Further: The Moto Costume Party | Thoughts on Motorcycling

Further: The Moto Costume Party | Thoughts on Motorcycling

Further: The Moto Costume Party | Thoughts on MotorcyclingFurther Motorcycle Column VI

The end of 2014 saw the release of so many tasty new motorcycle offerings that this is sure to be a banner year.

Product publicity releases, combined with hands-on at many cycle shows, has whet our appetites for entries in every segment of the market, especially smaller, naked, and adventure bikes.

Manufacturers are working overtime to re-purpose every engine and chassis they have, spawning new shapes and configurations, all trying to anticipate what riders will buy.

Now that spring is here and our riding community prepares to mount up, whether on new or old machines, many of us wonder what we will wear. One needs to be properly accoutered. After all, that one-piece track suit may not be the best choice on your Roadmaster, just as chaps on a Hayabusa are just wrong.

Why do you ride? Is it freedom and the open spaces, the speed, the risks, your non-conformist ideals? Me? I enjoy dressing up. Oh yeah, I like to ride, too, but it’s also about hanging out, and integral to that is looking the part — admit it or not.

Let’s face it, life is a costume party and that is no more in evidence then when I ride to the local moto hangout to meet my friends and arrive to find that there are more colors and styles here then at a Paris or Milan fashion show. It’s like Dainese meets the one-percenters, and everything in between.

The moto world, to me, is the most expressive palette on which people can paint their custom, multi-colored dream and weave their image—short of tattoos, which, I hear, are permanent — but they too play a significant part in the overall effect. Custom and exotic cars and their owners have nothing on the moto world.

One guy recently stepped out of a Ferrari at the local overlook in his matching red sneakers and shiny white Scuderia designer sweat suit but all that got him were rolled eyes and a few chuckles. Let a guy, in the same place, climb off the back of almost any sportbike in brightly colored leathers or dismount a rat Panhead in some funky old Langlitz jacket, or any bike you can imagine in any get-up you can think up, and it’s accepted as just another expression of individuality in the Moto Costume Party.

On the flip side, my buddy O’Brien, when he makes the very rare purchase of a new jacket or pants, sells the old set. He says he doesn’t need two. To me that just isn’t right. Life is fullest when you allow yourself freedom of expression and that means anything worth doing is worth overdoing. Why try to limit my moto addiction? I’m already trying to stop smoking.

In our world anything goes and we’re not limited to Halloween. Spend the summer on a motorcycle and enjoy the festivities. Motorcycle clothing, more than most, is where form and function intermingle. Riders choose these protective items for their function but, more often than not, form is what makes the sale.

Much of riding a motorcycle is about romance—the notion of what makes us look our best and most appealing. That applies to everything from our choice in bikes to clothing to the color of our helmets — and whether we even wear one. Know it or not, we all crave acceptance and the first impression made by our choices are important to most of us. This may seem vain and mundane, and that could be true, but millions and millions are spent by many thousands to add to their safety and attain a certain look. Give it a try.

The really great thing about the moto scene is that I can be myself and so can everybody else. Nobody really cares whether I have one jacket or 20, except me. We all have a great experience for the myriad reasons we are involved in this pastime.

Column from Ultimate MotorCycling magazine; for subscription services, click here.