Tag - worsewear

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Worse for Wear’s Crosstown Curvy Jeans
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Make Your Passion Your Paycheck
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Last Day of Spring and It’s Already HOT!!!
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Arriving the Worse for Wear
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Arriving the Worse for Wear

Worse for Wear’s Crosstown Curvy Jeans

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There is nothing like slipping on your favorite pair of jeans. We feel comfortable, at ease and the world just seems right again. I’ve often wondered how possible it would be to enjoy a favorite pair of jeans that make you feel good and look good…but also fit within the standard of ATGATT. As I’ve researched the choices of women’s riding gear over the past few years, I always become extremely disappointed and just give up once I scan over the sizing charts. For years I’ve just settled with the idea that standard women’s riding gear is simply not made for my hourglass figure. I was blessed with a curvy “Iron Butt,” if you will, and a proportionately smaller waist. And in my quest, I’ve come across many other women with the same disappointments in the choices and sizes of ladies’ riding apparel. But, thankfully, that is all beginning to change!

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The newly launched company Worse for Wear just released their first prototype, the “Crosstown Curvy Jean,” this spring…and, WOW, this product is spot on, ladies! The company was created by Laura Smith (our very own BMW MOA member), with her partner and husband Scott, and their mission has been to create super-stylish riding jeans that fit properly and offer superior protection on the road. It was out of Laura’s sheer desperation as a fellow motorcycle rider in search of decent gear that she took on this life-changing mission.

The Crosstown Curvy Jean is made in the USA at the Worse for Wear headquarters in Richmond, Virginia. They are made with Armalith Denim which provides high-performance protection in an all-day comfortable fabric that is breathable and requires no heavy liner or layer for abrasion resistance. This top-quality fabric does its job. Additionally, the outer fabric of the armor pockets, “Tweave Duratech,” is super tough and ensures that the armor stays in place and provides an additional layer of abrasion protection at the knees and hips – which both have adjustable and removable Sas-Tec body armor. And when you slip these jeans on, they are smokin’ sexy!

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When I received my very own pair of Crosstown Curvy Jeans from Worse for Wear, I had them on in minutes…the anticipation was overwhelming. Ladies, from the very beginning, they were amazing as they slipped right on and felt instantly comfortable. The knee pads are adjustable and super easy to access (while the jeans are off and turned inside out). It didn’t take me long to get the knees right for my legs and have a sit on my motorcycle to be sure everything felt good. And it did! I loved the hip pads, as well. They are not overly bulky or rigid, but rather blend right into your physique and are actually very comfortable. Once I got everything into place, I set out for a weekend of riding in my new Crosstown Curvy Jeans.

I spent many hours that June weekend testing out these jeans while riding around in heavy traffic and in extreme hot and humid temperatures. I will honestly report that these pants are very breathable and never felt stuffy or too heavy. Also while riding many miles around town, I never felt them bunch up or pinch any part of my body. And I love that they are cut higher in the back and tailored so as not to gape or show off any skin from behind. When I arrived at each destination, these riding jeans felt just like wearing a pair of my favorite jeans. This Fashionista felt confident in the fabrics of these jeans as protective riding gear, yet also felt super sassy, sexy and stylish as I made my rounds around town. The Worse for Wear Crosstown Curvy Jean definitely has my stamp of approval, ladies! 💋

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(These high-quality jeans retail at $379 and are custom made for each individual, so ship within 1 to 3 weeks of ordering. Please visit: www.worsewear.com to purchase a pair and for in depth information on this product.)

Make Your Passion Your Paycheck

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(Originally published in BMW Owners News Magazine – August 2016.)

Grinning a giant grin, I threw my leg over the seat of my sweet, pearly two-wheeled steed and set the GPS for the mountains of North Carolina – destination Little Switzerland. That May weekend, women from all over the country were gathering near the Blue Ridge Parkway to check out the first annual “Mountain Moxie” women’s motorcycling conference. My excitement that morning came on several levels. First, I was traveling on a motorcycle, and second, I was traveling solo. But I believe my biggest joy came from the anxious anticipation of attending this gathering of women motorcyclists, for an entire weekend, and celebrating our passion for two-wheeled adventures together.

As I made my way to the Blue Ridge Mountains that morning, choosing the quaint, sleepy backroads as my route, I passed a billboard advertisement that highlighted the phrase “Make Your Passion Your Paycheck.” That set off a couple of hours of deep thoughts. But, little did I know how far that statement was going to ring true over the weekend. In fact, it was a bombshell that totally rocked my world.

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Mountain Moxie was a longtime dream of the woman who developed Moto Girl Cafe (a site dedicated to women who love motorcycles), Robin Dail, and she did an all-around amazing job on every aspect of the conference. Robin is nothing short of a superhero – she is an associate professor at Duke University in the School of Nursing teaching in the graduate programs and doing research around the thermal stability of premature infants to decrease their morbidity and mortality. Like I said, a superhero…AND, she’s a motorcyclist. Boom! Robin put her dream into motion – a dream of creating a gathering of women who ride so they could learn about new products, better safety techniques, hear inspirational stories about women leaders in the motorcycling world, and just simply hang together, ride together and share their passion together. Ah, there it was…my first example of that profound statement from the billboard taking place before my very eyes.

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During that weekend in the mountains, I heard from many woman leaders: our very own BMW MOA member, Laura Smith of Worse for Wear, who was one of the three major conference sponsors and has just launched her fabulous “Crosstown Jeans” (see my Product Review on this site); extreme long-distance BMW rider, Gwen Phillips, who is truly iconic in the travels she has logged and the MacGyver-type doodads she has invented to make her travels more smooth; Sofi Tsingos, a brilliant, young custom motorcycle builder; the first woman to have circumnavigated the coast of Great Brittain, Gail Biddulph, who through her life experiences, empowers other people to live to their full potential; the first African-American woman to road race in the United States, Joi “SJ” Harris from the MotoGirlGT Team; Breeann Poland, a woman who has been involved with motorcycling most of her life and is now the Social Media and Digital Marketing Manager of Royal Enfield North America; a Motorcycle Law Group attorney (and another major sponsor of the event), Liz Sorrell, who passed along her vast knowledge of laws affecting motorcyclists; as well as several others that inspired us over the weekend. As I listened to each of these women tell their stories and explain how their passion for motorcycling has shaped their lives, I again heard the whisper from that billboard… “Make Your Passion Your Paycheck.”

Reflecting on what I took from Mountain Moxie and the theme from that billboard that crept into my experience over-and-over, I thought about the distinct pleasure I’ve had over this past year of personally watching that statement in motion as I’ve kept up with the aforementioned Laura Smith and her women’s riding apparel company, Worse for Wear. When I first interviewed Laura and her husband Scott back in 2015, they were hard at work putting those passionate wheels into motion, making Laura’s dream of providing women with safe, durable and stylish riding gear that fits come true. It’s been quite an inspiration to watch this chrysalises first-hand.

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Considering recently published statistics which report that 25% of people who throw their leg over a motorcycle are female (including pilots and pillions), it’s no secret that we ladies are hard-core on the hunt for more riding products, such as those from Worse for Wear. Over the years, riding gear has slowly trickled over to our female gender, but typically is an altered version of men’s gear, and is usually uniformed in pink or purple. This Fashionista, for one, can’t swallow that princess-colored pill…sorry guys. With our demographic steadily on the rise, I have observed other women throughout the country, like Laura Smith, with the goal to create gear made especially for women and our needs. Most recently, I’ve come across a network of very clever women in California who are making breakthroughs in this industry and have embraced the concept that I spied on the billboard that very fateful day – “Make Your Passion Your Paycheck.”

What really drew my attention to this group of women in Cali was the fact that they are all separately creating their own products, but are collaborating closely together to support one another. Epic concept! I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking in depth with two of these women – Debra Chin of MotoChic and Aliki Karayan of VnM Sport. They both share the same motivation for joining the world of women entrepreneurs – their passion to create riding gear made specifically for women, a passion which was hatched out of sheer desperation from an obscenely limited ladies’ riding gear market.

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Debra Chin, founder of MotoChic, is originally from New York and now firmly planted in San Francisco. She is the creator of the sassy “Lauren” bag (see my Product Review on this site) and the more compact “Valerie” bag. Debra’s passion began on the rear seat of her boyfriend’s motorcycle. As a pillion, now rider, she became extremely aggravated when she discovered that the gear options available for women “were limited to the ‘shrink it and pink it’ approach taken by most mainstream manufacturers.” Through the combination of her genuine knowledge of fashion (previously owned a bridesmaid boutique), astute marketing background, and a serious leap of faith, Debra launched her product line in the spring of 2015. Her bags are selling very well as they are highly fashionable, extremely multi-functional and their unique versatility crosses over to many lifestyles, not just motorcycling.

But Debra hasn’t kept all the glory for herself. She has collaborated with other women breaking into the industry and has included them on her e-commerce site, as well as booth space at events. Debra not only made her passion her paycheck, but has reciprocated her good fortune with other women so that they, too, can see the fruits of their labor.

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I had the amazing opportunity to speak to another one of those women – Aliki Karayan of VnM Sport. Aliki is one cool chick, let me tell you! She spent her young life in Canada, then joined the military at age 18 and began a stint as a heavy machine operator. It was there in the military that she was exposed to motorcycles through her teammates who were all guys and loved fast machines. When Aliki sampled her first ride on two wheels, she was hooked. Almost 20 years later, she is a California resident living the dream – contracted by Honda, she is racing, demo riding and teaching track days. Once she was submerged into the super bike world, she also felt the pang of desperation to find gear designed specifically for women. In her words, she “started riding tracks and got pissed ‘cause I couldn’t find good gear.” With absolutely no design experience or garment manufacturing knowledge, Aliki started her unsurmountable quest with a huge passion in her heart to overcome the odds. She did, indeed, turn her passion into a paycheck – her company, VnM Sport produces high-performance compression base layers with high-quality fabrics that work when it’s “bloody hot and bloody cold,” including designing matching base layers to SuperBike teams. (See my Product Review on this site.) Aliki is also a big proponent of women-helping-women in this industry. She sees herself and her California compadres as being a team, rather than competitors…they work together for the good of all women in the motorcycling world. What an impressive and noble vision.

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Flashback to that spring morning in May, when I was riding to Mountain Moxie…the ride was completely intoxicating as the fragrance of new blossoms and the delicious dewy air permeated into my helmet. Indeed, I was smiling big. And, as I fatefully raised my head towards that billboard and read, “Make Your Passion Your Paycheck,” I fist-pumped at the statement, not truly understanding the depth of those words. And then I arrived that day at the Little Switzerland Inn, and in good time, it all became very, very clear. 💋

(For more information on Mountain Moxie 2017 and Moto Girl Cafe, please visit motogirlcafe.com; for additional information on Worse for Wear, please visit worsewear.com; for more information on MotoChic, please visit motochicgear.com; and for VnM Sportgear products, please visit vnmsport.com.)

Last Day of Spring and It’s Already HOT!!!

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It’s hard to believe that the second month of the “official” riding season has almost ended. There is sweet anticipation for the next few months and all of the great rides I have planned, but also a realization that two out of the seven months from the “season” are gone. Shoot! I’ve got five more months to accomplish a lot of miles towards my goal of 15,000 + from April through October.

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I must admit, it’s been an amazing May…big things happened this month! I believe the biggest boost to my soul and career was attending Mountain Moxie 2016, a women’s motorcycling conference hosted by Moto Girl Cafe’s Robin Dail. Approximately 100 women, including myself, gathered at the Little Switzerland Inn in Little Switzerland, North Carolina (just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway) and spent the weekend learning from each other and building each other up. We came from all walks of life, rode different makes of motorcycles, and were all across the board in ethnicities and orientations…but wove a beautiful tapestry together that exuded our collective passion for motorcycling. My participation in Mountain Moxie was one of the best things I’ve done for myself to date. I rode away from the conference that Sunday with new friendships (especially my new friend, Heather!), a better understanding of my fellow lady riders, and many new opportunities that continue to blossom in strange, new ways. Big kudos to Robin Dail (Moto Girl Cafe’) for taking her vision and making it a success…and thus empowering more women riders to make their visions and passions a reality. Looking forward to Mountain Moxie 2017!

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One of my favorite memories of Mountain Moxie 2016 was spending time with my friends Laura and Scott from Worse for Wear. The morning I pulled up to the conference, riding totally solo, I was immediately greeted with a huge hug from Laura who recognized the sweet engine sound coming from our twin BMW R1100 RS’s and knew it was me. Laura and Scott were at Mountain Moxie as one of the big sponsors of the event, showcasing their hot, new Crosstown Jeans. Sometime during this first week of June, I will be receiving my very own pair of those sexy riding jeans…and you can be sure that I will be yapping like crazy about my new fashionable, yet super safe, riding jeans. And, they are made in America by a totally grassroots company…do yourself a favor and check out Worse for Wear!

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And, the exciting news of recent is…my first big sponsor – AMSOIL!!! I am so grateful that they have joined on with this Fashionista with an Iron Butt. I’ve got a fun-packed, big mileage schedule planned for the year and am so thrilled to have a product behind me who I trust and know will never let me down. I’ve been using Amsoil products exclusively since I started riding almost seven years ago, and I truly believe in the reliability of Amsoil. A huge “thank you” goes out to Scott and Delores Brauer, Amsoil dealers, for believing in me and noticing my article in the March issue of the BMW Owners News magazine (changing my own oil and using AMSOIL!!!).

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And last but not least, with the month of May almost totally in the history books, I must say that I have edited my website to be of better use to the traveler in general…two wheels, four wheels, wings, tracks, however your wanderlust takes you on your future adventures. I totally gravitate towards great accommodations and “foodie” worthy dining spots and really want to share my experiences with you. Why not pay it forward? I also will be more actively reviewing motorcycling products, so be sure to check out my menu tab “Reviews” for the big scoop on all things travel and moto-products!!!

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I’m currently taking the most beautiful “sabbatical” in the Blue Ridge Mountains in order to take a much needed pause, rest and retreat before a very aggressive riding schedule.  And as we all say “farewell” to May and “hello” to the official start of Summer 2016, be sure to count your every blessing and make every moment count…adventure awaits us all if we will only open our hearts and minds. Throttle on!!!

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Arriving the Worse for Wear

(Originally published in BMW Owners News Magazine – February 2016.)

It finally happened, and boy, was it a doozy. Last September as I was riding out of Richmond, Virginia, I was caught in a deluge of rain…for hours. I had been warned before by other seasoned motorcyclists – “Just wait until the day you have to ride in some REAL rain…” I scoffed at the thought. I had ridden in rain before. In fact, I once rode through a huge thunderstorm coming out of Jacksonville, Florida, complete with lightning bolts hitting so close that the hair on my arms stood up. I had ridden in drizzles at night, on the Interstate, on country roads, and even on the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado. So what? Big deal. Well, that September day, I was completely humbled. When I pulled into the hotel for the night after hours of riding in heavy rain, I called “uncle.” It was miserable. All of my waterproof and water-resistant gear had been breached. I was officially a “drowned rat” and feeling the worse for wear. For that fleeting moment, it truly made me question the reason I had detoured to Richmond to begin with. But isn’t it true that often times in life, the detours bring us to new discoveries?

Back in July while at the MOA International Rally, I met a super nice guy and fellow BMW ON contributor, Damun Gracenin, who put me in touch with his friend, Laura Smith (MOA #190823). Laura had begun the process of starting a women’s riding apparel company, which of course immediately got my attention. It’s no secret that we lady motorcyclists suffer greatly from the limited selection and sizes of women’s riding gear, and with my passion for fashion, I’m constantly on the prowl for something safe AND swanky. I was immediately curious and needed to know more about Laura Smith and her partner/husband, Scott Saunders and what they were up to. After a couple of chats via email and phone, I decided I needed to plan a visit to Richmond.

So that September after departing the BMW Finger Lakes Rally in Watkins Glen, NY, I figured why not drop down to Richmond and visit Laura and Scott at their newly-purchased building where their company, Worse for Wear, was beginning to take shape. I wanted to see for myself what they were planning and how they were going to move forward. As I rolled through an industrial area in Richmond, I spotted their bright yellow, three-story building from blocks away. Laura met me in the parking lot with a huge smile, and I immediately felt a sense of kindred sisterhood. It doesn’t hurt that we ride the same ’94 R 1100 RS – hers red, mine pearl white. Laura has been riding since 1997, and like me, prefers vintage motorcycles that are full of character. After I shed my gear, threw my hair up into a pony tail, and grabbed my iPhone off of the bike, we entered into their factory which was definitely in its embryonic stage.

It was apparent after just a few minutes that Laura and Scott had not only done extensive research and were highly educated on all aspects of garment manufacturing, but they also had enormous passion for the task they were getting ready to undertake. When I asked Laura why they decided to design and manufacture women’s motorcycle apparel, she answered, “It’s a chronic frustration among many women who ride. Where are our options for fit, function, and fashion? In 2013, Scott and I decided to investigate the possibility of solving that problem by starting our own line of apparel. Worse for Wear would certainly not be the first company to make motorcycle apparel for women, but having more options means more women can find gear to fit their bodies and lifestyles. We knew we wanted to manufacture in the U.S., and we knew we would be digging into an industry with a steep learning curve. I’d been sewing since I was 13, and Scott was no stranger to it either, but building a U.S. based apparel manufacturing facility from scratch was a bit intimidating, to say the least.”

When I inquired as to what kind of preparations they had to undergo to get to where they were, she explained, “We spent months learning about types of fabrics and styles best suited for high-speed, high-risk activities like motorcycling. We pored over dozens of different types of sewing machines, learning which ones worked best to create seam types that were least likely to burst on impact if you’re in an accident. We measured impact and abrasion resistance of different fabrics and threads by building our own version of the testing machine specified in the European Standard for testing protective clothing for professional motorcycle riders (SRPS EN 13595-1:2008). After more than a year of testing and research, we decided to move forward with our dream of making motorcycle apparel for women in a U.S. based manufacturing facility of our own design. We sold our home in Austin, Texas and moved east to Richmond, Virginia, buying a mixed-use commercial building to double as our factory and our home. We’re currently working through the final stages of the development process on a few different products that we plan to have available for sale on our website and our brick and mortar retail space in Spring 2016.”

Upon hearing that information I just had to ask for a tour of their building that was full of historic character. The factory portion of the building held all sorts of high-tech looking equipment that I had never seen before, but upon inquiry, Laura and Scott were quick to give me a demo with pieces of sample fabric. I was fascinated by the process, and immediately had faith that the dynamic duo will create great riding apparel for us lady riders. After the factory tour, we padded our way up a cool circular staircase to the second floor. Their plans for this floor include office space for Worse for Wear, as well as leasing out office space to help supplement their bottom line. It was currently being used as their temporary living quarters and storage space. While touring this area, I really started to get a sense of Laura and Scott’s personalities and could feel that they were overflowing with character.

Upon completion, the third level of the building will be a posh yet cozy apartment flat where the couple and their furry four-legged children will reside. It’s a stunning historical space which they will make their home through the labor of their own hands. They have hired an architect to draft the design of the interior of the building, but Scott and Laura are doing all of the remodeling themselves. We are talking about a seriously grassroots company here. I was highly impressed and so thrilled that I made the detour on my motorcycle journey to view the bare beginnings of this sure-to-be masterpiece which will be the home of Worse for Wear and its founders.

So, what should we expect out of Worse for Wear in the spring? Laura explained, “Our initial product offering this spring includes well-fitting, abrasion resistant apparel that looks good both on and off the bike. We’re concentrating our efforts on abrasion resistant jeans that fit both when you’re standing up and sitting down. The cut is slightly higher in the waist to eliminate gapping at the back when you’re crouched over your bike. They include removable CE Approved armor in the knees and hips. We’re targeting sizes from Petite to Tall in length, along with a wide range of sizes through the waist and hips. Sizing will be realistic – based on your actual measurements – so you won’t have to guess which ‘vanity’ size is supposed to fit you. We’re doing all of the things we wish the rest of the women’s apparel companies had been doing for years – being truthful and transparent about fit and sizing. Right now, it’s just Scott and me doing all of the design, sourcing, cutting, sewing, quality control, order fulfillment, customer service, and machine maintenance, which means we can control every aspect of production. Soon we’ll be hiring additional staff to help make the products so that the business can grow. We’ve been studying lean manufacturing methods to increase efficiency and happiness of our employees and cut down on operating costs. You can never be prepared for every possible contingency, but with the love and support of our fellow riders in the motorcycling community, I feel like we’ll be able to handle it.” I, for one, am ecstatic about the launch of Worse for Wear and plan to try out a pair of their sassy, stylish riding jeans in the near future. You can be sure I’ll tell you all about it, too.

Not long after saying my “goodbyes” to Laura and Scott and saddling up on my pearly white steed, I was out of Richmond and right into the torrential downpour that lasted for hours. Upon arrival in my hotel room for the night (after I left a noticeable trail of water right to the bathroom where I exited my soggy gear and entered a hot shower), I felt pleased and fortunate that I detoured to Richmond. Taking that alternate route not only brought me to another level of respect for the elements while motorcycling, but it also allowed me to experience two people’s vision and dream coming to life…a dream that will surely be celebrated by many of my female compadres on the hunt for really great women’s riding gear. Welcome, Worse for Wear! 💋 💋

(Contact info for Worse for Wear: http://worsewear.com; Twitter, Instagram, Facebook: @worsewear; Phone: 804-433-3855; Email: info@worsewear.com)

Arriving the Worse for Wear

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It’s hard to believe that we’ve already celebrated Valentine’s Day (along with yours truly’s 48th!) and are two weeks from March and the beginning of Spring. That also means riding season is almost here…I, for one, am super pumped.

My newest article in the BMW ON magazine, “Arriving the Worse for Wear,” is featured in this month’s issue (February 2016) and I’m super excited about it. I paid a visit last September to the “Worse for Wear” factory in Richmond, Virginia, and came away dazzled and ready to tell the world about it. My new friends Laura and Scott are the founders of this new women’s riding apparel company and are two of the most impressive people I have met in a long time who are building a true grassroots company. Be sure to click on the link below and read all about this exciting news! 💋

(Info on Worse for Wear: http://worsewear.com; Twitter, Instagram, Facebook: @worsewear; Phone: 804-433-3855; Email: info@worsewear.com

Click link:
ARRIVING THE WORSE FOR WEAR (Page 58-61)

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