Why We Ride: Catherine Wales
Catherine grew up watching her brothers ride dirt bikes. She would often hear her mother say to her brothers, they were not allowed to progress to road bikes for fear of consequences.
“Once I learnt to ride, later in life, my mother's response was “I told your brothers not to ride motorcycles, I never thought I would have to tell you!”. Initially, I wanted to learn to ride motorcycles as a means to an end. I needed an affordable, fast, efficient way to commute through the packed streets of New York City. Parking was always an expensive nightmare, and so were car payments. At the time, I felt like micro-commuting was my only option, but I quickly found that it was the best fitting one too.” I was petrified, listening to my mother's voice in my head, though I guess not enough to stop me from achieving my goals.
Breaking through Stigmas
The longer Catherine rode, the more connected she got to a type of tight-knit community she never even knew existed.
“A community of bikers is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. It’s completely inclusive, accepting, and willing to help - help others learn to ride, help bikers on the side of the road… And all without any shame. You don’t have to feel embarrassed admitting you don’t feel comfortable doing something on your bike. They’ve all been there and instead offer to teach you how. But the best thing I came to recognize was the diversity of types of people riding. There is no one type of biker. No one type of person that rides. Motorcycles are literally for everyone. I grew up surrounded by so many stigmas and stereotypes around the kind of people that ride motorcycles but none of them are true. Our culture, our society is evolving and it’s time that these stigmas do too. And that’s truly what Atelier Volant is all about.”
Riding together as a pack is something bikers are known for, but what non-riders don’t innately realize is the solitude you still experience traveling in a group of people.
“I think a lot of people assume that since there is a group of people on the road together, they must be a unit. And in terms of community and having each other’s backs, that’s true, but most of us are enjoying simply being present as we ride. Soaking in the sights, scenes, and smells around us without feeling pressure to talk about them at nauseam. Sure, some of us chat through our helmets with one another, but the depth of those conversations is next level. Some of the most sincere, authentic conversations I have ever had have been through those helmet mics but it’s definitely not an expectation. The next time you see a pack of bikers on the road together, think of them like a bunch of boats sort of moored on the side of the shoreline, together, in their aloneness in the wild ocean.”
Break the mold
Riding is a lifestyle, one that seems to be increasing in popularity. A lifestyle of less emissions, more conscious actions and respect in sharing the road, a larger sense of freedom, experience, and life as a whole. Micro-commuting reconnects us to the environment around us; tickling our senses with the aromatic scents wafting through the airwaves from local restaurants, the sweet smells of fresh cut grass along neighborhoods, and the natural hum of human interaction.
“When I’m on my bike, I am present, in the moment, and completely aware. It’s not like sitting in your car looking up restaurant reviews and directions on your phone. It’s just two eyes on the road, two ears absorbing the rhythm of life, two hands on the bars to guide your way, and two legs powering you through it all. It’s a liberating lifestyle that’s making positive change for our planet, our roadways, and the people making it all go ‘round.”
People from all walks of life and careers ride bikes but shouldn’t there be a way for them to express their uniqueness while out on the road? Do we really still believe the stigmas related to motorcycles? Catherine knew it was her calling as a fashion designer to be a part of the change; a change in the way bikers are viewed and the limitations of gear that was already on the market.
“AV is all about meeting necessity on the road with personalized protection while still being able to dress in a way that represents us. We need the ability to transition from the road to the office. No one wants to wear oversized spacesuits all day, sweating, and stifling their personal style. With AV, I have designed each piece to offer high end functionality with removable padding and classic style that makes a statement across the multiple arenas in our lives. Whether you’re on a tight schedule or out wandering the wilderness - our gear transitions with you, the day, and the task hand.”
Are you ready to express your drive, your charisma, your personal style from the road to the workplace? We’re ready and waiting with the gear that you’ve been searching for.