luggage

9 Days Til Christmas, Kriega R20 Backpack

The Kriega R20 Backpack is one of my favorite moto accessories. I've never worn any other backpack that was this comfortable to ride with. Fits my frame perfectly, not too small and not too big, just right for daily essentials like lunch, a change of shoes and an ipad and a small purse. If you want something for a 2-3 day weekend then an R25 is in order. But for the daily commuter, this is a must.

And today only, Revzilla is having a 10% off Kriega Sale. How convenient!

 

Only 16 Days Til Christmas

My husband got this little handlebar bag for his Speed Triple last year and it's the *perfect* little bag. All the motorcycle needs is a handlebar to attach the bag with velcro. Minimal installation.

The Giant Loop Zigzag Handlebar bag retails for $55 and works on a variety of motorcycles including dirtbikes, cruisers, tourers, nakeds and classics. And it's just large enough for essentials: wallet, smartphone, keys, chapstick. Although i'm able to add a couple more small things like my sunglasses and garage door opener. I would call it water resistant since the zippers aren't sealed, so be sure to throw your wallet and phone into a tough little LokSak first. 

 

 

An Open Letter to New Women Riders

 

So you just decided to get into riding motorcycles. WELCOME! We are so happy to have you. But before we get on the road, I just want to let you know a few things because I want you to know what you can expect. And I know there's a lot to learn. 

I've seen so many new women join the ranks of fellow motorcyclists. And I'm SO happy to see that! More women, the merrier! As a women's gear enthusiast, the focus of my message is more about you, not your motorcycle.

Something that I keep seeing that's really really difficult to swallow is the fact that many of you are simply wearing what you have in your regular closet. And this is especially disconcerting because it seems that you just don't know any better. Almost as if no one in your world has bothered to mention:

"Hey, you know that jacket you're wearing won't do anything to prevent you from breaking your elbow, or shoulder or getting road rash" or

"Hey, those boots are going to slip out from under you when you put your foot down on slippery pavement or an oil patch" or

"Hey, that open face helmet is still exposing your face and mouth, which are the most vulnerable parts in a crash" 

I feel like for some of us, this is definitely a no brainer. But that's easier when you've grown up around motorcycles, or you have a lot of motorcycle friends, or are really familiar with motorcycle culture. But when you're BRAND, spanking NEW and this is a totally alien planet to you, it's just not common sense yet. Because the little bit of motorcycling you've probably been exposed to is limited to movies, tv, movies and tv. And we can all agree that real life isn't portrayed quite right in the movies or tv.

So that's what me and my fellow female motorcyclists are here to tell you. The reality is that your body NEEDS gear. It NEEDS to be protected. And that you ARE vulnerable.

My elbow post accident, and that's while wearing really good gear. Just imagine what that would've been like without any at all!

My elbow post accident, and that's while wearing really good gear. Just imagine what that would've been like without any at all!

My Revit Jacket held up great in a 40-45mph lowside. It really doesn't take that much. I wasn't racing, just riding at the speed limit into an easy right hand curve.

My Revit Jacket held up great in a 40-45mph lowside. It really doesn't take that much. I wasn't racing, just riding at the speed limit into an easy right hand curve.

I was crossing the street this morning while walking my dog, and a care went speeding by down our residential street going at least 30mph when they really should be going 15mph. I had a quick vision of that person not seeing me and hitting me as I crossed the street. The tremendous force of that would've thrown me a good 20-30 feet from where I stood. And you can only imagine how my body would make out from something like that.

But now imagine wearing a full face, Snell approved helmet. And then head to toe protective gear with body armor covering your shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and spine. And then boots with ankle protection and reinforced soles, heels and toes. Now how would I make out?

As a brand new rider, it might seem like you could never get hurt because you're not "racing". I hear that SO much when people ask me about what gear they should buy. And it's quite the opposite! There are FAR MORE choices for casual, functional, real street motorcycle gear than what's available for the racetrack. Because there are probably more of us on the street. In some cases, you might get hurt far more on the street than you will on the track. The constant stop and go traffic patterns make us vulnerable to being struck as we're moving, and the last thing you want is for someone *else* to stop your motorcycle for you!

I also find it ironic that if you're riding around with just a tank top and nothing else, that you obviously are proud of your body. And have no trouble showing it off to everyone who sees you driving that motorcycle. But, the minute someone cuts you off, merges into you or turns left in front of you (which is a constant occurrence in Philly) then you're going to lose what you've just shown everyone that you value so very much.

But I want to assure you of one thing, you can absolutely look fantastic while being safe and protected. No, you won't have the exact same clothes as you are probably wearing right now on the motorcycle. But you can definitely get really, really close. If you're in it for the Look of riding motorcycles, and not the Feel, then you're in for a world of hurt. And a really expensive hospital bill, and a week / weeks / month / months off of work, and a bruised ego and whatever else comes out of you making an uninformed, uneducated choice.

And Last but certainly not Least, meet my friend Brittany of RockTheGear.org. She has an incredibly painful but inspiring story to tell which I think every new rider should read before they learn to ride their motorcycle. There's absolutely no way for me to tell her story since it can only really be told by her words. Read her story and then make see if you can still make the same decision.

Me and Brittany Morrow at the Women's Sportbike Rally East, 2015

Me and Brittany Morrow at the Women's Sportbike Rally East, 2015

If after you've figured out everything that can possibly happen, and you still choose to wear very little or nothing at all then More power to you.  And I honestly applaud your ability to take those kinds of risks, where I'm just a big wimp. There's a huge difference between knowing what's coming and making your own decisions vs. having absolutely no clue and making the most uninformed, uneducated choice that can result in living with regret.

#atgatt

(all the gear all the time)

Cool Motorcycle? Travel Bag

rolo bag This travel bag seems like something many of us could use while on a cross country road trip! Or somewhere like that? 

This isn't a motorcycle specific bag, but something that's available from BoingBoing's online store.

It might look like this bag is huge but it's only 16" x 6"! What a great idea, a bag that rolls up that you can throw over your shoulder or strap to your seat if you're riding with it. It's not waterproof enough to ride through a thunderstorm but I'm sure you could find a waterproof bag for it somehow. I probably wouldn't use it for riding, but would use it as an overnight bag or weekend bag. Or if you have big cases or luggage, this could fit inside and be convenient to hold your most useful items.

For $45, I think it's a pretty cool idea. Read more about this nifty bag here.

 

Kriega R20 Backpack

Kriega R20 Backpack  

More Birthday Loot! I forgot to post my birthday backpack; this cute Kriega R20. I currently have the R25 which I do love, but I'll admit it's a bit big on me.

For my birthday, my wonderful friend Dimitry bought me the R20. I love it! The only thing I want to change is the mostly black exterior. So I hopped onto Amazon and found reflective paracord, who knew such a thing existed?

reflective paracord

I bought yellow and purple. I'm going to weave them together and make a little rope that runs through the loops on the top of the backpack (which are mainly there for you to add the 5 or 10L packs for extra storage).

Whooop!

Now I'll have some more visibility from the back (and some cute color!) while riding. I'll have a full review posted soon as well.

Thanks Kriega for making such a great little bag for me to play with.

Saddleman Tail Bag for your Sportbike

Saddlemen Sport Tunnel Tail Bag triumph speed triple daytona street triple I definitely see the value in a tailbag that has top access, since my Kriega packs don't. 

This Saddlemen Sport Tunnel Tail Bag looks like a cool tailbag if you have a tiny rear seat like on a Speed Triple, Daytona 675 or similar. A customer came in recently and purchased one for her Daytona 675. It looks like the straps work under the seat so if you don't have any mount points below, this should work well.

Another bag I recommend for top access is the Cortech Super 2.0 Tail Bag (available in 14L or 24L), but you do need external mount points to attach this to your seat. Cortech also offers an optional rain cover if you choose the larger 24L option.

cortech super 2.0 tailbag

Great Bag for Riding Your Motorcycle at Night

timbuk2_custom_bag_reflective I was driving home earlier tonight and I passed quite a few bicyclists who were not only riding down a one way street in the wrong direction, but also wearing absolutely NOTHING that made them noticeable at night. Argh. I try to look out for anyone on two wheels but it's definitely not easy when they're practically wearing all black. Scary.

I love my custom Timbuk2 bag, which I specifically chose reflective material for. It's also 100% waterproof and the perfect size. If you go to their website, you can customize it based on fit and laptop size. Lots of colors and fabrics to choose from too. You can even go ALL reflective! The material is day and night reflective, and sticks out like a sore thumb at night.

Ride Safe and Reflective!

alpinestars_vika

 

 

Ride Report: Central Pennsylvania

coveredbridge_PA-1.jpg

Our first road trip through Pennsylvania. Having just moved from CA, I knew that finding worthy twisty roads was going to be a challenge.  

Almost ready to go!

The Gear

We loaded up the bikes, each of us carrying 20L of Kriega Packs on our backseat. Because look at those backseats, they're tiny! Since we were preparing for hot weather, we both packed ultra light. (3 nights, 4 days in 20Liters; not normal for me. I usually need all 40L). On the Speed Triple, we have 2 US-10 Liter packs and on the SV I have one US-20. I offered to carry all of it but someone was being chivalrous. Honestly, I can't tell the difference between having just one or all 3 even fully loaded!

As far as myself, I wore my hybrids, Revit Galactic and Gear 2's, which were perfect for the 70s-80s that we were riding in. Looking back I should've worn my Schuberth C3ProW but decided to go with my Arai Vector-2 since it flows so much more direct air. I was expecting a really hot weekend of riding so I opted for the lighter option. It was my first time riding a considerable distance on my new to me ride, without a fairing and windscreen. We also spent a lot of time on more scenic roads and the winds were pretty miserable. I know the Schuberth would've been quieter and a bit more stable at speed; and since it was cooler than I expected less wind in my face!

dreibelbis_covered_bridge_pa

For the man, we picked up a new mesh Dainese Air-3 jacket (Euro 54; 5'11", 210lbs) for him, which he says flows an incredible amount of air. Definitely too much for 70s-80s but perfect for the hottest riding conditions. A pair of Alpinestars GP Air gloves  followed him home as well, a really nice pair of summer gloves with a nice balance of protection and ventilation.

dainese air 3 jacket

Sidenote: this jacket is available all the way down to Euro 44 / US Women's 6. If you dont have a huge hip differential (more than 2-3 inches between the difference of your waist and hip measurements) then it's a great option for women too.

I also want to mention this cute little handlebar bag that the man wanted for his S3 instead of a tank bag. It had just enough space to keep basically what you see below; wallet, keys, small necessities. The GiantLoop Zigzag Handlebar Bag, $52.25 on Revzilla.com.

Zigzag Handlebar Bag-1

Friday July 4

I prepared a mighty route, mostly off the interstate/turnpike. Lots of local roads. We spent about 30 minutes on Interstate 76 before reaching 422.

philly2williamsport

The highlight of the route was 125 to Shamokin. It was definitely the longest stretch of a twisty road, maybe 10-15 miles? I figured out how to make a step by step map via google maps! It's 225 miles, about 6-7 hours from start to finish with quick breaks here and there.

Actually a really nice mix of sweepers and a few tight turns. I'd call it more of a beginner road, not really technical. This was one of the nice stretches of open space on 125, just beautiful. After we got to Shamokin, it was late so we decided on a more direct route from 61 West to 15 North and didn't get to explore the route I planned after that point. :(

somewhere in PA

shamokin route 125 pennsylvania twisty

A nice view coming up 125

Budget Inn Williamsport

I would say that most of the roads were very scenic, with some nice sections of twisties here and there. Being a California girl, my standards are high. Probably too high. But it was definitely one of the best roads I've ridden in PA so far. We also made a point to ride it again on the way back home.

However, one thing that did meet my expectations was the motel we stayed in. Motel price, but much much nicer than other motels I've stayed at. It's a family owned motel, very reasonably priced (less than $80/night), non smoking, and pet friendly! We were able to park right out front too

nice, clean motel in williamsport - Budget Inn Williamsport

Since we rolled in rather late on 4th of July we ended up ordering from Little Caesar's Pizza, the only thing open in town. We planned a route for Saturday, pretty ambitious because our goal was to ride as many of the twisty roads we could find. A couple weeks before we left, MadMaps generously sent me a set of maps for Pennsylvania! Check out everything they have to offer on their website.

maps pennsylvania roads motorcycles

Saturday July 5

The day started with breakfast at the Texas Diner in nearby Lockhaven (tasty and cheap!). We decided to ride a few different parts of several different routes. We definitely found some fun stretches, lots of scenic routes that really showcased how beautiful the state of Pennsylvania is once you leave the big city.

somewhere in PA, shot on the new GoPro Hero 3+

Riding with Sue!

Our goal that day was to check out the Pine Creek Gorge, aka Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. Our route started out like this out of Williamsport:

220 North --> 44 North --> 144 North --> 6 East --> 362 East

Since Sue was leading us into the park entrance, I'm not entirely sure where we entered. We took the turnoff from 6 and then entered on the North end to Leonard Harrison State Park. There was even free motorcycle parking right in front.

pine creek gorge PA

pine creek gorge pa

Unfortunately my mind is a blur as to what our return route was back to Williamsport. All I know is that we rode about 400 miles that day and it was a lovely ride back. Since we rolled in around 7pm we decided to pick up sandwiches and enjoy a nice meal outside.

Sunday July 6

I don't want to mention breakfast because it was rather sad, not nearly as good as the Texas Diner, so go there! Sunday's route was a little different:

williamsport to punxsatawney

Welcome to Punxsutawney!

After we all got our photos in, we decided to head back. Unfortunately this is where we decided on an improvised route. All I can remember is that we got over to 219 South and stopped at 22 for a gas break. :-(

Monday July 7

The good news, I saved my ride route back home! I overlapped a few roads without knowing it.

Williamsport to Philadelphia

Williamsport to Philadelphia

I basically looked at google maps and picked the twistiest routes I could. Of course, we had to do 125 again. The best part was stumbling upon 2018 and the covered bridge! It was beautiful, just like in the movies. I've never ridden or driven through one before. We found it off 143 just south of Lenhartsville. It's on the left, less than 2 miles south. You need to look for it because if you don't, you'll pass it. We were so excited we forgot to take pics of the front. But here are some awesome pics of the back!

the covered bridge! built in 1896

cool house at the end of a covered bridge

covered bridge hwy 143 Dreibelbis Station Bridge

following someone thru the bridge

Looking at the map, the road behind the bridge looked really fun too.

We hit some traffic on the way back into Philadelphia so the entire day was a long one, leaving at 10am and getting home at 6:30pm. I'd say we were out riding every day from 9am to 6pm. Overall we rode ~1,100 miles and I enjoyed almost all of it, except for my horrible stock seat. We can't wait to send our seats to this guy in Florida: A Great Day to Ride. The riders on the Triumph Rat forums swear by him, and for the price I can't say no. Especially since we can do both of our seats for the cost of one Sargent or Corbin.

sue and gin 2

riding with women

I also have to mention my wonderful friends, Sue and Gin of the Women's Motorcyclist Foundation. Between the two of them they have well over 1,000,000 miles (literally) under their belts from all the roads they've ridden over the years. They won't stop riding even though they technically "should" due to them being at the age of "retirement". Not likely, anytime soon. I've learned so much from these two, I'll never stop riding until I absolutely, positively have to. They're living proof that riding motorcycles keeps you young :)

To sum it all up, I have to rate the riding as scenic, and nothing like the technical riding we have in CA. I know that there were a LOT of roads we didn't explore, because they didn't appear to be fully paved. If we all had dual sport bikes, I know we would've been more adventurous to find out what all these little roads were like. I found a TON of twisty routes in my atlas but none of them were clearly paved. I don't mind exploring every now and then and may do that on my next ride because I don't care if I hit some sand or gravel. If it's too much I'll just uturn. But I feel like there were a lot of potentially amazing roads that just need a slightly different bike...

Next Trip: Either up north to NY mountains or south to VA. Stay tuned!

Tankbag Alternative, Giant Loop Zigzag Handlebar Bag

Zigzag-Handlebar-Bag-1.jpg

To prepare for our first ride across PA, the man wanted something smaller than a tank bag, but not a tank bag. He found this on Revzilla.com (there's always SO much stuff on that website :P) by Giant Loop, the Zigzag handlebar bag. I love their description at the bottom: FITS THESE MOTORCYCLE MAKES & MODELS
• BMW, KTM, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Ducati, Husqvarna, Triumph
• JUST ABOUT ANY MOTORBIKE

Indeed, it fit his S3 perfectly. It doesn't take up much space, you can barely see it here on his bike (right):

So beautiful!

New Reviews! Arai and Kriega

araivector2_white kriega_US10pack These are long overdue reviews that I'm finally posting. The first is of my beloved Arai Vector 2 Helmet. If you want to step up your game and invest in an incredible helmet, then you can't go wrong with Arai.

The second one is the Kriega Universal Tailpack System. I love this system because for those of us with tiny rear seats, saddlebag systems can be too wide or just not a perfect fit. They can also add width which interferes with swerve clearance and can redistribute the weight. I love these for my SV650 and I think you will too.