A Tale of Learning to Love (Gear)

What happens when you’re a gear-averse, self described hipster on a Bonneville and the guy your roommate lets crash at your apartment is a motorcycle blogging ATGATT (“All the Gear, All the Time”) adherent? In a recent post on Hell for Leather, Sean MacDonald gives a humorous account of what transpired when HFL site editor Wes Siler spent several months residing on his couch and lecturing him about protective riding gear. If it’s any indication of the post’s tone, it was originally titled, “How I learned to stop worrying and love motorcycle gear,” but has since been changed to, “In which my boyfriend Sean MacDonald outs me as a Gosling-impersonating, couch surfing, safety nagging douchebag.”

Donning a fully-armored and abrasion-resistant jacket, full helmet, riding pants and boots doesn’t fit with the image many have of a fun and carefree (emphasis on “free”) riding lifestyle. Many café racer enthusiasts and scooterists alike eschew gear for the sake of that image or style. MacDonald admits that, as “the resident hipster,” he’d followed an arc common among 20something café riders. He started with ’70s Hondas before buying a new Triumph Bonneville, all the while wearing no more than “one of my denim or textile jackets, jeans, shoes ranging from Vans to high top sneakers, and my ¾ non-DOT Biltwell helmet with a pair of fake $5 Roy Bans glasses.”

The post’s original title is a bit of a spoiler; MacDonald comes to embrace wearing gear. Regardless of one’s own feelings about gearing up, it’s an entertaining read, free of the sanctimony and condescension that often accompanies the topic. Though the story may not convince readers to go ATGATT (though the posts such as this one might), it sheds a little light on how one guy went from one extreme to the other.

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