Woo-hoo! It’s finally here! My new custom-made motorcycle riding gear made especially for me by Johnson Leather of San Francisco, California, USA!
Gray leather, not black??? Am I committing sacrilege to the Biker Lords who establish norms for biker leathers?
While I’m sure that some guys wouldn’t find this color of leather all that interesting, and even some may say that it is over-the-top — to me, as a secure, leather-oriented biker, it’s perfect! Stand out from the crowd of boring black leather-clad bikers in ill-fitting gear. I’ve long been all about being my own guy, and this is a way I can express my independence and freedom from the shackles of conformity.
Here’s the story on the gear: in late March, while on a business trip to San Francisco, my friend Mike took me to Johnson Leather where I discussed my interests and specifications, and my measurements were taken for a cop-style leather jacket and a pair of leather riding pants to match.
In May, I received a canvas mock-up of the jacket and pants. Johnson Leather asked me to have pictures taken of me wearing the mock-up, both in a standing and sitting-on-my-Harley position. I sent the pictures to them, and they used what they saw to make adjustments to the fitting before cutting the leather to make the garments.
Wow! This outfit fits perfectly and is (to me) really cool-looking! The leather from which it is made is thick — I estimate 7-8 oz. thickness, so the gear provides both warmth as well as protection.
The jacket is cut in a traditional biker/motorcycle cop style. It has three zipped outer pockets and one deep inner pocket. It is lined with silk. The jacket is cut to allow freedom of movement, required when I wear it while riding my Harley.
A particular custom-specified feature with which I am especially pleased is an added leather back panel made for the jacket. Here’s the reason why I had that done: I ride with a motorcycle club, and while I would like to have the club’s patches (colors) added to the jacket to wear when I ride with them, I didn’t want to damage the jacket with permanent additions. Who knows? I may have to change patches for some reason in the future, or I may want to wear the jacket to locations where wearing club colors isn’t something I would want to do, or the club wouldn’t want the colors shown. (That club would get upset if I wore its colors into a gay venue, because the club’s national leadership is homophobic.)
The pants are made with lots of room in the seat and thigh, so my hips and legs move freely as I swing my leg over the saddle of my Harley or require maneuverability when I walk the bike into a tight parking spot. The pants have a zip fly which is much better when leathers will actually be worn while riding a motorcycle. The room around the hips and crotch provide for maneuverability, too — unlike some leathers made for fetish-wear.
The only down-side, if there is a down-side, is that these new leathers are designed for warmth, so I cannot test them out on a ride on my Harley until our local temperatures cool off significantly.
Life is short: know what you want, how to specify it, and be your own man by choosing to wear leathers in colors other than black!