san francisco

Dainese North America Custom Works Tour 2018


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 ( 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.

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.


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. 


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

Getting Old SUCKS. Bad Feet, Shoulders and Vertigo.

February 2006. My first motorcycle trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles on my trusty Ninja 250. 

February 2006. My first motorcycle trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles on my trusty Ninja 250. 

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. 

Chili Cheese Fries at  Tony Lukes . Their cheesesteaks are amazing too!

Chili Cheese Fries at Tony Lukes. Their cheesesteaks are amazing too!

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? 


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 ;-)


Going Back to Cali for a Week!


I'm so excited to go home for a week! I'm leaving this Friday and will be back in Philly in 2 Mondays. I'll be driving around in a rental car since it's going to be raining the entire time I'm there. So no riding for me.... *sigh*

But you may find me at the Dainese Store San Francisco on Wednesday, January 20th at 6:30pm for a viewing of Hitting the Apex! A $10 donation will directly benefit the Marco Simoncelli Foundation.

Can't wait to be back in my old town.... Just wish it could be on two wheels! :-(

Ride Report, Bike Review and Pants!

2012_ducati_monster795 Last week I went home to see my family for Christmas. Of course, I had to carve out some time to go riding on some of my favorite roads! Luckily, a wonderful friend of mine had this gorgeous little lady for me to ride up to Bodega Bay. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, except that I now know a Ducati Monster isn't really in my future :)

First off, I have to say that a Monster is a really really great motorcycle. And I can definitely see why many people love them so much, especially as first or second bikes. However, after having ridden many different bikes with really really great suspension, performance and handling it's very difficult for me rank this bike near the top of my favorites.

I thought the height and weight were nice, certainly a lower ride than what I'm used to on my SV650 and the Speed Triple. However, after having ridden the (Triumph) Speed Triple, I can definitely say that I want a Triumph of my own. But the STreet Triple, the smaller and more compact version of the Speed. The main reason is the suspension!

So this is where I'm coming from, having ridden an amazing bike with superior handling especially on the front end. I would definitely recommend a Monster to anyone moving up from 500-600cc or looking for a mid size twin over a mid size inline 4. I certainly enjoy my twin very much. But I'm tired of stock suspensions that aren't adjustable so saving up for a used Street Triple R is my current plan for next Spring.

As far as the Monster, I would have to say it's a much better version of the SV with a little more power, ABS, nicer wheels and a few other bells and whistles. But for me it just doesn't compare to what a Triumph has to offer, so unless it had an upgraded suspension you don't find me looking for one anytime soon.

However, what I would recommend is riding these two roads!

one of my very favorite motorcycle roads, san francisco bay area


The big yellow highway is 1, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The white road is the Panoramic Highway which takes you to Muir Woods. It's one of the most perfect, twisty roads that I love love love to ride. Something I can't find anywhere near the state of Pennsylvania. Perhaps down to West Virginia but I still need to find it. Le sigh....

riding_sanfrancisco_bayarea 2

I also wanted to mention the pants my friend Aleks and I are wearing. Unfortunately those exact models are discontinued (Rev'it Marryl and Gear Pants). However, the latest version is the Gear 2 pant, which I reviewed a couple seasons ago here. There's a reason why Rev'it is my favorite brand, and it's because they know how to put us in gear that fits and looks great!

best women's motorcycle leather pants


(my friend's Triumph Speed Triple on the right and my borrowed Monster on the left)

Happy Riding, and don't forget to Gear Up!

PS, If you live in the Bay Area, you owe it to yourself to ride these roads, asap. You just have no idea how much I miss them.


Interview with CoFounder of Moto Shop, a Different Kind of Motorcycle Garage

MotoShop-Logo I've always been a fan of Moto Shop, and before I moved here, I visited often so I could work on my bike and see my friends! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then you need to listen to my interview here:

Lift stations, classes, motorcycles, workshops, community, what else could you ask for?


Reader Question: Gear for a New Rider


I found your site on Google. I know you usually do motorcycle gear for women but I was wondering if you had any strong suggestions for great for first time riders.

I was very much against my son getting a motorcycle but his father decided to gift him one for graduation. He's graduating from usf this semester. With that, he is signed up to take the motorcycle courses in two weeks. The bike his dad got him is a kawasaki ninja zx6r? I think which is a 600 engine which people don't usually recommend for a first time bike. My son likes to go fast but he's a safe driver if that even makes sense.

I am much more concerned for his safety as San Francisco drivers, Bay Area drivers all together are very dangerous.

So I only agreed if he got all the gear and classes necessary. I also had him sign up for maintenance and motorcycle knowledge classes at motosf and he wasn't very happy but he agreed just to make me feel better.

He lives in San Francisco but from time to time he will be commuting to South Bay for his new job. I've been doing my research and do you recommend him get a one piece suit? Two piece?

He gets hot very easily so he's not a fan of very heavy clothing. What would do the job? His dad bought him an arai rxq helmet as well as dainese gloves. Not sure which. But I wanted to know more about the protection and clothing he would be able to wear in commute vs shorter rides. Is there something he can wear over his work clothes of snacks and a button up shirt without getting sweaty and smelly?

What brands do you recommend. What protection? Also sizing... He likes to wear baggy things. Not super baggy but he likes to have room. Is that not recommended when buying motorcycle jackets? Also what do you recommend in leather vs textile jackets?

Thank you so much for your opinion and time.


Hi Kristen,

I totally understand your hesitation and anxieties concerning your son. I would have to agree that a sportbike such as the Ninja ZX6R is not exactly the perfect first bike for everyone. However, if he's a fairly levelheaded person, he'll probably be okay. I think you've done everything you can by pushing him to get training and educate himself on how to ride and take care of his motorcycle. It's definitely a good idea to know exactly what he's getting into. I'm not sure where he's signed up for classes, but if he hasn't checked out  Bay Area Moto Shop in San Francisco, I highly highly recommend it. It's a fantastic community of riders for him to get comfortable and excited about riding!


As far as gear, he could definitely do a 1 or 2 piece, depending on his lifestyle. It will also depend on his body type and overall fit profile. If he hasn't already, I recommend going to the Dainese Store SF. They are extremely knowledgable and have an incredible selection of 1 piece suits. I also recommend going to Scuderia in SF as well, and ask for big Dan. :D It also sounds like he has

Personally, I'm a fan of 2-piece suits because it allows flexibility when you go places. You can take your jacket off if you need to, or wear your jacket with different pants. If you wear a 1 piece, you always wear the 1 piece. He can definitely find overpants and jackets to wear over work clothes. He can also find vented gear that allows air to flow through the jacket so it's not too warm. There are many options, especially for men!

Everyone has different preferences in how they want to dress, but the one thing that is definitely important about motorcycle gear is Fit. Gear must fit close to the body so the body armor sits on top of the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and back so it doesn't move upon impact. Unfortunately the baggy fit doesn't translate with gear. There's almost no point in wearing any if it isn't fitting you properly, as motorcycle gear's #1 purpose should be to protect the body. Anything can be labeled as motorcycle gear, but if you read my Basics then you know how to tell if it's real motorcycle gear.

As far as leather v. textile, it's definitely a personal choice. Basically you choose leather if you want more durability and a little more protection. However, not all leather is the same. There's everything from lightweight, 0.9mm casual style leather to 1.3-1.4mm high quality, heavy leather. So you definitely have to look at each one individually and see what that jacket offers in terms of protection.


Generally, textile offers a little more functionality like the Revit Tornado Jacket on the left;  it has one removable liner that is waterproof and warm. The outside has mesh panels so he'll stay cool, but when he has to get back up to the City he has a warm liner.  Most people prefer textile at first because it's immediately comfortable, doesn't feel as restrictive as leather and just feels good from the get go.

Leather requires break in time, because it starts out stiffer and less comfortable. Many new riders (including myself when I was new) aren't willing to make this investment until it feels more comfortable. It certainly can offer more protection, but it's all about what feels good to the rider. If it doesn't feel good or comfortable, a rider won't wear it.

These are definitely options that each rider has to explore on his/her own and possibly make the wrong decision(s) to make the right one. It sucks but sadly that's how most people realize they need better gear, or gear in general.

I hope this helps, good luck to your son in making great riding choices!

Leaving San Francisco for Philly

2009_scion_xb Finally, I can sit down and write this Drive report. (Too bad it's not a ride report. *sigh*) In 8 days we drove from San Francisco to Philadelphia and here's how it went.

First off, let me say that the decision to leave was a difficult one. Leaving our friends, family and the only state we've ever lived in for an unfamiliar, imaginary place called Philadelphia was hard. I have to thank my husband Evan for being the most supportive, incredible partner a woman could ever have. Lucky for us, his job is literally mobile, as he is knee deep in mobile app development with a startup he founded called Dazzmobile. (if anyone needs a kickass mobile iPhone / Android app for their next event/conference, let me know!)

Our trusty ride, a Scion XB aka Buster, was packed as fully as possible (see above). We needed a few weeks worth of clothes and what not to keep us going, as well as some things to drop off in Southern California. I don't know how it got so full.

Sadly we had a mishap with our Uhaul box and delayed our trip a day. Our plan was to pack our box on Tuesday evening, 1/14. They switched our location without telling us and we ended up having to leave Thursday afternoon since we had to pack our box that morning.

Finally packed and ready to go.

Here's a little summary of our drive including all the pet friendly hotels/motels we stayed at as we drove across the country. We had to find all pet friendly motels and I also wanted smoke free. And knowing we were driving in the dead of winter, we picked the logical choice. South! As far south as possible without going to Mexico.

1st stop: Oxnard, CA

Distance: 350 miles


2nd Stop: Palm Springs

Distance: 170 miles Route: Hwy 101 to 10 East. Motel: Monroe Hotel  $76/night + $15/night pet fee This was such a great hotel. Very pet friendly, clean, easy to find and just a really nice place to stay.  I highly recommend staying here.

3rd stop: El Paso

Distance: 697 miles Route: 10 East. Hotel: Guesthouse Suites El Paso, $72/night This was also a nice, clean hotel. Inexpensive and great if you're looking for an all suite hotel.

4th stop: Austin

Distance: 576 miles; LONGEST drive ever! So flat, just so flat. Route: 10 East Hotel: Hyatt Austin, a fabulous hotel, right downtown. We used Hotwire to book a nicer hotel (at half the price!) since we ended up staying 2 nights instead of 1 like the others. Austin was awesome. One of the few suburb like cities that I would definitely live in. The stores were cool, the food was delicious and everything about Austin is just cool. See my pic for Breakfast Taco!

5th stop: New Orleans

508 miles Route: 10 East Hotel: Clarion New Orleans, 1300 Canal Street. NOT the best spot to stay. It was cheap so I booked it since we went all out in Austin. I would stay in the French Quarter next time, instead of saving money to stay outside of it. Hotel room was fine but the area was just too iffy. Not right in the fun part of town if you know what I mean.

New Orleans was awesome. A beautiful city, delicious food and such a cool place to hang out. I just wish we had more than 2 nights to spend there. It's definitely on my list to go back and take 3-4 days to see more of the city. While you're there, be sure to stop at District Donuts for sliders and super tasty donuts.

6th stop: Charlotte

713 miles Route: 85 North Hotel: Quality Inn & Suites Spartanburg. Really nice, clean hotel. Very pet friendly and free breakfast!

Sadly this is where the weather turned on us. It went from 70 degrees to 40 :( It was also on the way to Charlotte that I my iPhone 5 decided to take a swim from my back pocket into the toilet at a brief gas stop in Alabama. As I walked out of the bathroom, I saw this bag of rice and immediately bought it, shoved the phone in and prayed. After 3 days submerged, it came back only to live the rest of its days as an iPod, since it wouldn't connect to the ATT network anymore. Luckily I brought my iPhone 3 to load up audio books and music so I begrudgingly used that until we got to Philly. (btw, if you have 14 hours to kill, you must listen to Marcus Luttrell's book Lone Survivor. The audio book is great (from iTunes), his story is amazing and something every American should read or listen to.)


We also ate a delicious southern restaurant called Martin's Restaurant. Best fried chicken I've ever had an unlike any others I've had as well. Just SO good.

martins restaurant mobile al

Temp Housing #1 and #2

So after 8 days on the road, we rolled into Philly late on January 23rd. For some reason, we decided to pick the cheapest option by the airport, since nothing was less than $100/night. Looking back, we should've splurged which would've saved us SO much time and money. We ended up at the Extended Stay and it was the Worst experience ever. First we arrived and they made us wait 40 minutes to check in. Something about computers updating or whatever. Then after overbooking their hotel, they put us in a smoking room because it was all that was left. Unfortunately they failed to tell me that until after we got to the room. For some reason we decided to give it a try but after 2 hours we gave up, got online and tried to find another hotel nearby that would take us asap.

san francisco philly road trip scion xb

At 2am we moved to the Aloft down the street, an outstanding hotel AND they didn't charge us the walk in rate of $180. I told them what happened down the street and they graciously accommodated us for $90 night!  The Aloft was great. Clean, comfy beds and a huge bathroom.

Lesson learned. When your room smells like tobacco and cigarettes, leave immediately, no matter how late or tired you are. There's just no point. You won't be able to sleep because it smells like shit and your sinuses are burning. That is of course, you enjoy the scent of dried, disgusting tobacco smoke in everything you're touching.

Temp Housing #3

The following Sunday we rolled into our next piece of temporary housing since we didn't have a place to live yet. Our idea was to stay somewhere for a week and find a place to move into. Here's the little studio we found for $500 for the week on Airbnb.

Studio courtesy of airbnb

Settling into Philly

It's been interesting. Of course when we rolled in, it just happened to be part 2 of the arctic/polar storm so temps were between 10-20 degrees. From watching the news, it seemed like we might be heading into the storm of the century. But really, it wasn't that bad. A little chilly but not too bad.

One of the many fantastic things about Philly that I'm loving so far is the FOOD. I'm going to do my best to not gain 100lbs over the next year. I could easily eat my way through this city and double my width. But I just have to avoid that at all costs. Philly is a food city, not just cheese steaks either. So far, Paesanos has impressed me with their unique, creative sandwiches. They make amazing hot and cold sandwiches that aren't your usual hoagie or sub. Delicious ingredients, toasty bread, just fantastic. Probably the best sandwich I've ever had.

Finding a New House

A little ambitious I suppose, but we found it! Unfortunately the existing tenants and owners of the condo we're moving into couldn't leave until closer to March 1st. But the good news is it's totally worth waiting for.

Something that is really difficult about living in downtown Philly is that garages are extremely difficult to find, unless you have San Francisco money to spend. About $2500-$3000 for a dedicated, private attached garage to your rental. Not bad relative to SF, since large 2-3 bedroom homes with garages are renting for well over $3,000 these days.

GARAGE! to park our motorcycles!!

I just couldn't stand the thought of moving into a high rise apartment or a cute brownstone without a garage! I am dying to ditch this car commute and get back on two wheels. And if we didn't find a place with a garage, I knew it would make buying bikes all that much more difficult. I didn't want my bike to live outside and I just knew there had to be something.


Custom Suit or Jacket from Dainese

dainese made to measure events north america 2013 san francisco womens motorcycle gear

If you've ever wanted that perfectly tailored motorcycle outfit, now's the time. Mark your calendars and make an appointment. Contact the shop closest to you above for details.

What's new at the Dainese Store?

Dainese SF Lady Leather Jacket San Francisco photographer motorcycles motoperture

(photo courtesy of Chess Gambit, Motoperture)

Don't you wish you could find a sexy motorcycle jacket that's safe, stylish and fits real women? And on sale?

The Dainese Store San Francisco is having a huge clearance sale right now. Here's a really great jacket if you're looking. Their price is also lower than many websites.

SF Lady Leather Jacket

Sizes: 42-44, 48-50 (per their website)
Reg. $559.95, SALE $392

The photo above is my gorgeous friend, Mandy, wearing her SF Lady. As you can see, Mandy has real curves and is a real woman. The epitome of my tagline; Real Curves, Real Women, Real Gear. (She also knows how to tear up the twisties!).

You're probably wondering what size her jacket is and what size she normally wears in casual jackets. She is wearing a Euro 46 and typically wears a US 12. Hopefully that gives you a sense of how Dainese designs gear so that the proportions are right where they need to be, even if you're not a size 0!

I highly recommend the SF Lady if you're looking for a really great all around jacket for cool/mild weather. Note that it doesn't feature a removable thermal liner, but since it has no perforation or vents, it should be fairly warm.

Dainese SF Lady Leather motorcycle womens Jacket


Sadly the following items are not on sale, I just wanted to share them with you.

Dainese G. Zima GORE-TEX

$499.95 (buy at the Dainese store or online at Revzilla)

Full Specifications Here.
Sizes: Euro 38-50 (wow! they're offering this up to 50. That's about a US 16).
Colors: All black and black/gray option shown below. On Dainese's website they have other colors listed, but it appears that these are the only ones available to purchase right now. 

You may have read my earlier review about REV'IT discontinuing the only GTX outfit for women they've ever offered. :supersadface Thankfully, Dainese is still committed to this effort. By providing one of the few options for women's jackets that offer a fully integrated (meaning, it's non removable and attached to the outer shell so you don't need to insert the liner to stay dry) GTX liner, they continue to stay invested in the women's gear market. I for one, am very very happy to see this jacket in their lineup.

If there's one thing that Europeans do well, it's fitting a woman's body. And motorcycle gear is no different. They really understand proportions and fit. I'm not a pencil shape, so to speak. I have a short, wider torso for my height (5'3") and this fit so perfectly. The material they use on the outer shell for this is called Mugello fabric. It's very forgiving. I could see the fabric allowing for a little extra comfort in the shoulders and across the back.  Goofy photos of me wearing it:

The materials, fitment and overall functionality of the jacket contribute to why it's such a high pricepoint. If you put it on, you'll also notice just how well it fits. Comfortable, functional, safe and a nice design.

Dainese Zima GORE-TEX women's motorcycle jacket waterproof winter 

An added bonus for buying any D-Dry or GORE-TEX waterproof jacket from Dainese (at participating retailers) is that they will give you a FREE back protector! Now through November 17, 2013. Program Details:

Dainese Ixia Boots

Dainese Ixia Boots Waterproof womens scooter city

$249.95 (buy at Dainese Store or online at Revzilla)

Sizes: Euro 36-42 (I seem to be shrinking, and ended up fitting into a Euro 36. I'm typically 7 in casual shoes)

Why is it so hard to find cute, stylish boots with protection? Well, it's a delicate balance of making them stylish but adding protection where you need it without changing the 'stylish' aspect. Even these cuties don't offer incredible protection, but more than anything you'd buy at your favorite department store.

Dainese Ixia Waterproof boots womens tall stylish cute motorcycle scooter

dainese ixia 1

I would totally wear these around town, going to the movies or running errands. They offer soft armor inserts on both sides of the ankle and reinforced toe shifters. I didn't spend a lot of time in them so I can't really say how reinforced they are in the heels/toebox. But it definitely felt like there was some reinforcement, just not as much as say the Dainese Siren. The leather felt really soft too, with lots of calf and ankle space.

These are the perfect boots for anyone looking for boots to wear on their scooter or motorcycle, around town (no freeway, city speeds <40-45mph).