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A brief history of motorcycle girl-gear

Note:  the links and pics in this posting are off-line atm … will reload them this weekend….

Take a look at this photo and tell me what you see.  I can see three things.

  1. A gorgeous red Harley on the PCH.
  2. A set of nice Vanson leathers on LuckyGirl.
  3. An awful white helmet.

Eeesh.  How long until I can time-travel back to that day and throw that the white thing into the ocean?

You gotta understand, this pic was taken in back in the Dark Ages.  This was a primitive time, before girl-sized gear was invented.  Hard to believe, but true.

Just like the boys, we girls saved our money, ordered our dream-bikes and waited a year for those bikes to arrive at the dealership.  We took our safety classes and got our licenses.  When the bikes finally arrived, we were insanely happy.

I remember seeing my Dyna SuperGlide for the first time — a bright red beauty standing on a fresh black asphalt parking lot.  Gorgeous.  I climbed on top of that bike and didn’t want to go home.  What I wanted was to jump on the freeway and zoom up the coast for apple pancakes in Solvang.  LOL.  What I did was drive my bike across surface-streets to our apartment.  That’s because no one gets to zoom along LA’s freeways, not during rush hour(s).  Even OJ was confined to a slow-speed chase and he had a police escort.

In Los Angeles, Saturday morning is the best time to be on the PCH.  The earlier the better.  Ting and I would get out by 7am.  On our right, the sun would be rising over the hills; on our left, the ocean would be smacking the coast; and on the road it was just Ting and me and an occasional blur of Japanese racing bikes flying out of the narrow canyon roads.

And let me tell you,  those Japanese racing bikers had style.  They rode fierce rocket-bikes and wore matching leathers and chased each other thru those canyons like hellcats.

And those leathers they wore?  Amazing, tight-fitting garments, usually the same color as the bike, with matching visored helmets.  When they went by, it was like being passed by a single organism, some king of slick engine-creature who roared off the screen or out of the manga, onto the highway beside you for just  a sec, and then gone, over the horizon.

BTW, those Japanese leathers are fantastic and I’d expected to buy something similar for myself.  Nope.  Not gonna happen.  That stuff came in small sizes and in custom, but it was for boy-shaped bodies only.  You couldn’t get big Scandinavian boobs into those jackets and those pants didn’t accommodate a girl’s round ass.

We girls had very limited choices.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

 

 

Jacket

Pants

Boots

Gloves

Designed for men? Fits on a woman? Designed for men? Fits on a woman? Designed for men? Fits on a woman? Designed for men? Fits on a woman?
Option 1 Cool Japanese racing leathers Yes. No.Maybe if she is very lean.  If she’s got boobs, forget about it. Yes. No.She can be as skinny as a ferret, these pants will still look like a sack. Yes. Maybe.  Just don’t expect to do any walking in them. Yes. Maybe.
Option 2 Cool American biker-style leathers Yes. Only if she’s very lean or very big.  Even then, she’ll look like a fist full of Play-Doh. Yes. Only if she’s very lean or very big.  Even then, she’ll look like a fist full of Play-Doh. Yes. Maybe.  Just don’t expect to do any walking in them. Yes. Maybe.
Option 3 Bespoke leathers, as seen in the Movies Sure.  Should we send the bill to your agent or to the studio? Sure.  Should we send the bill to your agent or to the studio? (see ‘Jacket’) (see ‘Jacket’) (see ‘Jacket’) (see ‘Jacket’) (see ‘Jacket’) (see ‘Jacket’)

 

Hold on …. there was a fourth option (not really).   After all, there was some motorcycle-related stuff designed for a woman’s body.  Unfortunately, back in the Dark Ages, the marketplace couldn’t acknowledge that women were buying their own bikes.  In their minds, ‘a girl on a bike’ must be a girl who sitting behind her boyfriend on his bike (hence the term:  riding bitch).  Nevertheless, the marketplace, therefore did offer us a fourth option.  This wasn’t really gear, of course, it was cute stuff.  T-shirts.  Halter-tops.  Suede jackets with long fringes.

Omg.  Girls, here are the facts:  you drop your bike while wearing this crap and it is game over.  I don’t care how slow you’re going — even at 10 mph, that pavement is going to tear you apart.  Seriously, you might as well be naked.

So what did I do?  Let’s look at that pic one more time.

(insert jpeg)

I bought tight boy-fit leathers from Vanson and Japanese boy-boots and boy-gloves.  The boots and gloves looked okay but didn’t really fit.  The Vanson jacket was gorgeous (still is, lol) but it didn’t fit me, dammit.  Every time I wore it, I was faced with the choice:

zip the jacket for warmth and safety
downside: jacket is squeezing my breasts way too tight, it’s hard to breathe, etc.

OR

unzip the jacket and be cold and at-risk
upside:  relief of breast-compression, ability to draw a lungfull of air, etc.

Surprisingly, the Vanson pants weren’t too bad (yes they were!).  They stretched in the hips and seat (too much) and were fine (unless I cared about my appearance).

But, let me tell you, the lumpiness of those leathers was nothing compared to the ugliness of the helmet.

As you’d expect, California had a helmet law, even then.  That means you can’t leave the dealership with a new bike unless you’ve got a helmet on your head.   Girls, back in the day we were SOL. I looked everywhere for months and found only one that would fit my head.  Yes, it’s that screaming white one in the picture.

I told myself that it wasn’t too bad (yes it was) and that I’d get a custom paint-job on it (so what? no paint is gonna change that goofy shape).

Today we’re really lucky girls.  We’re living in a Golden Age.  The Good Lord has seen fit to compound our many blessings (Capitalism, the Industrial Revolution, etc) and we have received the mighty Interwebs.  Thus, we 21st Century Girls have wonderful gear.  And it’s girl-sized!  Here are a couple of my favorites ….

Helmets
Wow, even helmets are styling these days, can you believe it?  Check out the supersonic ones over at ##### and the retro ones at Heritage.

Leathers
#####

Boots
####

Where do you go for really good gear?

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