Aerostich x Hunter S. Thompson x Ralph Steadman = Motorcycle Riding

When we think of Aerostich, we think practical. We think about high-end one-piece touring suits that riders swear by for years, or decades. Our minds don’t venture to gonzo journalists or iconic caricaturists. Now, we get the connection between Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman. Many of Thompson’s legendary articles and books were illustrated by Steadman. We didn’t quite get the Aerostich connection until we considered its single-minded approach to its niche in motorcycling.

One of the Thompson/Steadman collaborations was Steadman’s illustration of the Thompson’s exhortation: “Faster, faster! Until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death.” Only a dedicated motorcyclist such as Thompson could create such a compelling observation of the need to twist the throttle to its stop.

aerostich thompson steadman t-shirt

Aerostich of Duluth, Minnesota, is offering Steadman’s artwork on an 11-ounce white ceramic mug ($8) and a t-shirt—100 percent cotton and made in America in sizes M-XXL ($33). An 8.5 x 11 matted print is available for fine art collectors in an 11 x 14 black frame ($27). Yes, the framed print costs less than the t-shirt.

aerostich thompson steadman collection

While you are considering these purchases, we’ll leave you with a few quotes from Thompson’s 1967 seminal work, “Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.”

But with the throttle screwed on there is only the barest margin, and no room at all for mistakes. It has to be done right … and that’s when the strange music starts, when you stretch your luck so far that fear becomes exhilaration and vibrates along your arms. You can barely see at a hundred; the tears blow back so fast that they vaporize before they get to your ears. The only sounds are wind and a dull roar floating back from the mufflers.

*** 

The Edge … There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others — the living — are those who pushed their control as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later. 

*** 

The point is valid: the difference between survival and wipe-out in a physical crisis is nearly always a matter of conditioned reflexes.

Now you know why this artwork exists.