Picture 2Happenstance recently brought me to a view a short video in which was displayed a stunning example of gross ignorance, or negligence, or both.

I stumbled upon a YouTube video, posted by TheScooterGirls, titled “GOGO GEAR HILLSIDE TEST.”

A short description of the video’s content was posted as follows:

“GoGo Gear jacket test! GoGo Gear creator, Arlene Battishill, deliberately throws herself down a hill to test the GoGo Gear.”

I was intrigued. I clicked the play button.

Anticipation built as the opening titles infused a decent sense of gravitas:

“Warning: Do Not Try This! … Assignment: Throw Self Down Hill … 45 Degree Angle Hill … Fall Distance: 50 Feet …”

“Great Evel Knievel’s ghost!” I shouted.

“Arlene must be a mad woman!” was what came to mind when I contemplated the potential carnage of a human traveling 50 short feet down what calculates out to be a 100% grade hill based on the video’s claim of a 45-degree slope.

“Sweet taxpayer dollars! Could traffic engineers pave such a thing?” I wondered.

I’ve ridden motorcycles down 6 and 8% grade hills, and was ascared for my life when I did it. “She’s going to get fired out of a canyon,” I thought. “This is gonna be good.”

The rest of the video played. Then I was… ummm… deflated? Then I got all perturbed listening to Arlene’s commentary “after the fall.”

In Arlene’s voiceover she not so subtly parallels her stunt to what she imagines it must be like for a rider to be separated, “hit the pavement” as she says, from their scooter or motorcycle. She goes on to say that she doesn’t “ever wanna go there again.”

I’m guessing Arlene’s never had a get-off in her two-plus years of scooter riding (based on a short bio about Arlene).

I, unfortunately, had more than my share of two-wheeled mishaps in the past 17 years and hundreds of thousands of riding miles.

Arlene, I gotta tell ya, gingerly plopping yourself into a stop-drop-and-roll while wearing a helmet is nothing like being in a moto accident, not even an ultra-low speed one.

What does Arlene hope to discover from this “crash test” of riding gear of her own creation:

The jacket’s ability to repel cigarette butts? Wrinkle resistance? The ease with which it sheds pine needles while simultaneously compelling anyone within a 15-foot radius to compliment the wearer’s recovery grace after tripping over a broken sidewalk?

Before anyone gets indignant and says my words are nothing more than a misogynistic missive thinly veiled as a lighthearted blog, let me say that I’ll bet Ms. Battishill is a delightful woman.

And I’ll gladly state that she (or someone she works with) has an eye for clothing design, as the images of GoGo Gear show it to be stylish and highly fashionable. And I’ll also agree that women need much better selection in riding gear that what’s currently available.

So what’s got me wound up tighter than a crab’s ass?

To be frank, at first I felt genuinely bad about writing this; that I might appear like I’m bashing this seemingly ill-informed but well-intentioned and ambitious woman. I realize that much of life is an uphill battle for the ladies, simply because most societies are patriarchal in nature. But you’ll just have to take my word that I’m not here to be Class A jerk.

The two things that most chap my hide are the innocently (I hope!) overstated test conditions and Arlene’s assertions that her lil’ roll is somehow the experiential equivalent of a real crash.

The reality is that her video acrobatics specifically understate both, the impacts and abrasions that may result from an actual wipeout on two wheels, and GoGo Gear’s alleged ability to withstand such.

My concern here is that some unsuspecting, hapless female may run across this video as a testament of GoGo Gear’s ability to protect her from injury in the event of a motorcycle accident.

I’d hate for women riders, or those thinking of them, to unwittingly believe that tumbling down a street like a kid rolling in a pile of leaves is some type of industry-wide testing standard that ensures the viability of the gear’s safety characteristics.

I won’t pretend to have intimate knowledge of the testing rigors that major label designers and manufacturers of motorcycle riding gear, like Joe Rocket, Icon, Tourmaster/Cortech, Alpinestars or Dainese, put their products through. But I’ll bet they go just a smidge beyond kicking test dummies down the street.

Whatcha think?

Even boutique gear designers/makers such as Aerostich put their stuff to the test, real world tests. They have to if for no other reason than to generate credibility.

Before I shot my mouth off about this I did a quick check on GoGo to see if the company proudly boasts of materials used in construction of the gear. Heck, for all I know the stuff might be bullet proof (not really, of course)!

Brands such as Shift or Fieldsheer eagerly list details in marketing collateral and on websites about the types of materials used in their products and the benefits of choosing said materials.

A visit to scooter-girls.com told me a lot about the concept and vision of GoGo Gear, but little about the products’ safety features other than a mention of CE-approved armor. That’s a good start though, for sure!

As I said, GoGo Gear may be able to withstand a nuclear holocaust, and I loudly applaud Arlene’s entrepreneurial spirit. But if this ridiculous thing Arlene does in the video is the conduit with which she hopes to communicate her product’s rider-protection worthiness, Arlene and GoGo need to go go back to the drawing board.

So, I figured I’d said enough about GoGo’s testing criteria and this video—whether Arlene realizes it or not, she’s said “heaps!”.

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Then I found yet another dynamic demonstration from GoGo. Words fail.

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  • Mark

    Excellent post. Gogo may try to make better riding gear for women but this video is completely ridiculous.

    “I’d hate for women riders, or those thinking of them, to unwittingly believe that tumbling down a street like a kid rolling in a pile of leaves is some type of industry-wide testing standard that ensures the viability of the gear’s safety characteristics.”

    You nailed it.

  • Thank you for your comments about our GoGo Gear and our video. Hopefully, I can respond to your comments about our jackets. All of our jackets have CE approved armor in the elbows, shoulders and back area. The elbows and shoulders are EN1621-1 and the back is EN1621-2, very similar to the KNOX armor that you’re probably familiar with. We use a minimum of 600D abrasion resistant fabric inside the jackets and on some of our jackets, 1000D abrasion resistant fabric. Perhaps the easiest way to look at our jackets is to consider one of the more well known medium range riding jackets such as Joe Rocket. If you think one of those jackets would stand up to your test of the viability of a gear’s safety characteristic, then our jackets would meet the test. We simply designed and dressed our jackets up to meet the needs of women who want something more flattering to wear. As for the video, it’s just the first in a series. The next one is me being pulled/sliding behind a bike 80 ft to see what happens to the jacket. After that, we’ll be on to the big slide!

  • tj

    As an avid skier and civil engineering student i can assure you that is not a 45 degree slope. Not even close. if they cant get that right i certainly would not trust them with gear.

  • chris

    but the vid shows something really interesting: even women can act very GAY!

  • I agree with you Pete. Very misleading. I’ve gotten off before, and rolling was only part of the experience. Sliding would have shown me more of what I want to see about a jacket. This video only showed me how dirty I might get if I rolled down the middle of a street – nothing more.

  • Elizabeth

    But.. you can see her shoulder blades through the jacket.. I’m scared. I’m really scared… This is just wrong.