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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…

Where are the Americans?

Just a quick addendum to my previous post. One thing I noticed in the Honda video featuring world explorers was a lack of American accents. And that got me thinking: Off the top of my head, I can think of no world-travelling American motorcyclists.

I can't remember ever reading about even one. I've read about riders from Canada, France, Germany, Israel, New Zealand and Ireland. I've read about loads of Aussies and loads more Brits. But I'm not aware of the story of one American who has travelled the globe on two wheels.

I realise there are plenty of Iron Butted Americans who have criss-crossed the United States and perhaps even sojourned in Canada or Mexico. I take great pride in counting as friends two people who effectively live on the American highways and byways. But why has my country produced no world travellers? 

Have I just missed hearing about them, or is there something about Americans that keeps them from straying too far from home? 

Full disclosure: I (currently) have little interest in riding around the world on a motorcycle. Sure, I'm fomenting plans to explore Europe, and I dream always of  wandering the great expanse of North America, but I'll admit that the thought of possibly breaking down on the Trans-Siberian Highway or having to bribe customs officials in Bali puts me off wanting to ride in areas that would force me too far from my Western sensibilities. I'm not entirely sure why I am this way (Am I afraid? Am I too comfortable?), but perhaps it speaks to the reason that other Americans aren't doing such a thing either.

What do you think? Why aren't there more American accents in far-flung places?


(The picture above, by the way, is of American Sash Johnson riding near the Mexican border. I wouldn't put it past her to take up world travelling soon)


  1. There are definitely Americans who have ridden around the world. I had a book on motorcycle touring by one of them, though I can't remember the author's name at the moment. I'll have to look into it and report back.

    I'm not sure who might be in the middle of a world tour right now, but there are probably a few. I'm going to have to look into this...

  2. Hey Chris, Check out "Sturgis Chick" A South Dakota girl seeing the world via two wheels. She and her friend are in Chili now.

    Dennis USA

  3. That's just a forum that has people from all over the world who are interested in adventure riding and touring. Only somewhat related to the topic of my post.

  4. Frankly because I think Americans are scared. We have watched to much Fox news and are afraid that the Norwegian branch of Ali Sharbareno will behead us. We are afraid that we may not be able to eat authentic Mexican food at Taco Bell. People are people the world over despite religious differences or political views. The problem is that we Americans have this belief that we are hated for being Americans.

    It's bullshit of course, but I bet my bottom dollar that I'm right.

    1. I think it's more because Americans are still rather islanded from the rest of the world that we still feel isolated. Europeans, even Brits included, are among dozens of small countries where you could ride through a few them in one day. Perhaps, international travel is nothing significant there. I live in San Diego and it takes two days of Interstate riding to get to the Oregon border. I've ridden into Mexico, and true, I'm rather concerned for my safety there.

  5. Dave Barr, U.S. Marine, and Wounded Vietnam Veteran rode around the world. He's featured in "Why We Ride". He also wrote a book, "Riding the Edge".

  6. Chris,
    I don't even have a passport. Isn't that funny? I wonder if it is some type of patriotism to want to remain at home in the U.S., or if it is a fear. The truth is I really despise being on a plane for very long, with the only way to travel more than 3 hours is for me to be tranquilized. So to fly to Europe I would need to be put out for a good, long time.

    Traveling to Mexico scared the crap out of me. I've lived in So. Cal for so long that I've heard a f*ckton of horror stories. My uncle was taken by Federales in Tijuana in the 1970's, beaten, robbed and left in an alley. He wasn't breaking any laws and was really just a kid.

    But I have dreams of riding to Alaska and to England, Wales, and Scotland. I have considered some places in India and Italy, and the Stelvio Pass. Dreams. . .

    Since I was a kid, I've longed to explore the U.S. It's just so damned big, there is too much to see! I don't want to simply pass through a place; I want to explore!

    BTW, cute chick in your photo!! ;)

    Sash - The Rude Biker Chick
    See Sash Videos!

  7. Great point about the lack of American world travelers. There may be a few out there, but it seems they are keeping a low profile, and who can blame them? I think the threats and attacks on Americans have somewhat cooled the passion for many to travel too far into the world. Even closer to home - last July American motorcycle adventurer Harry Devert was found murdered in Mexico. Yes, some Americans have "been there" but we are not very popular or welcome in many parts of the world.


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