These past few days my husband and I have been doing more riding than we've done in the past 6 months. 549 miles in 4 days. 375 of them done in one day! I found that while I'm riding I have a lot of time to think about gear. Am I comfortable? Is the A/C on too high? Do my leathers sweaty? Among other things, I also think about why other people don't wear more than jeans and sneakers while going 75-80mph on the 101, riding into ~40-50 mph winds.
Sometimes I get strange thoughts in my head like "I can't believe I'm going 70mph on a motorcycle right now." I also get ideas for my blog but then I have absolutely no way of writing them down or remembering them later. I also have found that the more I ride, the more I want to write, and the more ideas I'm able to come upwith.
The only one I remembered when arriving to our lovely motel in Cambria was the one I'm going to write for you now. (OT, Big shout out to the Cambria Palms Motel, the Best Deal In Town!. Cheap, clean, easy to find off Hwy 1. Stay here if you need somewhere to crash on the way down from SF or up to SF, especially if you're stopping at Hearst Castle).
So working at Scuderia West, I have the pleasure of meeting many different riders, all shapes, ages, sizes, riding experiences, backgrounds, etc.
- Female customer, about 5'2", approx. a women's size 8.
- She had trouble finding pants that fit her waist/hips and inseam. She rode a scooter and needed pants to commute in. She already had a jacket (don't know what kind) but wanted overpants as well. She had tried on various other pants but hadn't found anything that fit quite right.
- I was going to put her in Olympia Airglides or Pro Pants, but unfortunately the inseams were going to be too long for her.
- Gear Solution: REV'IT Zip Pants, Size Small-Short
- The beauty of the Zip Pant is that it has an adjustable waistband. This is particularly useful for women who have hips or a disproportionate waist (ie not an hourglass shape). And you can get a size small in short! Unfortunately you can't get any size smaller than that in short, since they do run down to an XXS.
- One thing that she wasn't sure about was the fact that when she sat on a scooter, there was a little room in the back of the pants, right at the lower back. That's perfectly normal for overpants, as they are meant to be zipped to a jacket, or worn with a longer cut jacket. Zip pants do have a fairly neutral 6 inch zipper which you should be able to find on brands such as Olympia.
Working in a place like Scud also has helped me figure out a couple things about customers who come in looking for gear, and complain that they can't find anything in other shops. A couple of observations:
- They have no idea what proper fit is, especially for motorcycle gear, and especially for the type of gear we carry (protective, functional gear).
- Most people, especially women, complain that nothing fits them. I'm sure that at least 50% of the time this is probably true.
- hey probably don't carry the variety of gear that Scud does, with different fits.
- No one ever tries gear on a bike! Fit is never 100% right while standing straight up with your arms at your sides. Not real gear, anyway. Sit on that bike!
- Ladies, listen to me when I tell you that gear is supposed to be fitted, close to your body. Not 2 sizes too big because you want to cover up your 'problem areas'. I've seen too many women come in wearing their husband's/boyfriend's gear thinking that it was fine. Newsflash! You have an hourglass figure, hips, boobs, long legs (sometimes), smaller shoulders, a small back, etc., you get the picture. Sometimes women have this notion that in order to 'cover up' these areas that wearing large, oversized clothing is the solution. Not so! Even more so when it comes to motorcycle gear. Because the added function of gear is to Protect and Function on a motorcycle. If it doesn't fit you right it's not going to work when you crash
- There aren't many 'apparel-only' shops vs. motorcycle dealerships. Most places are dealers like Scud that also carry apparel. But many of these places lack the selection. They could order mounds and mounds of women's gear. But they don't, probably because the majority of their customer base are men, and those that are women usually ride on the back.
- The lack of trained apparel employees can also have a huge effect on the way you are shopping for gear. You may not realize that it's supposed to be that snug, that standing up straight with your arms at your side is going to be uncomfortable, that the garments are cut for riding position, I could go on and on. When there is no one there to guide you along the way, how are you supposed to know? Of course you're going to assume nothing fits because you may not know how it is supposed to fit.
So for those of you that still have trouble shopping for gear, or are in need of a gear makeover, I'd like to propose the following:
- Send me your gear wants/needs. (jacket, pants, gloves, boots?)
- Send me a photo of yourself from head to toe, preferably wearing something semi fitted (jeans, tshirt) so I can see your body type.
- Tell me what size you wear in regular jackets and pants (in numerical US size)
- If you already have gear, send me a picture of you wearing it.
If you send me an email with the above criteria, I'll send you my gear recommendation based on what you send!
Or if you live in the Bay Area and would like a gear makeover in person, let me know. I would be your personal shopper for Free, if you let me write it up on my blog. We'll hit up all the shops that carry women's gear and help you find gear that fits. Only flattering photos will be taken by me, I promise! We'll take some before and after pics and show the world how to find that perfect outfit for riding. The first 3 people who email me will get a free GearChic Tshirt!