I love reader emails. The questions are always great and I know everyone can benefit from some free advice. My latest email is about summer mesh/textile riding options.
Here's a recent email from Nataly in Chicago:
First off, I think your website is great. (Thanks!!)
I started riding about two years ago and the same summer I learned how to ride I purchased my baby, an '09 Yamaha V-Star 650. As of now, a helmet is pretty much all the gear I use but I think more safety gear is probably a good idea. I am 21, 5'4" and 125lbs. Most of the riding I do is commute which includes to work and school. I don't really want to be walking around campus in motorcycle boots and jacket.
I am looking for something more casual as well as light weight for Chicago's hot and humid summers. Being a college student I don't have a very big budget to work with so I thought I'd ask someone more knowledgeable. I'm hoping you can lead me in the right direction.
Right back at you, Nataly. Your attitude is great and I'm so happy you've decided to make the investment.
So Nataly, your biggest challenge is not only the hot, humid Chicago weather but lack of secure storage on your motorcycle. I'm not worried about you going to work since you have a place to change and you probably don't have to wear your gear all day while working. But I am worried about commuting to school without any kind of locker or place to stash gear.
Since your commute is local, I'd recommend first getting knee guards to wear over your jeans if you aren't considering overpants or textile meshed riding pants:
I would highly recommend going over to the D-Store Chicago. They will have a large selection of women's gear, especially mesh/textiles for Chicago summer weather for you to try on in your size. I would go there first and if you can't find anything you like, then I would consider some of the options below. But since they have a lot to try on in person, that would be my first recommendation to consider.
Otherwise, you could do a lightweight overpant like these Airwaves:
What I also like about these are the zippers all the way from hip to toe so you can easily wear them over shorts or jeans and then take them off and roll them up in your softbag.
Here are some other jacket ideas for you too, under $200. All of them offer elbow and shoulder armor (which you need at a minimum) and lots of ventilation / air flow. They certainly come in other colors too, and I'd order the smallest possible size in each.
Don't worry, it comes in black and red if you're not a camo girl!
(click here to find a dealer in your zip code for Revit).
Unfortunately you would have to mail order this one from TaichiMoto.com.
As far as boots, I'm going to recommend boots with a GORE-TEX liner, because they will have the Most breathability. Something that will also help greatly with this are athletic socks that breathe and wick moisture away (running socks are fantastic).
Check out my boot recommendations post from a couple weeks ago. These are all really comfortable (great for walking all day) and lightweight. All of the ones before the "Need More Protection" section would be ideal.
I also hope you will consider Gloves. You can easily find some perforated, short leather gloves in time for summer.
Here's an idea of what to look for:
(The size "Ladies" is an XS.) All mesh on top but sueded leather on the palms. It's not as strong as a standard leather palm like these, but should hold up in any kind of slow speed accident. They're well ventilated, so if your hands start to sweat, they will definitely let the air flow through. The last thing you want is your hands meeting hot pavement!
I'm sure the Dainese store will have shorty women's vented gloves for you to check out too.
I hope that helps for now, please let me know when you find something!