General

Missing my motorcycle

It's been a week since I was last on my bike, and that was riding to work. Sadly I became too sick that day to ride home, and I haven't been riding since then. I've been battling this constant state of feeling woozy and drowsy for the last week. I get spurts of energy, like sitting at my desk for a half hour only to be incredibly sleepy afterwards. All I want to do is lay down. This is something I've been through twice before, each instance taking 2-3 weeks for me to recover. It's only been a week yet I feel like it's been 1 year. I always feel horrible when I go more than a few days without riding, and this week is no exception. I also feel horrible when I go a week without writing, and I think I've gone about a month, which is making me feel even worse! Unfortunately I had to take a full time job back in April and since then, my time to write seems to have fallen by the wayside.

Tomorrow is the first Tuesday of the month, so I'll be doing a brief segment again on the 2WheelPowerHour. I'll be revisiting helmets again to clarify some information that I incorrectly provided on the June show. I hope you'll tune in.

GearChic's Guide to Shopping

Just in time for the San Mateo IMS this weekend. I've put together a quick handout that will help anyone (men AND women) go out and shop for protective motorcycle gear. Most importantly, I've included the 5 GearChic Rules that MUST be followed at all times:

  • RULE #1 ALWAYS judge proper fit ON a motorcycle, or in riding position.
  • RULE #2 If it's too comfortable, it's probably too big.
  • RULE #3 Fit then Budget
  • RULE #4 Try on Everything until you find the right shape
  • RULE #5 Leather should always start out snug so it can stretch and break in comfortably.

My list includes everything you should be wearing when on your motorcycle: Full face helmet, jacket, gloves, pants and boots. It's like having me right in your back pocket! I've also included a few tips for each type of item to help you make your decisions. Whether it's at the show or on your own at your local shop, I hope this will help you make a well informed decision on what to buy and how to shop for it.

CLICK HERE to Download the Handout!

(You'll need a PDF reader to view the attachment)

I'll be at the IMS this weekend, mostly hanging out at the Women's Center booth giving gear seminars. I'll be tweeting my whereabouts, if you would like to know where I am! If you still need discount tickets, use Christina Shook's promo code "COB" online through the IMS website. Thanks Christina!!

And finally, don't forget to tune in tomorrow, Tuesday November 17th at 4pm Pacific to listen to a special local edition of SideStandUp with me and Carla co-hosting the show with local Bay Area guests!

Hope to see you there.

Can't ride, Can't write.

Why yes, that is a Designer Series Snuggie in Leopard Print. You know you want one.  I wish I were wearing mine right now.

This not riding thing is killing my motivation to write. It'll probably be another couple months (not sure, my hand surgeon won't give me a definitive answer, which I guess is his job) before I'm back on my beloved bike. Until then, I guess I'll know what it's like to live somewhere that you have to 'store' your bike for winter. How do you people do it? I also hate NOT having my own method of transportation, not having to ask anyone for a ride to get somewhere.  Losing that kind of independence, especially if you're a motorcyclist can be tougher than it sounds. I deeply value my ability to ride wherever I want, whenever I want.  Just having to think about it makes me want to scream.  As a result, I feel totally disconnected from the riding community. I know for many of you it isn't a big deal. But for me, it is. Riding every day is pure joy to me. It makes me so happy and motivates me to express my thoughts, feelings and emotions about riding through my blog. And finally having a bike that I absolutely LOVE to ride makes it that much harder. I feel like I've finally figured out what riding is all about, in terms of why I want to do it. It's not just a hobby, or a recreational activity. It's a real part of me and having to give it up even if only for a short time has been far more depressing than I thought it would be.

This month is going to be a tough one. So I'm going to ask some friends to help out. First, my wonderful friend Linda is going to submit a ride report from her trip to Alaska on her DRZ! She's sexy, smart and fun to be around. I think her ride report will inspire many of us out there to just get out there and RIDE.

Check out this recommendation of Icebreaker Wool products that my friend Rain Hayes submitted to me recently. If you're looking for a good option for winter baselayers, they're worth checking out. The features seem particularly useful for riding as well.  Thanks Rain!

**** Just wanted to let you know about some IceBreaker merino wool products, if you don't know that brand. They make several 1/2 zip shirts in various weights- 190 is thin, 240 medium, 360 heavy,etc. I love this brand of clothing like no other. In fact, I express the weather in terms of what I'm wearing from them. "Cold out. 190 AND 360."

I like their shirts because the neck comes up high enough to keep me warm, but not so high it bunches under the chin. They have thumb loops, and are cut longer in the back, perfect for leaning over on the bike. Some also have great in-seam pockets that point toward the back so you're not scrunching over your wallet.

They also make a pullover neck scarf called a chute. I never leave home without it during the winter. It's double layered, awesomely warm, and not too bulky. (Their scarves are of the same double-layered fabric; I buy one, cut it into 4 chutes, serge the raw edges and give away to friends.)

The best thing about IceBreaker is that it's Merino wool, which in my opinion is the best garment fiber on earth. Warm in winter, cool in summer, breathes, doesn't get smelly like synthetics, and lasts forever.

Lombardi's carries a large selection and has frequent sales. Twice a year or so, they have a party with the IB reps. If you get on the mail list (they send coupons via text message), you get a special invite, free socks, and 30% off all IB products. And some good Australian wine.

No, I don't work for them. But it's a great brand.

www.icebreaker.com www.lombardisports.com (local SF shop) ******

Gear Works

  • Arai Quantum
  • Racer High Ends
  • Revit Ignition
  • Olympia Pro Max
  • Daytona Ladystar

My hand and neck are a little tired so I'll elaborate in another post in a couple days.

I was rear ended on my SV while at a red light the other day. I've been staying off my feet since it happened, except for going to the doctor twice. I hurt all over and found muscles I never knew I had.

Sometimes speed has nothing to do with gear.

Riding, blogging and gear makeovers

These past few days my husband and I have been doing more riding than we've done in the past 6 months. 549 miles in 4 days. 375 of them done in one day! I found that while I'm riding I have a lot of time to think about gear. Am I comfortable? Is the A/C on too high? Do my leathers sweaty? Among other things, I also think about why other people don't wear more than jeans and sneakers while going 75-80mph on the 101, riding into ~40-50 mph winds.

Sometimes I get strange thoughts in my head like "I can't believe I'm going 70mph on a motorcycle right now." I also get ideas for my blog but then I have absolutely no way of writing them down or remembering them later. I also have found that the more I ride, the more I want to write, and the more ideas I'm able to come upwith.

The only one I remembered when arriving to our lovely motel in Cambria was the one I'm going to write for you now. (OT, Big shout out to the Cambria Palms Motel, the Best Deal In Town!. Cheap, clean, easy to find off Hwy 1. Stay here if you need somewhere to crash on the way down from SF or up to SF, especially if you're stopping at Hearst Castle).

So working at Scuderia West, I have the pleasure of meeting many different riders, all shapes, ages, sizes, riding experiences, backgrounds, etc.

Example:

  • Female customer, about 5'2", approx. a women's size 8.
  • She had trouble finding pants that fit her waist/hips and inseam. She rode a scooter and needed pants to commute in. She already had a jacket (don't know what kind) but wanted overpants as well. She had tried on various other pants but hadn't found anything that fit quite right.
  • I was going to put her in Olympia Airglides or Pro Pants, but unfortunately the inseams were going to be too long for her.
  • Gear Solution: REV'IT Zip Pants, Size Small-Short



  • The beauty of the Zip Pant is that it has an adjustable waistband. This is particularly useful for women who have hips or a disproportionate waist (ie not an hourglass shape). And you can get a size small in short! Unfortunately you can't get any size smaller than that in short, since they do run down to an XXS.
  • One thing that she wasn't sure about was the fact that when she sat on a scooter, there was a little room in the back of the pants, right at the lower back. That's perfectly normal for overpants, as they are meant to be zipped to a jacket, or worn with a longer cut jacket. Zip pants do have a fairly neutral 6 inch zipper which you should be able to find on brands such as Olympia.

Working in a place like Scud also has helped me figure out a couple things about customers who come in looking for gear, and complain that they can't find anything in other shops. A couple of observations:

  • They have no idea what proper fit is, especially for motorcycle gear, and especially for the type of gear we carry (protective, functional gear).
  • Most people, especially women, complain that nothing fits them. I'm sure that at least 50% of the time this is probably true.
  • hey probably don't carry the variety of gear that Scud does, with different fits.
  • No one ever tries gear on a bike! Fit is never 100% right while standing straight up with your arms at your sides. Not real gear, anyway. Sit on that bike!
  • Ladies, listen to me when I tell you that gear is supposed to be fitted, close to your body. Not 2 sizes too big because you want to cover up your 'problem areas'. I've seen too many women come in wearing their husband's/boyfriend's gear thinking that it was fine. Newsflash! You have an hourglass figure, hips, boobs, long legs (sometimes), smaller shoulders, a small back, etc., you get the picture. Sometimes women have this notion that in order to 'cover up' these areas that wearing large, oversized clothing is the solution. Not so! Even more so when it comes to motorcycle gear. Because the added function of gear is to Protect and Function on a motorcycle. If it doesn't fit you right it's not going to work when you crash
  • There aren't many 'apparel-only' shops vs. motorcycle dealerships. Most places are dealers like Scud that also carry apparel. But many of these places lack the selection. They could order mounds and mounds of women's gear. But they don't, probably because the majority of their customer base are men, and those that are women usually ride on the back.
  • The lack of trained apparel employees can also have a huge effect on the way you are shopping for gear. You may not realize that it's supposed to be that snug, that standing up straight with your arms at your side is going to be uncomfortable, that the garments are cut for riding position, I could go on and on. When there is no one there to guide you along the way, how are you supposed to know? Of course you're going to assume nothing fits because you may not know how it is supposed to fit.

So for those of you that still have trouble shopping for gear, or are in need of a gear makeover, I'd like to propose the following:

  • Send me your gear wants/needs. (jacket, pants, gloves, boots?)
  • Send me a photo of yourself from head to toe, preferably wearing something semi fitted (jeans, tshirt) so I can see your body type.
  • Tell me what size you wear in regular jackets and pants (in numerical US size)
  • If you already have gear, send me a picture of you wearing it.

If you send me an email with the above criteria, I'll send you my gear recommendation based on what you send!

Or if you live in the Bay Area and would like a gear makeover in person, let me know. I would be your personal shopper for Free, if you let me write it up on my blog. We'll hit up all the shops that carry women's gear and help you find gear that fits. Only flattering photos will be taken by me, I promise! We'll take some before and after pics and show the world how to find that perfect outfit for riding. The first 3 people who email me will get a free GearChic Tshirt!

Racer High End Gloves

Racer High End Ladies Gloves
MSRP $199.99

If it's possible to be in love with your gear, well then I'm proud to say that I am in love with these gloves! I was worried they wouldn't be warm enough for my always cold hands, but I have to say that so far, they're performing better than I expected! They fit my short fingers perfectly. Look for a full review soon, hopefully after this week from hell is over. My real job is kicking my ass this week, so I hope to dig up more content for the next newsletter (sign up if you haven't already!) this weekend. Overall, I would highly recommend these gloves for everyday riding. I don't know how they'll do in colder weather (below 60 degrees), but in 60s-70s they're perfect. They have just enough ventilation but not too much. And they have much better dexterity than my Multitops do.

My husband and I are going to be riding down to Ventura, CA this weekend for an extended stay visiting his family. Although we've been to Ventura many times before, this will be the first ride on Minnie. My wonderful friend Leyla was so generous as to lend me her gel seat for the weekend, so I hope that makes for a more pleasant ride. After riding ~170 miles this weekend, my butt was screaming at me to never do that again without a better seat. But it was definitely happier with new tires! Nothing like the feeling of smoooooth acceleration out of a satisfying sharp left turn. (I still hate left turns, still working on that).


View Larger Map

Although I didn't celebrate Ride to Work Day yesterday, I rode today instead and it was fantastic. Riding the dirty streets of San Francisco makes you remember not to be so complacent with your reaction time, ability to predict people's movements and remaining vigilent. I learned how to ride here, so it's all I know. When people ask me if it's scary, or how I do it, I simply tell them that it's just like riding anywhere else, only much worse, busier and a little rougher on the tires (so many potholes). I think I'd have more fun on a DRZ! I also love the small streets, sharp corners and beautiful scenery that we're so lucky to have. Today was particularly fun as I rode down Powell Street along the cable car lines to courier a package to Union Square.

If you ever come to San Francisco, I highly recommend renting bikes (maybe a KLR from my friend Glenn?) and riding around the city. If you're not used to riding in the city, it'll definitely give you some riding experience to take back with you to the 'burbs!

Foreplay.

  • Gorgeous day in San Francisco, birds chirping, sun shining, perfect riding weather ✔
  • Male, average build, tall-ish, on a motorcycle ✔
  • Arai XD helmet
  • Aerostitch one piece, fairly new, red ✔
  • Full fingered leather gloves of some kind, Helds, Racers or AlpineStars
  • Ducati Multistrada, brand spankin' new, 992cc desmodue engine, air-cooled with two valves per cylinder, naked from the waist down, showing off everything it has to offer. ✔
  • Now I'm all hot and bothered, wishing I were on my bike, not stuck in my car

And what do I see? LOAFERS. UGLY, DARK RED LOAFERS WITH TASSLES! Tassles?? Really?

You went to all that trouble, shelled out fifteen grand on a bike, helmet, a one piece and then you finish off with LOAFERS?

Ugh, men.