100% Biker 154

100% Biker 154
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When did the black leather jacket fall out of fashion with us bikers then?

A couple of months ago I noticed that, these days the only people who wear traditional black leather jackets are the rock/ heavy metal mob. Us lot, once the natural market for the BLJ, seem to have passed them over in favour of race-type leather jackets, or more and more, textile jackets with armour and, whisper it, colour!

In fact, thinking about it, I can’t actually remember the last time I saw someone wearing a BLJ at a bike event. Why is that? I mean, when I was a kid and got me first ’ped, getting a proper BLJ was a real rite of passage, a sign that you were a real biker, that you weren’t playing at it for a year before you turned 17 and went off and got a car. My first one cost me £25 from Snetterton racetrack, and the night I walked into the local biker pub back in the ’80s wearing it was one of the proudest of my life. I might only have had a moped outside, but I had a BLJ – I was a biker.

And I wore them right up to the end of the 1990s. In fact, I only really stopped because, as freeloading journo scum, I stopped having to pay for me own kit and had state-of-the-art bike gear thrust at me. The new stuff, especially the textiles, was (and is) warmer, generally better made, and with armoured bits, so is a lot better for you if you are unlucky enough to go tarmac-surfing. And so, me faithful old BLJ stayed in the cupboard more and more often. In the end, I think, it got given away to someone’s kid when they got their first bike. And I didn’t replace it. I still had a soft spot for them, but I just didn’t buy another one…

Well, I’ve just got another one, and do you know what? I’m going to wear it with pride. The BLJ was a symbol more than anything, the major part of the uniform of the rebel, the outsider, and that was why we wanted to wear them in the first place. Biking, as is all too apparent these days, has lost its ‘bad-ass’ edge, and I think the not wearing of the BLJ is a major part of that. I got into bikes because of that image, because they were dangerous, because they were rebellious, and I’d still like to think that, even though I’ll be 45 this year, that still applies. I don’t want to be part of ‘normal’ society, I’m not part of ‘normal’ society – I’m a biker.