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Gear Review: 55 Collection Hard Jacket

Product: 55 Collection Hard Jacket Made in: Barcelona Cost: €480 (US $510)
It’s likely you’ve never heard of 55 Collection; the Barcelona-based leather goods company is relatively small and has only been on the scene for a few years. So, allow me to introduce you to a company that’s making some of the best-looking and unique motorcycle jackets out there at the moment.

Adopting the “non serviam” nonconformist attitude that seems to run through a lot of Spain’s motorcycling culture (check out the crazy/beautiful custom works of El Solitario MC, for example), 55 Collection’s jackets may split opinion because of the company’s willingness to make jackets that are fashionable – that is to say, jackets that have a strong fashion element. The old dudes will decry hipsterism or some such thing. And indeed, I’ll admit that when company founder Aitor Gonzalez offered me a chance to try out one of his jackets I naturally defaulted to the most conservative of his offeri…

No tengo dinero

In my mind, I will look this cool on a bike.
As I said in my last post, there are three things standing between me and motorcycle ownership: lack of a UK license, lack of money, and lack of enthusiasm from my wife. The first issue isn't too big a problem, but for the second; I don't have the money to pay for training.

You may have read one or two news stories about this: the economy sucks. It sucks everywhere and especially here in Europe, where in places like Spain unemployment hovers around 26 percent. In her majesty's United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland things are a little better, with the most recent figures showing unemployment at about 8 percent*. That's almost on par with the United States, which has a rate of 7.8 percent (and falling), but I think it's a misleading figure because many of us who have jobs are not, in fact, fully employed.

I really like the company I work for (and I'm not just saying that to cover my ass), but unfortunately they don't have the money to pay me for more than two days a week. That leaves me scrambling to pick up extra cash here and there, and there's never enough that I have more than a few coins at the end of the month.

So, even if I could dig up the £800 I think I'll need to go through the process of becoming fully licensed, I then need to get my hands on enough money to purchase a motorcycle and riding gear. Then I'll need to produce enough on a month-to-month basis that I can actually maintain and operate the thing. Bikes are considerably cheaper than cars, yes, but the upfront cost is still daunting.

Over the past few weeks I've come up with a few possible solutions to the issue of finance, which I'll talk about in some future post. But ultimately I think getting a motorcycle will still involve some level of borrowing. That will be something difficult to sustain and it will in no way appease my wife, who is the third and final obstacle. More on her next time.


*In Wales, where I live, the unemployment rate is higher - just above 10 percent. In the boroughs to my immediate north and northeast the rate is 17 percent and 15 percent, respectively. Additionally, there is research to suggest that official figures paint a too-rosy picture in Wales and, in fact, things here are much worse.


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