Don’t be afraid to be dirty

A HebTroCo British Standard white T shirt might not the best choice for wearing on a road trip, but I like it, it’s what I’m wearing. It’s also my job to put stuff to the test. 

Heading into the second week and the T Shirt has been getting the rough treatment. It was splattered with mud when someone rode their chopper into the party tent at the Flanders Chopper Bash and did a donut.

There’s plenty of sweat, oil, road grime, some red wine and possibly bodily fluids on it. 

I had heard that you could tell whether an old time Harley Davidson rider rode a Big Twin or a Sportster model by the oil marks on his T shirt. Now I can understand why. As you see, the marks on the rear lower left of this shirt correspond to the final drive chain, which is on the left hand side of my 1978 Shovelhead chopper.

The engine breather line vents oil, some of which by happy coincidence goes onto the chain, keeping it lubricated. It also keeps my T shirt covered in muck as some of it flies off the chain upwards. If I rode a Sportster, which has the final drive chain on the right hand side of the bike, then my T shirt would show flecks of oil also on the right. So now you know. 

The shirt has been washed in a sink twice with hand soap and is definitely in need of a third rinse, although I’m getting fond of the road tramp look and manly aroma. 

A stripped down simple machine loaded with the bare minimum for camping is a fine way to travel. Perfection, luxury and convenience take second place to raw fun and dirty exuberance. Less is definitely more. The bits you pick to take with you have to be good and you cherish them as the miles pass by. You can only have what you can carry and you want to keep the set up light, so that the bike is still fun to ride on the twisty mountain roads. A simple white T shirt is the perfect imperfect garment for times like these. Why hide the dirt that you’ve had so much fun acquiring?

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