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Last week was the International Female Ride Day 2012 and I asked those who were participating to send me over a shot of them with gear on while riding, so that I could show just how sexy women can be in gear. It seems like this years ride was indeed a huge success and brought in women riders all over the globe, who held various rallies and rides in their own communities.

It is really powerful to see such images again and again of these women, who sent me photos and posted them on the IFRD FB page, in their gear and really owning the image they represent. There is a pride from them that I haven’t really yet seen from the general vespa community and it was nice to find plenty of it around the IFRD group.  I didn’t see many vespa/scooter ladies over there, but maybe in the following years there will be a more diverse crowd of riders beyond those who only ride motorcycles. (I know we are out there!) Maybe the scooter and vespa ladies just haven’t found out about the event, as I just barely heard about it a week before the ride. They are a cool group of women, to be sure:  they were cool with sending photos of them on their bikes in for a vespa blog. Women riders are all riders, no matter what you ride. Respect. 

Beyond the photos from IFRD that were sent to me, there are a few of the other photos in the slide show of female celebs who did movies (where they had to ride a vespa) or were caught out on their vespa and were wearing gear.  I didn’t know those type of photos existed and thought they were really sexy and challenged the perpetual depiction of “women who pose” (more so than women who ride).

The photo above is one of Nicole Kidman, who was caught just riding around and not filming for a movie, that just makes my day. She is in complete gear and shows how it done. She actually looks really hardcore here, too. Bravo.

There were also two photos of Anne Hathaway riding on/posing with a vespa that I thought spoke to the differences of reality and fantasy :

Those Who Pose VS Those Who Ride

I believe that she is on a film set in the second one (right), but you can see the differences in her dress from the advertisement(left) to her dress when she actually rides the vespa(right). It is laughable that the little gear that is presented in the advertisement is merely there as props (the goggles and white gloves) and nothing she would think of actually using. Guess they also ran out of helmets that day on location (because goggles without a helmet is just, dumb). I think the photo of Anne Hathaway on the right, with the helmet and better dress for riding, blows the socks off of the advertisement Anne, in terms of sexiness and appeal. Besides there is no way her team of people would ever let her ride like that out on the mean streets, knowing the possibility of ruining those legs.

Here are tons of photos of the ladies, who ride, with their gear on: 

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Last Friday was also the opening of the season for the Israeli Vespa Club over in Jaffo-Tel Aviv. Since I live in Rehovot and need to take the highway to get there, there wasn’t a way to get out of wearing my gear. I try my best to always wear full gear on trips that I know will included highways. As you can image, the Spring has come and gone and that Mediterranean sun is out in full effect now. By the time I arrived to the cafe in Jaffo, I was pretty icky from sweat and general hotness from my gear. (So good for looking cute for my debut in the club, eh? Shoot, more like a sweaty mess.) There are two other ladyvespas in the club and they of course (like most Israeli girls) so naturally pull off the effortless cool, unsweaty look:

I still find myself in an internal struggle with what I should be wearing out on rides and outfits that would be more comfortable. This point is even more of an issue now that summer is here and all the gear that I keep wearing out seems to be really putting my body through a lot of general uncomfortableness. I have rode around town, here in Rehovot, without gear and come back home with sunburn (even though I applied sunscreen), so I don’t really know what to do just yet. (FYI: The sun here is beyond strong in its intensity. You really have to be aware of your time out in the sun, if your skin isn’t really use to this type of sun exposure.)

This is what I fear I might look like when I wear my gear and everyone else around me is out and about in normal clothes.

I know that this issue is something I discuss a lot on this site, but after talking with some of the gang at the meeting, I found out how common for most vespa/scooter/motorcyclists here to pretty much have an “almost wreck” every time they go out on a ride. I’d really hate to waste all of those years taking care of my skin for the one day I decided not to wear gear and somehow ended up in a wreck: wrecking my body. Then again, I’m have noticed that I get very heat exhausted lately after rides because there is just so much heat bundled up around my body. I know that something has to change in order to be more comfortable soon, but I just haven’t found out yet how to do this. If anyone knows of anything I should try, please leave it below in the comments. Any ideas could be a great help to me.

Girl, you make it look so easy.

And, in closing, a BIG THANK YOU to those who sent in photos of yourself in gear! Thank you so much for helping me show just how sexy women can be out there on the road: in gear! Cheers everyone! 

UPDATE: Here is another fabulous collection of photos from ladies who ride:  Female Of The Species. Thanks Mondo Lulu!

One Last Update: I received some very helpful comments over on the IFRD FB page and wanted to post them here, as they might help a few of you out also.

From Tract PT: “The thing I learned with any gear is that YES, you need it to keep yourself safe but NO, you can’t wear all of it when it starts to get too hot. Just as you wear everything, included heated gear, in the winter, you have to find a way to gear up for hot weather. It’s a compromise because if you wear too much, it could lead to heat exhaustion or dehydration or a number of other major medical problems. I ride a motorcycle and I feel that 2wheels are 2wheels, so gear is gear no matter what you are riding. There are cooling vests, hydration vests, and a bunch of other things you can get to stay cool. I personally always wear my vest, which takes the wind off, but I try to wear white long sleeve shirts which don’t absorb as much heat but will keep you from burning. And as I just found out this weekend, the “tattoo sleeves” or “sun sleeves” are very thin material that looks like you have a tattoo all the way down your arm to your wrist, but these also prevent you burning by blocking sun just like a normal shirt would. I also have a few shirts that have a “burn out” sleeve and I don’t burn my arms with those as well. No one wants to wear everything during the summer, and even though it’ll keep you safe if you fall, wearing everything could be the reason you fall. Just something to think about.

Lady Fred: “Great advise Tracy! When riding in the desert in Arizona and California, I was AMAZED that wearing a sweater ACTUALLY kept me cooler than not! It fit loosely on my arms and allowed the wind to travel up my arms and through the yarn but didn’t allow the sun to burn me. I also kept my perspiration close to me instead of it absorbing into the atmosphere and kept me more alert. I wasn’t near as fatigued. Now mind you, I sweat all the time and wear tank tops in the dead of winter, so for ME to wear a SWEATER in the desert was something I NEVER NEVER NEVER thought would work for me. Bonus, I like the way my sweater looks on me too so I didn’t feel so dorky riding with a sweater in 100 plus temps! =D”

Thanks y’all! 

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3 responses to “Women Who Ride: Amending the Perception of Sexy.

  1. So sorry to any of the followers of the blog, as this week WordPress and I seem to be frienemies. I can’t figure out what the deal is. Thanks for your understanding and patience. I hope it works itself out soon. Cheers.

  2. Bea ⋅

    For riding in hot, humid weather I have purchased a vest from silvereagleoutfitters.com. They have wonderful products made to help keep you cool and comfortable in the heat.

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