When I started riding as pillion a few years ago, my riding partner was clear that I would not be allowed on the bike until I had proper riding gear – pants, jacket, helmet and gloves. Designed to keep me safe in the event things went south. I grumbled at first due to the cost, but soon was a firm believer in ATTGATT (All The Gear, All The Time) too. I’ve known enough people who have had both serious and no so serious mishaps that walked away unscathed due to their gear. I understand now.
At that time since I was not sure I would stay in this sport and the relationship was new, I was not willing to invest a several hundred dollars each in a jacket and a pair of pants. The cost of a good helmet alone gave my budget a good smack as it was. So, I bought what I would consider entry level gear – my jacket was probably in the $350 range and my pants were about the same. They are functional and have saved me from road rash when I have put my bike down. Good investment and one I do not regret. In case you are wondering, that relationship did crash and burn pretty quickly and I have stayed in the sport. 🙂
Over the past few months, I have been thinking it may be time to invest in some new gear. Something that has more features and is better quality (hello, vents!). I tend to analyze every option and possibility before I spend money. Especially when we’re talking over $500 for each piece! I don’t want to make this about brands, but I have heard good things recently about some women designed gear that has made quite a splash in the market. I started reading and reviewing features. The jacket I was considering has nine (!!) vents. My current one has four! Wow!
Initially I was going to wait until later in the summer. I recently paid the balance of my upcoming pacific northwest tour, and the balance of the motorcycle rental and my budget was starting to whimper a bit! Then I realized hey, we are going to be on bikes for something like eight days. Wouldn’t it make sense to upgrade my gear BEFORE the trip? How much of a difference would it make to have new gear that I feel comfortable in and that keeps me cooler? Well, duh!
I like to support local businesses, so I called my favorite shop yesterday to see if they have this specific brand and style of women’s gear in stock. They are about a 45 minute ride from my house and I didn’t want to head there for nothing. Turns out they had the jackets in all the sizes, but not the pants. But, they offered, they could order anything I wanted. Hey, sweet! I set out to determine what size pants I need so that the store could order them. Should be an easy task, right? Find a size chart and a tape measure and have at it. But here’s where it got interesting . . . an online retailer had one size chart. The brand’s own website had a very different size chart. Well, how crazy is that? I eventually went with the brand website size chart, assuming it would be most accurate and up to date.
I went to my favorite bike shop this morning and tried on the jacket. I fell in love immediately and could clearly feel the difference in this jacket that cost about 2x as much as the one I own now. I was hooked! The sales person is ordering the pants that I *think* will fit me and they will arrive at my house in a few days. Worst case scenario, they don’t fit and I return them. I still have my current pants which will work ok for my trip.
I am excited to receive this gear and test ride it on the bike next weekend. I want to figure out all the features and how they work for me. I’ll keep you posted . . .