International Motorcycle Show

This was the first time in quite a few years that the International Motorcycle Show has made a stop in Denver.  I’ve heard everything from 8 to 15 years ago was the last time, so I don’t know the exact number.  What I do know is that the last time it was here, I wasn’t into riding and had never attended an event so I had no comparison to past events.

I tried to keep my expectations low, but I was still excited and hopeful to see some of my favorite brands there.  I have to say in that regard, I was sorely disappointed.  Many of the major motorcycle brands were missing – no BMW, Ducati, KTM or several others.  I also noticed there was no Klim booth and one of my favorite Colorado companies, Butler Maps was also missing.

I had already heard from other women riders in other cities that the selection of women’s gear was slim at best.  Even with that warning, I was highly disappointed!  RevZilla is one of my favorite gear sources and they had one tiny rack of women’s jackets and pants.  Maybe three of each – and by that I mean literally three jackets and three pair of riding pants.  No gloves, no boots, nothing else.  My other favorite store, Performance Cycle, had a small women’s gear selection but they had more options than RevZilla!  Pretty good for a local retailer and we had a nice time chatting with one of the employees.  Again though, no gloves and no boots that I saw.  I didn’t expect that there would suddenly be all kinds of women’s gear available, although that would be a dream come true!  But I was surprised at how little space was allowed and how few choices were available.

Probably the best part of the entire day for me, other than attending with my best riding buddy, was meeting up with a bunch of lady rider friends at the Women Rider’s Now booth.  WRN had a survey for attendees to complete on who had the best women’s gear so they could say thank you with awards at the show.  I was super excited to participate in this, but after seeing next to no women’s gear, I didn’t feel like I was able to vote for anyone.

One theory I heard is that the Denver motorcycle market is just too small for many of the “big guys” to come here.  That seems odd, given our climate and the number of people who enjoy various activities outside.  I haven’t yet decided if I’ll spend the money to go should the show return again next year.  On one hand, it was a fun day catching up with friends and meeting new ones.  On the other, nearly everything we saw is available locally for free.  I guess we’ll wait and see if the IMS returns to Denver next year, then decide.  Hopefully more vendors will come this way if they do!

Questions To Ask

Recently this question came up in a group of riding friends and I thought I’d share it with you all.  My main goal here has been information sharing and I think this certainly fits.  We talked about questions you would ask before signing up on a motorcycle tour or joining a new riding group.

We all bring our past experiences to any group situation and with that comes our assumptions and expectations.  Assumptions about how a group will ride (or not ride) and interact.  But everyone brings their own assumptions and expectations to the situation.  What are the chances they all mesh?  Highly unlikely I’d guess!

Ask about riding order – is there one?  Does it change?  Is there a designated sweep?  Is that always the same person?  What about safety – do people ride side by side or staggered or something else?  Is it acceptable to pass another rider? If so, under what circumstances? Does each rider keep the one behind them in view?  What about if there is a mechanical breakdown or an accident?  Does the whole group stay together until it’s resolved or is the affected rider on their own to sort it out?  Or something else, such as the group will wait an hour, or until help arrives?  If it turns out that this group isn’t for you, are you comfortable riding the rest of the trip (or day) on your own?  Also, what is the protocol if you do decide to ride with a certain group and then choose to head off on your own?  Is there a group leader to notify?  If not, I would think seriously about this group because how will they know if you left or if you got into trouble!

Asking these questions ahead of time and listening carefully to the answers should give you a good understanding of the group you’re considering.  If you hear something that makes you uncomfortable, ask more questions or think carefully about proceeding.  Each group has it’s own way of being together and not all will be a fit for every rider!  I believe strongly in ride your own ride, but I also like to know what I can (or cannot) expect from the rest of the group for before I head out with them.

Most of all, be safe & keep the shiny side up!