Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Update on The AMA International Women & Motorcycling Conference

Well just when I thought the line-up for the Women's AMA Conference in Keystone CO was all firmed up I have now been receiving Tweets from Genevieve Schmitt @WRN on the added keynote speakers that have been recently added, along with Ducati announcing their attendance.

Deborah Grey- A seasoned Canadian motorcyclist, who just happens to be a member of the Canadian Parliament. She is a titillating speaker, who is listed in Canada's National Speakers Bureau. She will be speaking at the Street Party portion of the conference.

Ashley Fiolek- A motocross racer who will be speaking at the open ceremony portion of the conference with the aid of her mom, since Ashley is deaf. She has been racing since she was 7 and is the first women to be on a top factory level team with predominantly male riders.

Lois Pryce- is a humorous motorcycling world traveler, who wrote 2 books, "Lois On The Loose" from Alaska to Argentina and "Red Tape & White Knuckles" chronicles of her ride through Africa.

Ducati is also joining the line up of demo rides with the Monster 696 being one of the bikes on display.

On a personal note: I received an email from one of the girls, Ellen, whom I met while on my Alaskan ride I took two years ago. Thirteen women along with myself took the first all women's tour being hosted by Alaskan Rider Tours in Anchorage Alaska. A seven day loop that covered over 1200 miles of the most beautiful scenic visions I have ever witnessed in my life.

It was a special trip in so many ways, but the most endearing part is that several of us have kept in contact over these past 2 years even though we are all spread out all over the country. I am thrilled to say that 5 of us, at this point, will be reuniting at the AMA International Women's Motorcycling Conference in Keystone CO.

Ellen and Laura will be riding up from Texas together. I will be jumping on a flight out of Oakland, Jane from Connecticut will be joining me to rendevous with Cathy from Michigan at the Denver airport, then making our way to the conference.

Now, not only do I have the conference and all it offers to look forward to, I also have my sisterhood of Alaskan riders who rode with me, sharing a life altering, history making experience.

See you there, girls!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

International AMA Women and Motorcycling Conference

Today I talked to Andrea Beach with Coach 2 Ride which will be hosting the dual-sport dirt bike portion of the AMA Women and Motorcycling Conference in Keystone Colorado taking place in August 19-22, Which I will be attending along with 3 girl friends, Cathy, from Plymouth MI, Jane from Hartford CT and Liz from Fort Bragg CA.
I was in a state of disbelief as I signed myself up for the Dual-sport portion of the conference, I never thought I would participate in dirt bike riding! But, after reading the discription in the AMA packet I received, and talking to Andrea with her infectious enthusiasium, I couldn't not go and the thought of listening to Cathy brag about how great it was all the way back to the Denver airport, would be too much to bare! So...I'm in, credit card committed!
This featured event is new to the Conference and I think, will be a big success among the attendees.

This will be the fifth International AMA Women and Motorcycling Conference so far, with the last being held in Athens Georgia two years ago.
This Conference is focused on women, but that doesn't mean, men are not welcome too.! :-)

This year Harley Davidson and Buell will be presenting the conference with Kawasaki, Yamaha and BMW also attending for dual-sport and street demo rides.

There will be a full schedule with four days of demo rides, informative riding seminars, a vendor marketplace and conference activities.

There will also be loads of entertainment, that will include a street party, a western themed "barn dance", an AMA presidents reception, and an opening and closing ceremony.

The activities sound great, but the main reason I am attending the conference is for the demo rides and the extensive seminars that will give invaluable information to the novice, as well as the expert riders. These topice are designed around the theme "Taking The Next Step" and are officially as follows:

Secrets of Veteran Riders: Lessons From the Road - a panel of veteran riders will educate and inspire other riders by talking about their experiences.

Solo Riding and Touring- Women who have ridden solo talk about what it takes to ride the road alone.

Preparing For the Ride: packing/gear/apparel- In a discussion group atmosphere, experienced riders share what it takes to pack and prepare for an extended trip.

Dealer Interaction- how to interact with dealers when buying a bike; pitch, negotiate and win!

Real World Street Strategies- How to safely manage dealing with obstacles and dangerous road conditions. From uneven pavement to tar snakes.

Dual-Sport and Adventure Riding- Sue Slate, from Kawasaki will be talking about why it's called "adventure riding." She will discuss how easy it is to gain a passion for this sport and how to get involved.

Accident Scene Management- will explain what to do in the event of crash, from treating those who are hurt to the legal aspects of an accident.

W & M Inspirational Seminars- Great inspirational stories such as, track days , long distance touring and adventure riding, that can help to take a rider to the next level.

Making Your Bike Fit You- Experts discuss new products that are available that can ensure a better more personal fit for you and your bike.

Motocycling Mentoring- A helping hand for new riders . What a better way to give back to the sport, than to mentor a newbie.

Ride Like a Pro- Jerry "Motorman" Palladino and Donna Palladino present their popular Ride Like a Pro class skills which give amazing results to making better, safer tight turns.

Survive Institute- This is about personal protection and self defense. Debbie Gardner will talk about how to survive a personal attack and properly use self-defense. An incredible empowering presentation not to be missed.

I am really looking forward to attending this conference and meeting some of the most inspirational women in motorcycling to date. Tigra Tsujukawa (AMA), Kim Knupp (Yamaha), Jan Plessner, Sue Slate (Kawasaki), Myrrh Davis (BMW) just to name a few.
One in particular is Genevieve Schmitt, editor of Women Riders Now, Scooter Riders Now and Trike Riders Now and on the advisory counsil for this event. I have known Genevieve for four years, but have not met her in person. I look forward to shaking her hand and saying "thank you" for she has been one of my biggest supporters of Style Saver Scarves in it's success.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Motorcycle Helmets: Does paying more really give you more protection?

After having someone very close to me, experience a life altering brain injury two years ago, wearing a $400 full face helmet, I started to question the idea, “does paying more for a helmet really ensure better safety?” Especially since I owned the identical helmet!

I decided to investigate the safety standards of what goes into a full face helmet. I found there to be 4 standards in separate divisions.
These 4 standards base their tests on how much G-force ( Multiples of the force of gravity) a helmet can endure when being dropped from various heights onto right-angle and flat surfaces. The lower the G-force impact the better the helmet.
While some will argue that it will never be known what the particular impact might be and at what speed, therefore the basic standard DOT helmet is all a person requires, I have to disagree.

I feel, the softer the (ESP) foam as well as the outer shell, which can be made from either a resin/fiber composite or polycarbonate, along with the rating standards are paramount for my precious noggin. The noise, weight, fit, and airflow are secondary and I can perfect those features by going down my list of the highest rated helmets I was so pristine in researching.

The 4 Motorcycle Helmet Standards:

1. DOT ( Department of Transportation) was first issued in 1974 and revised several times, the latest being 1988. This standard is the mandatory U.S. government standard that ALL motorcycle helmets must meet to be able to legally sell for road use. The DOT standard is basically manufacturer self-certification, the manufacturer will conduct the required tests in their own lab and if the helmet passes, it’s considered compliant. Until the DOT receives complaints and then the helmet in question is recalled from the market.

2. Snell a private organization that issues it’s own motorcycle helmet standard. Saying this, the Snell certification has a great reputation and is supported by many of the top m/c helmet manufacturers. Snell is more stringent than the DOT tests, but purely voluntary by the manufactures.

3. ECE 22.05 ( Economic Community of Europe) this the most commonly used standard internationally. The ECE 22.05 is required by over 50 countries world wide. One thing that’s nice about the ECE 22.05 in the US is that it doesn’t conflict with the DOT standard. Qualified ECE helmets will also meet the demands of the DOT standard, in fact, the ECE standard asks for impact testing at higher velocities than the DOT. Not all DOT certified motorcycle helmets will pass the ECE standards, so you could say the ECE certified helmets are safer in ways than the DOT certified helmets.

The selling point for me on the ECE 22.05 certified helmets is the fact that its been approved for competition events such as, AMA, CCS, FIM, Formula-USA and WERA and are chosen by nearly every professional motorcycle racer competing in the world championship road racing, motorcross and off road events. The clincher for me was MotoGP being a part of this group!

4. BSI (type A 6658 from Britian) standard, is the largest and most prestigious standard. If a batch of helmets are tested and fail, the entire batch is rejected , and new helmets must be submitted for retesting, following an investigation and remedial action. Where other standards, such as Snell will retest the same helmets again. A BSI tested helmet has to earn a type A sticker to pass.

Below are an array of helmets that I collected, in what I would call “using your head” helmets. Notice the ratings are the same or similar, but not the price.

AFX FX-90 $ 69.95 DOT and ECE 22.05 approved

SparX S-07 Torino $ 119.99 DOT and ECE 22.05 approved

Vega Altura $ 79.99 to 89.99 DOT and ECE 22.05 approved

Akuma Apache $ 349.00 DOT and ECE 22.05 approved

Velmar VSRev $325.00 DOT and ECE 22.05 approved

AGV GP-Tech $549.95 DOT and ECE 22.05 approved

Nolan X-602 $529.95 DOT and ECE 22.05 approved

Shark RSI $419.95 DOT and ECE 22.05 approved

Suomy Vandal $422.95 DOT, BSI and ECE 22.05 approved

Top 10 helmets rated in a G-force test.

DOT only
Fulmar AFD 4
Pep Boys Raider

AGV Ti-Tech
Suomy Spec 1R

ECE 22.05 and DOT
Schuberth S-1
Shark RSX
Velmar VSR

Snell and DOT
Icon Mainframe
Icon Alliance

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pretty in Pink

Women in motorcycling is a fast growing phenomenon, we are making leaps and bounds in regards to being responsible for 12% of the riding population, and rapidly narrowing that gap between male and female in the motorcycle industry.
So, why is it that when a female rider goes shopping for the proper motorcycle gear, she has little to no choice and the choices she does have are predominantly pink?!
I am all girl, and admit to owning a few pink frocks in my closet, and even enjoy wearing the color. But, while on the motorcycle, I just can’t bring myself to purchase anything pink when I am trying to be taken seriously in 12% of a man’s world, when riding my bike.
I have had this discussion with a few of my fellow women rider friends on what their view is on this “pink” invasion in women’s motorcycle apparel and what the color pink signifies to them in the riding community.
My friend Margaret said, “ It sends a message to other riders or car drivers that you are female. It is often hard to decipher if a rider is male or female and this is an avenue for women to say hey, I'm a chick on bike!”
Here’s what another girl, Stephanie, new into riding had to say; “ There’s not really enough choice out there for women’s gear. I usually look in the smaller men’s selections, but that means jackets are usually too roomy in the shoulders.
As far as pink, well, some women can pull off pink and make it look cool. It seems to me a lot of gear ‘for women is built for the Betty, not for the rider. I don’t mind the idea of looking ‘cute’ when you ride, but isn't that already a given? Since women look great riding bikes, they don’t need pink to make that more of a fact. Well-made, tough, protective gear cut for a female form is more important. I prefer the color choices in men’s gear.”

Robin, who recently rode by herself on a 20, 226 mile journey across country, had a very strong opinion about women riding, the color pink and what it means to her.
"I will speak to the question of "pink" in the women's sector of the motorcycle industry as a bit of a rebel, meaning politically incorrect. If you look good in "pink", then by all means wear it, but if you don't, then wearing it just because you are a girl seems a little silly. Be aware though, that marketing is very good at convincing us that we need "pink" if we are women. This "link-to-pink" is not a surprise, it's inevitable. From the time we are born we are psychologically taught that girls wear pink, boys wear blue.
I myself wear lots of men's motorcycle gear because it fits better, which is another problem in itself, and because it's not "pink". Do I need "pink" to maintain my identity as a woman on a motorcycle? Is that even important? No, the ride is what counts. No matter what color we wear, I like the fact that those odds are changing!”

But, let’s look at it from another perspective, the psychology of color is one of subconscious power. Pink is a symbol for women just like the flag is a symbol for the American way. Look at the symbol for women and breast cancer..."pink". This synonymous link with women is an integral part of marketing, and marketing is a very, very strong tool. To ignore this from a business perspective is risky, to ignore this as a woman, is our prerogative. So it's no surprise that the women's sector in the motorcycle industry is going to be inundated with "pink".

One history making woman who made sure that pink was synonymous with women and motorcycling was Dot Robinson. Co-founder of Motor Maids Inc. in 1941, the organization was instrumental in convincing women to try motorcycling for themselves. Dot set a standard for women motorcyclists, she proved that you can be a lady and still ride motorcycles by riding a pink Harley Davidson with a lipstick case built right into the handle bars!
Back in her day, in the 1930’s and 40s’, she did not care for the traditional black leather outfits after the movies of the day, that she felt portrayed motorcyclists as out laws or hoodlums, which inspired her to wear her signature pink riding outfits.
Here is a classic reminder that from as long as 60 to 70 years ago, we are still stuck predominately with a narrow selection of colors and styles.

So, I think whatever color you wear should be as individual as the make and model of the bike you prefer to ride. I would just like to see wider selection of colors to choose from, for us girls, to show more of our individuality, as women, as well as being a serious rider.

I have gathered some links of Web sites that I like to visit regularly.



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tips on purchasing a used motorcycle

In my short career in the motorcycling world I have bought 3 bikes, 2 new, and one used. I have to say, buying a used motorcycle from a private seller is a very vulnerable experience and would have appreciated all valuable information to make my purchase enjoyable and rewarding. After all, purchasing a motorcycle should be as exciting an experience as riding one! So, I am here to help you out and offer all my gathered information to make your purchase an easy one .

When buying new, the most important hurdle to jump is to get the price down several hundred dollars, a factory warranty, and a bike that suits you and your riding needs. Not so easy when purchasing a used bike from a private seller, you put yourself at a great financial risk . So, why do we do it, even though we put our “financial necks” out there? First, you can save a lot of money buying from a private seller as well as finding “rare” and “vintage” bikes that you can’t always purchase from a standard dealer, and that is, to many, what is so appealing.
Here is a simple list of things to look out for, that I found helpful, to accomplish a smart and successful transaction with a perfect stranger.

1. Don’t go to look at the bike alone, even when purchasing the bike.
2. Thoroughly look the bike over (a whole other article to write!) ask the seller as many questions as you can, make a list before viewing the bike.
3. Check the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). Make sure the VIN matches on the bike as well as on the title.
4. Check with DMV or Police to verify that the bike has not been stolen and registered to the same person you are dealing with.
5. Make sure there are no liens on the bike, if there were, on the front of the title there would be “released” signatures. Don’t buy this bike!
6. A bike with invalid odometer readings will state on the front of the title 999,999.
Also, look for “salvage” or “total loss” on the front of the title.
7. Make sure to write up a bill of sale, with seller/buyer information, and bike information (miles, VIN, model, price) both parties sign and date
8. Make sure the seller signs the back of the title.
9. Beware of “as is” disclosures, this means that once purchased, the seller is released from responsibility if anything goes wrong with the bike. You have no recourse.
10. Don’t be surprised if the seller won’t let you test ride the bike for liability reasons. You should not ride the bike until having properly registered and insured the bike in your name, meaning, trailer it home!
11. After you get the bike home, make arrangements with a professional mechanic for a full tune up, just to make sure it’s in the best working condition possible. Safety first!
12. Don’t lie on the sale price of the bike when it comes to paying the sales tax, it’s fraud and it can come back to bite you in the rear, if the bike is ever stolen or wrecked, you will end up with the bill. In this case, it pays to be honest.
13. And finally, take it easy and get to know your new/used bike for the first few rides, it’s all about respect.

Congratulations and enjoy your new ride!

Footnote: The picture shown was my 2006 Kawasaki Ninja 650R which I had a very pleasant experience purchasing. I had this bike for 2 years and loved it, with no problems what-so-ever, it was a sad day when I sold it!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Moto-ette A women's guide to fashion, fun and safety

This blog is intended for all who love to ride motorcycles, whether it be a Harley Davidson Softtail to a heritage BSA, it's all the same language in the end.
My name is Cindi Servante and I have been riding motorcycles for a mere 4 years, but have found such a love for the sport, it feels like years!

I will be writing about all different types of stories related to the sport of motorcycling, from my all women's ride in Alaska, to how I have incorporated my profession in hairstyling into a motorcycle scarf that protects hair from the dreaded "helmet hair."

In addition, I will talk of my many different findings in apparel and protective gear, that I have found to be of good value and quality, with safety in mind, first and foremost.

I will also talk about many of the influential women and men I have met and read about that have impressed me enough to want to spread the word. And any and all subject matters that come to mind along the way. That could be scary!!

I will post as much information about any subject, item or person I will be talking about and that will include photos.... gotta have the photos!! :-)

Stay tuned fellow riders!