So, those who don’t know me personally, or follow my personal IG (shameless self-promotion @k_i_m_m_i_e), on April 2 I went down on my motorcycle. To say it was life changing would be an understatement, and to say I’m lucky to be alive and have all my limbs would be an even bigger one. The circumstances weren’t unlike many other stories you hear or read about fellow riders going down. It was a busy, beautiful Southern California Sunday, and I was out riding alone. I was heading to change my oil and brake pads at a friend’s house and only TWO BLOCKS from my destination, when a driver “didn’t see me,” didn’t signal, and got over right on top of me — my options were hit the car or go down.
When my body came to a stop a good 5 feet from my bike, my instinct was to get right up and assess the damages. Aside from riding at a super low speed, like a no speed at all biff in the dirt at Babe’s Ride Out last year, I’ve never gone down on my bike before. Like they say it’s not a matter of if, but when. Upon hopping up, I went to walk and immediately realized there was something very wrong with my left leg. It buckled underneath me and felt like a sloppy wet noodle at my knee.
Luckily vehicles around me stopped, and the driver that caused me to go down did too, but I couldn’t walk and just decided to sit down until an ambulance came to pick me up.
That was the start of the longest, shittiest three months of my life. After being dismissed from the first ER, the people who told me nothing was wrong, the second medical professional told me I had a fracture and ligament damage but couldn’t help me and sent me to a specialist. The first specialist looked at my x-rays and said he wanted nothing to do with my injury and sent me to another specialist. At this point, I was on day 4 of floppy noodle leg and in a sad half splint. Finally, I was able to see the specialist who told me my knee was dislocated in not one or two of the three ways you can dislocate your knee, but all 3… hence the floppy noodle feeling, as well as the fracture and obvious ligament damage. He proceeded to tell me just how lucky I am that I have a leg that can be saved because I could have easily severed nerves or arteries to the bottom half of my leg and lost it.
The same day I saw the specialist, I was told to head directly to the hospital for surgery to set my knee.
But wait, it gets better…
The worst part of my recovery was this archaic-looking device drilled into my thigh and shin holding my knee straight with rods the entire length of my leg. Never in my life did I think I would get tired of not wearing pants, but life in short shorts and underwear loses its novelty eventually, believe it or not. Aside from learning to accept help from friends and family for even the most basic of needs, I missed out on so many epic moto events, that shit brought me down. El Diablo Run, Hippie Killer Hoedown, Vans at the Bay, Born Free — UGH.
But after 7 weeks with the barbaric pins in my leg, and now a little over 7 weeks of learning to walk again, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I still have a long recovery to go and potentially another surgery or two but walking again is amazing, and I totally won’t take this shit for granted.
So what the hell does this have to do with anything? And why should you care about my damn sob story? And where does this leave me in a world I love so much — motorcycles?
WELLLLL, it’s lead me to some realizations about myself, my safety and if I want to ride again. To my family and loved one’s dismay, I have every intention of riding again. I just can’t fathom my life without riding, but, before my accident, I was a real asshole about ‘gear’- namely I didn’t wear it (besides a full face helmet and gloves). I didn’t own a leather jacket, and I had boots but only wore them selectively… no riding pants or jacket… nada. And I’m making a promise to myself from now on I’m going to make a conscious attempt to dress more for the ride.
So what does this mean? How does the anti-gear chick find her way through this world of gear?!? And I have the lovely added obstacle of not only being a female rider but also being a PLUS SIZE female rider. So, I took reviews from friends, reached out online, and did a little research myself about some lady friendly (and lady-owned and operated) moto gear.
Lady riding gear companies
One company that stands out to me is GO GO GEAR LA, they make a Kevlar lined products that DON’T break the bank, and I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews on their products AND aside from one other brand that I can tell, are the most Plus Size friendly gear I’ve seen. Their leggings have a cult following not only for their protection but also for being stylish — they also come with removable knee pads for added protection. I have not heard reviews on their other products, but they do have a Kevlar hoodie as well that I have my eyes on!
Worse for Wear is a women’s riding company that makes custom fit riding jeans with removable hip and knee pads. They also have a curvy or slim option for us gals with a little extra junk in the trunk. I have a couple of friends who personally wear these jeans and LOVE them and the fit! They are made to order and made locally in the USA.
ATWYLD is a Southern California brand that is female-owned and operated; they make super stylish riding gear as well as motorcycle inspired fashion. I have heard great reviews on their armored leggings and undershirts — these kinds of products are awesome because you can wear your clothes OVER the protective gear and feel like yourself but keep the peace of mind that you’re protected.
I could probably go on, for a long time- and I’ll mention a few more to check out: Tobacco Motor Wear, Black Arrow Label, and Redwing shoes to name a few.
While it’s great to see SO MANY new companies popping up on my radar, I do have to mention the noticeable lack of size options for Plus Size female riders (Go Go Gear LA seems to be the more friendly). I am optimistic that brands will catch on and start to offer larger sizing as their brands grow!
So, while I consider myself soooo very lucky my injuries weren’t more/worse than they were and I wasn’t dressed well AT ALL. I am challenging myself to dress more appropriately from now on, and I encourage all my fellow lady riders to do the same if they aren’t already.
Please share with us some of your favorite brands or pieces, and an experience you have with gear saving your skin or life.
And, this should be a given but… stay safe out there! ❤️