dainese

Riding with CLASS Motorcycle School at Virginia International Raceway

Nope, we didn’t crash and have to get our bikes towed! (Kendon Motorcycle Trailer)

Nope, we didn’t crash and have to get our bikes towed! (Kendon Motorcycle Trailer)

Not Just Your Average Monday.

Earlier this week I had the honor of attending back to back track days with my friends at Reg Pridmore’s CLASS Motorcycle School.

I attended a special, unique event earlier in April just for women riders but this one was one of their regular 2 day events at VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, VA. My husband and I loaded up our bikes on the RevZilla Trailer (#IloveMyJob) and drove out Sunday, October 14th.

Here I am dancing with our bikes?

Here I am dancing with our bikes?

We rented one of the fancy garages at the track and made our home for the next 2 days.

By the way, we didn’t bring half the stuff most people bring with them to the track. Everyone will tell you something different, but I can tell you that you’ll probably use half of what you actually bring. So this is our simplified list in order of importance:

  1. Our track gear (duh!); suits, helmets, gloves, boots, back protectors

  2. Our bikes and keys

  3. Painters tape and duct tape (painters tape goes first, then duct tape. You’ll see why in a minute)

  4. Clean clothes for 3 nights since we left Sunday and got back Wednesday

  5. Chairs (because standing around all the time is tiring)

  6. Tool box (we have this one from Sonic). Of course we didn’t use everything but it does have some nice moto specific tools that can come in handy. I mainly used the tools to remove my mirrors, reinstall them afterwards and tighten up some loose ends.

  7. Cleaners, paper towels:

    1. Mucoff products: dry chain lube & degreaser, protectant, goggle/faceshield cleaner

    2. Simple Green; general, all purpose cleaner

  8. Tire compressor (so you can adjust your tire pressure below street levels. I drop mine to 28 front and rear for a little more stick)

  9. Tie downs to tie the bikes down to the trailer

  10. A few snacks/drinks

Oh and did I mention that because we went to the South Course on Day 1 (not North as planned), we had to leave our cozy paddock behind! So we managed all day without anything with us, and relied on track friends to help us out.

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In retrospect I could’ve used extra fuel, but there was a Sunoco station on site, just on the other side of the parking lot. This was the first track day where my fuel light actually went on at the end of the last session!

We got in Sunday night a little late but stayed up to tape up our headlights and turn signals. You didn’t have to take your mirrors if you didn’t want to but I found them distracting and they were easy enough to remove.

This is why you need duct tape and painters tape, so you can make eyes! Let’s just say my husband’s creativity inspired me. Remember to never directly apply duct tape to your lights and mirrors, you want to use painters tape first and then you can go crazy with funny colors and what not.

Although Hurricane Michael hit the weekend before, we had the privilege of riding both courses at VIR; both the North and South Courses. Originally we were only supposed to ride the North Course but it just worked out that we were able to do South on Day 1 and North on Day 2.

The South Course was a shorter, slower paced track. The upside to this is that I got to do more laps than I normally would have. The schedule for CLASS was a little different than track days I’ve done in the past with other organizations.

As with every track day, the day started first thing (7:30am-8:00am) with Check In and Tech Inspection followed by a safety meeting where rules and information for the day was presented and shared by Reg’s team.

These rules were imposed on both groups, regardless of experience level or training so you know that everyone is on the same page and things will go as safely as possible.

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Reg also impressed upon us a few other thoughts that he truly believed were important to our time at VIR for the next 2 days. I find these messages are important, not only for the track but for the street too:

  1. Slowing down, maintaining control

  2. Courtesy and consideration

  3. Learning not speeding

I can feel the instructor’s (orange shirt) eyes on the back of my head watching my pitiful form.

I can feel the instructor’s (orange shirt) eyes on the back of my head watching my pitiful form.

I found this message to be comforting, empowering and set a positive tone for the riding ahead. One of the many personal rules I have about riding motorcycles is not riding in large groups of strangers (outside the confines of an organized, training ride with a dedicated riding organization e.g. large public rallies and parades. It simply makes me nervous because out on the street, the training and riding environment is vastly different. When a group of riders are at the track together, we’re generally on the same page. We know we’ve come here because we know it’s safer, and our environment is controlled and organized in a way that cannot be matched to a track day. I always feel 100% safer on the track than I do on the street.

As the day went on, I found myself finally figuring out this track and feeling the most confident at of course, the last lap. It took me all morning and afternoon to get my lines just right.

And as much as I wanted to get my knee down, I decided to shift my focus on hitting my apexes just right and keeping my line tight, not wide because on the street that can be a very dangerous outcome. (Imagine going wide on a 2 lane, 2 way road over the double yellows!) I finally started feeling more confident to take my lines tighter and get over my fear of going wide.  

Trying my best to hug those apexes and keep a tight, inside line per the Mantra of Reg Pridmore.

Trying my best to hug those apexes and keep a tight, inside line per the Mantra of Reg Pridmore.

There were only two groups, A and B. A was for Advanced Pace and B was for Relaxed Pace. I started out in A the first day on the South Course. Although I did fine in that group I wasn’t feeling comfortable with the pace of the other rides so halfway through day 2, I opted to ride in Group B. The group was smaller, so more room and more laps! I hardly ran into any traffic and it felt like I had the track to myself. I also had lots of opportunities for coaches to follow me and for me to follow them. Pretty much every session, there was a coach available if I needed help.

There was also a small Triumph contingent, which was also comforting.

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You might be able to see in the background, that there were quite a few non traditional sportbikes that attended too!

And yep, they also fully attended both days. SEEE?? Track Days aren’t just for Sportbikes!

It’s for everyone, anyone. It’s all about finding the right one for you, and contacting local track schools to see if their program fits in with your goals and objectives as a rider. I have a list on my website here, of advanced, nontraditional track day training around the country that I highly recommend.

http://www.gearchic.com/beyond-basic-training/

But if you do some searching online I’m sure you’ll find local schools that will be more than happy to provide you advanced street training on the racetrack.

Or, sign up for a class with Reg and Gigi and tell them I sent you!

For more information on CLASS Motorcycle Schools including dates and prices, visit their website: ClassRides.com. You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram.

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Shoutout to Shoei Helmets and Honda for sponsoring CLASS and making sure that the instructors have the best helmets and bikes as well.

My Gear:

  1. Helmet: Bell Race Star, Ace Cafe

  2. Suit: Alpinestars Womens Motegi V1 Race Suit (new version)

  3. Gloves: Racer High Racer Womens Gloves

  4. Boots: Dainese Womens Torque Out D1 Boots

  5. Back Protector: Alpinestars Nucleon KR-1, SM

And in case the men out there are wondering about my husband’s gear:

  1. Helmet: Bell Star Helmet (Pre 2015)

  2. Suit: Revit Venom Suit

  3. Gloves: Held Evo Thrux

  4. Boots: Dainese Torque Out D1 Mens Boots (same as mine)

  5. Back Protector: Alpinestars KR Adventure; he said it was more comfortable than the model I have

Dainese North America Custom Works Tour 2018

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The Custom Works Tour Is Now Seamlessly Integrated With A Multi-Channel Experience That Begins With Their Online 3D Configurator

COSTA MESA, Calif. – September 28, 2018 - Dainese (www.dainese.com) the world leader of protective wear for dynamic sports, announces the 2018 USA tour of Custom Works, which provides fully-customized and made-to-measure motorcycle racing suits and jackets for race and street enthusiasts. https://customworks.dainese.com/

The Custom Works tour will visit USA cities where Dainese has partners with select retail stores. Through Custom Works, a master tailor will take measurements and walk the customer through the selection process of materials, color choices and the potential wish list of add-ons, logos, special numbers and other options to ultimately create their dream suit.

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The program, is now fully integrated with a multi-channel experience that begins online, with the 3D Configurator, and continues in the Store where the personalized garment is delivered to the Customer; an engaging process that combines the practicality of digital configuration with the craftsmanship of a unique, handmade product. Accessible via the website, the 3D configurator allows each motorcyclist to personalize his/her leather suit, jacket or pants in real time, with a simple, engaging and interactive digital experience. The customer can see a preview of the garment, change the colors of the various parts, select accessories (plates, sliders), and upload words and/or images that are immediately visible on the 3D garment. 

Once the design is complete, the customer saves the model and books an appointment during which sizes are taken. The purchase is then completed at a Certified Custom Works Center - a network of stores authorized and certified by Dainese to offer the Custom Works service. 

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The 25 anatomical measurements needed for the personalized garment are taken with the support of a specialized consultant. Special consideration is also given to the customer's specific needs and the expected use of the product. At the Store, customers can actually touch the technology, materials, finishes and accessories that give life to the most advanced leather suits.

Once complete, the measurements and customization specs are sent to Dainese’s production facilities, where each piece is hand-sewn by professionals, many of whom do custom sewing for Valentino Rossi suits. 

“We at Dainese always stress the critical importance of fit for optimal protection and safety. And we’re bringing that on the road through the Custom Works Tour, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get a completely made-to-measure, Dainese suit that’s fully customizable - literally every stitch is made for you,” said Roberto Sadowsky, Dainese North America Executive VP. “We are proud to bring this opportunity to riders across North America who are looking for the very best and trust Dainese’s heritage and craftsmanship to make it happen.”

Since its inception in 1972, Dainese has remained at the forefront of technical innovations in motorcycling gear, making racing leather suits for champions including Valentino Rossi, Giacomo Agostini, Eddie Lawson, Kenny Roberts, Sr., among many others. The company’s forward thinking and uncompromising design approach has brought protection advances including knee sliders, back protection, aerodynamic hump and D-Air® technology to the market for ultimate performance and safety.

Over 40 years of experience in the field culminated in this launch of the Custom Works program, which allows every client to get the perfect leathers of their dreams, made by the trained specialists of the leading manufacturer of protective motorcycle wear.

Custom Works North American Tour Dates & Locations

  • OCT 2 - 3 – RIDERS CHOICE - 2276 Dixie Rd, Mississauga, ON L4Y 1Z4, Canada

  • OCT 4 – 613 MOTORSPORTS - 1456 Cyrville Rd, Gloucester, ON K1B 3L9, Canada

  • OCT 5 - 6 – NADON SPORTS - 645 Rue Dubois, Saint-Eustache, QC J7P 3W1, Canada

  • OCT 12 - 13 - DUCATI AUSTIN - 3232, 812 E Braker Ln, Austin, TX 78753

  • OCT 15 DAINESE CHICAGO 1216 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60610

  • OCT 16 - 17 BATTLEY CYCLES DC 4147, 7830 Airpark Rd, Gaithersburg, MD 20879 

  • OCT 18 - 19 DUCATI BOSTON 83 Mystic Ave, Medford, MA 02155 

  • OCT 20 - 21 DUCATI DETROIT 33828 Woodward Ave, Birmingham, MI 48009

  • OCT 23 - 24 DAINESE NYC 140 6th Ave, New York, NY 10013

  • NOV 3 - 4 DAINESE ORLANDO 100 W Livingston St, Orlando, FL 32801 

  • NOV 6 – 7 DAINESE LA 1418 Lincoln Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90401

  • NOV 8     DAINESE SF 131 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94103

  • NOV 9-10 MOTOCORSA PORTLAND 2170 NW Wilson St, Portland, OR 97210

  • NOV 11 – 12 PACIFIC MOTORSPORTS 21000 Westminster Hwy #2120, Richmond, BC V6V 2S9

Dainese Custom Suit Experience

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018 — Dainese presents Custom Works, a service for fully-customized and made-to-measure Dainese motorcycle racing suits and jackets for race and street enthusiasts.

The multi-channel experience begins online with the new 3D Configurator and continues at the store where the personalized garment is delivered to the customer. Custom Works is an engaging process that combines the practicality of digital configuration with the craftsmanship of a unique, handmade product.

With Custom Works, Dainese offers all bikers the quality and know-how it has acquired with more than 45 years of experience in the production of personalized leather suits. For nearly half a century, Dainese has grown, collaborated and shared its goals with the greatest riders of all time, from Giacomo Agostini to Valentino Rossi. Over this same period, Dainese has always pushed the boundaries of innovation.

With Custom Works, anyone can have a tailor-made garment and create his or her own unique design, choosing from a vast array of leather colors and accessories, with the option of adding words and images.

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The new Custom Works is a fully updated multi-channel experience. Accessible via the Dainese website, the brand-new 3D configurator allows each motorcyclist to personalize his/her leather suit, jacket or pants in real time, with a simple, engaging and interactive digital experience. The customer can see a preview of the garment, change the colors of the various parts, select accessories (plates, sliders), and upload words and images that are immediately visible on the 3D garment.

Once the design is complete, the biker saves the model and books an appointment during which sizes are taken. The purchase is then completed at a Certified Custom Works Center - a network of stores authorized and certified by Dainese to offer the Custom Works service. 

The 25 anatomical measurements needed for the personalized garment are taken with the support of a specialized consultant. Special consideration is also given to the customer's specific needs and the expected use of the product. At the Store, customers can actually touch the technology, materials, finishes and accessories that give life to the most advanced Grand Prix leather suits and that are also used to create the customized garment. 

With Custom Works, every customer can wear an absolutely unique Dainese garment.

When I clicked on the configurator to see what options were available for women, I found two track suits: 

  1. Laguna Seca 4 $1299 - more aggressive race fit, more stretch panels and tighter overall
  2. Avro - $999, relaxed fit, not a full race cut

If I chose a custom design/color, it was an additional $629. After that, I could pick a custom shoulder slider which is available in fun colors ($47.95) or the flag of your choice for an additional $94.95. These are all costs in addition to the MSRP of $1299.

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Lastly, there's the additional cost for a fully custom size. Just an additional $795. Generally you'll spend anywhere from $1500-$2000 for a great custom suit anyhow. 

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Currently there aren't any separates option for women. But there aren't many for men either, just one jacket (Racing D1) and no pants. 

If you're interested in setting up an appointment, Click Here to visit the configurator and submit a request.  The closest location to Philadelphia is the Dainese New York store. 

Happy Track Day'ng! 

Reviews and a Riding Jean Party

It's been a busy weekend. 

First, I want to invite women riders of Philadelphia to a special pop up party that we're having:

Saturday, September 30th in Philadelphia, 7pm-9pm. 

The exact location is TBD but will be somewhere in Center City. I will do my best to find somewhere convenient to the freeways and with decent parking. 

If you've been looking for the best pair of women's riding jeans then look no further because Laura is bringing the best. She also offers fully custom - made to your measurements - jeans.

https://shop.worsewear.com/collections/all

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If you've never heard of her jeans, please listen to my latest podcast interview with Laura to find out more details and information. 

This event is limited to 20 Women Riders only. Due to the intimate nature of this event, men are not invited to this party. Next time! 

Event Details and RSVP here: 

https://www.facebook.com/events/804848576349084/

Don't worry, if you don't facebook just post a comment that you plan on attending and I'll make a note. Or drop me a line at gearchic at geemaildotkom with your full name and what you ride so I can add you to my list!

Please check the Facebook Page for location updates, of course I will also post on my social feeds and update this post when the location is finalized. 

Next, I've got reviews, review and reviews ready on my website: 

 

 

Another Day with California Superbike School

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In July we signed up for our first track day with California Superbike School. 

We had such a great time the first time around, we squeezed in another one before the riding season starts to freeze us out. I learned so much from them the first time, I knew going back for a second round at Level 2 would be well worth it. 

As you can see, there is no knee dragging! Ha. I'm too scared to drop my knee down at this point. But it had nothing to do with that. It all had to do with riding smoother, more consistently and with better focus. For me, it was all about figuring out how to ride more effectively so I could go exactly where I needed to without going too wide, or missing the next corner. But I think as I start to get closer to the edge of my tires that I'll need to start shifting my weight over. And I hope that with more practice next Spring I'll get there. 

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When we went to our first day in July, we decided to get more track specific tires that we could still use on the street. We went with Michelin Power RS's and they performed quite well. No tire warmers necessary! But who am I kidding? I'm not going that fast and my bike isn't a track only bike. So I opted for something that could be ridden on the street too, just with a lower tread life than say the Pilot Power 3s. They were ridiculously sticky and it showed. 

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One thing I was able to add for this track day was a track helmet! I borrowed the Bell Race Star, their carbon fiber track helmet (just below the Pro Star).  Well conveniently borrowed from work of course. I really enjoyed this helmet on the track. I didn't have the chance to wear it on the street but I have a feeling I would enjoy it there as well. :) Check out my review here.

But by the time my next track day rolls around (likely Spring, ~April) I'm going to have to start improving my body position where my butt is concerned. I struggled with trying to lean more while having my hands much higher than a traditional track bike like the rider behind me. But I feel like I learned so much more about how to manage all the excess real estate of the race track. The corners can be so spread out, figuring out how to focus where you need to without missing the corners can be daunting. 

I feel like they gave me the tools and techniques I would need to ride that track again more consistently and smoothly. But that translates to the street as well, since focusing on where you need to be while keeping track of everything around you is extremely to difficult to juggle especially with all the excess distractions. Riding on the track seems so much easier at this point. 

I'm excited to go to the track and practice what I've learned so far before heading back again for Levels 3 and possibly 4. (They have 4 levels of instruction).

If you've never done a track day ever, I highly recommend doing one with CSS as your first. You'll learn more than you ever knew possible and it'll be one of the best track day experiences you've ever had.  
 

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Alpinestars Motegi Stella Women's Race Suit

Riding in the Alpinestars Motegi v1 Stella Suit

Riding in the Alpinestars Motegi v1 Stella Suit

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Motegi v2 Stella

The newest version of the popular Motegi Suit for women.

As you may remember, I recently completed another track day with California Superbike School on July 31st. My husband and I loved it so much, we decided to sign up again on August 21st. So I thought it was time to get a suit, as I know I will be doing more track days in the Spring. 

So I ordered up Alpinestars' newest women's suit, the Motegi v2

I ordered a size 40, which I could never fit with Alpinestars in previous years but my body has changed (although my weight hasn't) in recent months so I'm finding myself needing a 38. 

It's a fantastic suit, the problem for me and women like myself who have very little to offer in terms of curves is that it's too loose now. 

What's really difficult is that when I tried to size into a Dainese 40, I could *barely* get my hips in and then I couldn't zip it shut! My waist/belly was too much. I would have to loose 1-2 inches in my waist minimum to get that to zip and even if I did I couldn't get a back protector in there. If I sized up then I'd have it too loose everywhere else. 

I have a 35" chest and this size 40 easily fits another 2-3 inches in the chest. This 40 now fits like an old 42. if you're looking for a 1 piece with ample waist/belly/bust room, this suit is definitely for you. 

Need room in the thighs? Yep. Need room in the booty? That too. Race suits for women are few and far between. If you google, you'll basically find three companies offering suits:

  • Dainese
  • Alpinestars
  • Spidi

Between these three brands, Alpinestars will offer you the fullest fitments. 

So I did what any woman who only had a week to figure out a suit would do, I tried the previous version, the original Motegi (v1):

Read my fit review of the Motegi v1 suit here

Two Weeks Later, And My Boots Aren't Killing Me!

Dainese Torque Out Boots

Thrilled to report that 2 weeks after I bought these beautiful boots, they fit great. A teeny bit long in the toes but I can live with that. What I couldn't live with was the pain over my instep. I've logged a little over 400 miles in them so far and they're working out really well. I'm hoping to do a video overview of them this week so stay tuned. 

Breaking in New Motorcycle Boots. Ugh.

Last year I wrote about the newest women's motorcycle boots from Dainese, the Torque D1's, the first true women's motorcycle boot that offers real ankle support. What this means they make it incredibly difficult for you to twist your ankle. Of course, the impact protection is also incredibly supportive as well. 

I didn't think I could wear these. I still am not 100% sure. My problem was that as a woman with a very small, wide foot boots like these from Dainese are incredibly difficult to wear. 

Typically I size into a US 6.5-7 (7 if it's a narrower shoe) which translates to about a Euro 36-37. These are a Euro 38. My feet are also incredibly high at the instep. My other weird issue is that I have a small cyst on the top of my left foot, so that makes wearing any tight shoes (like if I lace my shoes too tight) especially painful. 

Since these are fairly difficult to get my foot into so I had to size up. 

I've been wearing them around the house for about a total of 1.5 hours and luckily I haven't felt any pinching or piercing pain anywhere. Just tightness from a new pair of boots, especially race boots. They're just not easy. 

I did find that crossing my legs while sitting on a kitchen stool did make my toes go numb... so I recommend not doing that ;D

I've also added my super insoles to still give me the extra heel height that I like having.

They seem to fit okay, of course I removed the insoles that came with the boots but it certainly makes the heel and ankle space a bit tighter. I'm hoping as I keep breaking them in they only get better!

Just a little test ride.. in the kitchen! Always take your gear for a test ride at home so you can see what it might feel like to wear things for more than 2-3 minutes. 

Just a little test ride.. in the kitchen! Always take your gear for a test ride at home so you can see what it might feel like to wear things for more than 2-3 minutes. 

Breaking in new boots isn't fun. It can be a pain in the ass really. But I really wanted the extra ankle support that these boots offer that my old Sidis don't even though they took great care of my feet when I crashed two years ago.. I'm also doing a track day next month so I want to be ready for that too. 

Also, I'm trying to sell my new-used Sidis (not the ones I actually crashed in) if you know anyone who might be interested.

 

Riding with the Sisters' Centennial Motorcycle Ride Presented by BMW Motorrad USA

Riding Across the Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday, July 23rd, 2016 with 150-200 motorcycles behind us! ( Left: Sarah Schilke, National Marketing Manager BMW Motorrad NA. Middle: ME. Right: Alisa Clickenger, Organizer of the Sisters' Ride (Photo: Christina Shook)

Riding Across the Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday, July 23rd, 2016 with 150-200 motorcycles behind us! ( Left: Sarah Schilke, National Marketing Manager BMW Motorrad NA. Middle: ME. Right: Alisa Clickenger, Organizer of the Sisters' Ride (Photo: Christina Shook)

Day 1 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Brooklyn, New York

Last weekend I finished up a spectacular event with my friend Alisa Clickenger, the organizer of the Sisters' Centennial Motorcycle Ride. If you hadn't read my article about this ride, read this first and then come back. :D 

Adeline and Augusta Van Buren after riding into Mexico all the way from Brooklyn, NY (Photo: Van Buren LLC)

Adeline and Augusta Van Buren after riding into Mexico all the way from Brooklyn, NY (Photo: Van Buren LLC)

Of course I brought  my Man  :-) Photo: Christina Shook

Of course I brought my Man :-) Photo: Christina Shook

I could only do the first week of this amazing ride so I brought the man with me to the kickoff point, Brooklyn on Sunday, July 3rd. That night was a small, intimate event with members of the Van Buren Family that were joining the entire cross country journey. That night I had the pleasure of  meeting Sarah Van Buren, Great Grand Niece of the Van Buren Sisters, as well as her father, Robert Van Buren (Great Nephew of the Van Buren Sisters). Sarah was so inspired by what her ancestors accomplished and the momentous event of this ride that she herself obtained her motorcycle license just 9 months before the beginning of the ride! What an accomplishment, to ride across the country before you've even racked up a few thousand miles of riding experience under your belt. Sarah, you should be incredibly proud of what you've accomplished, as your Aunts would have been so proud of you as well.

Sarah and Robert inside the wall of death at AMA Vintage Days earlier this year (Photo: Sara Liberte)

Sarah and Robert inside the wall of death at AMA Vintage Days earlier this year (Photo: Sara Liberte)

Alisa Clickenger (organizer) holds the Proclamation (Photo: Christina Shook)

Alisa Clickenger (organizer) holds the Proclamation (Photo: Christina Shook)

The evening was marked by a very cool proclamation from the Borough of Brooklyn, New York declaring July 3rd 2016 "Sisters' Centennial Motorcycle Ride Day in the Borough of Brooklyn".

Since we were leaving super early the next morning for Springfield, it was a light evening for both of us. 

Day 2: Brooklyn, New York to Springfield, Pennsylvania

Nothing to see here, just a few dozen people riding motorcycles through Brooklyn. (Photo: Christina Shook)

Nothing to see here, just a few dozen people riding motorcycles through Brooklyn. (Photo: Christina Shook)

Our route as we left Brooklyn took us North, up the Taconic State Parkway. It's a very scenic route (nothing twisty really) into Massachusetts. After awhile, Evan and I split off and decided to ride a backroads route into Springfield instead of with the larger group we were with. (There were 3 distinct groups based on riding experience and overall comfort. So no, it wasn't 100 people all riding together all the time <which freaks me out a bit>). We had a blast riding for a bit with Robert Pandya (External Relations Manager - Indian Motorcycles) and Robert Van Buren!

Robert and Sara Liberte riding all the way cross country in this beautiful Indian Chief Dark Horse with matching Sidecar. &nbsp;Such a stunner! (Photo: Christina Shook)

Robert and Sara Liberte riding all the way cross country in this beautiful Indian Chief Dark Horse with matching Sidecar.  Such a stunner! (Photo: Christina Shook)

Me and Robert, after rolling into Springfield! &nbsp;(Photo: Me)

Me and Robert, after rolling into Springfield!  (Photo: Me)

That night we rolled into Springfield without much fanfare. We did however, hit a huge milestone and rode through Connecticut! Another state knocked off my list. It was HOT too. Did I forgot to mention how HOT it was? 

DAY 3: SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS

First day in Springfield, the morning kicked off with a great tour of the Springfield Museums and another proclamation. This time from the Mayor of Springfield. 

Alisa with Domenic Sarno,&nbsp;Mayor of Springfield. &nbsp;(Photo: Christina Shook)

Alisa with Domenic Sarno, Mayor of Springfield.  (Photo: Christina Shook)

The coolest part for me was seeing the Van Buren Sisters portion of the museum. If you haven't visited the Springfield Museums, they have a varied collection of exhibits including the history of Indian Motorcycles. 

Standing below their famous ancestors: Left, Sarah Van Buren and Right, Sofié&nbsp;Ruderman (Great Granddaughter of the Van Buren Sisters. Photo: Christina Shook)

Standing below their famous ancestors: Left, Sarah Van Buren and Right, Sofié Ruderman (Great Granddaughter of the Van Buren Sisters. Photo: Christina Shook)

Something that truly struck me was how much these two take after their famous female ancestors. Their resemblance is striking, isn't it? Right next to this wall was a display case of the very headwear that Augusta Van Buren wore back then during their trip. I guess you could call this her "helmet". 

Erin Sills (SheEmoto) AGV Helmet next to Augusta's cap. Her head was SO tiny. &nbsp;(Photo: Me)

Erin Sills (SheEmoto) AGV Helmet next to Augusta's cap. Her head was SO tiny.  (Photo: Me)

Maybe it's because I've been working in this industry for awhile now, or maybe not. But it truly made me realize how lucky we are to have technology in the 21st century to allow us to be safer. We have so many options available to us now that weren't just ~20 years ago! Ask any woman rider you know that has been riding for at least that long, and she'll tell you that options were pitiful back then. I know it seems like we don't have much today, but WE DO

After the museums it was time to head over to Westover Airforce Base to take a quick tour of a C-5 Cargo Plane. One of the best things about participating in the Sisters' Ride was seeing my West Coast Friends! And the cargo plane was pretty cool too. It was like a sauna inside though, I don't know how any of these brave men and women do it. 

Left: Porsche Taylor, Editor of Black Girls Ride Magazine. Middle: Alisa Clickenger, Organizer (Photo: Me)

Left: Porsche Taylor, Editor of Black Girls Ride Magazine. Middle: Alisa Clickenger, Organizer (Photo: Me)

Day 4: Springfield to Sayre

Our last day with the Ride was to Sayre, Pennsylvania. We even got a police escort all the way out of town! Thank you Springfield Township Police Department for your service. 

(Photo: Christina Shook)

(Photo: Christina Shook)

After leaving Springfield Township's city limits safely, our first stop was going to be along Jacob's Ladder Highway along Route 20. It was a place that the Sisters' stopped at 100 years ago. So we paid homage to them and snapped a photo right where they stood. Ok maybe I'm just being silly, but I really felt that awesome light were the Sisters saying hello :) 

Left: Alisa, Right: Robert at the Rock Cairn along Jacob's Ladder Highway (Photo: Me)

Left: Alisa, Right: Robert at the Rock Cairn along Jacob's Ladder Highway (Photo: Me)

Sarah places another rock to add to the pile and add the Sisters' Ride to a place in history. 

(Photo: Christina Shook)

(Photo: Christina Shook)

And a lovely shot of the entire rock cairn with everyone: 

(Photo: Christina Shook)

(Photo: Christina Shook)

After that, it was an easy ride towards Sayre for the night. 

Unfortunately the next morning (Thursday) meant going back to Philly, so I could take the time off I needed to meet everyone back in Carson City 2 weeks later! 

Friday, July 22nd in Carson City

This was yet another opportunity to see my West Coast friends! I flew out the night before into San Francisco and the next morning, I borrowed this stunning, speedy BMW R1200R. It's practically brand new, and someone I hardly knew extended her kindness to let me borrow her for a couple days so I could ride with my fellow Sisters. THANK YOU AGNES!

This 2015 BMW R1200R had a stock seat height of 30" and nothing lowered.&nbsp;

This 2015 BMW R1200R had a stock seat height of 30" and nothing lowered. 

I still need to write a review of this wonderful ride, so stay tuned to my social feeds and newsletter to find out when it's published. Needless to say, I had a blast on it! I rode out to Carson City (all slab, 80 to 50) to meet up with the rest of the group. As soon as I get off the bike to walk into the hotel lobby, who do I run into except racing legend Mary McGee! It was such a great moment, because that's where I saw Mary for the first time 4 years ago at the last AMA Women & Motorcycling Conference at the very same hotel. 

Mary McGee :&nbsp;The first woman to hold an AMA motorcycle racing license in California.

Mary McGee: The first woman to hold an AMA motorcycle racing license in California.

That night, we had a nice dinner with everyone who was going to be riding with us to San Francisco the next day. Alisa presented the staff and cross country riders, special medals that showed how they participated in this historic motorcycle ride. 

Medals recognizing all the riders who rode from Brooklyn to San Francisco.

Medals recognizing all the riders who rode from Brooklyn to San Francisco.

New Rider Sarah Van Buren receives her medal.

New Rider Sarah Van Buren receives her medal.

Saturday, July 23rd to San Francisco

Saturday was a quick, all slab route to San Francisco. We had a fairly quick lunch stop at A&S Cycles in Roseville, CA with a bunch of other riders who came to join the fun. Not everyone was coming with us to San Francisco but many of them stayed to say hello and grab a free burger courtesy of A&S. 

After lunch, it was off to the staging point just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. It felt SO good to be riding towards that bridge again. I was so tempted to turn off on the Lucas Valley exit and take the R1200R for a really good ride through Petaluma. *sigh*

I don't have the exact numbers so I'll keep using this number: 150-200 riders showed up just north of the bridge at Fort Baker. We had men and women on everything from classic Indians to Ducatis to Harleys to BMW's. It was one of the most thrilling motorcycle experiences of my riding life. I also got to see more old friends!

Me with my friend Aleks Grippo, owner of  Moto Guild San Francisco

Me with my friend Aleks Grippo, owner of Moto Guild San Francisco

Oops, must post another photo of the bike!

The mighty R1200R I borrowed for the weekend. SO much fun and what a suspension! The luggage I used was a  Givi TankLock XS312 Tankbag &nbsp; and my trusty  Kriega US-20 Tail pack (it seems to follow me everywhere)&nbsp;

The mighty R1200R I borrowed for the weekend. SO much fun and what a suspension! The luggage I used was a Givi TankLock XS312 Tankbag  and my trusty Kriega US-20 Tailpack (it seems to follow me everywhere) 

Group Shot with the Golden Gate Bridge shining in the background (Photo: Christina Shook)

Group Shot with the Golden Gate Bridge shining in the background (Photo: Christina Shook)

We had the honor of having San Francisco Motorcycle Club escort us across the bridge into San Francisco down to their historic clubhouse. It was pretty crazy. 

Quick rider meeting before we leave with a few words from the Club.

Quick rider meeting before we leave with a few words from the Club.

I'm lucky that I lived in the city long enough to have participated in several group rides with various friends/ clubs. Shutting down an intersection to let 20-30 bikes through is not big deal. But 150+??

I was lucky enough to be in the front of the pack, right behind Alisa and Sarah. What a great ride down the Great Highway!

I was lucky enough to be in the front of the pack, right behind Alisa and Sarah. What a great ride down the Great Highway!

Looking back after riding down Clipper Street into the Mission District. Woooohooo!

Looking back after riding down Clipper Street into the Mission District. Woooohooo!

After riding through the mad streets of San Francisco passing angry tourists and residents who were left to wait in their cars while all these damn motorcycles ride by.... we made it to SFMC's Headquarters. Did you know that their club is over a 100 years old, established in 1904? They were allowing women full voting rights within the club before our government decided we were equal.  

No big deal, just parking in the median.

No big deal, just parking in the median.

If you've never had the privilege of entering SFMC's clubhouse, it's a very unique place. So much motorcycle history is here, all over the walls. (Photos: Christina Shook)

That night was the Grand Finale Party Presented by Allstate at the Dainese Store San Francisco, where I got to see more friends and spend time in a city that I miss every day.

I also got a few photos with some long lost friends and family :) 

 

I had an incredible time, even though I only made it for 1/3 of the ride. I felt like I had been there with everyone all the way from Day 1 to 20. 

Now I have the cross country bug. I'm dying to do this trip next year somehow but I'll certainly have a different route. Not sure if I'll have enough time to go all the way across and back with my vacation time, but we'll see ;-)

 

The Dainese Women's Torque D1 Boots Don't Fit Me

2017 UPDATE! I purchased these boots earlier this year and made them work. Click here to find out how. 

Last month I posted about these amazing boots that Dainese created just for women. Race level boots with full lateral, ankle support. Something my Sidis just don't offer. :-(

I tried on the Dainese boots in 37 (my size when shoes run tight) and they're just TOO NARROW! *Cry* I couldn't get my amazing insoles to fit either, even a size up. The good news is, if you do have a slimmer instep, you will LOVE these. They also have a speedlace system, which allows you to cinch the ankles down even more! (Oh how I already envy you!)

This photo is from the back of the boot, all Dainese Race style boots are rear-entry. They also have velcro adjustments on either side of the boots (red circles) so you can adjust your calf fit, depending on what kind of pants/race suit you're wearing, or general calf size.

I wasn't trying to put the entire thing in side (all three pieces together). I could barely get my foot in as is. I have a high instep, so a lot of shoes in my size (6.5 US) are small at the opening so I can't get my foot in.

Maybe that's why I love my Sidis so much, they fit me so well and are so damn comfortable. I can add my magic insoles and I'm good to go.

But I really wanted more protection, in the form of full lateral support. Meaning, the boots make it almost impossible for your ankles to move sideways in case of an accident.

I also tried sizing up again (to 38), which helped so I could get my foot in. But then there was almost 2 inches of toe space :-( Looks like I'll be keeping my Sidis for awhile longer.... *sigh*

The good news is, if you have pretty, feminine narrowish feet you will be fine!

#firstworldproblems