CLOTHES STORIES: Helen’s Leathers

Meet the amazing Helen Byrkett. She’s grandmother of my pal Matt, who supplied the pix, along with about a dozen 1950s-1970s dancing dresses, because Helen was also a competitive square dancer —not to mention dressmaker; about half are home made. Maybe that delicious domestic vignette is her in mid-sewing session? Or maybe brushing her teeth.

Anyway, on the bike, she qualified for BMW’s 100,000 mile club, much of it I’m sure, wearing this perfect, perfectly worn-in set of leathers, custom made for her by Bate’s of California. Bate’s is the best of the best, and very sought after—especially a hard-to-find small ladies’ size, with zip-out sheepskin gilet and gold lining from the 1960s. It’s all sorts of perfect. 

We’ll post the leathers for sale soon—it’s going to make someone extremely happy. Now if only I had the leathers my own aunt wore to ride her classic Norton, and if only I could find the pic of her in her top-to-toe leathers when she rode solo around the USSR in the 1950s.  

But that’s another story. 

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