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With Fashion in Mind

by David Stevenson

Following some earlier comments in the sartorial elegance (or lack of it) amongst cyclemotorists, Buzzing has asked the distinguished Italian fashion designer Cucciola Nassati to offer some advice on riding outfits for the forthcoming season. We have asked her in this initial article to concentrate on male riding attire:

Chow boys. Your asteamed editor Meester Handley Pettle as askeda me to say something to you about clothes, eh?
I say to heem: In Italia da motorcycleestes all theesa young men in leather suits, they don't a need me to tell them íow to looka good.
Ee say, no theesa boys don't a wear the leather suits.
I say, so íow olda are they?
Ee say, well mosta of them ain't no spring ducks.
I say again, íow olda are they?
Ee say, well you accepta tha word "meeddle-aged"?
I say, I knowa what you mean. In a woman thatísa very eleganta, in a man itísa old. So whata they wear now?
Ee say thay Ďafta wear tha helmet and then justa jacket or an anorak...
I say, you wanta me give expensive Italian fashion advice to a group of a bus spotters? I nearly putta da phone down on heem, but ee gotta such a lovely Eenglish voice.
I say, so theesa bikes: they big and red and shiny?
Ee say, no they bicycles with engines putta on.
I sigh a leettle. So whata colour are they?
Ee say, all colours but mostly black, dark green, blue and sometimes rust.
I say, that'sa good. I like tha rust colour, itísa rich, like falling leaves, very romantica that rust.
Ee say ee donít mind it neither but it not so good when it eata through the frame tubes.
I say, they rida thesa things in public and they worry abouta what they wear? I ringa back Monday when I stop laughing.
Monday I say to heem, I gotta tha great idea. You tell your members from now on they weara tweed knickerbockers, da brown brogues, long socks, a belted tweed jacket and long brown leather gloves. It suit their ages, itísa very elegant, itísa very Eenglish. Tha meeddle-aged Eenglish ladies they throwa off their corsets as you go put-put-putting by.
Handloose, he reply: Itísa nice but what about tha rain. It always raining íere and wool ee doníta keep outa da wet. They doníta wanna get the flu.
I say, I doníta usual giva tha fashion teeps for wimps. I ring back Tuesday.
Tuesday, I say to heem. I gotta it. You tell them to wear a whita rubber overall. It keepa dem clean. It keepa dem warm and latex is so sexy.
Ee say thatísa fine but where you buy a whita rubber overall in Ipswich?
I say to heem, I doníta care what you gotta wrong with your hips, rubber be good to them.
Ee say, but theesa boys they pedal muchissimo because theira engines doníta work so good.
I say, they do theesa for fun?
Ee say, they getta very sweaty in rubber.
I say, thata be all right they notta so old, eh? (You caníta wink down a telephone.)
Ee say, thatísa your final word, then?
I say si, you giva them the choice, they getta hot and sweaty in rubber or colda and wet in tweed. You doníta get chic for nothing.
Chow boys.

First published - August 1993

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