Dear men of Britain

Dear men of Britain,

Since the weather in the UK has turned warm, many of you seem to have switched to your motorcycles for transportation.  I am fully in support of this, especially if it means you have abandoned you automobiles.  However, I am baffled when I see you walking around my town in your motorcycling leather trousers.  I would think that such gear would be inconsistent with the warm weather–are you not sweating in all of that knee-padded leather?  Not to mention the addition of matching leather jackets.  I am perplexed by your wearing this gear when shopping or wandering around my town, do you wear it every day?  How do you clean it?   I am also somewhat perplexed by the need to wear such fancy padded gear, are you taking turns like Valentino Rossi such that your knees might drag on the ground?  In the US, I seem to recall most bikers wearing jeans, are they missing out on something, or are you slaves to your own brand of biker fashion?  Just wondering.  Many thanks for any insight you could provide.




6 responses to “Dear men of Britain

  1. Years ago, one of my American colleagues recounted a conversation he had with some motorcyclists in Germany. He was marveling over the custom paint work on their bikes, and noticed that several of them were wearing leather jackets and pants that were painted to match their bikes.

    “Wow, those are some really fancy pants,” he said. “Aren’t you worried about messing them up when you ride? What happens if you have an accident?”

    Their reply? “On the Autobahn, you only ever crash once.”

  2. NFAH: I applaud Jen for that story – fascinating, if morbid.

    That said, once I asked a friend of mine if I could get a motorbike ride with him. He asked me if I possessed any leather trousers. When I asked why they were needed, he explained that British roads are not very biker-friendly so crashes do happen – and I am sure you have seen how bikers ride on motorways so you will know why – and leather protects you much better at least from bruises than anything else does.

    Ergo, the leather trousers.

    There may also be an ironic element to it – lederhosen are typically laughing fodder for Brits so I think it is worth asking some of these men why they wear them and get a ‘Allo ‘Allo type of answer (although that series was to make fun of the French).

  3. Jen, so true. I can’t bear to get on the things because my years of working on car crash mechanics means that I “know too much” about the body in an accident. Give me a nice steel-framed hybrid SUV.

    Shefaly, show me any road that is biker friendly for a crash–unless it is made of that cool stuff they use on kids’ playgrounds that is pieces of recycled tires (tyres?), road rash is a universal (and thus not exclusively British) risk of riding. I am so very tired of the British eeyore-like sense of “everything is the worst here” without any conclusive evidence to back it up!

  4. NFAH: Re the British Eeyore-like sense – although you have to give them credit since the original Eeyore came from here – I refer you to the last paragraph in my comment. Which at least in the case of this friend explains a lot more than his words. I think some British people still get irony more than many others around the world do 🙂

    Although it is worth a mention that the hottest hostess parties in America now are ‘Taser Parties’ where women are taught how to use a Taser and sold one or more for their use. I would not claim to know much in depth about Eeyore but this one does take the cake in convincing me that he is alive and living across the pond 😉

  5. OK I don’t get the link to the comment about Taser parties at all. Yes Americans are obsessed with self-defense, and certainly in the states I don’t walk around freely after dark the way I do here (well, except in certain neighborhoods full of drunken idiots). You’ll have to expand on what connection there is supposed to be there. Eeyore would not seem likely to do anything as aggressive as owning a Taser, just would moan about the rise of street crime and how times aren’t like they used to be and there is no way to go back to the good old days!

  6. Hmm. The link was like this: Eeyore had a pessimistic outlook and a generally dreary view of things, right? So inasmuch as the Brits are like Eeyore in their bleakness, the aggressive and narrow way in which Americans interpret the second amendment is also – to me – reflective of a very Eeyore-ish view of their immediate surroundings.

    So it was not about ‘actions’ but the ‘attitude’ underlying those actions. The Brits do not do anything about problems; they moan and stop. Americans moan loudly, then buy guns and now, Tasers. Bottomline remains – both societies have a dreary view of the humans surrounding them.

    I was, in other words, focusing on only one layer of Eeyore 🙂

    PS: You do know that I am only needling you 😉 I do like the US (wherever I have been so far) and the Americans I have got on with like a house on fire all turn out midwesterners in the end.

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