First Impressions

GoGoGear Cafe Jacket

So far, I like the feel of this jacket. I'm also happy with how it looks (which is always a concern). It's a light weight, spring/summer jacket that is perfect for the 60s weather San Francisco is having this week. Yay! After 20+ days of rain in March, I'm sooo ready for Spring. I really like the detailing on the cuffs, which fold back like french cuffs.

I'll be trying another size to get the fit perfect so I can review it so stay tuned.

Interview may 21st

It looks like i'll be interviewed again for a Scooter podcast hosted by David Harrington called Just Gotta Scoot. Looks like it'll be broadcast live like the SideStandUp podcasts. You can find the Talkshoe page here:

Hopefully I'll reach some Scooter people out there that haven't thought about giving gear a priority and making some suggestions on Scooter friendly gear.

Updates, Revit Ignition Jacket

First update.
I'm off to the Chicago Motorcycle Show this weekend! So if you're going to be in the area, please check out the Hub where I'll be giving talks at these times:

Friday 2/5/09 5:30pm Gear up for the ride
Saturday 2/6/09 11:00am Gear up for the ride
Saturday 2/6/09 4:30pm Scooter 411
Sunday 2/7/09 11:00am Scooter 411

When I'm not there, I'll be at the Scooter Pavilion talking to everyone about the world of Scootering.

If you're interested, check out my presentation here:
Scooter 411

I'll try to post my Gear presentation tonight.

Next update. I'm selling my baby. (But I'm getting a new baby next week!)
By baby, I mean my 2005 Kawasaki z750s. I know, you're wondering why sell such a sweet bike? Well, the era of inline 4's has ended for me, I think. I'm going to a twin, a beautiful '03 sv650s barely broken in. :)

Please let me know if you know anyone interested in the SF Bay Area!!

Last update.
I've been lucky enough to test out this gorgeous Rev'it Ignition Ladies Jacket:

It doesn't fit me perfectly (look at the bunching on my sleeves), but damn I love everything else about this jacket. I'm torn. Truly torn. The fit is good enough to where I would trust it in a crash, but it's just not as comfortable as I'd like. I'll post a more detailed review next week. It's waterproof and pretty warm down to the 50s. Available at Scuderia West for $429.

Moto Block, scooters again!

I guess that's the equivalent of writer's block?

Every day random thoughts pop into my head, great ideas for blogging but then it disappears into the great abyss of my brain, never to be found/remembered ever again!

Well this week I finally came up with something. Generally I try to write about my own experiences and share anything that I've learned along the way. I think a lot of bloggers do the same. I mean, why would you believe what someone says about motorcycles if they didn't own one? Well, I usually don't. Especially the silly people who say things like "motorcycles are dangerous!".

This last week we (hubby and I) acquired 2 new vehicles. This is a cruddy pic, but the only one we've had time to snap so far (oops, got sucked into Facebook for 10 minutes after starting to write this. It's so evil!):

A new Scion XB! We loved our old XB, so we had to upgrade old Buster (yeah, we name our vehicles) for a new one. He's a foot longer (more trunk space), has side airbags, more horsepower and a moonroof. Yay for moonroofs.

Our (my) second acquisition:

Yep, that's a scooter. And I am wearing my Daytonas with that. Unfortunately the scooter is sooo low that my feet scuff the pavement in these boots. I just can't wear these on this little machine. So what do I wear you might ask? Or, why am I not wearing leathers? Well, frankly that would be overkill. I bought this little guy just to get me up and down in the Presidio where I live and work. I live at the top of the hill under the trees and work is down in the main parking lot. It's just more convenient to take this to work and perhaps run small errands within a .5 mile radius. I refuse to take it on Van Ness or any major thoroughfares. It's a little scary when you're in traffic and you can't go faster than 30mph! I mean, there are trucks, taxis, buses, etc.

I feel so much more vulnerable on my scooter. Even a little less safe. But how can that be? It's "just" a scooter. It "just" goes 30 mph. Well, you can only go 30-35 on a 50cc scooter. Well, on this one anyway. A lot of people upgrade theirs to go faster than the stock engines. I'm not going to pursue that option with this one. If I need more power, I have my moto. One of the arguments people have against 250cc motorcycles (especially on the freeway) is that they're too slow, you can't get out of the way if you need to. In certain situations I'm sure that's the case. But on the streets of San Francisco, 250cc's is plenty, imo. I wanted to upgrade so freeway riding would be more stable and long trips would be more comfortable, so that's why I moved up to a 750. I do feel like I don't have enough power on the city streets to get out of the way if I had to. I'm so used to having the ability to maneuver around traffic with a little more speed and power.

With my scooter, I certainly feel the need to dress appropriately. I may not wear my Daytona's or my Olympia overpants, but I'm certainly going to wear boots that cover my ankles, long pants (no skirts, no shorts) and one of my riding jackets. Since I got my Vanson fixed, I've been wearing that or my Revit, my full face helmet and racer gloves (waterproof!). Today was the first rainy day so I got soaked on my way back from Kinko's. That was no fun. It was just a light rain, but as soon as my legs got wet they were freeeezing and almost numb. I quickly stopped at home to change and then pulled on my Firstgear waterproof overpants that I normally wear for MSF classes. How do people who wear absolutely no gear, stay warm enough to operate their brakes, clutch, shift lever, etc.? If your fingers are going numb how the hell do you stop quickly in a straight line in the shortest distance possible? I was having trouble thinking about anything else other than how wet and cold I was.

Something you may not realize is that wearing proper gear (or any gear for that matter) helps you ride better, pay attention to what's going on around you, anticipate those potential situations 4-12 seconds ahead of you. When you have nothing else distracting you it's a lot easier to focus on the ride. There's so much going on around you when you're on 2 wheels, it's important to minimize all the risks that are within your power to control (drinking, drugs, emotions, and gear to name a few).

Back to my waterproof overpants. They don't have armor, and aren't very warm. But they are made for motorcycling, since they have zippers that go up the calf, presumably so you can put them on with boots. I probably should've put on my Olympia's, since they're muuuch warmer, but I only have a 2 minute ride home. Really, only 2 minutes. That's how lazy I am! For me, personally, I don't feel the need to wear an armored overpant for a 2 minute ride. I always wear them when I'm going across town on the moto and anytime I leave SF or go on the freeway.

If you are on a scooter, I urge you to cover your beautiful skin from head to toe! That's the main message here. No, you aren't going to spend $1,000 on gear. But can't you at least put on a jacket over that tank top? Perhaps some leather full fingered gloves from Olympia ($49.95) over those gorgeous long fingers? We're just talking about covering up your skin.

Try this: Walk outside to the sidewalk. Now bend down and rub your hand on the pavement. Imagine your palms rubbing on the pavement for just a few seconds. Now imagine if you didn't know how to swerve or stop quickly to avoid a pedestrian in your path.

What are you going to do first? Probably grab those brakes really hard and possibly fall over. And then instinctually, you might put your hands out to protect yourself.

Is a full face helmet, long pants, jacket and leather gloves too much?

*sigh*. Please say no.

More updates and scooters

Well I've spruced up my reviews page to make it a little easier to navigate. I also put up a couple more funny photos of myself wearing some of my gear. I hope you like it.

I also wanted to bring up the subject of scooters. It's a love/hate relationship for most. It's too 'weak', 'girly', 'boring', etc. Until you have one, you really can't say anything. Yes, you may know how to ride your R1, Gixxer, or Beemer. But until you zip around the city on a cute 50cc or 125cc scooter, you don't realize how much fun it is. I would never be where I am today if it weren't for my little scarabeo that I rode for a year. I learned so much on that thing and it really prepared me for riding a motorcycle. Riding in San Francisco can be intimidating and even a little scary. I learned here, so it's all the same to me.

After riding a motorcycle for a while I yearn for a scooter again. Yes, I really do. But that doesn't mean I want to go back to a 50. I definitely could use a 100-125cc. These SF hills are painful. It's such a slowwwww start from the bottom of a hill. But once I get going, I can generally keep up. It would just be nice to have enough power to get out of the way if I needed to.

I'll be honest and say that no, I didn't wear my Daytona's nor my Olympia's. But, I did wear my Arai, Racers and Revit jacket (because it's cooold in SF summer right now). Daytona's would've been a little uncomfortable, given what I was riding (roomie's Kymco 50cc People Scooter). Instead, I did wear a pair of hiking boots that cover my ankles and have really good traction. I also wore jeans. Something that I realized while riding this little guy is that when you can't go very fast, it makes you ride fairly slow and conservative. I admit, when I'm on my bike I certainly feel more powerful and in control. But being on this scooter made me stay in the slow lane as much as possible and avoid the hills! I didn't want cars to tailgate me and I certainly didn't want to hold up traffic. I felt like I couldn't do anything or go anywhere if something were to happen suddenly. I also noticed that since I'm going slower, I have a little more time to react to different situations. When you're going slower, you have the extra 2-3 seconds that you won't have going twice as fast, right? If you're only 2 car lengths behind someone who has to slam on the brakes, but you're only going ~20 mph vs. 40mph, and weigh almost nothing, it's going to be a lot easier to react and respond.

I know that it's impossible to get people to wear real gear head to toe while on a 50cc scooter, but if you're on a 450+, in the city or in the freeway, you risk just as much as I do on my 749cc sportbike. At least I'm covered head to toe with armor and adequate protection to minimize the risks of getting seriously injured in an impact. You don't need to wear a one piece leather, but for pete's sake, wear a full face helmet and some gloves and stow your wingtips or peep toe heels under your seat so you can wear some real shoes for the ride home.

If you're on your 50cc, at the very minimum, you need that full face helmet, gloves too. There are many benefits to wearing a real jacket, not necessarily leather but how about textile? How about something with a little armor, cordura, and a liner to keep you warm? There are so many options under ~$200, if you're spending $3,000 on a new scooter I'm sure you can carve out a little more for a good jacket. At the very least, I urge you to COVER YOUR SKIN. Please wear some boots that cover your ankles, long pants that cover your legs, long sleeve jacket that cover your arms/wrists and a full face helmet. If you can't spend any money on gear then at least try to make the effort to cover your skin and offer it a little more protection against the pavement.

Believe it or not, you'll get quite a bit of respect from other motorcyclists who take their safety seriously. Some of you may think as well that you'll be laughed at or feel embarrassed. Well, yes, from the people who don't care about safety as they laugh at you in their shorts and tshirts. But not from those of us who choose to protect ourselves.

Many accidents (and serious injuries) occur at very slow speeds and you have no idea if some moron crossing the same intersection as you decides to run their red light and intrude on your right of way. The one thing you have zero control over is OTHER people. Ask any motorcyclist if they're scared of riding and they'll probably tell you no, that they're more afraid of everyone else.