PHOTOS | KATE DISHER-QUILL
When my mother gave me “the sex talk” she said: “sex is the most fun you can have with your body and not to be ruined by disrespect”. The same goes for your body and gear. Riding is possibly the most fun we can have on the road and not to be ruined by disrespect in both the way we ride and the gear we wear.
I found navigating the world of motorcycle gear really daunting. I had no idea where to start, all I knew was that I did not want to look like hi-vis, reflector wearing power ranger covered in hibiscus flowers… seriously, what’s with the hibiscus flowers? Might as well install a pink neon sign on my back that says “Look! … Woman”.
It took me three attempts to finally get my motorcycle licence (I passed every time but the follow through is a long story). Each instructor came from a different school of thought when it came to their approach to gear. The first, and most terrifying was a staunch all-gear-all-the-time (AGATT) advocate who constantly reminded us that every decision on the road was life or death. While there was truth in his words, needless to say he didn’t exactly inspire or relax me nor did his approach necessarily make be a better, more informed rider.
The second was chilled out, thankfully because I was terrified after the last guy, but a little too chilled and still no more informative than Mr Doom. The last was by far the best; he was informative, clinical, friendly and basically came from a stance that insisted riding motorcycles was heaps of fun, best enjoyed while alert and comfortable, taught us to ride with respect for the dangers but not petrified of them and your gear should be supportive, not restrictive.
Motorcycle gear that is protective and doesn’t look like motorcycle gear is becoming more and more popular, however for women we’ll be the last at the dock given we’re still a minority (albeit growing minority) in the market. When we pick our motorcycles or finally find the one that speaks to us, it’s no doubt that we want our gear to do the same. In everyday fashion we have ample opportunities to express ourselves through our threads in ways that are affordable - I see no reason motorcycle gear cannot do the same.
Given my commitment to make entering the world of two wheels welcoming and accessible, we’ve compartmentalised the motorcycle gear buying guides to help me (and you) understand what to look for. Safety is essential and of first priority when choosing gear and I’ve found through the Petrolettes I meet, many women have made riding gear look unique to them. When riding either to grab a coffee or scraping pegs wearing anything that is not specifically made for riding motorcycles is a compromise. Coming off a motorcycle, even a static one, will do damage to our bodies and add a layer of trauma to fight through when we try to return to the experience. Wanting to look unique is also not a bad thing and totally achievable in all leather or kevlar and bubble visors, as long as you're enjoying life, sharing that joy with others and saving your judgement for jury duty then you're a rider I'd like to hang out with.
Riding is the second best fun we can have with our bodies and shouldn’t be ruined by disrespect.
Heleana is a force of nature. The founder of In Venus Veritas and The Petrolette, and a co-founder of Rising Sun Workshop. Heleana shares her love of vintage cars, riding motorcycles, and (not-so-secretly) dreams of flying planes and piloting a riva aquariva (a la Sophia Loren) very fast through the canals of Venice. Supportive and connected, community is her lifeblood, and she is as real as they come.