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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…

Astride the fire-driven dandy horse!

The proper way to treat a Harley.
Ever have one of those moments when you feel you've been particularly clever? 

"Ho, ho. Good one, me," you say to yourself approvingly. "You really are the epitome of wit."

Then you spend the rest of the day continuing to congratulate yourself and feeling slightly despondent that more people haven't recognised your genius.

That was me recently after leaving a comment on RideApart, one of my favourite motorcycle websites. The comment was in response to an article noting the fact that the whole media uproar in the wake of the Nonsense in New York© about a month ago (a), was not anything we hadn't seen before.

In the article, Tim Watson draws parallels between the media's hysterical response to the NYC incident and its similar reaction to an incident in Hollister, California, some 66 years before. I'd like to point out, by the way, that I had already made the same observation long before Tim, which I feel is further proof that RideApart should hire me on as a foreign correspondent. 

But I digress. The point is that media reaction to the Nonsense in New York© was biased, comically inflammatory and not at all new. Media outlets have been losing their shit over the scourge of motorcyclists for as long as there have been motorcycles. And my comment at the end of Tim's article was this:

"What I found interesting about media fallout from the NYC brouhaha is that they often used the very same language as was used by the press back in the Hollister days (if you read Hunter S. Thompson's "Hell's Angels" he quotes from a number of these articles). Words like hooligan and hoodlum, scofflaw and thug. The media response to the NYC bikers was almost an Onion parody of media response. Next time, though, I hope they'll go even more out of date in their rebuking of bikers, something along the lines of: 'Zounds, fellows! Gaze upon these be-masked ruffians astride their terrible fire-driven dandy horses! Behold their detestable countenance!'"

The proper way to ride an Indian.
Fire-driven dandy horses, yo. I thought that up with my brain! 

And almost as soon as I had done so, I felt a great rush of self-congratulatory pleasure. Fire-driven dandy horse. Tee-hee. Ha, ha! That is the best name for a motorcycle ever.

A dandy horse, also known as a draisienne in French, was a precursor to the bicycle and was popular in Paris during the unsteady reign of Louis XVIII. It is mentioned at the very start of Parrot and Olivier in America, by Peter Carey, and like the machine that would take its place more than a century later it was the source of great alarm and consternation for everyone not riding one.

But anyway: fire-driven dandy horse. I am so tickled by that phrase that I have incorporated it into this blog's description (see above). I just wanted to draw your attention to it, and kindly ask that you help make "fire-driven dandy horse" a thing. Use it in everyday conversation ("What ho, chaps?! Shall we venture to the pub astride our fire-driven dandy horses?" or "Egad! My fire-driven dandy horse has tumbled asunder! I shall now have to replace its brake lever") and help spread its use. 

Though, please attribute it to me. Few are my contributions to this world and I would like to be acknowledged for them. Though, I suppose that's the whole point of this post: to serve as proof that I came up with the phrase first. Go Team Chris.


(a) You know, the whole thing with the massive group of riders and the Range Rover and the smashing and the yelling and the the blah blah blah.


  1. Fire driven dandy horse sounds like something a fop would have ridden, except it would have mussed the yards lace at his throat and perhaps dislodged his wig. Nice one.

    Now let's see if I can work it into conversation at Saturday coffee next week. Might be appropriate for the Ducati garage queen in our midst.

  2. Dandy! I'm in a tumble asunder mood!

    Sounds spectacular. . .



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