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Showing posts from July, 2013

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…

On the road

The blog will be quiet for the next fortnight, while life gets pretty busy. First, we're getting married on 20 July. That probably seems a bit silly, since Jenn and I are already married. But we didn't get a chance to have a proper wedding back in November, so we're throwing a big to-do for friends and family. In a shock turn of events, the British climate will be cooperating and it looks as though the weather will be ideal for the barbecue we have planned at the reception.
After that we'll be in Ireland for a little while.
Thanks so much for all your support of the blog. I'll be back on 1 August.

Gear review: Hein Gericke Panther II jacket

It's too short. That is my primary criticism of the Hein Gericke Panther II leather jacket. It seems to have been made for a strange long-armed circus freak of a man who is as thin as me, has arms as long as mine, but who is at least five inches shorter than me. 
Or perhaps I am the freak, as it seems the intolerable bulk of motorcycling gear is built for people shorter than me. Maybe this is why ABATE is so successful in Minnesota: with so many people in the Land of 10,000 Lakes being of Scandinavian descent, the safety gear doesn't fit them anyway.
Anyhoo, this jacket was one of the first bits of gear I bought. I was so terrified of my getting in "trouble," afraid that Jenn would discover my motorcycle gear, that I had the jacket delivered to my office. I wore it from my very first day of training -- my CBT -- in February and now wear it any time I go out. As such, I have experienced every season and every weather condition whilst wrapped in this jacket. So I can …

135 miles

On average, Britain experiences five really good days a year. Sometimes less, rarely more. The last time we experienced anything of the sort that an American would describe as summer was in 2006, when there was about a month of hot weather. Everyone lost their minds that year –– Ninjah took to wandering the city centre claiming to be a sun god prophet, and the Prince of Wales pub installed an air-conditioning system they have not used since.
The five good days a year are not even consecutive. Nor are they placed anywhere near one another. Perhaps one will come in early March, another in late May (though, not on the bank holiday), two lovely days in July perhaps, and then an incredible and unexpected weekend in October or November. That's about it. If you're lucky.
So, living here teaches you to seize upon climatological opportunities. You have to be always ready to act, always prepared to make the most of a sunny day. Many Britons falter on this point. Their inexperience mean…

Praise for the hipsters

I don't really know what to call them. The postmodernists, perhaps? The baroque classicists? The custom culturists?

The Old and Boring of motorcycle culture tend to call them hipsters; I'm never really sure. 
I think I get confused in part because I may be looping at least two different sub-cultures: the Iron & Resin crowd and the Born Free crowd. In both there are beards and Pabst and old motorcycles and Biltwell helmets and tattoos and genuflection to art and authenticity, but maybe there is a fine line that actually draws out more than one culture. 
Indeed, with the Born Free crowd one can convincingly argue they are simply the present incarnation of the long-lived American chopper culture, and that the fine line that separates them from hipsterism is one drawn by the wheels of a Harley-Davidson. But then Deus ex Machina builds a Harley and the crew from Death Science take Hondas on a Revenge Run and the waters are muddied. Not to mention the whole additional tangent o…

Respect for Thunder Road

Remember in my previous post I mentioned I've been suffering mild paranoia lately; getting a call from Thunder Road the other day didn't help that. But still I'm glad they got in touch.
For those of you playing along outside of South Wales, Thunder Road Motorcycles is one of the better known motorcycle dealerships in the area. Serving dually as Honda and Suzuki dealers, Thunder Road has two locations: Cwmbran and Bridgend. Both of which are exactly 21 miles from my house.
A while ago, I had decided to check out the Bridgend location and feel out the cost of certain modifications I'm hoping to add to my bike before winter, namely engine bars and heated grips. I figured I'd also check out their gear and try to get a sense of what costs I'll be facing when a full service comes due on my CBF600. So, it was basically a Getting To Know You sort of trip. 
Wales is a small place and when you've got an American accent people tend to remember you. So my relationship…