scooters

How Confidence Affects Women and Motorcycling

 Me, feeling supremely confident on my '12 Street Triple R. But it wasn't always that way.

Me, feeling supremely confident on my '12 Street Triple R. But it wasn't always that way.

Learning to ride a motorcycle is certainly about confidence. The majority of mine came from learning to ride the right bikes and increasing my skillset dramatically from bike to bike.

But there was always a small chunk of it that came from me telling myself that I could and "eff it". If something happens, I'll deal with it or call for help or whatever. I'm not going to be afraid of it anymore.

But keep in mind, that absolutely has to be within reason like when I decided to take the Ninja 250 to work instead of my scooter. I just went the 40 minute route to work (avoiding busy thoroughfares like Van Ness Avenue and Steep ass hills like Gough Street). I had already been commuting on my scooter to work for a year. This wasn't a huge jump from what I had already been doing. It was totally realistic given my experience and what I had been doing previously.

 Me in 2006 on my first "long" ride outside of San Francisco to Half Moon Bay, a whopping 50 minutes one way!

Me in 2006 on my first "long" ride outside of San Francisco to Half Moon Bay, a whopping 50 minutes one way!

This article says what I've witnessed and experienced personally in my 15 years of riding and helping other women learn to ride and talking to them about riding. And certainly my work life too. Why aren't we as confident from the get go? What is it about many of us (not all, I know, but more than most I'm sure) that holds us back from succeeding other than some of the most common mistakes new riders make ?

When all of our ducks are in a row, we still feel like we don't deserve it or are that good. I still feel like I'm terrible at riding at times. I'm terrible at nailing my lines every time I go riding, I'm terrible at braking. I'm terrible at cornering. I mean, okay I'm not horrific in that I crash every time I ride, but when I do go out I'm constantly critiquing myself and trying to figure out what I could've done better to take that particular corner better/faster/smoother. Is that just a regular aspect of riding? I'm guessing many of my male readers are going to argue that "of course, I think that too".

But how many of you think that way in your everyday life as many women have experienced per this article?

Riding as many of us know is 90% mental, 10% physical (that's why YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE ABLE TO PICK UP YOUR MOTORCYCLE to ride it).

I recently joined this cool interactive panel of my fellow women riders about how we got into riding and some of the barriers we ran into along the way. There are some really great tips and advice here that I think many of you can relate to:

https://www.cake.co/conversations/HKn99Mb/a-panel-of-women-who-motorcycle-what-it-s-like-in-a-sport-with-a-bad-boy-vibe

So if something is holding you back, what do you think that is?

Cool Reflective Accessories for Your Motorcycle

rydesafe reflective decals bicycles motorcycles helmets Woo hoo! Reflective stuff! Ok, maybe I'm the only nerd that gets excited about bright objects. But I like wearing black when it comes to my motorcycle gear. I look good in it too, what can I say? :P But I know that I need to somehow make up for all the darkness with some bright reflectives to stay visible and safe as possible. So here's a few accessories I like that can help you too.

Wearing Hi-Viz Yellow or Orange is certainly a great way to be seen by more people. There's no guarantee that you'll be seen by every person, but certainly reduces the risks in my opinion. However, for me, the bright color isn't enough for riding at night.

It doesn't matter how bright your clothes are if they aren't reflective, I really believe in lots of reflective pieces so when light hits you it reflects.

So here are 3 reflective accessories that I wanted to share that I really think are cool to use.

1/ Reflective Decals, RydeSafe

"RydeSafe Reflective Decals are cut from an engineering-grade “conspicuity film” which contains microscopic glass spheres that reflect light back to its source. So no matter what direction the light is coming from, our stickers reflect it back. In the case of a pair of headlights, RydeSafe Reflective Decals reflect it right back to the driver’s eyes resulting in a more visible and thus safer user." - rydesafe.com

IMG_8540IMG_8541

They have a few different shape / pattern options. I opted for the chain links (white) and the modular kit (purple). I found mine on Amazon but you can buy them directly on their website as well. (Unfortunately they're still running an old promo code from October on the main page, so they're not on sale).

Even if you don't like these, just hop on eBay or Google and you'll find your favorite sports teams, animals, shapes, motorcycle manufacturers and more in the form of reflective decals. You're sure to find something you want to wear!

2/ Reflective Vests

There are a lot of vest options on the market. I still love my Spectrum vests, although they did close their business this past year.  The previous owner told me that it should be back next year under new management. They used a really really bright reflective tape that was Coast Guard worthy. If I do have to ride at night, I always wear my vest!

Spectrum Vest in Regular Light IMG_2643

You'll find a lot of different vests to choose from, including options from the bicycling world. But as a motorcyclist I would try to find a vest that uses CE / EN Certified Fabrics (less likely to fade) and 3M Scotchlite Reflective Tape (even more visible, durable). These materials make a much brighter difference at highway speeds.

 

3/ Reflective Paracord

reflective paracord

I just found these on Amazon from Paracord Planet. These photos show how reflective this rope really is. I love the idea of making a dog leash out of it. I shared it with my fabulous dogsitter so she could use it too :)

reflective_paracord

reflective_paracord2

 

I bought neon yellow and purple. My plan is to weave them together somehow and then run them through the loops on the top of my Kriega R20 Backpack since the logos are the only reflective pieces. Sometimes I ride home at night with my backpack on so I want to add as much reflective as I can!

Kriega R20 Backpack

4/ 3M Reflective Tape

3M Reflective Tape Roll

I bought a roll of this on Amazon so I could make my own patterns for my last helmets. I found a ton of rolls in various colors and widths there too.

I've also started a Pinterest board to collect these ideas; check them out here.

If you have any cool reflective accessories that you like using, please share!

Multiseason Jacket for SoCal Scootering?

dainese_arya_womens_jacket Reader Melissa is searching for the ultimate stylish, versatile riding jacket for zipping around town on her scooter in Southern California (lucky girl). I gave her a few ideas which I think will work well and look great. 

Your website is super great!!!! Thank you for putting together all of this information. I have been going through it for a while as I didn't want to take your time without first reading all the information you've provided.

I've been riding a scooter for a couple years but have never had a jacket that fits me (I got one with the scooter and have worn it). I know, terrible. I am looking to purchase one now. My priority is safety and non leather. I'm also interested though in something that will do well in various weather conditions. I live in Long Beach, CA so the weather is usually nice; however, like you, I'm often COLD, particularly on morning rides to work. But then I would love it if one jacket would also serve me well in the summer. Is this too much to ask??

The ones I've found through your site that I like are:

  • spidi: maybe the street tex lady, dynamite tex, I don't know, I like a number of theirs style-wise
  • Corazzo 5.0 but I'm not sure this would be warm enough and maybe the sky ladies textile jacket (not too sure about this one though). This is based on what you've said about safety and also on my preference in style, I don't like to do a lot of advertising for companies :-)
  • Style-wise I've liked the spidi jackets most of what I've seen but it's hard to tell online and I'm totally open to suggestions!
  • I also like that the corazzo is made in the usa.

If you have input I would LOVE to hear it! No hurry though, I appreciate any time you have reply whenever that may be. Thank you. Melissa

(5'2", 35.5 bust, 29.5 waist, 36 hips)

 

Hello Melissa,

Thanks for your email!
based on your measurements and riding conditions, you are probably not going to fit any of the ones you recommended. My rec for you is one of the following (each has more colors as well):

1/ Revit Tornado, size 36

It's a meshed jacket on the outside with a removable thermal, waterproof liner on the inside. If you think that'll still be too cold, then I would recommend #2 or #3.
revit_tornado_womens_jacket

2/ Revit Indigo jacket, size 36

The outer shell is solid, but lightweight. It has 2 removable liners instead of 1 like the tornado. One is waterproof and the other one is warm.
revit_indigo_womens_jacket_silver

3/ Dainese Katy Jacket, size 40

(their sizing is different from Revit)
It's not waterproof, just warm with the removable thermal liner.
dainese_katy_womens_jacket

4/ Dainese Arya Jacket, size 40

This one is a bit more expensive than Katy because it's a different fabric that has a stretchyness to it, along with water repellency. Also designed for more than just city riding. Whereas Katy is designed as a City jacket which implies less abrasion resistance for highway speeds.

dainese_arya_womens_jacket
#1 is the best option for the most ventilation in the summer temperatures (~80s-90s). Whereas #2-#4 are ideal for ~50s-60s-70s. If however, you're one of those who even gets chilly at 80 then you'll absolutely love these options instead :D
Each one is minimally branded but every jacket will have branding so it's impossible to avoid. But I think these fit the simple bill. And it's up to you to upgrade each jacket with a proper back protector, which I can definitely recommend if you need options.
Although I do like the brands and styles you mentioned, the bottom line is that at your size none of them offer the versatility you're seeking. Also, I find that at your measurements, these brands I've suggested do the Best job in terms of tailoring and fitment for petite body types. Alpinestars is also another brand that does a great job. However, they don't have a jacket that fits your needs as well as Revit and Dainese. When you put on a Rev'it or Dainese, there's no denying the fit and I just know that you'll love how all of them look and feel.
I know they may not fall exactly in line with your style requirements, but if you want to achieve the best fit (which is tied directly to the safety aspect of the garment) then I would really consider one of the options above instead.
Happy Scootering!

How Not to Design a "Women's" Product

 

So many parallels to the motorcycle world in this article by arstechnica, "Flowchart: How Not to Design a Woman's Tech Product"

I find that it's a constant struggle for manufacturers of motorcycles/accessories/apparel to properly market to women. It's still a man's world, in that there are too many men at the top making these decisions. Instead of real women who ride and know what other women riders like / want / need.

Here's to a better 2014....

Recommendations for Women's Motorcycle Boots

Sidi Womens Motorcycle Boots Updated 6/11/2013

Hopefully you've read my personal philosophy about riding boots. If not, I highly recommend taking a look before passing on the idea of investing a pair of boots that offer more protection than those cute, really stylish "motorcycle" boots that you saw at the mall.

The main difference between a protective riding boot and those cute, wedgy Cole Haan, Nine West or other boots you're thinking about wearing is protection. I'll say it again, PROTECTION. This time in bold. PROTECTION.

I don't know what it is, but many riders (including myself, back when I was a noob) forget about their feet. Our feet do almost everything on our motorcycles! Braking, stopping, shifting. It's so important to have this part of our body covered too.

As I mention in my boots overview, one of the main jobs your boots are supposed to do is to keep your feet from being crushed. Not by a car, not by a truck, but just by your own motorcycle!  The fact that you're small ankle bones are vulnerable to the weight of your 400-500lb beast is more than enough to brake, fracture or shatter bones in your feet/ankles.  I'm not saying boots will eliminate the possibility of injury, but just like the rest of our gear, they minimize the risk. I'll take a fracture or sprain over a break/shattering any day!

So I'm going to give you a few recommendations for real boots that offer real protection where you need them. These are all comfortable for walking, breathable, waterproof and will last you a good 3-5 years with almost daily wear and tear. They're all meant to be worn under your riding pants. Although there may be space to tuck your jeans in, if you're wearing actual motorcycle pants then you're going to wear them over the boots.

All of the sport touring style boots below (non track looking) would also be perfect on a scooter. Super comfortable and a clean look.

Keep in mind that none of these offer the protection that a track boot offers in terms of extra ankle support/bracing, shin protection and reinforcement in key impact points. But they offer way more protection than those hiking boots, doc martens, horseback riding or sneakers you're wearing, so save up some money and invest in a pair of Real riding boots!

Alpinestars Gran Torino GORE-TEX®

Alpinestars womens motorcycle boot

MSRP $299.95, RoadRider San Jose (local) Although these aren't on the Alpinestars website, they are the newest introduction for the women's line for Spring 2012.

Daytona Ladystar GORE-TEX®

Daytona Ladystar womens motorcycle boots

I want to recommend these SO bad, but they're very difficult to get from Germany right now. Here's a link to my review and where you can call to find out about availability and how they saved my feet over and over again. They offer 2 inches of additional vertical height, the most of any women's (protective motorcycle) boot currently on the market (not including high heel boots, no) 

Dainese Siren

Dainese Womens Motorcycle Boot

MSRP $229.00 Revzilla (online), DStore San Francisco (local) Euro sizes 36-42

The Siren I believe is an updated version of the previous Dainesella boot. I really like the styling on these.  These also feature a 3/4 length zipper to allow for ample calf space.  These also have a fairly narrow fit in the toebox as the toes are a little bit more tapered (not pointy, just not super round).

 

Dainese Luma GTX

Dainese Luma GTX Women's Motorcycle Boots waterproof gore-tex

MSRP $219.95 Revzilla (online), DStore San Francisco (local) Euro sizes  36-42 (~US 5.5 - 9.5)

The Luma is essentially the lower half of the Siren, which is fantastic if you have any issues finding boots to fit your calves! These are also fully waterproof with a GORE-TEX liner, which is a really great deal at this price point. I think these offer the most heel height next to the Daytonas.

 

Gaerne Rose

Gaerne Rose Womens Motorcycle Boots

MSRP $209.95 Revzilla (online), Gaerne.com Euro sizes  35-42

Read my review here.

I had to go up a full size to fit into these, to a 38, because they were sooo narrow, especially at the entry. Order one full size up and you'll be much happier. They'll break in over time, as will any leather boot.  If you have narrowish feet, you'll like the fit especially around the ankles and the arch. I think the zippers are a little skinny, so I'd use a zipper pull on them to make on and off easier, and it won't wear out as quickly. You can really tell the quality of a good boot (motorcycling or otherwise) by the quality of the zipper. Out of all the riding boots I've tried on, these have the narrowest calf fitment since the zipper goes all the way to the top. I have a 14" calf measurement and they fit me perfectly.

 

Sidi Livia Rain

Sidi Liva Rain Boots, Water Resistant

MSRP $220.00 www.motonation.com Revzilla (online), Roadrider (local)

The Livia is an update to the old Jasmine. In addition to the styling changes, they've added more reflective features and a reinforced toe shifter.  Very calf friendly, with a 3/4 zipper and velcro adjustment.  The fitment on Sidis is generally wider around the ankles, heels and calves. If you need more space in those areas, you'll appreciate the fit profile on these. Otherwise, consider the Dainese or Gaernes for a snugger overall fit.

 

TCX Aura

TCX Lady Aura Motorcycle Boots

MSRP $219.99 Revzilla (online), TCXboots.com Euro sizes 38-42 (their website says they're offered starting at 35/US 5, but it doesn't look like that size is available through any retailers.) I'm usually a 7, and I wear a 37 in these.  Very calf friendly, with a 3/4 zipper and velcro adjustment. The toebox is tapered, (not pointy but not super round) so you may find them to be a little tight up there if you have a wider foot.

 

Want Even More Protection?

Maybe it's your first track day or you're looking for something for all around street riding. Here are some ideas. Keep in mind that these are designed a little more towards performance and more protection. They also have a very sporty, forward articulated riding position in the ankles. If you're riding an upright dual sport/ standard or cruiser, these will be far more uncomfortable than the sport touring styles above.

 

Alpinestars Stella SMX-5

 Womens Street Motorcycle Boots

MSRP $239.95 Euro 36-44 Alpinestars.comRoadRider (local)

These are based on the men's SMX-5, offering the same features/function. Everyone I know who has these boots love the way they fit and feel. I'm told that in general, Alpinestars are more comfortable, but I think that's going to depend on your feet and what fits you the best. These fit generally snug all the way around (ankles, heels/arches).

Dainese ST Avant Race Lady

Dainese Womens Street Motorcycle Boots

MSRP $299.95 www.dainese.comDstore San Francisco (local) Something that's a little different from other boots is the rear zipper, making it easier to step in and out.  This one is also vegan friendly, made of Lorica instead of cowhide. These fit generally snug all the way around (ankles, heels/arches).

 

Sidi Fusion Lei

Sidi Womens Motorcycle Boots Fusion

MSRP $215.00

www.motonation.comRoadRider (local) Read my review here.

 

Sidi Vertigo Lei

Sidi Vertigo Womens Motorcycle Boots

MSRP $300.00 www.motonation.comRoadRider (local)

Read my review here.

If you're a fan of pink, you can still find last year's patent leather black and pink style in local dealerships, online or on MotoNation's website.   The Vertigo offers more protection than the Fusion and would be a great track boot with the extra heel and calf protection, as well as additional calf space adjustment to accommodate leathers.

 

Motorcycle Gift Idea, Moto Shop Gift Card

  heated grips installation south san francisco bay area moto shop sv650

(There I am installing my sexy Oxford Heated Grips. Ooooooo heat) 

If you've never heard of Moto Shop, go Now! 

Moto Shop is the first do-it-yourself motorcycle shop in South San Francisco, CA. All you need is to ride your motorcycle or scooter into the shop and they will have almost everything you need to fix or spruce up your bike. Stations can be rented hourly, daily or monthly. 

bay area moto shop

Mechanics are also available to help you (but not do the work for you) depending on the nature of your repairs. They also have a ton of classes for you to learn everything from adjusting the sensitive valves on your Ducati to changing your own oil (sooo easy and so cheap to do yourself!)

Pick up a gift card today for your favorite motorcycle or scooter enthusiast. See all the pricing options here

National Plug In Day, San Francisco 2012

Brammo Enertia Electric Motorcycle San Francisco Scuderia West

(riding up California Street towards Powell Street)

Today I rode out to Crissy Field on my Brammo with Crystal and Don from Scuderia West, as well as a few other Brammo riders to make a presence at the National Plug In Day event hosted by Nissan. It's always great telling people how much fun it is to ride one around the City. 

 

Ride Review on Asphalt & Rubber

GearChic Photo Courtesy of: Riles & Nelson

Check out this scooter review I wrote for Asphalt & Rubber on the 2012 Yamaha Zuma 50F Scooter. You know you want one!

Big thanks to Dainese and the D-Store San Francisco for providing the G.Alice Tex Jacket and Drake Air Textile Pants.  My Shoei Qwest Goddess helmet, AlpineStars Stella Tyla gloves and Gaerne Rose boots were provided by GearChic.

I'll be collaborating a bit more with my friends at A&R in the coming months, so stay tuned. :D