ATGATT

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)

What Not To Wear While Riding Motorcycles

3/14/16 UPDATE It seems that writing about "motorcycle gear" is a common theme for Vogue as I've found another article about going on a date on motorcycles... *sigh*

Yes, going out on a date on your motorcycle is really really fun. But *not* when you're only wearing a tank top and high heels. It's no wonder the public's perception of riding motorcycles is what it is. And why you see so many women wearing nothing while they jump on the back of their friend's bike, or in the front.

My Original Post on 10/25/2014: 

Recently Vogue Magazine interviewed a few "Biker Babes" who shared their tips for wearing the most fashionable denim, because you know, that's what all bikers wear.

"I usually wear head-to-toe denim on the bike. In the summer months, it’s always denim shorts with stockings for protection. You have to have something between you and the asphalt—“dress for the slide not for the ride." -Interviewee #1 pictured above

I get it. Denim is casual and it doesn't make you look like you ride a motorcycle, and many people ride with it instead of riding pants. There are also actual riding jeans with more protection than your average Levis 501s. But, let's be honest here. Unless you spend $500 on a premium jean like Rokker Denim Jeans (which aren't available for women here yet) you're probably risking a lot by trading leather for casual denim.

To be fair, 4 out of 5 of the people interviewed didn't mention wearing denim on the bike so much as their favorite denims to wear in general.  But after reading the first interview, I cringed as I read through the rest. Although none of the other gals remark that they wear denim on the bike, it sort of implies that it's all they wear while riding.... a la the way of the biker babe.

It doesn't bother me so much that this particular person is wearing only old, worn denims while riding. Ok, it bothers me a lot but everyone gets to pick whatever they want to wear when they ride, period. You or I may not agree with their decision but too bad so sad. What really kills me is the fact that she obviously did ZERO research when it came to "What should I wear while riding my motorcycle?" I understand the people that know what can happen to them and take the risks anyway, they're nuts in my opinion but I think they have real guts to do that. I'm always astounded at the ones that don't bother to google for a minute and figure out what's really out there? What's the true story?

Although I think it's lame that Vogue published these stories, it's what they were after, fashion and something that's cool and sexy, blah blah blah. Nothing hotter than half naked women riding motorcycles, right? The bigger issue I see is the lack of education and information that's available to non motorcyclists who are trying to get into riding motorcycles. I strongly urge you to watch this video, of my friend Brittany Morrow. She's the famous girl you see on all the forums with a full length photo of all her road rash injuries because at the time she wasn't really geared up:

http://vimeo.com/22897515

Mainstream media shows you pictures and articles like this of people riding with only the most fashionable looking apparel while riding. If we could just get tv, movies, etc. to portray is in a more realistic way, that would be great. How is that actually going to happen? I have no idea. All I can do is voice my opinion and hope that a couple people read it and pass the word to their friends.

But I do know that women like these featured in Vogue have no idea what they're getting into and what the consequences of these actions are. As an adult, if you are going to jump into something risky like motorcycles, you might want to try and prepare for what could happen to you.

PS, many of us don't subscribe to the whole "RIDE OR DIE" bullshit, either.

What's it Like to Ride an Electric Motorcycle?

Brammo Motorcycles San Francisco New Used

One word. FUN. SO much FUN.

 

Meet Betty.

Recently, I took home this sexy Brammo courtesy of Scuderia West and Brammo to share my experiences riding the Enertia around San Francisco. As a city resident and worker in SF, it's the perfect option. I could say the same about a little DRZ400, they're both light and nimble and super easy to ride (Betty is fully automatic, however). The one thing that sets them apart is this whole electricity thing, which I find to be really convenient.

Less stops at the pump! I can fill up so to speak, in my little garage. My SV is feeling neglected, as the only time I've taken her out for a spin was on Sunday when my husband and I rode up to the Marshall store and back.  Since then, it's been me and Betty. 60 miles down, many more to go! 

I'll be sad to see her go when our time together is up (as this is just a temporary loaner), but I know this much is true; that I foresee a supermoto or sexy naked streetfighter in my future. I've never ridden a bike like this before, I'm having so much damn fun.  I think I'm sold on the supermoto riding position and hope to find something in the future that meets my city livin', vertical height and long distance traveling needs. We'll see.

If you're wondering what I'm wearing while on the Brammo, it's the same gear that I wear on my SV (ATGATT with my Arai, Sidis, REVIT jacket, pants and Racer gloves). Nothing has changed in that sense. 

Follow me on facebooktwitter, or instagram (gearchic), as that's where I'll be posting photos of our dates.  If you see me around SF, please feel free to introduce yourself to Betty. She loves meeting new people!   

 

Reason #1,300,394 why motorcyclists should wear gear.

(Photo credit: HFL.com)

I love reader emails. I got this lovely note from a reader recently and had to share this article he mentioned. Thanks TH!

Hi Joanne,

Love your segments on Wheelnerds and Pace podcasts.  Please keep up the very informative + timely info. 

Anyways, thought you may like this article from HFL and maybe reference it next time on the Pace (perhaps even a link on your site)

I liked it 'cause you rarely see such a detailed review of gear and how it worked after rolling along the tarmac.

http://hellforleathermagazine.com/2012/02/this-is-the-city-gear-that-saved-my-life/

(make sure you view their article in Full Site mode if you're on a mobile phone, as the article is blocked unless you view the full site)

This is indeed a very good article about how even basic street gear can save your body parts from serious injury.  Normally, HFL closes articles after a certain period of time (12 hours) unless you're a paid subscriber. But luckily, they decided to keep this one open permanently, given how important the message is. 

 

What do guns and motorcycles have in common?

shoot target Benny thinks more practice is definitely needed!

I've always thought that guns were a lot like motorcycles, that without proper education in handgun safety, they can be extremely dangerous.

Last weekend, my husband and I took a Gun Safety Training Class. (Thanks Fisher Executive Protection!) We learned basic concepts including proper storage, etiquette when around firearms and common sense attitudes about how to approach a firearm.  It seems like many people underestimate the ability for a handgun to fall into the wrong hands (especially children).  I felt as if they demand our respect and shouldn't be taken lightly.

I never thought I would enjoy this whole shooting targets business, but I actually did. I also thought handguns were too dangerous and I really didn't like the idea of having one in the home. But after having some basic training and range time using one, I'm less fearful and know that as long as you safely store and secure one, they can be perfectly safe.  However, that requires a certain level of prioritizing safety over everything else. By the end of the class, I felt less intimidated and had a better understanding of how they work.

If you talk to anyone who's enthusiastic about handguns or motorcycles, you're going to find that we both have something very important in common; Safety. If you're not prioritizing safety above all else when approaching either of these topics, I highly recommend rethinking your attitudes and figure out why you don't think they demand your attention.

When most of us ride, safety (including gear) is always our #1 priority. There are of course, many exceptions with many people ignoring this key element. Unfortunately, it's those people who make a bigger impression on non-riders. When all you see or hear are negative stories about motorcycle accidents, it's impossible to form an objective opinion.

When we fully gear up,  it really makes a strong impression on non-riders, and sends a powerful message as to how serious we take motorcycles.

Even though we don't choose to be ambassadors for what we love to do, sometimes it happens anyway.