FAQ

What's With Women's Motorcycle Gear?

 

I've been working at this for 10 years, doing everything I can to help my fellow female riders gear up, and ride (better, hopefully). For my next YouTube stream this Monday, I want to give you my side of the story.  

I feel like every time women's gear is brought up online, there are so many negative, uninformed reactions to what we have.  I know it's not perfect, and there is a lot of work to do to improve what to we have but there's more than just "make it better". 

So join me, let's talk about it. And figure what we can do to improve things because it's a two way street. 

Monday Nights, 9pm Eastern / 6pm Pacific. 

Click Here: My YouTube Channel from your desktop or laptop, because then you can live chat with us and send your questions/comments!

Otherwise email me a comment or question so I can share it

 

 

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New Time: Monday's LiveStream about Motorcycle Boots

Last week I talked about choosing a motorcycle jacket. I gave you some tips and advice on what to think about when it comes to making the best choice. If you missed, watch now:

WHEN: 9:30 PM East / 6:30pm West (so more Left Coasters can join in!) My last few streams were at 8pm East, so I'm pushing it out so my friends out west can also join :) 

WHAT TOPIC: Motorcycle Boots: How do you choose a pair? What do you need to consider? Why is it not a great idea to buy your motorcycle boots on Zappos? And for my fellow women riders, I'm going to give you ideas for men's boots that work really well for us for different lifestyles including ADV/Race and Touring. We know that men have far more options, but luckily brands like TCX and Dainese make sizes small enough for us to wear. I'm also going to break down fit differences between mens and women's boots.   

HOW TO WATCH:

1. On your Smart Phone/iPad/Tablet: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WnZw1kF5M48&client=mv-google&layout=tablet 

2. On your Desktop/Laptop: http://www.youtube.com/user/GearChic/live

When you log on through your desktop or laptop, there's a handy chat window to send in questions. Otherwise, you can also text or email your questions: gearchic@gmail.com    

See you then!  

If you missed the LiveStream, watch now:

Helmet Q&A on YouTube Live 3/20

I'm hosting another YouTube live steam, this Monday, March 20th at 8pm East.  

You can chat your questions or post a comment here so we can talk about it!

im going to cover "women's" helmets (what does that mean anyway?), sizing for extra small heads and the best options for different shapes as well as your helmet questions. 

Join me here:  http://bit.ly/2n0xBg3

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)

Motorcycle Etiquette

brammo_empulse As a city girl, I find myself surrounded by a variety of motorcycle / scooter riders. I can honestly say that I've never seen people ride the way they do here. 

I've gotten used to seeing the whole No Helmet, No Gear thing, given PA's lack of a helmet law. But what is really annoying is the lack of motorcycle etiquette (including scooters) that I'm used to experiencing. In addition to general lack of pedestrian and driver safety really. But I suspect that sort of thing is common in most big cities.

Tonight, I was riding home just a few blocks from my house about to pull into a gas station on my right. I'm going maybe 10-15mph and these two bikes pass me on the left inside my lane. I've NEVER had that happen when I rode in San Francisco. Ever. The one time I had someone pass me on the right while out riding my ride leader yelled at him for being such an ass (and doing that to other riders as well, not just me).

The attitudes about motorcycles and scooters here are far less serious and seem whimsical at best. I guess it's a difference in attitudes that are specific to this region. I don't know.

But what I do know is that I'll never be ok with it. And if you're one of those people who like passing your fellow motorcyclists in their lane WITHOUT permission, you're not only risking my life but yours.

New Article in Motorcyclist Magazine

Thanks to twitter follower @eimken for snapping this pic of my very first article in Motorcyclist Magazine this month!

Just my $0.02 on how to shop for gear and why it's so damn hard for women to find what they're looking for. It's available on the digital edition for your iPad or iPhone, as well as newsstands of course.

Thinking about getting into Motorcycles

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"So I have been thinking a lot about riding, i don't know many that ride so it would primarily just be me by myself. But this leaves me with no one to get answers from.. I read all about the gear things, I just ordered these riding sneakers but the more I read the more I think i need actual boots... anyway what about bikes themselves, i'm pretty short, what happens when i go buy a bike new/used what if i feel like I'm too high off the ground? is there anyway to fix that or am I kind of left with being uncomfortable."

-Lisa

First, I want you to know that you are Not alone! There are so many resources online, women's motorcycle groups and more to help you get started. A few resources:

  • Clubs: Motor Maids, Women on Wheels. Both of these groups are national, and have chapters all over the country. I'm sure there is a chapter in your area.
  • Meetup.com: Depending where you live, you may be able to find riding groups in your area. It's free to join, it only costs money to create a group.
  • Try googling for "women's motorcycle groups <yourcity>"  There are lots of women's motorcycle clubs/groups all over the country, many of them welcome new riders with open arms. If you're anywhere near Philly, please join my Facebook Group.
  • Moterrific.com: I have to recommend my podcast show since we talk a lot about new riders and things that every rider wants to know about including gear, used bike shopping and more. There are lots of other podcasts that you can learn from as well including The Pace and Wheel Nerds.

If you can tell me where you live, I'm sure we can find a group / club near you.

To answer your first question, yes, I would definitely recommend riding boots. Not just sneakers. Especially one of these to give you the most traction, stability and protection that you can get as you start out. Starting with a really good pair of boots helps you gain better control over your braking, shifting and stopping so you have lots of stability when you come to a stop. I like to tell people that when you put your feet down when you're seated on a motorcycle, it sends a very strong message to your brain. Either "This is Great! I feel fantastic." or "Oh Shit, what have I gotten myself into?" Of course, this will only feel good if you're on a lighter bike that's a good match for you (think under 300lbs).

I also recommend taking the motorcycle safety class (if you haven't already), so that you get proper instruction and you'll get to ride a few small beginner bikes to get a feel for the whole experience. You may Love or Hate it after that. I think that will ease a lot of your anxieties right there. You'll also meet lots of fellow new riders in your class, and will probably make friends with some of them as well. If you've already taken your class, you've taken the first step.

Here are a few beginner bikes that I recommend looking at:

  • Ninja 250R (old or new, I had a 2003 and it was fantastic)
  • Yamaha TW200
  • Honda CBR250R
  • Honda Rebel 250
  • Suzuki DR200 (although it's a bit taller than the others, it's SO light it doesn't matter)
  • Suzuki Tu250
  • Older standards like a Honda CB350

Since you're a new rider, everything will feel uncomfortable if it isn't short enough to let you flat foot with both feet. That's why I recommend the safety class because almost all the bikes will be short! But you will also learn lots of good techniques like smooth braking and stopping which helps you manage taller motorcycles. I know it's not easy to be patient, but if you start on the right bike for your experience level, I know you'll find it to be much easier than you expected. I think you run into trouble when you start on bikes that are way too heavy, tall or powerful to learn on.

And there are things you can do to alter your motorcycle if it's a bit too tall. I'm not a fan of lowering motorcycles but if you need to always consult a shop that specializes in motorcycle suspension, because they will know *exactly* how to lower it properly. Most dealerships don't have suspension mechanics on site. Before you do that, look into lowered seats! You can get an aftermarket low seat, depending on your bike, or you can have one custom made too.

Generally speaking, being shorter means having to struggle a bit to ride bigger bikes. There's no way around it. So it helps if we start out small and just get used to riding to work our way up. I spent more time doing this than most folks, and I know not everyone has the patience to do so but I highly recommend it. As a result I've been able to ride a lot of bikes that I never, ever thought I'd be able to ride because my inseam is so much shorter than these bikes.

As you ride more, you get better. The better you get at perfecting your riding techniques, the easier it gets to ride bigger bikes. There are so many people out there who ride tall motorcycles, it's not impossible!

As far as buying a used bike, here are a couple resources for you to read with regards to used motorcycles:

  1. AMA Used Bike Checklist
  2. Article about Shopping for Used Motorcycles
  3. Moterrific Podcast Episode about Used Motorcycles

 

 

My 1st Motorcycle Gear Seminar Online!

youtube motorcycle gear videos

http://youtu.be/pYw-798KrRk

Ta Da! My first video on YouTube. If you missed the live stream of my seminar earlier this week, now you can watch it on my youtube channel: youtube.com/gearchic

Since it was shot using my laptop webcam, it was pretty crummy video, only 480p, hardly high definition. I hope to be able to do it again and with a much better camera and audio. Thanks for watching, feedback is welcome!