parking

Short Riding Tips Series

Me, on my toes at the 2018 Women's Sportbike Rally West

Me, on my toes at the 2018 Women's Sportbike Rally West

After a few weeks of traveling, I'm finally back in Philly. First I went to the Women's Sportbike Rally in Camarillo (July 13-15). That's where I got to ride Goldie's Twin again (above). Isn't she beautiful?

Take a look at the Event Recap Photos to see what you might have missed.  

I've created a new playlist on my Youtube channel which will include my best tips for short riders. Most recently I uploaded a video on how I park my bike. And why most of the time, I choose to jump off my bike to park it and how I do it quickly and safely. I hope you'll subscribe. 

Movin' on Uppp err, Over

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Last week my husband and I flew out to Philly to check out the various neighborhoods and figure out where we want to live. We had no idea it would be so hard to find parking! How am I supposed to start a collection if I don't have anywhere to put them? Oh well. I guess my plan to hoard a fleet of motorcycles is going to have to wait until we get there, settle in and maybe move again in a year or so when we buy a house or find a garage to rent.

ducati monster Philly

I'm contemplating selling my beloved SV instead of hauling it out East. Monsters are on my mind as a next motorcycle but certainly not ready to buy anything yet. Since we're driving across right in the middle of winter (mid-late January) we won't be able to ride very much anyway.

Fingers crossed we find something cool with parking. Two Wheels Rule!

 

New Rider Advice, Should I Wear Taller Motorcycle Boots?

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A new rider from Kuala Lumpur wrote me awhile back about whether or not she should wear tall, 3" boots. She rides a brand that we don't really get here, a Benelli Keeway RKV 200. It weighs less than 300lbs and has a ~30" seat height. A little taller than other beginner bikes, but certainly not impossible. She's 5'2" and my guess is she has a ~26-27" inseam. She says:

"I'm okay with riding really slowly, until gear 2, but my shortness is really killing it for me. Especially when i have to backup. Plus, i'm awful at even maneuvering the bike even when i'm off it.. lol! I guess i'm not that good at faking it when it comes to how heavy the bike is. Well, just wanted a word of advise from you and do you think wearing 3 inch high boots will help?"

First off, I have to ask if you've had any basic rider training? If not, I hope that you have some local resources to take a basic class. Being a shorter person, I have learned that your skills and riding techniques compensate very well for lack of height. Otherwise, I'd never would've been able to ride any of these bikes.

As far as taller boots, they definitely help. I'm not a fan of wearing non protective boots for riding, so ideally I'd suggest buying any of the models in this previous blog post. They will all offer extra traction and the protection you need. But if you don't have access to these or can't afford to order them and have them shipped, then work with what you can get but AVOID high heels/fashion heeled boots. If a chunky heeled boot works, then great. Given where you live, I imagine women's gear choices are really limited.

The other thing I'd highly recommend is learning how to push your bike around while standing next to it. I also wrote a blog post about this here. Sometimes our bikes weigh A LOT. There is nothing wrong with getting off the bike to park. Sometimes it's easier and faster. I always park my bike like this if it's there's any kind of incline/slope. Why fight gravity? I've learned to back up with one foot and it works quite well for me :)

Motorcycles for Short Riders

Motorcycles for Short Riders

Motorcycles for Short Riders aka Tips for Success if You're Short

How do you Park your Motorcycle?

Someone recently gave me a wonderful compliment about my ability to maneuver my motorcycle. Being a short stack (as my husband sometimes refers to me) I can't always maneuver my bike in the same way as others. Sometimes you have to work with what you got. And if I limited myself to just what I could maneuver while seated on a motorcycle, I'd probably still be riding a 200lb scooter right now. But why should you be limited to anything? As long as you have the right tools and techniques, it can be done. A 20 point turn to get it straightened up. It doesn't help that my SV has a very limited turning radius. It always feels like a 10 point turn, no matter how big the parking lot is. And then if there's gravel or sand or an uphill grade, that makes things a little more complicated. It's impossible for me to back my bike up any kind of incline. And if I have to back my bike downhill, it can be even harder, as is the case with my garage.

I could practically do this with my eyes closed!

If you've ever driven around San Francisco, you know how the houses are set back from the street a little bit. Although there is a very flat sidewalk right in front of my garage, the garage itself is sloped downwards right where you pull into the garage and then it's still sloped once you get inside. Unfortunately it's not totally flat and can make in and out a little difficult.

When I get home from work, I pull up to the garage and back it in by walking it in since both of my feet barely touch the ground. I can get away with this on a flat surface, but with a downward slope, I'm sure to tip over. So my strategy is to walk it in backwards. I use this technique every time I need to maneuver my bike in and out of a space that it simply too tight or difficult to turn around in.

First, I always try to wear my Daytonas or other riding boots while doing any manuevering. With the added traction beneath my feet, it actually makes it easier for me to push the bike around. It almost feels like I don't have to push as hard to get the bike to move in the direction I need it to. I have more leverage to push the bike where I need to. Oh and a bonus are my framesliders which are right where my knee can push against the bike as well, if need be. They've come in very handy when I have to push my bike up a slight grade a few feet.

Second, I also am very conscious of my front brake and use it oh so lightly. One hard grab and I'm done. I use 2 fingers to manage the front brake so that I don't grab it too hard. Generally I just drag the brakes a little bit as I walk backwards.

Knee is braced against the slider, or up against the bike

Look Ma, No Hands. The bike is resting solely on my hip, so as long as I stay upright, so will the bike!

As you can see we have a funky slope in our garage, it's not flat, but YAY for having a garage to keep the bikes dry and warm