Events

Questions About Women's Motorcycle Gear

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Join me in one week when my good friend Alisa Clickenger (Women’s Motorcycle Tours) joins me for a Live QnA about Riding Gear.

When: Monday, March 11th at 3:30pm Pacific / 6:30pm Eastern

Originally, we created this event for a Facebook Group called Motorcycle Mentoring, for women riders look for female mentors. If you’re new to riding and are looking for great advice and feedback from a wonderfully supportive group of women riders, this is the group for you. All riders, all riding lifestyles, all ages.

IMS 2011 at the Women Ride booth: Alisa (left), Me and one of our IMS volunteers

IMS 2011 at the Women Ride booth: Alisa (left), Me and one of our IMS volunteers

I consider Alisa to be one of my mentors and long time friends. When we first met at the IMS 8 years ago, I was inspired by her personal riding stories. She has always been a source of encouragement and motivation for me, and I am so proud to call her my friend.

I’m excited to participate in this QnA and give you all the answers you’ve been waiting for. Whether it’s how to find the right fitting jacket or how to find a pant that fits your body type. And any other gear questions you might have that you’ve been hoping to ask but aren’t sure who can help you find the answers.

How to Join

Register Here

Then wait for your confirmation email containing instructions to join the call Online Live Stream, OR via telephone.

You can also call in just like a conference call and listen in and participate that way if you don’t have access to the internet! If you have any questions, post a comment here or send me an email.

Note that everyone must register individually because you will receive a link that’s specific to your email. You do not have to use your webcam if you don’t want to, either. You can just watch!

Bring your questions or if you’re already a member of the group you can post your questions in the Facebook Event there, or post a comment here.

July 2016: Our friend Porsche (left), Alisa (center) and Me

July 2016: Our friend Porsche (left), Alisa (center) and Me

Riding with CLASS Motorcycle School at Virginia International Raceway

Nope, we didn’t crash and have to get our bikes towed! (Kendon Motorcycle Trailer)

Nope, we didn’t crash and have to get our bikes towed! (Kendon Motorcycle Trailer)

Not Just Your Average Monday.

Earlier this week I had the honor of attending back to back track days with my friends at Reg Pridmore’s CLASS Motorcycle School.

I attended a special, unique event earlier in April just for women riders but this one was one of their regular 2 day events at VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, VA. My husband and I loaded up our bikes on the RevZilla Trailer (#IloveMyJob) and drove out Sunday, October 14th.

Here I am dancing with our bikes?

Here I am dancing with our bikes?

We rented one of the fancy garages at the track and made our home for the next 2 days.

By the way, we didn’t bring half the stuff most people bring with them to the track. Everyone will tell you something different, but I can tell you that you’ll probably use half of what you actually bring. So this is our simplified list in order of importance:

  1. Our track gear (duh!); suits, helmets, gloves, boots, back protectors

  2. Our bikes and keys

  3. Painters tape and duct tape (painters tape goes first, then duct tape. You’ll see why in a minute)

  4. Clean clothes for 3 nights since we left Sunday and got back Wednesday

  5. Chairs (because standing around all the time is tiring)

  6. Tool box (we have this one from Sonic). Of course we didn’t use everything but it does have some nice moto specific tools that can come in handy. I mainly used the tools to remove my mirrors, reinstall them afterwards and tighten up some loose ends.

  7. Cleaners, paper towels:

    1. Mucoff products: dry chain lube & degreaser, protectant, goggle/faceshield cleaner

    2. Simple Green; general, all purpose cleaner

  8. Tire compressor (so you can adjust your tire pressure below street levels. I drop mine to 28 front and rear for a little more stick)

  9. Tie downs to tie the bikes down to the trailer

  10. A few snacks/drinks

Oh and did I mention that because we went to the South Course on Day 1 (not North as planned), we had to leave our cozy paddock behind! So we managed all day without anything with us, and relied on track friends to help us out.

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In retrospect I could’ve used extra fuel, but there was a Sunoco station on site, just on the other side of the parking lot. This was the first track day where my fuel light actually went on at the end of the last session!

We got in Sunday night a little late but stayed up to tape up our headlights and turn signals. You didn’t have to take your mirrors if you didn’t want to but I found them distracting and they were easy enough to remove.

This is why you need duct tape and painters tape, so you can make eyes! Let’s just say my husband’s creativity inspired me. Remember to never directly apply duct tape to your lights and mirrors, you want to use painters tape first and then you can go crazy with funny colors and what not.

Although Hurricane Michael hit the weekend before, we had the privilege of riding both courses at VIR; both the North and South Courses. Originally we were only supposed to ride the North Course but it just worked out that we were able to do South on Day 1 and North on Day 2.

The South Course was a shorter, slower paced track. The upside to this is that I got to do more laps than I normally would have. The schedule for CLASS was a little different than track days I’ve done in the past with other organizations.

As with every track day, the day started first thing (7:30am-8:00am) with Check In and Tech Inspection followed by a safety meeting where rules and information for the day was presented and shared by Reg’s team.

These rules were imposed on both groups, regardless of experience level or training so you know that everyone is on the same page and things will go as safely as possible.

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Reg also impressed upon us a few other thoughts that he truly believed were important to our time at VIR for the next 2 days. I find these messages are important, not only for the track but for the street too:

  1. Slowing down, maintaining control

  2. Courtesy and consideration

  3. Learning not speeding

I can feel the instructor’s (orange shirt) eyes on the back of my head watching my pitiful form.

I can feel the instructor’s (orange shirt) eyes on the back of my head watching my pitiful form.

I found this message to be comforting, empowering and set a positive tone for the riding ahead. One of the many personal rules I have about riding motorcycles is not riding in large groups of strangers (outside the confines of an organized, training ride with a dedicated riding organization e.g. large public rallies and parades. It simply makes me nervous because out on the street, the training and riding environment is vastly different. When a group of riders are at the track together, we’re generally on the same page. We know we’ve come here because we know it’s safer, and our environment is controlled and organized in a way that cannot be matched to a track day. I always feel 100% safer on the track than I do on the street.

As the day went on, I found myself finally figuring out this track and feeling the most confident at of course, the last lap. It took me all morning and afternoon to get my lines just right.

And as much as I wanted to get my knee down, I decided to shift my focus on hitting my apexes just right and keeping my line tight, not wide because on the street that can be a very dangerous outcome. (Imagine going wide on a 2 lane, 2 way road over the double yellows!) I finally started feeling more confident to take my lines tighter and get over my fear of going wide.  

Trying my best to hug those apexes and keep a tight, inside line per the Mantra of Reg Pridmore.

Trying my best to hug those apexes and keep a tight, inside line per the Mantra of Reg Pridmore.

There were only two groups, A and B. A was for Advanced Pace and B was for Relaxed Pace. I started out in A the first day on the South Course. Although I did fine in that group I wasn’t feeling comfortable with the pace of the other rides so halfway through day 2, I opted to ride in Group B. The group was smaller, so more room and more laps! I hardly ran into any traffic and it felt like I had the track to myself. I also had lots of opportunities for coaches to follow me and for me to follow them. Pretty much every session, there was a coach available if I needed help.

There was also a small Triumph contingent, which was also comforting.

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You might be able to see in the background, that there were quite a few non traditional sportbikes that attended too!

And yep, they also fully attended both days. SEEE?? Track Days aren’t just for Sportbikes!

It’s for everyone, anyone. It’s all about finding the right one for you, and contacting local track schools to see if their program fits in with your goals and objectives as a rider. I have a list on my website here, of advanced, nontraditional track day training around the country that I highly recommend.

http://www.gearchic.com/beyond-basic-training/

But if you do some searching online I’m sure you’ll find local schools that will be more than happy to provide you advanced street training on the racetrack.

Or, sign up for a class with Reg and Gigi and tell them I sent you!

For more information on CLASS Motorcycle Schools including dates and prices, visit their website: ClassRides.com. You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram.

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Shoutout to Shoei Helmets and Honda for sponsoring CLASS and making sure that the instructors have the best helmets and bikes as well.

My Gear:

  1. Helmet: Bell Race Star, Ace Cafe

  2. Suit: Alpinestars Womens Motegi V1 Race Suit (new version)

  3. Gloves: Racer High Racer Womens Gloves

  4. Boots: Dainese Womens Torque Out D1 Boots

  5. Back Protector: Alpinestars Nucleon KR-1, SM

And in case the men out there are wondering about my husband’s gear:

  1. Helmet: Bell Star Helmet (Pre 2015)

  2. Suit: Revit Venom Suit

  3. Gloves: Held Evo Thrux

  4. Boots: Dainese Torque Out D1 Mens Boots (same as mine)

  5. Back Protector: Alpinestars KR Adventure; he said it was more comfortable than the model I have

Dainese North America Custom Works Tour 2018

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The Custom Works Tour Is Now Seamlessly Integrated With A Multi-Channel Experience That Begins With Their Online 3D Configurator

COSTA MESA, Calif. – September 28, 2018 - Dainese (www.dainese.com) the world leader of protective wear for dynamic sports, announces the 2018 USA tour of Custom Works, which provides fully-customized and made-to-measure motorcycle racing suits and jackets for race and street enthusiasts. https://customworks.dainese.com/

The Custom Works tour will visit USA cities where Dainese has partners with select retail stores. Through Custom Works, a master tailor will take measurements and walk the customer through the selection process of materials, color choices and the potential wish list of add-ons, logos, special numbers and other options to ultimately create their dream suit.

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The program, is now fully integrated with a multi-channel experience that begins online, with the 3D Configurator, and continues in the Store where the personalized garment is delivered to the Customer; an engaging process that combines the practicality of digital configuration with the craftsmanship of a unique, handmade product. Accessible via the website, the 3D configurator allows each motorcyclist to personalize his/her leather suit, jacket or pants in real time, with a simple, engaging and interactive digital experience. The customer can see a preview of the garment, change the colors of the various parts, select accessories (plates, sliders), and upload words and/or images that are immediately visible on the 3D garment. 

Once the design is complete, the customer saves the model and books an appointment during which sizes are taken. The purchase is then completed at a Certified Custom Works Center - a network of stores authorized and certified by Dainese to offer the Custom Works service. 

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The 25 anatomical measurements needed for the personalized garment are taken with the support of a specialized consultant. Special consideration is also given to the customer's specific needs and the expected use of the product. At the Store, customers can actually touch the technology, materials, finishes and accessories that give life to the most advanced leather suits.

Once complete, the measurements and customization specs are sent to Dainese’s production facilities, where each piece is hand-sewn by professionals, many of whom do custom sewing for Valentino Rossi suits. 

“We at Dainese always stress the critical importance of fit for optimal protection and safety. And we’re bringing that on the road through the Custom Works Tour, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get a completely made-to-measure, Dainese suit that’s fully customizable - literally every stitch is made for you,” said Roberto Sadowsky, Dainese North America Executive VP. “We are proud to bring this opportunity to riders across North America who are looking for the very best and trust Dainese’s heritage and craftsmanship to make it happen.”

Since its inception in 1972, Dainese has remained at the forefront of technical innovations in motorcycling gear, making racing leather suits for champions including Valentino Rossi, Giacomo Agostini, Eddie Lawson, Kenny Roberts, Sr., among many others. The company’s forward thinking and uncompromising design approach has brought protection advances including knee sliders, back protection, aerodynamic hump and D-Air® technology to the market for ultimate performance and safety.

Over 40 years of experience in the field culminated in this launch of the Custom Works program, which allows every client to get the perfect leathers of their dreams, made by the trained specialists of the leading manufacturer of protective motorcycle wear.

Custom Works North American Tour Dates & Locations

  • OCT 2 - 3 – RIDERS CHOICE - 2276 Dixie Rd, Mississauga, ON L4Y 1Z4, Canada

  • OCT 4 – 613 MOTORSPORTS - 1456 Cyrville Rd, Gloucester, ON K1B 3L9, Canada

  • OCT 5 - 6 – NADON SPORTS - 645 Rue Dubois, Saint-Eustache, QC J7P 3W1, Canada

  • OCT 12 - 13 - DUCATI AUSTIN - 3232, 812 E Braker Ln, Austin, TX 78753

  • OCT 15 DAINESE CHICAGO 1216 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60610

  • OCT 16 - 17 BATTLEY CYCLES DC 4147, 7830 Airpark Rd, Gaithersburg, MD 20879 

  • OCT 18 - 19 DUCATI BOSTON 83 Mystic Ave, Medford, MA 02155 

  • OCT 20 - 21 DUCATI DETROIT 33828 Woodward Ave, Birmingham, MI 48009

  • OCT 23 - 24 DAINESE NYC 140 6th Ave, New York, NY 10013

  • NOV 3 - 4 DAINESE ORLANDO 100 W Livingston St, Orlando, FL 32801 

  • NOV 6 – 7 DAINESE LA 1418 Lincoln Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90401

  • NOV 8     DAINESE SF 131 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94103

  • NOV 9-10 MOTOCORSA PORTLAND 2170 NW Wilson St, Portland, OR 97210

  • NOV 11 – 12 PACIFIC MOTORSPORTS 21000 Westminster Hwy #2120, Richmond, BC V6V 2S9

Are You a New-ish Woman Rider?

Me in 2006, on my first bike, a 2003 Ninja 250.

Me in 2006, on my first bike, a 2003 Ninja 250.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24TH AT 730PM EAST / 430PM WEST (1 hour)

Of course everyone (all genders, riding lifestyles) are invited, but I want to extend a personal invitation to any of the new-er, new-ish, or re-entering women out there who have questions/concerns/issues that you'd like to discuss!

I’ll be hosting a Live QnA on my Facebook Page: facebook.com/gearchic

And you don’t even have to log into Facebook to view it! But you do have to log in to participate in the chat. However, if you have any topics or questions you want me to try and answer then please post a comment in this thread and I will add it to my list.

You can also post a comment/question in the Facebook Event here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1533720013394169/

So far I received the following suggested topic to discuss:

  • While discussing bike choices for beginners... Can we also touch on what is a sensible next step. I have the cb500f and I'm looking for more power. How much is too much of a next step. (kind of stuck on the Monster... 797 vs 821). I have 2 seasons under my belt, but I don't want to get another bike just to have to upgrade by the end of next season.

I’ll also cover a few of my recommendations for how to choose your bike, especially when you're this tall: | :D

Hope to see you online then.

Riding with CLASS Motorcycle School

In April of 2018, I had the pleasure of doing a track day with CLASS Motorcycle School founded by retired roadracer Reg Pridmore and his wife Gigi. They run an excellent motorcycle school program based in Southern California. I had read about this school a few years ago and purely based on the description of their courses I knew I wanted to ride with them someday. I appreciate a school that focuses on fun, skill development and riding techniques.

What you might be wondering is what kind of motorcycle school? Track? Street? Advanced? Racing? Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes.

 “Still the friendliest and safest place to learn the riding skills we all need” -CLASS Motorcycle School
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So I jumped at the chance when I read that Gigi was putting together an (click here for photos) ALL LADIES track day program. They were going to host it at the Streets of Willow Raceway (“SWR”) right next to the famous Willow Springs Int’l Motorcycle Motorsports Park. The SWR is a smaller, bumpier, more street like track that emulates riding through your favorite canyon/mountain roads; imperfectly paved, bumps, hops, no clear white lines. It gives you more of a real world experience so when you get back onto the streets you’ll have a stronger strategy when you get to your favorite twisty one lane road.

I haven’t done an All Ladies track day in over 5 years so I decided to fly in and met up with my amazing friend. I booked a room at the Holiday Inn Express nearby in Lancaster and stayed there for the couple of nights I was in town with my friend Brittany.

It’s always fun to ride on the track with your friends, but even if you don’t know anyone a track day is the place where everyone loves riding as much as you do (sometimes more).

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I knew I wouldn’t be able to take Goldie with me (my Street Triple) so I rented one of their beautiful Honda CB500R’s.It was a fully stock bike, and the preload was probably set at the lowest point. I didn’t even think that it might be a possibility to raise the preload on this and wish I had thought of it. The bike is pretty low for a sporty and I ended up scraping the footpegs a few times :) But I had a great time on it overall.

Because this was a special All Ladies Day, we only had 2 riding groups: A (advanced) and B (novice). There wasn’t a need for a middle level group. Normally at an open track day you get a third group as an intermediate level.

I rode in the A group and I thought the group of women I rode with were awesome. Everyone was there to have fun, ride better and just have fun. There’s a different vibe when you ride with all women, it’s just different. I can’t say it’s better or worse because it’s a different experience. If you aren’t familiar with track days then riding your first one in a Ladies only group can feel much easier, less intimidating and more comfortable. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of options for women’s only track days, and but they do come up every now and then.  

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After you check in to let them know you’re there and ready to attend class, it’s time for bike inspection. Since I was riding their bike, I didn’t have to do anything. But you typically need to let their mechanic take a look at your bike and make sure it’s safe and ready to ride on the track.

Depending on the school, they will have different requirements. With CLASS, they really just required basic safety requirements like proper tire pressure and everything in working order. My bike wasn’t even taped up and I rode on the track with all the turn signals and headlights untaped.

Nothing advanced was required like coolant changes or safety wire, and we had several bikes that weren’t even sportbikes!

Then it’s onto the first meeting of the morning. Generally what happens thru the day is you have 20 minutes of riding then ~20-30 minutes of classroom timing to cover concepts that you can then practice on your next session. It ran this way until lunchtime ~1pm with a 1 hour break. Then we resumed until the last session around 430pm.

Me and Brittany listening to the great Reg Pridmore

Me and Brittany listening to the great Reg Pridmore

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Reg was injured recently riding down the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca so he was unable to ride with us that day. He provided almost all the classroom instruction instead. Reg’s message was consistent, respectful and thoughtful:

Focus on riding better on the track so that you will ride better on the street. Skills, technique, focus. Not speed, not riding faster or better than anyone else except yourself.

I have found that I am my worst critic when it comes to life in general, but more so with riding.

 

Sometimes, a corner is just a corner whether it’s on your favorite mountain or backroad. What’s vastly different are the risks you carry on the street (i.e. MUCH higher). On this little track, I just had to worry about how I was riding. No worries about cars, oncoming motorcycles, animals, accidents, traffic or any random obstacles.  

We had ~6 sessions that day back to back with a break for lunch in between. After each session, sometimes before the end of the session even, a coach would give you some polite feedback. Because we had a smaller group that day, we had a lot of coaches available to us that day; about a 2:1 ratio. Normally you have more than a 6:1 ratio of coaches to riders on open track days, but they had brought in a few extra coaches to help out.

PSA: Never try to break in a new suit on the track. It kept me from wanting to lean forward most of the time, it was just so uncomfortable to do anything but sit up straight. :*( 

PSA: Never try to break in a new suit on the track. It kept me from wanting to lean forward most of the time, it was just so uncomfortable to do anything but sit up straight. :*( 

In between sessions we covered additional topics such as body position, where to focus, how to choose your lines, etc. I would say the structure of the class was more relaxed and you were able to practice whatever skills you needed to from session to session. If you needed a coach there was always one available to either follow you or be followed for tips/skills/feedback.

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Initially, I had a couple of coaches who thought I needed a little more assistance than I really needed but I was able to talk to them and let them know exactly what I was trying to accomplish.

At one point, my contacts were drying out (because of alll the fabulous ventilation from my bell race star) and it looked like I was riding like a crazy person. After the session was over I had to explain to him that I was fine, and I was just having trouble seeing!

But after a couple of sessions I was able to ride with Gigi Pridmore, and she gave me the best feedback and helped me with my lines and body positioning which I’m always trying to improve.

One thing I do NOT recommend is buying a new track suit 4 days earlier and then breaking it in on the track :0 This hindered my body positioning greatly. Just getting into the position below was really uncomfortable to where I couldn’t stay over the tank for more than a few minutes without sitting up straight. I was trying to work on body positioning (moving my ass off the seat more) but the suit just wouldn’t let me. (Remember to let customer know this is the worst part of wearing a new suit on the track).

Photo:  eTechPhoto

Photo: eTechPhoto

When bikes are too low, they’re harder to lean further than you want to. But there’s no knee dragging here, just focusing on my lines, speed and consistency.

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Depending on how you learn, what feels good for you one or the other might be better.

As you research various riding schools (basic or advanced), take the time to read about each one and decide for yourself. I’m open to all track classes, no matter what the format.

No matter what track day you choose, remember that it’s not for racing, not just for sportbikes, no just for fast riders but for YOU.

For more information about CLASS including costs, schedules and more: www.classrides.com 

Check out the list of riding schools on my website here including options for OFF Road Training as well.

Bike Night Sponsored by Icon Motosports, Friday the 13th

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Bike Night (Open to the PUBLIC) hosted by Icon Motosports and Motorcycle Service Centers LLC

I'll be in SoCal that weekend for the 13th Annual Women's Sportbike Rally. The rally is going to be kicked off with a bike night that's open to the public. 

Where: 330 Wood Rd Suite I, Camarillo, CA 93010; 6:30pm - 9:00pm

Cost: FREE Bring as many guests to our bike night as you like (on two, three or four wheels or no wheels)

Every motorcycle rider is welcome, regardless of what they ride. Food available for purchase (for the public; FREE for Registered Attendees), Music and more.

A great opportunity for women to meet other women who ride. Every woman rider who registers for our event will receive an incredible goodie bag with discounts and free gifts from our generous sponsors. And you can also register at the bike night! 

For more info about the Rally and how to register visit www.womenssportbikerally.com

Workshops at The Women's Motorcycle Summit, June 9-10, 2018

I'm going to be giving a series of workshops next week at the Women's Motorcycle Summit in Durango, Colorado the week of June 8th. The workshops will be hosted at the local Harley Davidson Durango Dealership. 

My workshops will be taking place Sunday the 9th and Monday the 10th. 

Visit the website for a full schedule including various registration options for just the 2-day workshops or the full week of activities.  

www.womensmotorcyclesummit.com

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How to Be a Better Motorcycle Rider

If you ride a sportyish / performance motorcycle and you're looking to improve your riding skills, consider joining me and my friend Brittany Morrow at an All Women's Track Day with Reg Pridmore's CLASS Motorcycle School. 

You've seen my post about Reg's class before, but this one is even more special. Gigi, his awesome other half is a coach and truly wants to help you become a better rider, no matter what you ride. But especially if you ride a sportbike. 

Our bikes tend to be a bit faster, harder to control sometimes and just challenging to figure out when you've never ridden a sportbike. Or if you're transitioning from a classic/standard riding position to a more aggressive one. It's a completely different style of riding that needs more than just your basic riding course. 

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If you register by March 11th, you can save $50 using code WSR18, courtesy of the Women's Sportbike Rally happening July 13-15, 2018 in Camarillo or September 7-9, 2018 in Deals Gap. 

If you have any questions, post a comment or send an email to info@classrides.com. Or if you have questions about track related gear for women, or anything regarding track days please post a comment! 

If you aren't on a sporty bike, then be sure to check out my advanced course list

I hope to see you there! (I won't be on Goldie, but I'll be renting a Honda from CLASS) :D

 

What Is a Track Day? Common Misconceptions

Nope, I'm not on the Track. I'm on Broad Street in South Philly ;) . 

Nope, I'm not on the Track. I'm on Broad Street in South Philly ;) . 

I've been talking to a lot of people lately about track days. Especially advanced motorcycle training classes. Here are some common questions/comments/thoughts that I hear on a daily / weekly basis when people ask about "track days". 

It's So Dangerous

Creative Commons: Photo/ epSos.de

Creative Commons: Photo/ epSos.de

Somewhat False. You're on a motorcycle, yes, it's dangerous. But it's also dangerous when you're speeding 85+mph on the Interstate up and down I-95. Aside from the parking lot, I would argue that the track is the least dangerous place you could possibly be with your motorcycle. Absolutely NO CARS, PEOPLE, BUILDINGS, BARRIERS, TRUCKS, ETC. Nothing in your way except You and what's in your head. The pavement is smooth, no paint/bumps/obstacles/sidewalks in your bike's way. No trees/bushes/blindcorners. No hills/mountains/animals. Nothing! Isn't that what we get excited about on the street? Have you ever discovered a new road that is perfectly paved, smooth and a dream to ride? Well imagine more of that and you can go even faster than you can almost anywhere else. 

But, of course, track days aren't for people who only like to go straight. If that's your style of riding then you'll probably find the track to be even more challenging. But if you *love* twisties, then the track is where you want to be.  

Okay not all tracks have stars and stripes, but looks how pristine that pavement is at COTA, Austin! 

Okay not all tracks have stars and stripes, but looks how pristine that pavement is at COTA, Austin! 

Plus you are covered head to toe in leather, body armor, toe sliders, back protector, helmet, etc. For many of you, you're wearing far more gear than you'll ever wear elsewhere. More about gear in a bit....  

But I'm Not Racing

Neither was I when I did two track days last year. And same with the one I'm hoping to do this year in April (Ladies Only, with CLASS Rides). My goal and the goal of almost everyone at a track day is NOT to race. In fact, the instructors will probably kick you off the track if you try to do that with your fellow classmates. Anyone riding recklessly without regard for personal safety is usually addressed immediately. Call it proper track day etiquette. You're not there to compete with eachother, you're there to ride safe, have fun and not get hurt. And not hurt anyone else!  

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Recently, Gigi Pridmore of CLASS contacted me to let me know about a special Ladies Only track day coming up on April 11th. She really summed up their track day experience quite eloquently: 

"CLASS is all about being a better, safer street rider. Better at cornering and braking, safer because you’ve practiced on a closed circuit and riding with control becomes second nature. Much more than just a track day, we teach control and technique and make better riders. It’s a great first track day or 100th track day because we help riders of all experience levels." - Gigi Pridmore, CLASS Rides

I totally agree with what she says here. Control, especially how to control your motorcycle in corners is crucial no matter where you're riding. And they can tell if you can/can't. I'm excited to attend in April, I hope you'll join me! 

What's The Point? 

The point is that you are probably riding a bike that was *not really* meant for the street. (ahem: gixxer, r6, daytona, s1000rr, ninja h2/zx-6r owners) You will never be able to ride it the way that it was intended fully on the street. Because while you're trying to push yourself beyond what's safe out there, you are also distracted with having to deal with potential hazards like traffic/cars/people/others (on bikes too).

Ever wish you could push 100-150mph for more than 0.5 seconds because you have to stop / slow down for traffic? And then you have to ride really slow in a straight line because now the 0.5 second of 100+mph you had is over? What if you could make it last longer and then do it over and over again but head into another corner and then another and then another?  It feels SO GOOD to carry that momentum into an actual corner! And don't worry, if you don't know how to do that, a track day is the best place to learn how :) 

But I Don't Know How to Ride The Track

Me with Coach Misty. She was great, giving me tips after every session. It felt great knowing she was watching me as I progressed. Photo:  /eTechPhoto

Me with Coach Misty. She was great, giving me tips after every session. It felt great knowing she was watching me as I progressed. Photo: /eTechPhoto

Of course not! And no one expects you to. What most track organizations will likely expect from you (I've only taken classes from 3 organizations out of the dozens of companies across the US) is that you know how to ride on the street. You have enough control of your motorcycle to go on the freeway comfortably, maybe you've done some long weekend trips. Maybe you've logged 5-10,000 miles commuting on your motorcycle.

Now you're ready to learn more about yourself and your beloved bike. Or you might be like me and switched over from an aggressive riding position to a more upright, comfortable position. And now your new bike feels different than your old one. i wanted to gain more confidence on my Triumph and figure out what I could do differently to be a better rider with it. 

For me, my first track day at New Jersey was intimidating. I'd never been on that track before. It was HUGE, LONG and the corners were fast. Average speeds were well over ~50mph in some parts. I felt awkward at times and really uncomfortable because I didn't know anything about this track. I also wasn't used to that style of riding. My comfort zone has always been mountain roads, tight, twisty, blind corners. Not fast, sweeping, long turns. So figuring out where to look and how was a completely new challenge. 

Photo: The  SBImage , Sept 2016

Photo: The SBImage, Sept 2016

It was really hard figuring out how to go faster without getting lost. Many of the corners are long, sweeping like a really long freeway onramp. Sometimes, I had no idea  where I was, or where I should've been.  The good news is, I took a class with CSS and learned exactly where I needed to be. They showed me almost everything I would need to figure out what I was doing wrong. 

I Don't Have Track Gear

I didn't either. Here I am way back in 2011 on my first real track day with Z2 Track Days' Annual Ladies First Track Day in Thunderhill Raceway in California.  I wore my street leather gear, no knee pucks, no race boots. Just really good street gear. 

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Depending on the organization, they will only require 2 piece textile or leathers that zip together, (no mesh). I've seen riders on the track wearing 1 piece Aerostitch suits. It depends on the school, so call around and see what they say. As long as you have a full face helmet, and full coverage boots and gloves, you should be fine. if you have any questions of course, I hope you'll let me know. 

I Don't Have a Track Bike

I didn't either. And I still don't. I took my street bike to the track. Back in 2011 it was my SV650s. Last year, it was my beloved Street Triple. Although the Suzuki was a better bike on the track, due to the aggressive riding position. But I've seen all different types of motorcycles on the track, and ask anyone who's been to one they'll probably tell you that they've seen more than your typical "track bike". 

If you don't know how to ride within your limits, then yes, you'll probably destroy your bike in the process. Most people riding in their very first track day naturally go a lot slower and ride a bit more carefully because it's intimidating and a completely unfamiliar place. It'll take you awhile to get used to the feel / idea of being on the track too. If anything, it'll probably humble you quite a bit and really show you what you don't know how to do. 

But some schools also offer rentals like CLASS, which offers Honda CBR 300 and 500s. And Yamaha Champions offers Yamahas. So you don't always have to ride your own bike. Many track day organizations offer bike rentals, you just have to ask. 

Something else to consider are track days that are specifically focused on street riding like Z2's Road Rider 2.0 Course. The curriculum is totally different from a traditional track day too. There are lots of other courses like this offered from other organizations as well, like Yamaha Champions "ChampStreet" course. 

Me with my track buddy :)

Me with my track buddy :)

But I Don't Know Anyone

That's okay! The track is one of the BEST places to make friends. You will meet so many awesome people who are there to have fun and share their excitement with everyone there. 

And if you do want to go with someone, get a few friends to go with you! Or, if they won't bite, ask them to just go with you and support your day at the track. Any kind of support whether it's from friends who ride or don't ride always feels great. 

Take a look at this list of beyond basic riding classes I put together for you. There are so many options out there, I'm sure I missed a few.

But if you're still not ready for a track day, I hope you'll consider intermediate or advanced training to keep your skills fresh. Motorcycling is something that requires constant supervision, practice and attention to stay proficient. 

Rubber Side Down. 

Speaking Event: Beautiful Bikers Conference

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I'm excited to announce another event that I'll be attending and speaking at! 

www.beautifulbikers.com

The 5th Annual Beautiful Bikers Conference is taking place in Dallas, TX.  I'll be participating on a special industry panel with my fellow female industry professionals. I'll also help with hosting the fashion show that showcases a variety of women's motorcycle gear available on the market. 

If you're going to be in town for the motorcycle show, then carve out a few hours to attend this event. It's going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear such a unique variety of female industry professionals speak in one place. 

And a Special Discount for GearChic.com readers: visit www.beautifulbikers.com to register and use code: GEARCHIC to save $15 off of registration.