Learning to ride a bike: Part 2


It’s been a fair while since I wrote anything proper on here except my little blog about motorcycle gear this morning… I suppose the recent pandemic hasn’t helped. That has led to the cancellation of the 2020 TT, the 2020 Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix. NW200 cancelled, MotoGP cancelled, BSB cancelled, WSB cancelled. (Fortunately, it looks like some of those may be re-starting very soon though!) Everyone in lockdown. What an absolute mare for everyone, but I hope you’re all still doing well and hopefully getting back out on your bikes now… like me!

I always said I’d be open and honest about my little journey towards passing my bike test. I’m sure most of you would’ve thought I’d have done it by now, but no, I haven’t. I hate practical tests. I get stressy over sit-down exams too, but practical exams really tip me over the edge. I’m not sure why, but it does and henceforth I’m still yet to even attempt a test. I’ve been putting it off for the best part of seven, no, eight years. I first passed my CBT at 18, but at that point, annoyingly my Dad had hung up his boots as had my Mom. My Mom had an unwritten rule that I wasn’t allowed to go out on my own so it was either they follow me round in the car or I just don’t bother… luckily for them, the KTM Duke 125 was just too tall for my little legs so I basically didn’t progress from there. Anyway, that’s in my other blog here.


Fast forward a fair few years and here we are with little Nelli – the Benelli TNT 125. What a bike. I will be forever grateful to this little machine giving me back my confidence to ride again. I will be truly devastated when I sell her, but I hope when I do she goes to a loving home to give someone else the confidence to ride. I bought her in 2018 brand new. The OTR price is £2,200 and for the bike you get, I think that’s a bargain. In comparison to the Honda MSX 125’s, it’s very similar except there price… You are looking at an OTR price of circa £1,500 more than the Benelli. If you’re learning to ride and looking to get a bigger cc bike after you pass, then I think the Benelli is definitely worthwhile. If you’re content riding around on a 125, or you want it for the fun of it, maybe opt for the Honda, but all I know is I love my Benelli.


Next up for me is lessons as apparently I corner like a racer and that’s not acceptable for your test… I guess I should stop following my husband and the lines he takes on his Kawasaki ZX7R. Oops. My instructor is very lovely and he’s definitely someone who isn’t too harsh about how I ride, but rather tries to understand why I do the things I do. His job now is to help me pass my test, not necessarily how to ride a bike. There’s a huge difference. When you did your car test, how long did it take you before you crossed your hands on the steering wheel? Well, riding a bike is no different except don’t cross your hands that would get messy.  I definitely feel like I’m now ready to start aiming towards taking my test. I’m quite content riding around on my own now. I don’t panic when I stop anymore. I don’t mind about being left behind. I just think I’m finally ready. So whilst lessons are going on, I have to prepare for my theory test. This really bugs me… I did one for my car test approx. 10 years ago, but you have to do another one for your bike. If I’m honest, there isn’t too much of a difference and considering I already know the general rules of the road from driving for almost 10 years, it’s just annoying. There are a couple of new questions about pillions, loading a bike, etc. but apart from that, it’s very similar. Anyway, it had to be done, so that’s up next.

So this is where we’re at. I’m pretty much ready to start learning how to ride for my test and mainly looking behind me more than in front, but I’m ready nonetheless so that brings me onto my next little bit of exciting news…

Here on the IOM, once you pass your test you can ride absolutely anything. If I really wanted to I could go and buy a BMW S1000RR and race around… at 50mph obvs as you’re on R plates for 12 months after passing. I’m not going to do anything crazy like that instead I went to go and see another bike for size (since I’m only 5’4”, short leg issues, blah blah), and well, we ended up buying it. My husband always said he’d buy me my first “big bike” and he definitely came through on that promise! I’m ridiculously giddy about it, looking on eBay constantly at all the things I can buy for it, looking on Instagram and Twitter at other people’s and I seem to have become a little obsessed. Realistically once I passed my test it was inevitable that I’d want a “bigger bike” despite having to stick to 50mph for 12 months, and when we saw it, I fell in love as soon as I realised I could touch the floor and reach the handlebars…

Introducing BABY NINJA.

She’s a 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 400, barely turned a wheel and isn’t she beaut! Has anyone else got one of these or ridden one? Would love to know what you think!

We were talking about getting another little bike either like mine or a Honda Grom for Chris so he didn’t have to potter around on his ZX7R at 50mph, but realistically if I’m hoping to get my test done soon that wasn’t the best way to go. We saw this come up for sale and thought it’s an ideal for ‘big bike’ for me and Chris could even ride it if he didn’t want to take the 7R out. I secretly think Chris is more excited then he’s letting on as he’s finally convinced me to get a ninja just like him. I’m literally over the moon with it and for me, I think it’s a perfect first ‘big bike’. I’ve always wanted a sportsbike, but I had realised that realistically the chances of me reaching the floor on a sportsbike were next to none. In my head I’d ‘settled’ for something less sporty and if I’m honest, I was too happy about settling on that.

I did say 2020 was going to be the year I passed my test, so let’s keep aiming for that!

Motorcycle Gear: Women’s Edition


This blog isn’t going to be for everyone… unless you’re possibly a woman, short or have tiny hands/small feet or maybe you’re just interested in seeing gear! Unfortunately, I’m obviously not able to comment on men’s clothing! There is most definitely a difference between a woman’s stature/general shape and a man’s. For instance, most men don’t have two air bags stuck to their chest. Just sayin’. There’s the whole debate about not being gender-specific, but when it comes to safety gear such as motorcycle clothing I think it’s very important. I’ve struggled for years to find certain items of motorcycle clothing to fit me and the range that is now available is so much more diverse than it’s ever been. These are the items I’ve loved for the last couple of years and I personally think are fantastic. For me, it has to fit well, be comfortable, must be certified, and it has to look good too! Side note, not every piece of women’s motorcycle is PINK anymore. Phew.

Let’s start at the top – Helmet



I have an AGV K3-SV which I bloody love. It’s the Guy Martin Britten replica helmet and one of the most comfortable lids I’ve worn. It has fully removable and washable inner liners which I think most helmets have these days, but for me, it’s a new novelty.  There’s loads of removable parts such as the breath deflector, windproof chin protection, etc. You can buy bigger/smaller deflectors, protectors, cheek pads, etc. so it’s very easy to tweak if it doesn’t feel good in one particular area. There are lots of areas that improve the air circulation inside the helmet as well as four front air intakes and two rear extractors. I’m a wimp and hate having the wind in my eyes even at 20mph, although it’s mainly due to the fact I wear contacts, so I do need to buy a pinlock visor just to stop it fogging up riding around town. Good news is the visor included is pinlock ready. It does have a mechanism on the front for a tiny opening, but I don’t find it’s enough. I also need to buy a tinted visor whilst I’m on that train of thought! The visor is super easy to remove thanks to the quick release system so no tools required – woohoo! There is an integrated sun visor… I’ve rarely used it as I find it annoying to flick up and down as the mechanism is quite stiff. Not really a fan of this, hence why I’ll just buy a tinted visor. The fastening is a micrometric system which is the first time I’ve ever tried it actually! I’m not a fan of D-rings, that’s most definitely an unpopular opinion, but too faffy for me. It’s very comfy and the padding around the chin isn’t too bulky, just enough. I have a relatively small head… so I wear a size XS.


I have the RST Isle of Man TT Textile jacket. Pretty sure this isn’t specified as men’s or women’s.  For what I need, it serves it’s purpose and I love the way it looks – the most important thing obviously..! It’s got a CE Cert Rating of A so basically it’s very good quality. It doesn’t come with a back protector though so you have to buy this separately. Make sure you buy one! There’s a pocket for it, so don’t skimp!  The shoulder and elbow armour are included. As it’s textile, it does have a waterproof lining although this isn’t something I’ve tested just yet! There is also a connection zip at the back for your trousers, but that’s not something I use. There are inside and outside pockets, very important, and they’re very room for what you would need! I find this jacket very comfortable and it fits me well except the arms. They’re a tad too long for me, but I do only have short forearms since the elbow protectors sit in the right place. I just shove them up slightly before sliding my gloves on and that solves my issue. Overall,  I love this jacket. Compared to the Richa one I had this is far comfier and definitely more lightweight yet warmer?  I think I had to size up one as they squished my airbags a little too much, but there are velcro pulls at the bottom of the jacket which means the sizing up isn’t too bad. Ps. IT’S NOT PINK EITHER!!


Okay, I have tiny hands. I have struggled since I was probably around 14 to find gloves that fit me. Prior to living on the Isle of Man, I lived in the UK so we used to regularly visit bike shops to try and find the perfect gloves… It never happened. The kids gloves fit me in the finger length, but they wouldn’t fit me up to my wrist nicely. I bought a pair of lightweight leather RST gloves that fit me in the palm/wrist, but the fingers were probably 5cm too long… yet they were the best I could find so I settled with them. In fact, they were a size XXXS. Who new a triple small was even a thing?! Fast forward a faaaaair few years and some bike accessory shops transport all their gear over to the Isle of Man ready for two weeks at the TT as they know that’s where demand might be! It’s the best two weeks of the year for us Manx residents as we can actually try on different helmets, boots, gloves, etc. that we wouldn’t be able to find in our local dealers for example. The demand just isn’t here to hold so much stock I guess, but I understand that. I remember saying to my husband ‘well we can have a look, but I doubt I’ll find anything’.

I picked up a pair of Alpinestar Stella SP-8 Gloves, yes, they have pink accents, but I tried them on and holy moly they fitted in every possible place. (They do have these with white/black accents too, but not at the time!) I honestly can’t explain how ecstatic I was. They’re full-grain leather and feel very durable yet supple. There’s a microfiber/suede grip insert on the palm/thumb and it’s all designed specifically for women using a woman’s hand profile. I do appreciate that women’s hands do not look the same as each others… but, they clearly work for people like me who have little hands. There’s a third/fourth finger bridge to prevent finger separation, etc. and the knuckle protector is brilliant because you can’t even feel it! There’s elastic around the wrist to ensure the glove is secure plus a velcro cuff which fits very nicely over my jacket cuffs. 10/10 from me Alpinestars – bloody brilliant!


One of the most annoying items of clothing to find for me personally. It’s no secret I’m short. I’m 5’4″ at best, although Chris is even skeptical I’m that tall…  I have massive calves. No idea how, they’re just solid and always have been. Finding trousers appeared to be impossible until we found MotoGirl. Moto Girl are a brand of motorcycle clothing which make trousers, jackets and much more specifically for women. I found they did motorcycle leggings. What even is that sorcery?! I checked the size chart and it said I wasn’t my usual size of clothing. Anyway, I ordered them based on their size charts and these leggings were massive. They hung off me. We sent them back (be careful, it’s not free returns!) and ordered two-sizes down, still not my usual size. They were definitely a better fit, but in hindsight, I wish I’d have gone three-sizes down, but I couldn’t be bothered to send them back again. As I said before, I didn’t have the benefit of going in to try them on living on the Isle of Man, so I have to wing some things. Apart from the sizing being slightly squiffy, everything else is brilliant especially as I was able to choose the petite ones which meant they fit y short legs perfectly! What else is great is they have a huge range of sizes that range from a size 6 to 28 I believe. They are high waisted with thick belt loops so as they’re still a smidge too big, I just wear a belt. there’s a front zip like a pair of jeans, ankle zips (although when I buy another pair I think I’ll go with the ones without the zips!), front and back pockets. They come with knee protectors, but not hip protectors so I bought the hip protectors also. I think they’re a brilliant idea and they’re as comfy as your usual pair of leggings. I highly recommend looking into some of these if you haven’t got some already, but just beware of the sizing! Also, trying to get a photo of these is a nightmare, so maybe next time I put them on I’ll take a photo!

Aaaaaand we’re finally at the bottom – BOOTIES, and no, not bums. 


Alpinestars SMX-6

I have small feeties to match my little arms and legs. I never bought my own pair of boots until a couple of years ago. I was using my Mom’s very very very old Sidi’s which are her pride and joy. I dread to think if she finds any scuffs or marks on them… sorry, Mom! I always found them very rigid and I definitely struggled changing gear in them although I don’t think I realised how much I struggled until I bought a pair of…. ALPINESTARS boots. Love Alpinestars clothing if you hadn’t already guessed! I bought the Stella SMX-6. The Stella range is specifically engineered for women and these boots are no different. They’re super comfy and have various safety features. There is an ankle brace that provides a biomechanical support between the top calf/shin to the ankle, shin guard, calf protector, heel counter, and gear pad. Toe protection too, of course. The rubber sole ensures the boot doesn’t slip when you stop and the grip on them is great! There’s so much control you get out of these boots as well as support. There’s a side entry, like most boots, with an elastic-mounted zipped with a massive velcro area. One of my favourite little things is the velcro on the actual zip to ensure it’s secure as well as them actually fitting my calves in! They’re brilliant boots that make changing gear a doddle and I’ve never had any issues with them.


There you have it. That’s my gear I wear every time I get on my motorbike. Buying these items is definitely down to personal preference. What fits me, what I find comfortable might not be for someone else, but if you’re struggling to find something and you’ve not tried the above, it’s definitely worth a shot! Some people prefer to wear leathers, whereas for me at the moment I’m quite comfy in these above. Plus, I’ve been putting off finding leathers as I think I’ll struggle to find a pair that fit. If you’re a fella, this probably doesn’t interest you much, sorry, but it’s been a difficult few years trying to find the best gear for us women so I definitely thought it was time I shared! I’ve had all of the above for approximately two years+ all of which I bought myself, or Chris did.

Ps. I have nothing against pink. I just hate when companies think that’s the only colour women will wear and therefore don’t give you an option of anything else. I remember there used to be a baby pink Richa jacket and it was the only women’s jacket around at the time. Vom. I have a pink buff, my helmet has pink on it and my gloves have pink accents too. I just don’t want that to be the only option available! Sizing of women’s motorcycle clothing has also come a long way in the last few years and it’s great to see that these can range from size 6 up to size 28 in some items! I love that there’s finally a decent range for women to choose from