Wednesday, November 14, 2012
I don't know about you, but I love my leathers. There's just something about the feel, the weight, the smell of leathers that I so strongly associate with the freedom of riding, and with the feeling of speeding down the road feeling fully alive. Maybe it's the ritual of if all, the one by one donning of gear in preparation for an adventure that has grown to symbolize a special breed of people, an intrepid kind bent on riding around the next bend. But my leathers are an essential part of my riding.
Motorcycle jackets stemmed from bomber jackets of WWII. With time, the jacket has evolved into, in some styles, highly sophisticated pieces of riding equipment, with special thermal layers and ventilation. But for the most part, the motorycle leathers are simple, a buffer against the wind, dirt, and oil of the road.
I've had flight jackets, leather coats, and leather vests, but nothing seems to wear and feel so right as my leather motorycle jacket and chaps. While the other leather garments I've owned satisfied fashion yearnings, nothing says "Ahhhh, let's ride Mother Fucker!" like my aging leather jacket and chaps.
Of course, leathers serve a multitude of functions, from keeping you from freezing to death to making a soft cushion for your knees while tending to an emergency fix while on the road. And then there's the hope, maybe an illusion, that somehow, in a not so good situation, they'll keep your skin attached to your bones in the event of a laydown. Regardless, I really really like my leathers, and the older they get the better they get. You know what I mean?
Just for the hell of it I do not clean my leathers. By the end of each bug season, both the jacket and chaps are splattered with the remnants of thousands of bugs. For me it's a symbol of the road; you get what you get, and you ride on regardless. Okay, sometimes when I've run into a giant Mexican Grasshopper filled with green slime that has plastered a half dollar sized splat on my leathers I do wipe it with a rag, but I don't ever use a leather cleaning agent or conditioner. I do, occassionally, wash my face though.
What do your leathers mean to you?