If you ride a sportyish / performance motorcycle and you're looking to improve your riding skills, consider joining me and my friend Brittany Morrow at an All Women's Track Day with Reg Pridmore's CLASS Motorcycle School.
You've seen my post about Reg's class before, but this one is even more special. Gigi, his awesome other half is a coach and truly wants to help you become a better rider, no matter what you ride. But especially if you ride a sportbike.
Our bikes tend to be a bit faster, harder to control sometimes and just challenging to figure out when you've never ridden a sportbike. Or if you're transitioning from a classic/standard riding position to a more aggressive one. It's a completely different style of riding that needs more than just your basic riding course.
If you register by March 11th, you can save $50 using code WSR18, courtesy of the Women's Sportbike Rally happening July 13-15, 2018 in Camarillo or September 7-9, 2018 in Deals Gap.
If you have any questions, post a comment or send an email to email@example.com. Or if you have questions about track related gear for women, or anything regarding track days please post a comment!
Nope, I'm not on the Track. I'm on Broad Street in South Philly ;) .
I've been talking to a lot of people lately about track days. Especially advanced motorcycle training classes. Here are some common questions/comments/thoughts that I hear on a daily / weekly basis when people ask about "track days".
It's So Dangerous
Creative Commons: Photo/ epSos.de
Somewhat False. You're on a motorcycle, yes, it's dangerous. But it's also dangerous when you're speeding 85+mph on the Interstate up and down I-95. Aside from the parking lot, I would argue that the track is the least dangerous place you could possibly be with your motorcycle. Absolutely NO CARS, PEOPLE, BUILDINGS, BARRIERS, TRUCKS, ETC. Nothing in your way except You and what's in your head. The pavement is smooth, no paint/bumps/obstacles/sidewalks in your bike's way. No trees/bushes/blindcorners. No hills/mountains/animals. Nothing! Isn't that what we get excited about on the street? Have you ever discovered a new road that is perfectly paved, smooth and a dream to ride? Well imagine more of that and you can go even faster than you can almost anywhere else.
But, of course, track days aren't for people who only like to go straight. If that's your style of riding then you'll probably find the track to be even more challenging. But if you *love* twisties, then the track is where you want to be.
Okay not all tracks have stars and stripes, but looks how pristine that pavement is at COTA, Austin!
Plus you are covered head to toe in leather, body armor, toe sliders, back protector, helmet, etc. For many of you, you're wearing far more gear than you'll ever wear elsewhere. More about gear in a bit....
But I'm Not Racing
Neither was I when I did two track days last year. And same with the one I'm hoping to do this year in April (Ladies Only, with CLASS Rides). My goal and the goal of almost everyone at a track day is NOT to race. In fact, the instructors will probably kick you off the track if you try to do that with your fellow classmates. Anyone riding recklessly without regard for personal safety is usually addressed immediately. Call it proper track day etiquette. You're not there to compete with eachother, you're there to ride safe, have fun and not get hurt. And not hurt anyone else!
What's The Point?
The point is that you are probably riding a bike that was *not really* meant for the street. (ahem: gixxer, r6, daytona, s1000rr, ninja h2/zx-6r owners) You will never be able to ride it the way that it was intended fully on the street. Because while you're trying to push yourself beyond what's safe out there, you are also distracted with having to deal with potential hazards like traffic/cars/people/others (on bikes too).
Ever wish you could push 100-150mph for more than 0.5 seconds because you have to stop / slow down for traffic? And then you have to ride really slow in a straight line because now the 0.5 second of 100+mph you had is over? What if you could make it last longer and then do it over and over again but head into another corner and then another and then another? It feels SO GOOD to carry that momentum into an actual corner! And don't worry, if you don't know how to do that, a track day is the best place to learn how :)
But I Don't Know How to Ride The Track
Of course not! And no one expects you to. What most track organizations will likely expect from you (I've only taken classes from 3 organizations out of the dozens of companies across the US) is that you know how to ride on the street. You have enough control of your motorcycle to go on the freeway comfortably, maybe you've done some long weekend trips. Maybe you've logged 5-10,000 miles commuting on your motorcycle. Now you're ready to learn more about yourself and your beloved bike. Or you might be like me and switched over from an aggressive riding position to a more upright, comfortable position. And now your new bike feels different than your old one. i wanted to gain more confidence on my Triumph and figure out what I could do differently to be a better rider with it.
For me, my first track day at New Jersey was intimidating. I'd never been on that track before. It was HUGE, LONG and the corners were fast. Average speeds were well over ~50mph in some parts. I felt awkward at times and really uncomfortable because I didn't know anything about this track. I also wasn't used to that style of riding. My comfort zone has always been mountain roads, tight, twisty, blind corners. Not fast, sweeping, long turns. So figuring out where to look and how was a completely new challenge.
It was really hard figuring out how to go faster without getting lost. Many of the corners are long, sweeping like a really long freeway onramp. Sometimes, I had no idea where I was, or where I should've been. The good news is, I took a class with CSS and learned exactly where I needed to be. They showed me almost everything I would need to figure out what I was doing wrong.
I Don't Have Track Gear
I didn't either. Here I am way back in 2011 on my first real track day with Z2 Track Days' Annual Ladies First Track Day in Thunderhill Raceway in California. I wore my street leather gear, no knee pucks, no race boots. Just really good street gear.
Depending on the organization, they will only require 2 piece textile or leathers that zip together, (no mesh). I've seen riders on the track wearing 1 piece Aerostitch suits. It depends on the school, so call around and see what they say. As long as you have a full face helmet, and full coverage boots and gloves, you should be fine. if you have any questions of course, I hope you'll let me know.
I Don't Have a Track Bike
I didn't either. And I still don't. I took my street bike to the track. Back in 2011 it was my SV650s. Last year, it was my beloved Street Triple. Although the Suzuki was a better bike on the track, due to the aggressive riding position. But I've seen all different types of motorcycles on the track, and ask anyone who's been to one they'll probably tell you that they've seen more than your typical "track bike".
If you don't know how to ride within your limits, then yes, you'll probably destroy your bike in the process. Most people riding in their very first track day naturally go a lot slower and ride a bit more carefully because it's intimidating and a completely unfamiliar place. It'll take you awhile to get used to the feel / idea of being on the track too. If anything, it'll probably humble you quite a bit and really show you what you don't know how to do.
But some schools also offer rentals like CLASS, which offers Honda CBR 300 and 500s. And Yamaha Champions offers Yamahas. So you don't always have to ride your own bike. Many track day organizations offer bike rentals, you just have to ask.
Something else to consider are track days that are specifically focused on street riding like Z2's Road Rider 2.0 Course. The curriculum is totally different from a traditional track day too. There are lots of other courses like this offered from other organizations as well, like Yamaha Champions "ChampStreet" course.
Me with my track buddy :)
But I Don't Know Anyone
That's okay! The track is one of the BEST places to make friends. You will meet so many awesome people who are there to have fun and share their excitement with everyone there.
And if you do want to go with someone, get a few friends to go with you! Or, if they won't bite, ask them to just go with you and support your day at the track. Any kind of support whether it's from friends who ride or don't ride always feels great.
Take a look at this list of beyond basic riding classes I put together for you. There are so many options out there, I'm sure I missed a few.
But if you're still not ready for a track day, I hope you'll consider intermediate or advanced training to keep your skills fresh. Motorcycling is something that requires constant supervision, practice and attention to stay proficient.
Just in time for Spring and Summer 2018, Held GmbH is releasing more gloves to the American market through Held USA and giving us Moar Gloves!
These are especially awesome because they are higher performance gloves for women who WANT BETTER GEAR.
First up is the Air N Dry, $250 for a GoreTex XtraFit glove that features 2 pockets. One is where your hand will be totally dry, surrounded in the most breathable waterproof membrane.
Palms are perforated and feature grey Kangaroo leather
Held Air N Dry Gloves for Women, Black
The other pocket allows the palm of your hand to feel airflow right through to the full palm of your hand and the full underside of your fingers.
So this means if you're getting air, your hands aren't staying completely dry.
Why is this useful? Well in mild winter climates like San Francisco, where you rarely get weather below 45F even in Winter, the glove provides plenty of wind resistance to keep cold air out for the most part.
And then for the 2-3 weeks a year where the temperatures climb above 80F, you have a lower pocket that is fully perforated in case you need some airflow.
Evo Thrux, top side
However, for those of us who've decided to migrate over to the East Coast where it starts to get fully tropical in the summer months, these gloves are the perfect summer/wet weather companion. Here, it's hot and wet in the summer so your temperature range is constantly changing and you may need something waterproof (but not insulated/warm for winter) when it's 85F, Raining and Humid.
As long as your hand is in the upper chamber, you'll stay nice and dry but not insulated or warm. Notice these gloves offer the *exact same* protection as the Mens Version :D
The next glove they released is the Evo Thrux, $170. These are a track worthy glove, but also very much street friendly as well. The reason the palms are grey? You guessed it, Kangaroo leather.
Evo Thrux, Palm side
If you've been following along, you know that I only wear my Racer Gloves when I ride unless it's too cold out. I love the feel of Kangaroo leather, it's unlike any other on your handgrips.
These are pretty comparable to my Racers, in protection and function. Instead of carbon fiber bits, they're using SuperFabric to accomplish similar protections in the form of abrasion resistance. I think they're going to give my friends at Racer a run for their money. But I wouldn't trade these in for my Racers yet. ;)
If these ladies gloves follow the profile of the mens versions, then I'll say that they might have wider palms and slightly longer fingers than other Europeans including Revit, Alpinestars and Dainese.
The last glove in their Spring lineup is the Sereena, $165.
They're a solid leather glove for year roundish riding. They're not waterproof, not warm, just a middle weight glove that you would wear when it's not extremely hot or extremely cold.
The perfect GoTo, as I like to call the one you wear the most. For the price, there's a lot of technical features going on here like Schoeller Keprotec, Sas-Tec Armor and Outlast. Those are awesome, but can't a woman at least get a Palm Slider for that much money? I would've skipped the Outlast and made sure there was at least SuperFabric on the palms (like the Evo Thrux) because you almost always need your gloves to perform right there.
If I didn't have my palm sliders I probably wouldn't have a glove or palm left.
Overall, I'm happy to see that more brands are bringing on better gear for us. There are a LOT of options for women right now but sadly, most of them are more average in protection and seem to be catering heavily to the casual/fashion based crowd.
I hope to see more women look at better gear options so that they aren't asking themselves "What If" later.
There are so many new products for us this Spring, I'm going to keep this limited to my top 4 favorites.
If you follow my Instagram feed, you know I practically live in my Gear 2 Leather Pants almost year round. As long as it isn't below 60F, I'll pretty much live in them because they're so comfortable.
This Spring, Rev'it is updating the Gear 2 with a new name but basically the same pant with a couple nice armor upgrades.
The new Ignition 3 Pants (right) is pretty much the same pant as it's predecessor, the Gear 2's but with upgraded Level 2 Seeflex Knee Armor and Seesmart Level 1 Hips. Unfortunately this also means a price upgrade to $429 for the pants (previously $399). But worth $29 extra in my opinion for softer and more protective armor.
The matching Ignition 3 Jacket is pretty much the same as the 2 with the same armor upgrades for elbows and shoulders for $30 more:
Another new pant for us is the Varenne.
The Varenne is a ladies version of the popular Axis Unisex Waterproof Overpants which are now discontinued.
These feature full hip to knee full length, two way zippers on each leg for those of you looking for easy commute wear.
Instead of riding in your skinny jeans, tights, shorts, chinos, and anything else that's not worthy of abrasion, check out these overpants.
They're waterproof all the time and offer Seesoft Level 2 Knees and soft Seesmart Level 1 Hip protectors.
They're simple, black and easy to wear and less than $200. And as always, available in (some) short and tall sizes for women (and the mens versions too).
There are quite a few new additions to the rider looking for modern classic leather jackets.
Three new jackets; the Clare, Rosa and Erin offer slightly different leathers, styles and colors. I want to see someone in that gorgeous red Clare.
Softer Seesoft Level 1 armor is included (except the back) to make them even more comfortable while riding.
I think this Spring is going to be awfully cool and protected....
Clare - Dark Brown
Clare - Red
Clare - Black
Rosa - Black
Erin - Black
The 5th Annual Beautiful Bikers Conference is taking place in Dallas, TX. I'll be participating on a special industry panel with my fellow female industry professionals. I'll also help with hosting the fashion show that showcases a variety of women's motorcycle gear available on the market.
If you're going to be in town for the motorcycle show, then carve out a few hours to attend this event. It's going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear such a unique variety of female industry professionals speak in one place.
And a Special Discount for GearChic.com readers: visit www.beautifulbikers.com to register and use code: GEARCHIC to save $15 off of registration.
I'm excited to announce I'll be participating once again in this year's Women's Sportbike Rallies on the East and West Coasts. As a volunteer, I'm working closely with the event's National Director, Brittany Morrow who you may already recognize from RockTheGear.
There are two semi new locations, starting with the West Rally. This year it's going to be headquartered in Camarillo, CA July 13-15 at the Hilton Garden Inn Camarillo. Camarillo is nestled right between the Los Padres and Angeles National Forests. Twisty, mountain riding awaits!
For the East Rally, we'll be headquartered at an all new location within Deals Gap at the Iron Horse Motorcycle Resort. It's an amazing spot that caters specifically to motorcyclists of all walks of life. There are many events that take place at the IH each year and we are lucky to have them host us this year.
What makes the Iron Horse special is the unique housing it offers; everything from swanky houses to simple camping spots are available on it's huge resort. You can stay at whatever level you want, at whatever price you want. In addition to private houses, you can camp (tent or RV), stay in a bunk bed/house, or stay in a private room in a house. Check out their website for more details.
Pic of one of the private cabins available for rent at the Iron Horse.
2 of the 6 vents. This one I'm wearing IS the color above described as "Black/Frost Grey/Red"
Damn you Winter. The minute I got this jacket a week and a half ago, our temperatures started to plummet. But good thing I'm headed out to California this weekend for a week of sun, family and riding! The Dainese CarveMaster 2 GTX is their flagship women's winter jacket, featuring a removable thermal liner and a removable down collar. It also features 6 vents which will help push this one into 3-4 seasons although it doesn't offer fully direct venting.
What this means is that behind the mesh is the Gore-Tex membrane which is meant to keep you dry. You won't feel the air directly to your body because the membrane is in the way. It definitely helps in warmer weather than not having them at all, but it's not as effective as other jackets which offer direct vents such as Klim.
What does stand out about this jacket is the fitment, it's very sport oriented. If you ride sporty bikes like me, then you know how hard it is to find touring jackets that fit us on the kind of bikes that we ride.
This jacket is very fitted, and slim so when you do ride in a more aggressive position, it won't be baggy around the chest/waist. I HATE jackets that are baggy and loose especially in the body. Because when I lean forward, I need my jacket to stay out of my way (much like the cars/bikes around me :P)
I can't wait to give it a spin in California's "winter" which is um, 60 Degrees during the day and low 40s at night. I'll be headed to Walnut Creek (just 30 minutes East of Berkeley) for a week to see my family and friends. But I'll also borrow a couple of different bikes while I'm there so I can visit some of my favorite roads again.
And then I pray the weather lightens up enough when I get back to some reasonable 40s so I can actually take this jacket for a spin here in Philly.