It's been a painful last couple of months. Haven't been riding much and I feel completely out of it.
A couple months ago I decided to visit a Podiatrist to see about my left foot. I have this painful bump on the top of my foot which I thought was a bunion. Nope, turns out it's probably a ganglion cyst. And turns out I have terrible foot issues that cause me to walk uneven and as a result puts undue pressure on the nerve inside the ganglion cyst. I also have a really high instep so that's not making the situation any better. It's already hard for me to find shoes to fit my feet into, let alone additional pressure on the top of my foot that makes it feel even worse.
Generally, I have to find shoes that aren't too tight around my ankles because of this.
Good times. This makes wearing my motorcycle boots for 10+ hours a day difficult unless I wear them really really loose which isn't going to work either. So I did a little bit of physical therapy for my foot which has helped a bit, but hasn't completely resolved the cyst issue. I think I need to go back to the Podiatrist soon.
Next on the list, is my right shoulder. I went to the Ortho the other day and I likely have Bursitis. I haven't done any long rides recently but it's hard to say whether it'll be affected by that. I basically need to keep working on strengthening my shoulder muscles (which I've been working on for almost 5 months now with Crossfit. LOVE IT. Shoutout to Fearless in Philly!) I'll probably need physical therapy too.
Ok, what else? Oh doh, the main reason I wasn't riding last month is because I had a terrible case of Vertigo. Turns out my blood pressure is so low (~95-100/70) that it caused dizziness and lightheadedness. It took a few weeks, but my head finally came back to normal. The weather was pristine here in Philly too (low 70s) and I totally missed it. Now we're into high 50s, low 60s but I still want to try and go riding this weekend.
I had several issues with dizzyness/lightheadedness in the past 5-7 years where I would feel that way for 2-3 weeks at a time and I never figured out what it was. My blood pressure has always read below ~120 so I suspect this is it. The solution per my doctor is drink lots of water (which I'm doing, going through about 60oz every day) and more salt in my diet! I'm totally ok with that, because I have a Savory Tooth.
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.
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.
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.
(all the gear all the time)