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!

Organization From Chaos

One of my greatest frustrations is spending time (wasting time!) looking for something because I didn’t put it in the usual place and can’t find it next time.  I’m typically a pretty organized person; some people would say too organized.  Hah – those people don’t stick around long! 🙂

I’ve had my eye on a clothing rack for all my riding gear.  I was getting tired of having the helmet in the house, the coat and pants in the garage.  The gloves were wherever I happened to decide their spot was most recently.  I finally ordered it earlier this week and it arrived today.  I promised myself I was going to wait until this weekend to assemble it and move all my gear.  That promise lasted about 20 minutes before I could stand it no more and started opening the packing box.

Putting it together wasn’t difficult, but I have had a very long day of meetings and recognize that I am just tired tonight.  Well, that didn’t deter me and after a couple of missteps, I had the darn thing assembled.  Once it was assembled, I couldn’t just let it sit there, empty.

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I’ve already reorganized this and found hangers for all of my riding pants.  I found space for my neck buffs and have more layers to move to this area so that truly all my gear can live in one space.  I think once I get used to it and have it organized the way I prefer, it’s going to be amazing!

As I was tidying up the basement, I moved my bag that I haul all my gear in when I travel by airplane.  I bought it so I can check one bag and have my boots, my riding gear and my clothes all in one bag to fly.  I didn’t realize that I hadn’t opened it since I arrived home from Alaska.  Inside was a mess of packing cubes and chaos.  It was as if I had simply ripped out the laundry and gear, discarding the luggage to deal with it later.  Thinking back, I have no recollection of arriving home.  I have some vague memory of the Lyft driver who brought me from the airport.  He saw me limping and insisted on lifting my bags into the trunk.  When he dropped me at home, he politely insisted on placing my luggage inside my garage so I didn’t have to carry anything very far.  After that, there’s just nothing; it feels rather surreal.

This will be one of my winter projects, to make efficient use of my new storage rack and gather all my riding gear into one location.  It will be nice to reclaim some of my garage and closet space.  I like this start to the new year, it feels like above in a positive direction!

 

 

 

 

Inspecting Armor

A few days ago I wrote about the D30 armor in my Klim gear and how I reached out to them about replacing it or not.  I recently washed my jacket and pants and of course, took all the armor out first.  I placed everything on the table and didn’t give it another thought.  Until today, that is, when I went to replace it all.

Imagine my surprise when I looked at my back armor and thought something looked wrong.  I looked at it more closely and here’s what I found – a big tear!

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D30 back pad is damaged!

Of course, this has to be replaced.  This armor did its job in my recent accident and saved me from more serious injuries.  I am still walking and talking today thanks to this gear.  So I was a little surprised to find this, but I’m glad I looked everything over again before wearing it. Replacing it is easy and a mere $50 for this piece.  Worth much more and hopefully I never have to replace it again.

Don’t take chances, check your gear often!  I admit that my previous inspections of my armor had been perhaps a little too quick.  I won’t make that mistake again!  Really glad I found this now, so I have time to replace it before I need to wear the jacket again.  Whew!

D30 Armor Lessons

D what you may be asking?  D30 armor – the armor that is in my Klim jacket and pants.  It’s probably in other brands of gear too, but since I am no expert, I don’t want to assume or lead anyone astray.

After my accident in Alaska I had to think about my gear and what needed to be replaced.  My helmet was obviously destroyed, but my jacket and pants are just dirty and grass stained  I have not found any holes or tears in either piece.  Then a friend asked me about the armor in the gear – are we supposed to replace it after a crash?

I looked online and found various opinions.  I finally went straight to Klim and asked them, since they are the experts on their gear  What I learned is that the D30 armor is designed to withstand multiple impacts.  Unlike the padding in helmets, which takes one impact and must be replaced, D30 armor bounces back.  Now I know and can go on wearing my Klim gear with full confidence that it will protect me should this happen again.  Obviously I hope this never happens again, but I don’t believe in tempting fate and taking a chance with my life.

Speaking of gear – I had looked at my helmet a few days after the accident and while obviously damaged, I didn’t think it was terrible.  Last weekend my riding partner asked to see it and I took it out of the bag again.  As I did, I noticed that the chin bar piece of the helmet no longer closed.  In fact, it is now far out of alignment.  I was shocked!  Of course, I have already replaced the helmet and wouldn’t consider wearing it, but I didn’t fully realize initially just how damaged it is.  That was a reality check!

I hope that everyone wears ATGATT (all the gear, all the time) when they ride.  Please check your armor and ask the manufacturer about it’s safety if you have had an impact.  Make sure it’s in good repair so that if you should need it,  it can do it’s very best to protect you!

I am still on the road to recovery, and it’s longer than I’d like, but I am learning.  Last week I gained the ability to look over my right shoulder again.  Hopefully turning my head over my left shoulder will follow soon.

The new helmet is slowly breaking in and my bluetooth communication device is installed on it.  I also have replaced the RAM mount that holds my phone when I’m on the bike.  I never take calls or texts, but I do use my phone for navigation and especially for music.

Be safe out there!

New Helmet!

Isn’t it funny how life works out sometimes?  I’ve had my black Shoei helmet since I started riding again in 2014 or 2015, whatever it was.  I remember going to figure out which brand was going to work best for my head shape.  The color was not something I thought a lot about.  I remember before my accident saying that when I decided to replace my helmet, I was going with either a white one or high viz to give better visibility   to drivers.

Obviously I wasn’t expecting the accident and I would have gladly just paid for a replacement helmet and avoided all the other stuff.  But here I am nearly 4 weeks later and finally able to do some helmet shopping.  I tried earlier but as soon as I put one on my head,  my neck was screaming in pain!  At least I had the chance to discuss the different options with the sales people at my favorite gear store.  So much has changed since I bought my last helmet.

Yesterday I was finally feeling pretty good and very little pain.  I do feel a little stiffness but nothing compared to even a few days ago.  All the work I have been doing to recover is paying off.  So I made a trip to the gear store to see how my head and neck would feel about wearing a helmet now.  I also wanted some expert assistance in sizing to ensure I am in the appropriate size!

This time I went with a full face instead of a modular style helmet.  I liked the convenience of a modular, but after my accident, I am obsessed with safety!  The Shoei models seem to fit my head well, so I stayed with them again.  I also noticed that the ventilation system has changed and while I haven’t ridden in this one yet, I am hopeful it will be a little cooler.  Maybe the coolest feature I found is that since there is no built in sun visor, another option is needed in sunny Colorado.  The sales people showed me a visor with the transitions technology that adjusts to the light and darkens in bright sunlight.  We took it outside to test it and I was impressed!

This afternoon I am wearing my new helmet around the house for extended periods to make sure it doesn’t have any pressure points on my head.  So far, so good!  I’m excited to be making progress towards being back on my bike.  I had grand ideas of maybe taking the bike for a short ride over this holiday weekend, but my recovery so far has been a series one step forward and one or two steps back.  I woke up this morning feeling stiff so have decided I’m not going to rush things.  As hard as it is to wait, I want to be sure my body is ready for riding so I don’t set my recovery back by pushing too hard.

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Helmet selfie! 🙂

I used to balk at the price of helmets and all the safety gear, but since my accident, I gladly just hand over the money.  My life is worth way more than what this stuff costs and I’ll never complain again.  Instead, I am grateful to be here to replace my helmet and ride another day!

 

 

SW Colorado – Day 1

Denver, CO to Montrose, CO – 274 miles

The first day of our planned five day trip started off slowly, but well.  We both had a full work day the previous day plus events to attend in the evening.  We planned for a mid morning start so that we could avoid rush hour traffic and not feel rushed and stressed to start the trip.

I had thought I was ready to leave my house a bit early and then realized oops, I had a few items that needed to be taken care of first.  Wet laundry in the washer for one thing.  I don’t want to know what that would have been like after sitting for five days.  Ewwww! That was one of a few indicators that I was a little anxious about starting this journey.  This was my first overnight trip with my bike, Sassy and my first multi day trip with my riding partner.  While I trust both of them, and myself, there were a few unknowns that were giving me butterflies.

During the planning of this trip (and after British Columbia), I realized that a dry bag would be a good addition to my gear inventory.  It turned out to be a great choice and I’m glad that I invested my dollars in one.  I have decent sized Vario cases on Sassy but adding the dry bag allowed me to keep bike stuff in one case and my laptop and DSLR camera, water and personal stuff in the other.  It was so easy to take the dry bag off when we arrived at our destination and have all my clothes right there, contained.  It makes getting on and off the bike a bit more challenging, but it’s worth the effort.

Ok, back to the trip!  I head out from my house toward my riding partner’s place around 8:30 AM.  Traffic wasn’t too bad and after he finished loading his bike, we headed south to Highway 285.   It has been years since I went over Guanella Pass and as we came down the other side toward Fairplay, my jaw dropped at the beautiful sights of the mountains before me.  If there was a theme to this trip, it would have been how many times did I saw “WOW!” as I came around a corner, or across a mountain pass.  We had a quick gas stop in Fairplay and then went on to Buena Vista for lunch.

The afternoon brought more mountain passes and many more wows.  We crossed Monarch Pass on our way toward Gunnison and again, I was stunned into silence at the beauty.  Despite a bit of traffic, it felt very peaceful to be riding along with my thoughts and enjoying the cooler temperatures at the higher elevations.  We stopped in Gunnison for what we intended to be the last gas and restroom stop before arriving in Montrose.  However, the temperature rose, the day got long and we ended up stopping one more time around the Cerro Summit to have some water and a snack before pushing on.  I’m not sure which of us was more relieved to arrived at the hotel parking lot in Montrose!  I felt as though I had been fully roasted and wanted nothing more than to be off the bike and out of my gear.

It was a relief to have arrived and took the last of my energy to unpack the bike.  At that point I wanted nothing more than a cool shower, some “regular” clothes and dinner.  Yes, in that order.  Thankfully we located a restaurant within walking distance because I don’t think I could have made myself get back on the bike for more miles!

My lesson for Day 1: soak your cooling vest even if you don’t anticipate needing it!

New Gloves!

I was taught about ATTGATT (all the gear, all the time) even before I had my own bike.  I learned this from my former rally partner who got me back into motorcycling.  He was insistent that even as a pillion, I have gear that would protect me in the event of an accident.

However, it didn’t occur to me until earlier this year to take a good look at the gloves I was trusting my hands to.  It was a blog post about gear for newbies that made me think – what am I doing to protect my hands?  In my case the answer was a resounding not enough!  Also, since I work in an office and use a computer for a living, being without the use of my hands will seriously impact my ability to work and therefore my paycheck.

So, that made me start doing research and I found some great glove options over at RevZilla.  As you might imagine, they are not cheap (but what are my hands worth?) and I was hesitant to buy without seeing them.  Last month I went on a business trip that had me flying in and out of Philadelphia and as any RevZilla fan knows, the mother ship is right there!  I knew that for me, no trip to Philly could be complete without a chance to geek out at the RevZilla store.

I also had a wonderful employee at the store help me out and I told her that I was interested in the Held Air N Dry women’s gloves and any others she might suggest that are waterproof.  She pointed out to me that the Held gloves actually have two wearing options – the inside liner is the waterproof and warmer option.  The outside liner is not waterproof but is ventilated.  No more having to pack multiple pairs of gloves and dig them out of the cases when my hands get cold or too hot!  These gloves also have some protection at the knuckles and I like that the longer length gives additional protection to my wrists.

I have worn these gloves since the riding season began and I will say, they have taken a little time to break in and feel truly comfortable.  I believe they are made of kangaroo skin, so the material that makes them durable also makes them need some wear time.  So far, I am very happy with my purchase and look forward to many more years of protection from these gloves!