We all ride our motorcycles for our own reasons. It may be that you feel free when you ride. Perhaps the excitement of going fast makes you come alive. Possibly it’s because you enjoy the time with friends. There are as many reasons to ride as there are riders. You know why you ride and that’s all that matters.
A fun way Randy Hyden came up with to say why we ride was to create a few t-shirts that display the essence of riding I did that without using words because there are no words which can fully describe the experience. There are so many different ways to experience motorcycling,
So Randy asked artist Marc Almera to do 3 different illustrations to portray the lifestyle that many motorcyclists we know are passionate about.
The first one is illustrative of the riders of American V-Twins. We didn’t want it to be like anything else out there, Randy asked himself “What are bikers into?” One pretty universal thing is tattoos. American Iron. Traditional designs. Sailor Jerry’s style of ink is for many the standard of vintage tattooing.
That was our starting point. Then we thought about the lines of an Indian Chief and pondered the appeal of art nouveau too. And thought about how to combine the flowing lines and the power of a Big Twin? We asked ourselves – which of the classic tattoo fits in with this? A panther! Thousands of service men from World War II and the Korean War permanently put panthers on their arms.
So, Marc decided on a modern yet timeless design which melded all that into unique and enduring art.
Then we began talking about sport bikes. And we recognized that these types of riders had the essence of a fighter jet between the legs. That got us picturing the Blue Angels and aerial acrobatics. Sufficiently skillful riders can whip their bikes around like a pilot dominating the sky. So, thinking along those lines, Marc drew a bike banked in a corner and used a circular motif to depict breaking the sound barrier. Marc’s brilliant signature use of negative space is one of the many reasons that Randy was attracted to Marc’s art initially. There’s a “jet-set” or “international man of mystery” vibe that’s strong and stylish and not found on any other motorcycle shirt design that we’ve seen out there.
We also felt that there was need to create a shirt for dirt bikes. Marc said he had been thinking about this since we began, and he created an image that looks like it would have been on one of those 1980s Hang Ten or OP Design shirts. The shirts that said to the world how it felt to be young and alive in Southern California The shirts that all the cool guys chose to put on with their Van’s shoes and 501 jeans.
It’s kind of a cliché now but those of us who were teenagers in the late 70’s or the early 80’s, we know what we were telling the world by what we chose to wear. That was the extreme sports look long before big biz put a label on it.
Back in the day, motorcycle racing in Southern California – great places and great races – was a phenomenon which attracted attention on a worldwide scale. The open, inviting feel of the deserts and the mountains called out to the young and the wild everywhere.. I believe that nothing will ever erase those great days and the badasses who made it so cool. Both Marc and Randy feel that this shirt design of a rider wheeling back to the truck after riding all day in black and brown sums all that up.
That’s how these shirts came to be. And we might re-create them today if enough of you ask us to – because the whole reason that we decided to beging that joutney was to help a very wothwhile charity, and that’s still where we;re at today.
So, what do you think about it? Let us know in comments.