Oh How I Miss Riding Motorcycles in San Francisco

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Long ago, there was a time when everyday was Ride to Work Day. I was forced to, parking in San Francisco is no joke. And it’s impossible to find affordable, all day car parking so two wheels is practically a must. Unless you want to sit in traffic on a bus for an hour, a motorcycle or scooter can shave a good 30 minutes off of your cross town commute.

If I go way back to 2003, when I had a scooter, it saved me money on bus far because it only cost me $0.10/HOUR to park all day. You read that right, $0.10 AN HOUR. Less than $1.00/day, which was half the rice of a round trip bus ticket. It also cost me less than 25 minutes weaving in and out of trafffic, lanesplitting down Fell Street or navigating Van Ness Avenue in the middle of rush hour.

It was one of the most freeing experiences I ever had. Now, I have lots of free, all day parking. And not a curvy hill in site during my commute. Let’s also just say that Philadelphia stop signs and traffic lights make for a pretty annoying ride.

Goldie starts to overheat after just 5-10 minutes in slow speed traffic. If I want to avoid that, then it’s a brief zip down Interstate 95, and by the time she warms up it’s ready to get off 2 exits down.

Le Sigh.

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3 Myths About Motorcycle Gear for Passengers

Me, in 2008 posing for a photo on a rented R1200R that my husband rented. I also rented an F800ST on this trip, but decided to pose for a quick pic.

Me, in 2008 posing for a photo on a rented R1200R that my husband rented. I also rented an F800ST on this trip, but decided to pose for a quick pic.

Hopefully if you’re reading this, you’ve either been riding as a passenger or are about to become one.

I often see lots of passengers come into the Showroom and there are so many misconceptions, false narratives and untruths that need to be cleared up.

If you have NO IDEA what you’re getting into, would you really accept the risks? That’s like saying yes to going swimming but you don't know how. Wouldn’t you want to know how to at least tread water?

Yes, it’s a big investment. But you’re riding a motorcycle. This isn’t a light hobby like camping or hiking. This is something that has a very high risk of injury or death if something goes wrong. Many of us have been riding for years and have had zero injuries. It’s just like being in a car and not wearing your seatbelt. You may or may not ever need it, but if you do, you will very likely have severe injuries or worse, death.

Why would you wait until you’re hurt, in pain, in the hospital or deep in debt over medical bills to then gear up?

So here are 3 Myths that need to be buried forever.

#1 You Don’t Need a Full Face Helmet Because You Don’t Ride Enough

Probably one of the last times I ever rode on the back of a motorcycle ~6 years ago

Probably one of the last times I ever rode on the back of a motorcycle ~6 years ago

This is simply not true.

This pic above is me wearing a full face (modular) helmet while riding with my husband on the back of his Triumph. I rarely rode with him, but the few times I did, I absolutely wore my helmet. Why would it be any different for you as a casual passenger?

Nothing about being behind the driver minimizes the risk of injury to your face. Unfortunately you are also at at risk of death as a passenger.

Your risks are very real, and equal to that of your driver when you are on the actual motorcycle.

#2 You Don’t Need to Gear Up Your Whole Body

Wrong.

This is where I tell you to click here and read a story that every rider needs to read. Don’t worry, there are no graphic images, just a detailed, personal story that should show you the risks that you are choosing to take when you swing a leg over any motorcycle.

As a passenger, you must be willing to accept all the risks AND consequences. You may know the risks, but do you really know the consequences?

Me and my awesome friend  Brittany Morrow,  whom I wish I had met earlier in my riding career. She’s an inspiration and a badass. Unfortunately, she had to suffer consequences that hopefully you will never have to endure.

Me and my awesome friend Brittany Morrow, whom I wish I had met earlier in my riding career. She’s an inspiration and a badass. Unfortunately, she had to suffer consequences that hopefully you will never have to endure.

#3 You Don’t Need As Much Protection as the Driver

Wrong. So Very Wrong. See #2.

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What is going to happen to you if your driver suddenly swerves to avoid hitting a deer but ends up crashing because he didn’t expect that to jump in front of the bike?

No magical airbags, inflatable rafts, imaginary heroes are going to save you from sliding down the asphalt or hitting the ground.

Your driver cannot possibly prevent you from getting injured. Only YOU can do this. Only you have the power to decide what you will wear, and when you will throw a leg over that motorcycle.

Why does your car have airbags and seatbelts for both the driver AND passenger? Because you both need it.

As you can see the moral of this story is, GEAR UP, no matter how often you ride. No matter whether you ride on the back or drive up front.

If you’re thinking that gear is cumbersome, or that you can’t possibly find something that will work for you I hope you will reach out to me directly and let me help you find options that are within your budget and style.

If you have 15-20 minutes to spare for a quick chat, it can quite simply change your life.

GPX Routes for Virginia and West Virginia

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This week I’ve been having fun riding around VA and WVA before and after meeting up with a friend in Roanoke. Here are the individual GPX Routes I created, feel free to download any or all of them:

Philly to Front Royal VA

Front Royal VA to Roanoke VA

Elkins WV to Philly

Staunton VA to Hagerstown MD (I did this because I didnt have time to do Elkins to Hagerstown)

Elkins WV to Hagerstown MD (if you have more time than I did)

You might be wondering how I do my routing and directions on the fly while I’m on a trip like this. Because I refuse to bring a laptop for a 3-5 day trip. I do have my iPad sometimes but it’s not a laptop.

But when I’m out on a ride, or on a short trip, these are the 3 things I use: in conjunction with my iPhone so that I can do two very important things: A/ Create, save and/or share a route on my phone (without a computer) and B/ Receive turn by turn directions into my helmet.

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  1. Bluetooth Intercom (Sena or Cardo or Other). Right now, I’m using an older Sena SMH10R since my Sena 10R is on my Bell. But this Summer I’m gong to spring for a new Cardo Freecom 4+ with JBL speakers. Woo hoo!

  2. InRoute app (iPhone only) - Read my Review here which shows you how to make GPX routes on the fly, as well as exporting them to share with a friend, or saving them for later. This feature is what differentiates it from Google Maps. At least for those of us with iPhones. I’m guessing Android users might have more privileges, and if that’s the case do post a comment below.
    As much as I like this app, the only thing I hate right now is the sound quality of the Voice. The female US English voice is too high pitched, so I started using the male UK English voice and it’s much better. I’m hoping that when I switch to Cardo, it’ll be a little better. The Google Maps voice is much, much clearer and smoother.

  3. Google Maps: I mainly use this as a search tool for things like gas stations, restaurants, etc. Although you can create a multi-waypoint trip, you are limited to so many waypoints (far less than 100, I think 10ish or something) and you can’t save them on an iPhone. So InRoute really works better as a trip planning tool.

So I use #1 and #2 so that I can get turn by turn directions through to my helmet so I don’t have to look down to view the directions. I do have my phone mounted to a Ram Mount just in case, but I generally try not to look at it and just rely on the audio.

I created all of the above routes on my iPhone, using the InRoute app, no computers needed. You do have to pay a monthly or annual fee in order to have many waypoints but it’s worth the $30/year subscription for 100+ waypoints.

If you have any questions, please post a comment!

For more trip photos, please follow me: instagram.com/gearchic

Trip Planning for a Multi Day Solo Ride

One of the maps I created from my last solo trip several years ago down to NC

One of the maps I created from my last solo trip several years ago down to NC

I’m going to be riding this week somewhere. Initially I was thinking of going back South, towards the Carolinas, Virginias and Tennessee. I really love the riding down there, so I guess I just am drawn to going back there. I’m open to going North instead, but I don’t honestly know much about the riding in that direction.

Unfortunately the weather this week has hampered my leaving on time because if I don’t absolutely have to, I would rather NOT ride in the rain all day for 2 days. So I will leave as soon as the weather lets up tomorrow, or Tuesday morning if need be.

Someone asked me about my trip planning and what / how I am going to plan for something like this. Well, for me, it’s not going to be too much work, but I will be thinking about the following things.

But I won’t know exactly what I’m doing until I sort out all the people that i want to meet up with first. I know people have lives, so I certainly don’t expect everyone to meet me on my schedule. I will likely play a lot of my day to day destinations by ear.

Me and my friend Tamela meeting up 4 years ago in West Virginia. That was a fantastic trip!

Me and my friend Tamela meeting up 4 years ago in West Virginia. That was a fantastic trip!

Who Do I Want to Visit? Who Wants to Meet Up, and Where?

I’ll be looking a routes and using an online planning tool, Furkot.com. It’s my favorite tool for long distance planning because it takes in to consideration your mileage per day, hours you want to travel, breaks, gas stops and hotel stops. I can also take the route and import it into my iPhone app, InRoute. It’s freaking amazing.

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How Many Points Do I Have for Free Hotel Nights?

(I’m NOT a moto camper, this queen needs a real bed and shower)

Who can say no to free hotel rooms? I have some points with Holiday Inn Express so I will likely route some nights onto those if I’m not staying with a friend. We’ll see.

What’s My Daily Budget?

Of course, doing a trip like this costs money! Hopefully between the free hotel nights and 1 or 2 friend’s couches, I will only have to pay for my food and gas. Not too bad. I’m a huge Waffle House Fan so i will be looking for those as much as possible. :D

Am I the only one who LOVES Waffle House while traveling? #smothered #covered

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What Gear?

For this trip, I’ll have to take my trusty Revit Neptune GTX Suit. It’s a full multiseason suit with two removable liners; one is waterproof and the other one is thermal. So since the temperatures are going to be cooler from the high 40s/low 50s at night to mid 70s in the afternoon, depending how high the elevation is I’ll need something very versatile. I know that it’s going to rain on my way out of Philly and possibly coming back in next Monday. #firstworldproblems

I also will be taking my cool weather, waterproof Rukka Gloves, and my Dainese Torque Out boots. I do have Daytonas for when there’s heavy rain riding but if I’m only going to be in light to moderate rain, I don’t mind my Dainese because they’re water resistant and that’s good enough. The majority of this trip is dry and cool, so I can easily make those work. Daytonas are so bulky and heavy, it’s hard to go back to that kind of touring boot when you wear lightweight sport boots so much .

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I’ll also be wearing my Shoei RF-1200 because I need a quieter helmet, and my Bell is SO LOUD (even with earplugs). It’s also so tight, that for 8 hours a day it’s just too much. That’s really my summer, light riding helmet. I decided not to spend money right now on the Cardo Freecom 4+ headset that I’ve been drooling over. I will probably wait until Summer.

The reason I want to convert is because of the JBL speakers and the jogdial! Oooooohhhh. It has a very low profile, just like my current Sena 10R. But with these two vastly different features, I think it’ll jut be a much better headset overall. And the fact that it’s waterproof is a HUGE bonus.

What Luggage?

With my Triumph, I always use my Kriegas. They’re simply the best traveling luggage for low profile, waterproof, non saddlebag-hanging luggage with maximum volume. For trips like these, I have 40 Liters of packable space which doesn’t include my little Cortech tankbag.

Emergencies?

For emergencies, I’ll have my AAA membership and my AMA membership handy. I’ll also find the closest Triumph dealers and metric line dealers that might be able to help me if I have to get something fixed or serviced. My bike is in pretty good shape, so I don’t anticipate any issues but if I do, these will be my main lifelines.

I’ll carry just a few things might come in handy as far as tools and supplies:

  • Antigravity Microstart Power Supply with me in case I need a jump

  • a tire gauge

  • zip ties

  • folded duct tape

  • folding leatherman

  • allen key tool because pretty much everything on my bike can be tightened/loosended with 4 metric sizes

And that’s it! I can’t prepare for everything, so I’ll do my best and know that I can call for help if I need it. I’m mostly going to stick to paved, highway roads and will let my husband know what I’ll be doing every day so if I’m alone, someone knows where I’m headed.

Join Me on The Lean Angle

(Left: Alisa Clickenger/ Women’s Motorcycle Tours , Right: Porsche Taylor/ Black Girls Ride Mag ,)

(Left: Alisa Clickenger/Women’s Motorcycle Tours, Right: Porsche Taylor/Black Girls Ride Mag,)

I never have enough to do so I started a brand new motorcycle show on Facebook, called The Lean Angle.

We’ll be streaming live on Facebook, on our page here: Facebook.com/LeanAngleShow.

The Lean Angle will cover a wide range of topics as it relates to motorcycles. Alisa has a strong solo travel, dual sport background (in addition to street touring) and Porsche has a lot of experience in solo travel, sport touring and cruising. And you know me and my sporty bike addiction.

We hope to be on at least once a month for ~60 minutes but will do our best to try and see you a little sooner. With summer around the corner, our schedules are hectic but we all love talking about motorcycles so check out our first episode which aired last night!

And you DON’T even need a Facebook account to watch! But if you do have an account, post a comment in the episode and let us know your thoughts including what kinds of topics you’d like us to cover in future episodes.

Facebook.com/LeanAngleShow

So it doesn’t matter who you are, what/when/how/where you ride. Join us on The Lean Angle!

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Questions About Women's Motorcycle Gear

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Join me in one week when my good friend Alisa Clickenger (Women’s Motorcycle Tours) joins me for a Live QnA about Riding Gear.

When: Monday, March 11th at 3:30pm Pacific / 6:30pm Eastern

Originally, we created this event for a Facebook Group called Motorcycle Mentoring, for women riders look for female mentors. If you’re new to riding and are looking for great advice and feedback from a wonderfully supportive group of women riders, this is the group for you. All riders, all riding lifestyles, all ages.

IMS 2011 at the Women Ride booth: Alisa (left), Me and one of our IMS volunteers

IMS 2011 at the Women Ride booth: Alisa (left), Me and one of our IMS volunteers

I consider Alisa to be one of my mentors and long time friends. When we first met at the IMS 8 years ago, I was inspired by her personal riding stories. She has always been a source of encouragement and motivation for me, and I am so proud to call her my friend.

I’m excited to participate in this QnA and give you all the answers you’ve been waiting for. Whether it’s how to find the right fitting jacket or how to find a pant that fits your body type. And any other gear questions you might have that you’ve been hoping to ask but aren’t sure who can help you find the answers.

How to Join

Register Here

Then wait for your confirmation email containing instructions to join the call Online Live Stream, OR via telephone.

You can also call in just like a conference call and listen in and participate that way if you don’t have access to the internet! If you have any questions, post a comment here or send me an email.

Note that everyone must register individually because you will receive a link that’s specific to your email. You do not have to use your webcam if you don’t want to, either. You can just watch!

Bring your questions or if you’re already a member of the group you can post your questions in the Facebook Event there, or post a comment here.

July 2016: Our friend Porsche (left), Alisa (center) and Me

July 2016: Our friend Porsche (left), Alisa (center) and Me

3 Awesome Jackets for less than $200

Rev’it Tornado Women’s Jacket (v1); Slim Fit

Rev’it Tornado Women’s Jacket (v1); Slim Fit

These women’s motorcycle jackets are on crazy sale at RevZilla right now. I’ve added a few notes for you to see if they’ll fit you the woman rider in your life. If they do, then you’ve just scored a really great deal!

As always, drop me a line if you have questions about sizing or fitment.

1/ Rev’it Tornado Jacket, Euro 40 and 42, now $197.

This jacket is a great 3 season (spring, summer, warm) coat for your sportyish bike, your adv/touring bike and even your cruiser.

My Recommended sizing:

Euro 40 - Chest 42-43”, Waist 41-42”, Hips 43-44

Euro 42 - Chest 44-45”, Waist 42-43”, Hips 44-45

Keep in mind that these numbers are based on measuring your real waist. If you’re not sure how to do this, please watch this video. I know what you’re thinking, the Rev’it Size Chart says otherwise. Let’s just say it’s not perfect. But then again, what is? (okay, Cheesecake. Cheesecake is always perfect).

The Tornado is ideal for slimmer body types and those of you looking for a longer waist and sleeve length. Keep in mind that the liner is removable so always try your linered jackets on with and without the liners to see all the different combos and fitments you might be riding in.

If you’re not sure what to order, think about how snug you like your gear. If you want a very fitted fit and your Chest is 43.75, then order a Euro 42. If you have questions, just let me know!

My friend Sarah in a size small with a 43” Chest, 37.5” Waist, 43” hips. She’s also ~5’2”. Perfect Apple Fit.

My friend Sarah in a size small with a 43” Chest, 37.5” Waist, 43” hips. She’s also ~5’2”. Perfect Apple Fit.

2/ OLYMPIA SWITCHBACK 2 now $149

This is another great 2-3 season jacket, but without a thermal liner I’d say that it’s best as a Spring/Summer jacket. Keep in mind that with Olympia your rain liner can be worn outside or over the jacket when it’s raining.

Photo:  wikihow.com

The fitment is very, very very generous and I would say that the alpha sizing is oversized. If you generally buy a small, you’ll find it to be a looser small. Especially in the bust, shoulders and hips.

The Switchback is ideal for a very short waist, and generous hips. Think Apple Shape.

For reference, a small fits a woman with a 38” Chest, 34” Waist and 43” Hip. It flares so much at the hips that anyone who needs a very large hip space will fit this jacket (assuming you don’t need a smaller waist as well).

Another great deal right now for the same body type: Cortech for $109. But upgrade the armor with D3O, please!

3/ REV’IT LEVANTE 42 $199.99

My gorgeous friend Alisa (~5’10”) in her Levante (46) Taller Fit.

My gorgeous friend Alisa (~5’10”) in her Levante (46) Taller Fit.

Another 3 season favorite, like the Tornado above. This one has a slightly different fit in that it has extra long sleeves and torso. Also more cinching and adjustments at the waist, forearms and bicep to make it fit tighter without the liner.

Since only 42 is available, you’ll need at least a 41” chest up to 44”. I’d recommend anywhere from a 42” - 45” waist given the adjustability that it has on each side.

The liner is thermal and waterproof so keep in mind that when it’s out the jacket will fit a half size larger. Given how long the sleeves run, this is ideal for someone who is taller and needs as much length as possible in the torso and sleeves.

I hope these help. If you need specific recommendations, please let me know!

The 3 Motorcycle Gloves I Can't Ride Without

My original Racer High End Gloves, crashed back in 2015

My original Racer High End Gloves, crashed back in 2015

I have found that living in a climate with drastically changing temperatures means I’m using 3 different types of gloves throughout the year. When I lived in California I still had 2 key gloves in my closet; one for nice weather and one for wet/cold weather. Those 2 key gloves are still in my closet but I have a 3rd that I reluctantly added that you’ll see below.

The only time of year I do not have gloves for is Winter; ~30F-45F. Because I have no desire to ride when it’s that miserable. (cold tires make Goldie very very unhappy and unsafe)

So I’ve put together a list of the 3 Gloves I Can’t Ride Without. Unfortunately some of them are discontinued but I’ve provided alternative ideas for each category. Having very small, wide hands and shorter fingers means I’m hyper vigilant about finding gloves. When I see something that might fit me and work for my riding seasons I’ll jump on it. That’s how I’ve found all of these in the past 5 years.

1/ Racer High Racer - “My #1, Go Tos”

You should always have a “Go To” glove, the one you grab and want to wear ~75% of the time. These are mine. I’m always wearing these and pretty much live in them for the majority of my riding. Typically I’ll wear them from about 60F to 80F or until the humidity starts driving me crazy. The kangaroo palms breathe well for me and although they need a little more care (like washing once or twice in the summer) I love the protection, comfort and coverage. You can read my full review here including how to get a pair.

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2/ Rukka Apollo - Men’s

These are my ‘winter’ or cold weather gloves. For me, they fit quite well even though they’re men’s gloves because my palms are slightly wider than most women’s hands. Sidenote: if your hands are too big for small/medium women’s gloves but larges are too big then try any European brand (Dainese, Alpinestars, Held, Rukka, Revit, etc.) men’s smalls because they will be bigger than the ladies small/medium but you won’t swim in them like American brands.

But if you have smaller hands, Rukka now offers the Virve for women. If I had to replace my gloves, I would buy these. The main reason I like both of these is the fact that the GoreTex membrane is bonded to the leather (also known as GoreTex XTrafit), so when you pull your hands out the lining doesn’t separate. There aren’t a lot of gloves in that category overall, and then finding a women’s fitting option is even more difficult. The Virve and this Held Air N Dry are the only two currently available like this. The nice thing about the Helds are that they have 2 chambers, so you have something you can wear when it’s not only raining. With the lower, perforated pocket you can use them as a warm weather glove since the palms are perforated. There are certainly a lot of men’s gloves in this category too like:

  • Alpinestars Patron

  • Rukka Imatra

  • Rukka Argosaurus

  • Held Sambia 2 in 1

3/ Held Touch Perforated Gloves . See how there’s only a little bit of ‘bunching’ or ‘gather’ at my palms when I have them in riding position? That’s just right. Not too much, not too tight.

3/ Held Touch Perforated Gloves. See how there’s only a little bit of ‘bunching’ or ‘gather’ at my palms when I have them in riding position? That’s just right. Not too much, not too tight.

As of 2/16/19, these two women’s gloves are on closeout and are the most similar to my Apollos:

  • Held Wizzard. size 6 only (~womens XS/SM); without the hard knuckles and shorter gauntlet. Side note regarding men’s v. women’s motorcycle gloves. Generally men’s gloves have longer fingers, wider and deeper palms, longer hands and wider wrists. I’ve found that women can always fill the length and width of men’s gloves, but never the depth. When I mean depth, I mean the palms. What this means is that when you are using your handgrips, there may be so much extra material there that it can cause rubbing or blisters from constantly rolling off and on your throttle or reaching for your clutch lever. You certainly don’t want your gloves to fit tight like you’re wearing a latex glove, but this is why it’s always important to try your gloves on the bike before you decide to keep them.

  • Rukka Vilma, size 10 (~womens XL); ideal if you can wear the length of a men’s glove for fingers, but you need a narrower palm/hand and a thinner palm/hand space.

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3/ Held Touch Perforated - Women’s (discontinued)

These are a perforated leather glove with almost a full gauntlet. I reserve these for the hottest riding days that I ride in. Sometimes I’ll pack them with my Racers and wear them later in the day when the heat and humidity start to drive me crazy. The main reason I chose this glove was because it was a Perforated Summer glove with a Gauntlet (wrist coverage). I could totally wear short, mesh gloves but I just don’t trust mesh on my hands like I would on my body. And women’s mesh gloves are painfully underprotected with only moderate protection. As with the rest of my gear, I don’t like risking the loss in protection.

Read my review here to find out more of my thoughts on these.

Since they’re discontinued here are a couple alternatives:

Well I hope that helps, I’m dying to go riding. It’s still high 40s here and until Spring shows up I’m going to be trapped on my couch. I’m tempted to fly home just so I can have some decent riding temperatures. Someone go riding for me….

Knuckle protection is definitely necessary, see?

Knuckle protection is definitely necessary, see?