As bikers, in the world of cool, have it made, we really do. Just because of what we choose as a form of transport, in the eyes of the world in general, we wake up cool, go to sleep cool and stay cool even if we are snoring and dribbling in our dreams….that reminds me of a joke, “I am not snoring, I am just doing my impression of a motorcycle”, sorry….
Even those of us who are a little challenged in the looks department are cool, those of us who were not allowed to sit with the cool kids at school now have the girls who flirted with them look at us longingly as we ride by…one of the great advantages of the full face crash helmet!
It is of course the element of danger that has made us eternally chic, the men and women who are not frightened to look death in the eye just because we need some eggs from the shops. Of course that in itself would probably just make us appear a bit stupid, but when you add in factor that many, many parents tell their sons and daughters to avoid motorcycles because of the dangers, then you add the perfume of the forbidden!
Of course motorcycles were not always regarded as dangerous machines ridden by the spawn of Satan. In Britain, until around the middle of the 1950’s motorcycles were regarded as general transport. People went to work on small engine bikes and a motorbike and sidecar was the family transportation. The motorcar was just too expensive for the average family, until cars like the mini came along. The lowering of the price of a car and the increased wages allowed families to get rid of the bikes, and they were happily bought up cheaply by the young men wanting their own transportation. Hollywood stepped in and put the icing on the cake with the character of “Johnny” played by Marlon Brando in the film “ The Wild One”. Of course it helped that the film was banned in Britian because that it would increase the lack of respect for authority, motorcycles were now officially cool!
There was only one problem that remained for the bikers, how would people know they were cool when they weren’t on their bikes? The difficulty is that it is not as if you could wear a motorbike to the dance ….or maybe could, sort of.
What was needed was something that would be associated with motorcycles, something with unmistakable style and yet practical because you can’t carry a spare set of clothes to change into all the time. Once again it was “Johnny” that supplied the solution, no, not the peaked cap, the Black Leather Jacket of course. It conjures up the idea of armor to protect the hero from danger and it is of course black, so dark and dangerous. Since 1953 and that film, whenever the youth of the time have felt the need to rebel, the black leather jacket has been there, announcing that the wearer doesn’t care what you are saying, they are going to live their lives the way they want. Punks tried to steal it, the fashion industry tried to sanitize it with super model chic, but in reality it has always belonged to the bikers
We are all way cooler than her!
Nowadays in this era of manmade fabrics laced with Kevlar armor and lurid colors, if you ask someone to describe a biker, the black leather jacket will be first on their list. It is ours, it is iconic, and it is so much better in a crash than a little black dress!!!