Few guys relish the experience of buying clothes with their significant other. Awash in testosterone, our dude-think brains cannot comprehend the calculus of female shopping. We’re worthless, like kindergartners trying to understand Stephen Hawking’s cosmic theories. And thus there is always a deep sigh of relief when the process goes smoothly.
When Carrie, my certified domestic partner, needed gear for the Rider/IMTBike Spain & Portugal Tour, we headed to the local BMW shop. When Carrie stepped out of the fitting room wearing Olympia Moto Sport’s Ladies Air Glide jacket/pants combo, she flashed a big smile. Except for extra length in the legs (she’s 5-feet, 3-inches tall), fit was perfect. We were golden…almost. Faced with cold, possibly wet autumn weather, the summer-weight mesh Air Glide might not cut it.
So I called up Kevin Rhea, who, along with his wife Karilea, owns Olympia Moto Sports and designs its apparel. “I’ve got just what you need,” he said. The Rheas had just returned from a two-week dual-sport tour in Alaska, during which they wore Olympia’s AST (All Seasons Touring) jackets with Ranger 2 (him) and Pro Max (her) pants. A few days later, gear in Carrie’s sizes showed up at the office. Before our tour, Carrie had the Pro Max pants and liner tailored to her inseam, which is made easy thanks to Olympia’s “EZ hem” bottoms. The zippers end about 6 inches above the cuff so extra fabric can be removed without expensive zipper alterations.
The AST jacket and Pro Max pants, which coordinate and can be connected via an 8-inch zipper, keep out water with coated 500- and 2,000-denier Cordura, waterproof-but-breathable sealed membranes and front zippers with overlapping storm plackets. They keep out the cold with removable Thermolite liners, both of which can be worn casually. The ensemble also has 3M Scotchlite reflective piping, cool mesh linings and CE-approved Motion Flex armor (elbows, shoulders, back, knees), and the pants have foam hip pads.
We made a good choice. Morning temperatures were down in the 40s throughout our two-week tour, and we rode through intermittent rain the first two days. With the liners in and vents closed, Carrie stayed warm and dry. When afternoon sun warmed things up, she removed the quilted jacket and/or pants liner (the latter made easier by ankle-to-hip zippers). And when it got hot, she opened the AST jacket’s Airflow Ventilation System, with adjustable vents at the chest, shoulder-to-forearm and back.
Unfortunately, while in Portugal, some rat bastard stole the top box off our rental BMW, and it had Carrie’s pants liner and both pairs of my gloves in it. In lieu of the liner, she wore the Pro Max pants over tights and yoga pants, but she wasn’t as warm.
Overall, Carrie has been very happy with her Olympia Moto Sports gear. It’s designed for a woman’s body rather than being just downsized men’s apparel. There are plenty of storage pockets—eight in the AST jacket, four in the Pro Max pants—and she enjoyed wearing the gear all day for two weeks, both on and off the bike. Comfort is enhanced by the jacket’s soft neoprene collar and the pants’ stretch hip panels and the adjustable-height knee armor pockets. The Ladies AST Jacket is available in sizes XS-3XL for $299.99; Ladies Pro Max pants come in sizes 4-18 for $199.99.
For more information: See your Olympia Moto Sports dealer