Let’s not pretend that motorcycling is about personal transportation, riding for sport or seeing the world. Whether we enjoy track days, an afternoon ride or a trans-European journey we all know, deep down what it’s really all about – and that’s looking good, both on and off the bike! So let’s apply the principles of ISPGA to our fashion sense:
As will have been drummed into us as Associates, this is the most important element. Where are we going and whom are we likely to meet? A simple leather combination may be satisfactory for an informal ride, but for Goodwood Revival or a meeting of the Italian Motorcycle Owners club I have one word – accessorise. Leave the snood at home, a smart cravat speaks volumes. I favour maroon with polka dots, unfortunately you don’t see the colour in this black and white photo.
On a more serious note, check the information about what you’re wearing – does it have a CE marking, which since 2018 has been obligatory for personal protective equipment? If not it’s not to be worn on a bike.
Just where are you positioning yourself in the world of motorcycle fashion? What image do you want to portray and where’s your comfort zone: his’n’hers, moody loner or retro-gentleman?
Leathers with garish logos? Do you receive sponsorship money from Repsol? If not leave it to those who do. Otherwise, keep it classic and understated.
No one wants to see you struggling to do up your zips, even your young companion. Check that you can get into and just as importantly out of your gear quickly and smoothly.
What gear to wear? There’s one answer: only the best. You will need leather separates, one piece leathers and a waterproof suit for winter riding. The Bottega di Vestiti per Motociclisti in Milano run by my old friend Vincenzo Muccosi will construct garments to your precise specification, discreetly enclosing the latest lightweight body armour. If you want to know how much it costs - you probably can’t afford it. So most of you will probably have to put up with readymade gear from Urban Rider, Motolegends or one of the other more style oriented retailers.
Gear that you want to carry with you, like the couple in the high-vis?
Nothing spoils the line of an elegant motorcycle like a ‘top-box’ or, worse, a bulging bundle secured by bungee straps. I really find it preferable to have my luggage sent on in advance: it may cost more, but style is priceless!
Helmets remain a problem area for the devoted fashionista: my friend and I find it most convenient to remove our wigs before we put our helmets on and to then receive the discreet attentions of our stylist once we reach our destination, providing that much needed volume.
Open face helmets? You might look the part on a retro or classic bike but think of the micro-pollutants and their effect on your complexion!
Sometimes, and I’ve learned this the hard way, not everyone appreciates fashion advice, even with the best of intentions. My IAM examiner seems to have taken it in good heart when I observed that his Rukka and Schuberth combination made for a somewhat generic look. He certainly chuckled softly as he wished me better luck next time. The same cannot however be said for the denizens of the OAKDENE CAFÉ, when a misunderstanding over the offer of my sandalwood hand cream led to me being pursued for several miles down the A25, ending in an upsetting roadside confrontation. I realised then that the finest Italian bikes of the seventies are no match for recklessly ridden modern Japanese offerings. So if you want to impress others in the way that I do then you’ll often need to be able to make a quick getaway!
Ciao for now!
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