baselayers

Yippee! New Base Layer Pants.

forcefield_womens_baselayer_pants I know, what weirdo gets excited about new base layer pants? I just picked up a pair of these Forcefield Women's Base Layer Pants for warm weather riding. (I'm *very* hopeful we'll have warmer weather for a little while longer). But I know I'll wear these during the Fall/Early Winter too. So far I LOVE how they feel. Very lightweight and comfy around the waistband. I ordered a size small and they fit great, except they're a bit long in the torso which is my problem with most bottoms anyhow. There is a matching shirt but I just really wanted pants, since I like my Icebreaker tops.

Remember, baselayers like this are great under ALL of your gear, whether it's textile or leather. I promise it makes for a more comfortable ride! A fuller review to come.

Ride Report, Highway 1 CA

  paper maps tankbag motorcycles highway 1 cambria

Last weekend I took a long weekend trip to Cambria, CA along the central coast. Needless to say it was a fantastic weekend of riding and having fun with my fellow women riders. I also got to ride the infamous Rossi's Driveway.

My 2 girlfriends and I rode down Highway 1 at a leisurely pace on Thursday and then we took some sweet roads Friday and Saturday.

Friday - Rossi's Driveway

From Cambria, we took the following route: http://goo.gl/maps/m6sz9

It was a hair under 130 miles all together and took us about 6 hours to complete the whole loop. We had a couple of pitstops and took our time on the Driveway, riding it back and forth a couple times because it's a short Highway.

If you look at the map, point F to H is Highway 229 aka Rossi's Driveway. Why do they call it this you ask? Well, I think this pic pretty much sums it up:

Rossi's Driveway aka Highway 229 california twisties motorcycles

Imagine a road, so perfectly paved (just like a track) with barely any traffic. Short, tight twisties and no dirt, potholes, rocks, or gravel ahead of you. No hairpins/switchbacks, just beautiful twisties.

I must admit, however, the 2-way traffic was a little worrysome at times so I didn't get to fully enjoy this road the way I wanted to. But it was beautifully paved and allowed for some really nice lines when I could see the next 2-3 twisties ahead.

But it was smooth and my tires responded well to the warm pavement. (best tires ever, btw)

rossi's driveway california highway 229

girlyride 9

 

rossi's driveway california highway 229

 

Sadly it was almost 100 degrees while we were out there, but I was extremely comfortable under my leathers, thanks to 2 important accessories:

1. Icebreaker merino baselayers - written review coming. You can also listen to my review on Episode 20 of Moterrific.com 

2. Revit Challenger cooling vest insert

I never would've made it without these two. I feel like I have the perfect riding outfit for summer and look forward to a couple more rides before Fall!

Almost 100 degrees!

 

 

Saturday - Nacimiento-Fergusson Road

I tried to find other pics of this road, but I think this one really shows the main reason why you want to ride up it and over the mountain.

Hwy 1 CA, Nacimiento Fergusson Road motorcycles twisties

This was a much shorter, simpler route. We went north on Highway 1 from Cambria and turned right at Nacimiento Fergusson Road in Big Sur. It's right before the Kirk Creek Campground.

The road takes you from sea level all the way up to the top of the mountain, towards Fort Liggett.  It's not a long ride, but great for some sight seeing or just a quick detour to extend the ride home up or down Hwy 1.

http://goo.gl/BBNfvj

girlyride 20

Once you ride through the clearing, there's a large paved space on the right before heading further east to Jolon Road which eventually takes you Highway 101.

After we took some group pics we went right back the way we came, west to Highway 1 and then south back to Cambria. It was a beautiful, HOT afternoon but somehow we had a really great time.

 

What are Baselayers?

This image courtesy of Icebreaker.com perfectly illustrates what baselayers are! But they're far more important when doing something active such as riding motorcycles. And believe me, they'll vastly improve the feel and performance of your existing gear.

Awhile back, I shared this link to REI's website, which breaks down the various kinds of materials, what they do, when you need it and how it works.

Aside from the technical reasons why baselayers work well, the bottom line is that you need something between the surface of your skin and the lining of your riding gear to keep the moisture at bay, (not eliminate sweat completely, but keep it under control) and increase your overall comfort.

Dainese D-Core Women's Shirt

Dainese D-Core Women's Shirt

It's 85 degrees out. You're wearing a cotton tshirt and your arms start go get all sweaty. Then the lining of your jacket starts to stick to you and all you can do is think about how hot and uncomfortable you are. You can't get any air in between your skin and the lining because it's sitting right on top of your skin.

Take a look at this illustration and read this awesome article by Fix.com about how this works. When you wear the right baselayer, you will be far more comfortable underneath your gear. Yes you are still sweating, but this keeps you more comfortable. 

Photo and Article Courtesy of Fix.com

Photo and Article Courtesy of Fix.com

Imagine a lightweight, synthetic layer that sits but doesn't stick to your skin. You sweat profusely but the material sucks up the sweat as much as it can, allowing the air to actually flow over your arms. Now imagine pouring a little cold water down your arm (say you have a vent on the bicep) and then you hit highway speeds. Thewater actually feels cool and better yet, the shirt is absorbing the water cooling your skin a little bit. There are a ton of options out there, synthetic, bamboo, merino, something for everyone.

You don't have to spend a lot of money, either. Try going to your local sporting good store and try inexpensive running baselayers. You can easily find a shirt and pants for ~$25 each. Just make sure they have flat seams. Raised seams will drive you crazy! And yes, bottoms are just as important as tops. Moreso if you wear leather. It will also make taking your gear on and off a breeze, no matter how much you're sweating.

Anything you can do to maximize comfort will minimize distractions. If all you can think about is how hot you are, how can you think about that car 2 lanes over about to merge erratically into your lane?

Icebreaker Baselayer on Sale now thru August 12th

icebreaker wool baselayers sale

30% OFF - Icebreakers are one of the best all around baselayers on the market. Lightweight merino wool that's exceptionally breathable and comfortable.  If you're looking for something to wear in extreme hot, cold and/or everything in between, try Icebreaker.

http://us.icebreaker.com/Womens/womens,en,sc.html

They offer a lot of different options in terms of fitments and styles. Generally speaking, they go by weights. 

  • 160 grams - ultra lightweight, the lightest baselayer you can wear. It's so light it's see through, so be sure to wear a tshirt over if you're going running or what not. 
  • 200 grams - midweight, the best layer for a little of everything in the mid range of temperatures
  • 260 grams - heavyweight, the best layer for fall/winter temperatures

They offer a wide variety of fitments for different body types (something I certainly appreciate). These are the various types I've been able to decipher. Apparently they have a really large selection of styles. 

  • Siren, Oasis: narrower, longer fitment; seems best for longer torsos
  • Everyday: slightly wider, less narrow fit
  • Bodyfit: a little more curvy, not as narrow/lean

 

Stay tuned for a full review of these layers on the Moterrific Podcast.

 

Shoutout to Schampa Gear

Schampa shirt pants warm cold winter baselayer motorcycle riding outdoor

 

If you still haven't discovered Schampa thermal baselayers, you don't know what you're missing! I have to give a quick shout to Schampa, without whom I would've freezed my ass off all winter. Their skinny pants and shirt are the BEST thermal baselayers. I've practically lived in them at home, work, walking Benny, anything that requires me staying warm in cooler temps. Read my review and get yourself a set now!

 

Motorcycle Gift Idea, Base Layers

Schampa shirt pants warm cold winter baselayer motorcycle riding outdooricebreakers baselayers merino wool insulated baselayer

Warm baselayers are one of the 'Must Haves' for any woman who rides year round. It really does make a difference!

Above left is the Schampa skinny shirt (matching pants also available). Read my review here.

Above right is the Icebreaker Merino Wool zip top. It's on sale from Backcountry Gear for $75.  I've heard great things about Icebreaker clothing. If you know someone who can't afford to buy a whole new set of insulated, armored gear, this might be a great accessory in the meantime to help keep them a little bit warmer and more comfy. 

Unfortunately I don't know what the fitment is with the Icebreakers, but I did stumble upon a travel forum that had some comments implying that they're curvy friendly in terms of shape. 

 

Motorcycle Gift Idea, MicroTherm Down Vest

This is one of those baselayers that will work everywhere, doing doing anything/everything. But especially while riding.

If you're always cold, or you know someone who doesn't have heated gear and could use a lightweight but warm layer that will fit flat and easy under any jacket, one of these windstopper vests might be a good choice.

Generally, if you can keep your core warm, it'll help keep the rest of your body warm too. I can handle riding during in chilly weather (like tonight, 48 degrees!) but it's the freezing cold air going down my chest that I can't stand. By simply shutting off this piece of the cold air, it makes the ride far more bearable.

You definitely can't go wrong with heated, but if that's too much or not an option (e.g. on a scooter or older motorcycle), one of these kinds of warm/windproof vests will be a huge improvement.

Above Right - North Face Women's Windwall Vest., $99

Above Left - Eddie Bauer MicroTherm Down Vest , $119 (this is even offered in regular/petite/tall sizing!)

Hot weather baselayers

I've been wanting to get proper hot weather motorcycle base layers for awhile now.  

I've been lusting after the LD Comfort outfit, but just didn't want to spend that much.

So I opted for KLIM's less expensive alternative. I'm hoping that if the women's base layers are as good as alllll the other KLIM gear that we carry, then I shouldn't be disappointed by this outfit. The reason why motorcycle specific baselayers are a little better than your average hiking/camping/outdoor layers, is that the seam construction is minimal.

I currently wear Adidas running pants for hot weather, and the one thing that bugs the crap out of me is all the seams behind the knees and along the legs. Not a big deal when you're running/walking, but definitely a big deal when you're sitting, especially in heat. They're also 3/4 length and stop at my calves.

For the top, I wear a cheap long sleeve running shirt that also has seams up and down my forearms. I can feel them rubbing against my skin, especially under my jacket. 

The shirt and pants are $39.99 each. Not bad, and the same price as Under Armor's Heat Gear. (Ok, to be honest, I do get a good discount since I work for a Klim dealer. And I can't get a discount on LD Comfort. But I do believe in KLIM's products and think this outfit will be almost as good).  

I'll be testing this outfit next weekend, on a girl's only long weekend ride up north, as well as my 2 other trips this summer to Carson City and Lake Tahoe. Can't wait!

 

Klim Solstice Shirt and Pants for Women 

Where to Buy: Klim.com
Colors: White, Black
Sizes: XS-2XL
Cost: $39.99 each