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Article Contribution; Helping Dealers Sell Gear to Women Riders

Shout to my girl Alisa Clickenger for featuring me in her article in November's edition of Motorcycle Powersports News

I shared my tips for success when trying to sell motorcycle gear to women. There are a few things you have to consider when thinking about what to carry, including sizes/fit and of course budget. 

You can address your riding community, you just have to get to know them first! 

Please share this with any dealers/shops you know that might need help with their selection of women's motorcycle gear. 

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An Open Letter to New Women Riders

 

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.

My elbow post accident, and that's while wearing really good gear. Just imagine what that would've been like without any at all!

My elbow post accident, and that's while wearing really good gear. Just imagine what that would've been like without any at all!

My Revit Jacket held up great in a 40-45mph lowside. It really doesn't take that much. I wasn't racing, just riding at the speed limit into an easy right hand curve.

My Revit Jacket held up great in a 40-45mph lowside. It really doesn't take that much. I wasn't racing, just riding at the speed limit into an easy right hand curve.

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.

Me and Brittany Morrow at the Women's Sportbike Rally East, 2015

Me and Brittany Morrow at the Women's Sportbike Rally East, 2015

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.

#atgatt

(all the gear all the time)

Going Back to Cali for a Week!

alpinestars_vika  

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! :-(

What's it like to live in Philly, from this California girl

schuykill dog park When I told people we were moving to Philadelphia, it was certainly a big surprise and the immediate reply was always something along the lines of "you know it snows there, right?" 

Right. It snows in other parts of the country. I sort of knew what I was getting into. I think I had a pretty good handle on it, actually. I knew it wasn't going to be the easiest transition, but I really didn't expect it to work out this well. After making the decision to move to Philly, I was pretty scared. I couldn't really believe what I had done, and I sort of sat in denial between late September (when I decided to move) and January 15th when we finally left.

Getting in the car and actually driving away made it very real. We had a pretty good time driving across country, we saw so many cool things, ate really good food and just had fun visiting places we'd never been to. When we rolled in, it was in the middle of the Polar Vortex of all things. I knew it would be too good to be true when my friends in Philly told me the last few winters had been super dry/warm. But to be completely honest, it's not that bad. Yeah, 20 degrees is cold. It actually felt much colder when we got here. Now, I'm feeling sweaty when it's 55!

schlesingers deli philly

The food is Amazing with the exception of a good ole' Mission Burrito, of course, but otherwise we've been eating delicious foods (if you follow my Instagram, I try to snap pics of all the tasty meals) and having fun finding new places to dine.

Overall, there are many things that I really love so far about Philly and those include (but are not limited to):

  • East Coast Diners and the Food! Every diner we go to has a 10+ page menu with everything you can possibly think of. So much to choose from that I find it difficult to choose every time. And there are way more open 24 hours, which was difficult to find in SF. We've found so many cool places to eat and there are more to try every day.
  • Historical architecture and culture. Everywhere you go, there's some kind of landmark or historical event that's permanently embedded in the city streets with a signpost or plaque with a cool or crazy story. This is the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence. You can drive by Betsy Ross' house, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and more. I also am in love with the classic, European influenced architecture of the row houses, brownstones and the like. Almost every street is ridiculously cool and beautiful. Although I was born here (as were my brothers), I don't think I truly appreciated the history that this country was founded on. I look forward to learning more about the events that shaped our independence and how this city contributed to the final outcome.
  • philly
  • Snow. I know it sounds crazy. But I kind of Love it! I can't wait until Christmas time, well I can't wait until summer actually. But I have a feeling this city is going to be ridiculously beautiful around the holidays with trees, snowflakes and other holiday accessories.  I'm one of those who loves layering up and wearing warm sweaters and scarves, I love dressing up for winter!
  • My neighborhood, Bella Vista. We got so lucky with our apartment, it's 5-10 minutes from everything we need. It's a great mix of suburban and city living. Lots of restaurants, shopping and things to do right around the corner. I really can't wait til spring comes so I can get out and explore a bit more.
  • No Turn on Red. Most intersections here don't let you turn on Red! Love it.
  • Dogs. You can see from the pic above that Benny is having a blast at the dog park. Philly people love their dogs, and there are a ton of them everywhere. People bring them everywhere too!
  • Diversity. One would think that SF would've been a really diverse city. Sort of, but not really. Lower and middle class families (especially minorities) are fleeing like crazy. Because you can't live there for less than $100k/year. I like seeing all different colors and classes of people wherever I go. With all the universities and colleges here, there's a nice diversity of people from all over the world.

Okay, now to the not so fun parts. Which, I don't love but aren't going to drive me to run back to San Francisco! These are things that I hope to see some changes on in the next 3-5 years. Fingers crossed, but I know it's a longshot.

  • Recycling. It's such a San Francisco thing to complain about, but I miss the mandatory composting and excessive recycling that San Franciscans participate in. It reduces waste and it's sad to think about all the trash I can't recycle or compost sitting in a landfill. It also seems to fill up the streets here, especially during snow days when the trucks can't make it out that week to do pickups because of the weather. It's been so long since I've seen styrofoam, I forgot that people still use the stuff. (And it'll still be here in xx,xxx,xxx years most likely!
  • Burritos. I'm still hopeful that I will find something sufficient, but it's definitely going to take awhile.
  • No helmet laws. I'm getting used to it, but it still bugs me. I always pray that I won't see something I can't unsee when I see someone riding without one.
  • Roads. Living in the Bay Area you're spoiled with incredible roads within 15-30 minutes of you. Everything from twisty, to goaty, to dirt, to beautifully paved.  I'm excited to find a bike and start exploring, because I know there are good roads around here somewhere, I just need to figure them out! I have a feeling I'll be doing more long weekends to go riding, vs. short 4-6 hour rides which is fine with me.
  • Humidity.  I have a feeling I'll be driving to work a lot this summer. I just don't know what I can do with that. I'm used to riding in 90 degree dry heat, but I don't think I'll be a fan of humidity... Meh.

But most of all, I have to say that the best thing about being here is that working at Revzilla has been incredible. I didn't know if I really wanted to work in a store again. After my last experience, I felt like I didn't have any options left and really wasn't sure how much longer I could do this. Now that I'm here, I KNOW I want to do this. I absolutely LOVE doing this. And helping customers like Cory today, who just needed someone to talk to about gear and understand what options could be available for her to get geared up was so awesome.  It felt great knowing that I could give her information and help that she can't find anywhere else, period. She left knowing that it wasn't hopeless and that she would be able to find gear that fits her. I have to give a shout out to my awesome coworkers who really kick ass at their jobs and also love what they do. It's so nice to be surrounded by people who are actually happy working where they work.

If you don't know what it's like to love where you work and what you do for a living, then you're really missing out. Leaving was really hard and incredibly sad for me to leave my family and friends. But I just know that living here for a bit, experiencing something completely out of my comfort zone (much like riding motorcycles, imo) will make me a better person overall. I don't regret moving one bit, and highly highly recommend it at least once in your lifetime, because it's all been worth it for me, in exchange for working someplace I never could've imagined 5 years ago.... a little place called Revzilla.com, where you can find the most unique, incredible selection of premium motorcycle gear.

revzilla navy yard philadelphia pennsylvania motorcycle gear best selection

 

T.A.D. Gear

If you are having trouble shopping for the perfect gift for your dual sport riding, adventure loving man/woman, then you may want to try and take a field trip down to T.A.D. Gear in San Francisco, down in the neighborhood known as the Dogpatch.

"It is T.A.D. Gear's objective to design and produce the world's finest apparel and equipment for the wilderness, travel, exploration, professional field applications, or whatever challenging context the user chooses. "

The jacket on the left is actually made for women, known as the "TAD Gear Stealth Hoodie". It's a very fitted, narrow cut, perfect for women looking for more than just your ordinary hoodie.

Features : Our award winning Shark Skin Classic Soft Shell for cooler-cold temperatures is now available for women. Made in smaller, controlled qty, custom quality batches in the USA. 4 panel construction alpine cut for superior fit. Signature Low Profile AERO Hood with HRUF stowing system. Full venting pit zips. ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: 8 total pockets: 2 large chest pockets. 2 interior stash pockets inside main chest pockets. Lower back dual zippered "Duck Pocket". 2 upper sleeve pockets w/ 4"x4" Velcro loop swatches for Moral Patches. 1 smaller ID pocket on lower left sleeve. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: YKK Covert Zippers. Double reinforced elbows with internally access pad slots for our TPro pads (*Cut down to fit). Die cut YKK Velcro cuff adjustment tabs with half elastic cuffs. New double needle stitched sleeve pocket construction. Bias cut hem. Draw cord bottom hem. Optional Pen Tube, removable w/ Velcro hook back & pull tab. Colors: Black. Sizes: S, M, L, XL. Price: $182

If you go to your nearest NorthFace, you can buy something like the Women's Apex Paradigm Jacket for $199. And you only get 2 pockets! The Stealth Hoodie even has pockets for you to put in TPro armor. Not that I'm advocating riding with just this jacket and nothing else, but certainly it would go well under a jacket that has no armor.

They also sell an array of outdoor necessities such as survival knives, waterproof otter boxes, titanium sporks, SureFire flashlights and anything/everything you can think of to survive in a post apocalyptic world.  I'd say it's more of a disneyland for boys. I do love a good gadget, and I think for a habitual offroad, dual sport motorcycle adventure rider, T.A.D. Gear is a must before setting off for your next Dakar Rally, Baja 1000 or Cabo 1000.

Think of it as an REI on steroids, with even more than you could ever imagine for the crazy adventure you're about to take on, whether it's on 2 wheels or 2 feet.

First in a Series: Gear Around the Bay, Scuderia West

This is the first in a series about the best shops for women's gear in the Bay Area. But more importantly, they will carry the best that there is to offer in real gear.

Living in the Bay Area, we are so lucky to have so much available to us as motorcyclists. There are so many riders living here that of course we have more than your average number of motorcycle dealerships and apparel shops just for us!

I hope to visit 3-4 other shops in the Bay Area over the next few months to give you an up close and personal look at why these shops are so great!

Scuderia West, 69 Duboce Avenue, San Francisco, CA

For those of you who've never been to Scuderia, here is a 180 degree high res photo that will almost make you feel like you're really there. :D


Scuderia West is near and dear to me for more than the most obvious reason that I work there part time. 6 years ago my husband and I bought our first scooter there after renting one in Vegas on our honeymoon. I also bought my first helmet, jacket and gloves. I knew that Scuderia was a really special shop the minute I walked in. I also bought my first piece of gear that day, my now discontinued Vanson Textile. Long story short, it was this experience that kept me coming back to Scuderia. I almost hated going sometimes, because there was sooooo much stuff I wanted to buy there. Jackets, boots, gloves, pants, the list is endless! When I originally came up with the idea for my website, I thought it would be so cool to hang at Scuderia and learn as much as I can about gear. Where else could I go to get informative, useful information from people who knew their stuff?

And, I loved the fact that so many women were working there at the time. I'd gone back since then to buy more gear. So I took the plunge and asked Crystal one day if she needed any extra hands for the upcoming Open House. She said she'd think about it and the rest is history! I had no idea how much I would enjoy working there. It was so much fun, so easy and I sucked in every piece of information I could get my hands on.

If you take a look at the 180 pic above, you'll notice that some things you might see in most apparel shops are missing at Scuderia. No chaps, tassles, not a lot of chrome, no harley-wear. Crystal has done a fantastic job of identifying a badly needed gap in the motorcycle apparel business. The emphasis is mainly on quality products that protect, function well on a motorcycle, and *gasp* fit! Have you ever walked into an apparel shop that: 1) has dedicated apparel employees; and 2) knows how to give you proper fitment with your gear? Most shops have no dedicated apparel personnel. That expense is just seen as an unnecessary one, and/or it's really hard to find qualified, experienced people who know what they're talking about in terms of fit and selling the apparel for what it is, not how much it costs.

When you come in to buy gear, you'll find a variety of garments with different shapes and fits to accommodate different body types. Because if you've ever read my blog before this post, then you know how much focus I put on fit. I'll even let you in on a little secret. Come Closer. *We do not get commission on apparel sales at Scuderia.*


So when we tell you how well that jacket fits you (regardless of the price tag), we really mean it! There is nothing more satisfying for me than seeing the smile on a customer's face when she is standing in front of the mirror, admiring herself and so happy that she found a jacket that fits her like a glove. And, even if she's not sure she wants to spend ~$400+ on 'the one', we'll even encourage to check out other options at competitor shops. Once a customer knows exactly what's supposed to fit, how it's supposed to work and why it's worth the money, inevitably, they always come back. That's what makes Scuderia so special. We're really here to help inform and advise you the best we can. Sometimes what we have won't work, but we're going to tell you that instead of pressuring you to buy something that doesn't.

One common problem that both the men and women I've spoken to about gear have shared with me is how hard it is to shop for gear. Unless someone tells you, it can be really difficult to figure out what you need, why you need it and how to go about finding it. That's the problem with shopping virtually. With the wealth of information online available to you, there's no one to help you wade through it and make sense of it all. Especially as it relates to you! What bike you ride, what kind of riding you're doing, what features you need, what features you don't need, etc. Shopping is a lot of work, whether it's for gear or for just a jeans and tshirt.

By going to a place like Scuderia, you're going to get a lot of information that you just won't find anywhere else.

More Updates

Ack I've been a bad girl. Well, that's no real surprise, but I haven't posted since MotoGP last weekend. Oops, my bad. I've made a couple updates, mostly the homepage. I need more reviews! I'm dying to hear from any woman out there who has gear that she would recommend to a fellow female rider. Especially if you found it difficult to find something to fit your body type, no matter what it is. I've posted some of the requirements I'm looking for on my main page.

So let's talk gear. A new Dainese store has opened in San Francisco at the former site of Dudley Perkins/Harley Davidson on Van Ness Avenue near Market Street. I haven't made my way over there as of yet, but I imagine they have all the cool stuff that I saw in their Paris store, including longer, 3/4 length trenchcoat style jackets (with armor) for you hardcore scooterists, or for those of you looking for a more street/casual, non-motorcycle look.