Archive for August, 2014

REVIEW: FIRSTGEAR Contour Mesh Jacket for Women

I recently had the wonderful opportunity from to review a jacket made by Firstgear. As many of you already know, Firstgear is one of my very favorite gear companies for women’s gear. They not only think of amenities for all riders, but have a very good conceptual design for female bodies. This gear fits women of all sizes and the size chart is actually fairly accurate!

I wear Firstgear HT overpants so I like staying within one gear company so that my gear has the ability to zip together for a more secure ride, however when you purchase any Firstgear product, you get a zipper connection that can be sew into either a jacket of pants of another brand for the perfect fit. I must admit, that I have other gear, but choose to use my Firstgear most often. Partially this is due to the fact it fits comfortably and has excellent armor that doesn’t rub of chafe anywhere. Firstgear is definitively my number one choice.

Now back the the new Firstgear Contour Mesh Jacket. I had one of the original contour mesh jackets when they were first released. I adored the design, and wore it frequently in the hot summer months, but found oddly that it ran a bit small. I bought an XL jacket instead of my usual L and it even fit a bit tight so that I had to pick and choose what i wore underneath. This new jacket is more true to Firstgear sizing. I got a L and it fits perfectly. All the armor in correctly placed and as a safety requirement, the jacket fits snugly so that the armor stays in place as it should.

Backview with armor…you can buy better spine armor if desired.

The specifics on this jacket at least the ones notable for me are obviously the fit, the excellent armor and the fact it’s mesh for summer.

Fit: Sleek feminine cut that actually takes boobs into consideration! There are bands at both sides that adjust the fit around the waist.

Windproof/waterproof Liner: I don’t love the liner, since it can’t be worn as a stand alone jacket. I don’t know why they skimp on this, when they could certainly make one that could be used off the bike as well and waterproof, like a windbreaker. This liner zips into the jacket at both front sides and secures via snaps in the sleeves, neckline and sides. It fits nicely, but I’d rather see a stand alone liner.

Pockets and storage: There are more than enough pockets in this jacket. Even the liner has matching pockets. There is a long zipper on the right inside that would be good for a cellphone and easy to get to using your clutch hand. There are other pockets as well, but this one is my favorite.

Durability: The YKK zippers are heavy duty as is the 250-denier poly-mesh exterior shell that is used. I also remove the armor and throw the entire jacket into the wash and hang it to dry. I hate having my jackets covered by bugs so this to me is a real plus. You can also see on this new model that the back is longer than the front. This is a vast improvement over my older contour mesh since it would slip up my back when in a riding position unless i zipped it to my pants. I advise zipping, but there are times we simply forget!

Armor: CE-approved that is adjustable to some degree.

Air Flow: This mesh allows total airflow to keep you cool on the warmest days, however keep in mind there are two school of thoughts regarding this. One sez airflow is awesome the other sez it drys out your skin and dehydrates you. If it’s over 90, I general wear a evaporative cooling vest with this jacket. I probably stop once an hour to rehydrate the cooling vest. I am quite comfortable traveling like this. Others are completely content simply ingesting lots of water and wearing the jacket just like it comes. It’s purely an individual choice, but remember if it’s hot to hydrate!!

All in all this is an awesome jacket especially given the price point. On the price of the jacket is right around $145 for a size L after selecting from the pull down menu. There are several color choices, yellow, white, silver, pink, blue and black but my favorite it either white, silver or black. I’m simply not into pink anything, but it looks great on others. 😉

If you are looking for a new jacket, this would be a very good three season jacket. Spring, summer and fall it could easily be used. I would want a heavier jacket for winter, but I am always freezing. Do yourself a favor, check out some Firstgear riding gear!

This is me in my old contour mesh. It’s seen alot of (s)miles and comfortable road miles. I imagine so will my new version!

Photo provided by Tyler Risk.

The annual Pashnit Girly Ride…Crazy as ever!

Here I swore to you that I’d do better at posting, but then I realized that I had very little to post! But post I will!

2014 Pashnit Girly Ride came together for July 11-13 with the usual attrition in the numbers. It didn’t dampen the spirits of those in attendance and we had our usual rousing time. Now of course there is little to tell, since what happens on the Girly Ride, stays on the Girly Ride. 😉 So, you’ll have to believe me when I tell you that there little sanity for three solid days, tons of laughter, and some of the best ever friendships made and sealed.

Mo, Susan, Holly, Dee, Donna, Marion, Roxanne, Cris, Kharon, Cara.
This was shot on Thursday afternoon before everyone arrived. Sadly we never got another full group shot, but you get the idea!

We did have three new attendees (silly girls) Dee, Mo and Cara. All three fit into the group perfectly and created their own havoc. The usual suspects stirred the pot and made sure everyone had enough to drink and eat in the evening with the help of Chris and Pam our hosts at the West Walker Motel. We all adore the West Walker for its cute themed rooms, lovely grounds and wonderful hosts. We will do a repeat here yet again, as long as Pam and Chris will have us.

I arrived on Thursday with a scratchy throat and by Saturday morning, I knew I’d be heading home early plagued by a full fledged cold. I hated to bail on the day of our BBQ, but I really felt lousy and though totally believed I could be saved by copious amounts of alcohol, I split. My ride up Monitor Pass was beautiful but when I arrived in Markleeville the “Death Ride”, a well know bicycle ride over the passes was in full swing with what seemed like 40million participants! Between dodging bicycles and rigs that simply decided to stop in the middle of the highway, I was frustrated and exhausted when I arrived home more than three hours after leaving WW! I dosed myself with cold medication supplied by my wonderful husband and had pho all ready for me. Afterwards I went to bed. So much for fun for Donna!

Sadly, I took only a few photos, but luckily Cara took several and so did others. I’ll post all I have access to and I do thank you for allowing me to use your pictures, m’friends! 😉

My ride up on Thursday was an odd mixture of clear and cloudy and then even some rain which I cherished as I was able to test my new PR4s. They worked beautifully!

Good ol’ summer road construction on Hwy 88.

Not a great shot, but a fun one nonetheless.

Markleeville…I had never stopped at Ali’s Cafe, but will again!

What is this wet from the sky??


Thursday night it begins…

Ya, Fireball and sparkling water…that should ward away any oncoming cold, famous last words…

Some of us had dinner across the highway at the Walker BBQ.


We entertained the other guests, whether or not that were interested in entertainment, but it was all good and we retired to a starry evening around midnight.

Friday morning early, as I was having a cuppa morning coffee as car drove into the drive. I starred and thought, that’s odd the woman in the car looked alot like my sister. I knew she was on her way to Joshua Tree, but didn’t realize she was going right by the motel! It was my sister Sharon and her friend Susan. So, here we meet unexpectedly on Hwy 395. Crazy!

Out greeting cries awoke the troops and we had the opportunity for a couple of group shots.

After breakfast we formed groups of like minds and went for a ride! Contrary to the usual, I actually rode with a group, Regina, Diana and Ivana. We had a fun but HOT ride to Benton, CA.

Some of the others rode over Sweetwater pass and visited Travertine Hot Springs. I heard some great stories of this venture! 😉

Since not all the photos are in sequence…I can’t imagine that Kharon was eating ice cream in the morning…but hey, choice is one of life’s fun gifts!

Buckeye Hot Springs

Travertine Hot Springs

Oohhh La La

They also had lunch in Bridgeport at the Jolly Kone…great hamburgers and massage??

I believe Holly’s face reveals a confession of some sort…:)

Definitely a hot day of riding!

Cara’s bike on Sonora Pass; amazing shot, Cara!!

Saturday morning, more rides ensued, but poor sick me headed home. This was a wonderful Girly Ride, one that was many of the original riders and it proved to us, that we have not only grown as riders but as friends as well! Fantastic!!

Cara’s beautiful sunset

And finally the amazing full moon, shot by Kharon Hathaway.

Thanks everyone for making this one of the best ever Pashnit Girly rides!!