 

Since these are fairly difficult to get my foot into so I had to size up. 

I've been wearing them around the house for about a total of 1.5 hours and luckily I haven't felt any pinching or piercing pain anywhere. Just tightness from a new pair of boots, especially race boots. They're just not easy. 

I did find that crossing my legs while sitting on a kitchen stool did make my toes go numb... so I recommend not doing that ;D

I've also added my super insoles to still give me the extra heel height that I like having.

They seem to fit okay, of course I removed the insoles that came with the boots but it certainly makes the heel and ankle space a bit tighter. I'm hoping as I keep breaking them in they only get better!

Just a little test ride.. in the kitchen! Always take your gear for a test ride at home so you can see what it might feel like to wear things for more than 2-3 minutes. 

Just a little test ride.. in the kitchen! Always take your gear for a test ride at home so you can see what it might feel like to wear things for more than 2-3 minutes. 

Breaking in new boots isn't fun. It can be a pain in the ass really. But I really wanted the extra ankle support that these boots offer that my old Sidis don't even though they took great care of my feet when I crashed two years ago.. I'm also doing a track day next month so I want to be ready for that too. 

Also, I'm trying to sell my new-used Sidis (not the ones I actually crashed in) if you know anyone who might be interested.

 

For Sale: Gently Used Sidi Vertigo Lei Boots, Size 37

Buy Me!

EBAY LINK: http://r.ebay.com/GqFTbn

These are gently used, barely worn. 

I bought them from a friend who only used them a few times also. 

I just can't break them in fast enough to fit like my original pair. :( My old ones are SO much loser. Ugh. 

I'm also going to try upgrading to some Dainese Torques in 38 to see if I can make them work on my weird feet. 

They don't fit me perfectly so I'm sizing up to 38 but I'm going to give them a try because I really do like the extra ankle support they offer. 

sidi_vertigo_371.jpg

More Pics of the Sidis above, I'm asking $150 plus shipping:

My original pair have lasted me 5 years, they wear extremely well and I love them to death. 

Email me if you want them or having sizing/fit questions. 

Also check out my post about riding motorcycles while short, because I use these along with special insoles to boost my height a little bit as well. 

Women's Motorcycle Gear Project

I'm starting a new project and I need some volunteers. I'm starting with a few volunteers to fill out my database so I can put this new website together. I don't have a name yet, but my goal is to help women figure out what might fit them, and how the sizing and fitments will work. 

Size charts only tell you so much, so I'm using real women with real gear (sorry, no casuals on this site for now) to help you shop. On this site you'll find measurements for every woman who submits a photo along with sizing and fit feedback from each person. Hopefully it makes searching for gear easier by also entering your measurement e.g. 41 chest and search results will deliver options for you that might work.  

Katherine in her Rev'it Levante Jacket (40) and Rev'it Tornado Women's Pants (38)

Katherine in her Rev'it Levante Jacket (40) and Rev'it Tornado Women's Pants (38)

So I need your help because I can't possibly be every woman who rides!

Fill out this google form and then email me some photos (instructions provided in the form) 

 

https://goo.gl/forms/4oz8vFgkGajIdfoF3

I might not use your submission depending on what it is. I'm still figuring out how this is going to work and be organized so the more data I have to start with, the better. Only 1 of each item can be submitted right now, so you can submit:

  • One Jacket
  • One Pants
  • One Jacket AND One Pant

I'm shooting for a launch this Summer so if you want to be notified when it launches, sign up for my newsletter.

Email me if you have any questions or post a comment here and I"ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Thank you!!

 

California Superbike School

I'm excited to tell you that I've signed up for a trackday with California Superbike School

I've read and heard great things about the school, the training and the experience from friends and the interwebs. The school was founded in 1976 by pavement god Keith Code, it was the first to offer one on one track instruction. He's written several books including the famous "Twist of the Wrist, Volumes 1 and 2".

I've had a couple track days and I've had 2-3 interactions with track coaches to give me advice about my riding. However, I'm really hoping that I'll get more consistent feedback from a coach who can watch me throughout the day to see how I'm doing from start to finish. It's an all day class, starting promptly at 7am and presumably finishing up in the afternoon. They even provide lunch and drinks/snacks.  

"You will improve. You are a far better rider than you’ve ever let yourself hope to be. We have a system that works." -superbikeschool.com

I'm not here to race, I'm certainly not here to ride better than everyone else. I want to simply ride better than Myself. Improving our riding skills is always something that we're responsible for as individual riders. One on one instruction and attention is difficult to get a regular track day, so I wanted more. I'm not necessarily looking for someone to stand next to me the entire day (which would also be cool) but having input every time I get out on the track sounds like a great way to improve my skills. 

There are some misconceptions about track days, that they're only there to teach you how to race your motorcycle. False. California Superbike School is one of the many exceptions to this rule. If you have a high performance machine, you owe it to yourself to learn how to ride safer and simply become a more capable rider. 

Because I've never ridden with them before, I start at Level 1

"Level I addresses the six most common errors riders, from novice to world-class racers, make and why. " -superbikeschool.com

YES! I love this. 

For $475, I signed up for a 1 day course on July 31st at New Jersey Motorsports Park. I will be riding my own bike, so the cost is a bit lower than renting their BMWs. I can't wait to take Goldie to the track again with Keith Code and friends. Hopefully he's there so I can get a selfie! 

Goodbye MSF, It Was Nice Knowing You

My old site, San Francisco City College via motorcycle school.com

My old site, San Francisco City College via motorcycle school.com

12 years ago I committed to becoming a certified rider coach with the motorcycle safety foundation. Last month I gave up that commitment. To some it's not a big deal. Just a job, whatever. 

IMG_0407.JPG

To me, it meant meeting new riders, feeling their excitement and helping many of them overcome fears, anxieties of learning how to ride. After I took my first safety course in 2004, it led me to incredible confidence, happiness and a passion for riding I never imagined.

I learned so much in my short coaching career, and I definitely owe it to the San Francisco school that made it happen for me. They were incredibly supportive, encouraging and positive. I never left that school to teach anywhere else because I couldn't imagine finding another school that treated students the way we did. My bosses were always focused on creating positive learning experiences for their students. Sometimes there would be folks that didn't quite follow that philosophy but they didn't last very long. If they were there only for Themselves, then it was painfully obvious they really weren't there for You.  

Im so sad to give up my certification for now but I hope someday I can get back to teaching again. I really loved every minute although it was hard at times.  

It was one of the most rewarding jobs I've ever had and I'll never forget what I learned, who I met and how it helped me evolve as a person. 

In the meantime, I'll do what i can from over here...