Motorbike Mackintoshes

In about 1975 I was given an elderly motorcycle by an old chap who had given up riding because of age and ill health. My wife agreed that it would be useful for me to go to work on, but I would need to be properly dressed up. She herself had ridden a moped for a while, so she knew about being dressed for the job. She bought me a Belstaff suit, the old waxed cotton type, with a long belted jacket with a collar strap. and overtrousers, and I had to buy a pair of wellington boots and a helmet. I had a fortnight's holiday when I learned to ride, and after the first couple of days just up and down the road getting used to the gears, I was sent out each day to get used to riding and handling the bike. I had to wear my full suit, wellingtons, and an old headscarf of my wife's tied over my mouth and nose under my helmet, which was an open face type. I also had a big pair of leather biker gloves. After the fortnight, when I went back to work, I was dressed up in my suit each morning, and my wife was very careful to check that my collar was buckled snugly round my throat, with my scarf tucked in warmly. This was fine for several months, until one very wet evening on my way home my suit simply gave out, and within a mile or so it had leaked like a colander leaving me wet from my thighs to my chest, my bottom and privates swiming in icy water. I got home and my wife was appalled. Fortunately it was a Friday, so the following day we set out to buy me some better gear. I had a pair of Helly-Hansen salopettes, the sort of waterproof trousers worn by sailors coming right up to the chest and held up by its own pair of braces, a gaberdine mackintosh from an army surplus store, and a rubber topcoat. The gaberdine mac was double breasted and belted, with a wool lining, and buttoned up to the neck with a buttoned flap on the collar to make it stand up and fit snugly under the chin. The rubber coat was long, well below my knees, also double breasted with an extra flap inside so it had to be buttoned up on the left hand side first, then the proper front of the coat was buttoned across up the right hand side. Again, the collar could be worn up, with a big flap buttoned across to keep my throat warm. The final buys were a pair of waterproof overmitts to go over my gloves, and a thermal balaclava which my wife decided I ought to have anyway, to give extra protection to my head and also to provide an extra layer of warmth for my mouth under my scarf. As I left for work first, I had my dressing supervised each morning, and my buttons were carefully checked, especially those on my collars.
I had to wear this set of clothing all summer, as my wife had no real concept of dressing for warm weather. Mackintoshes were for everyday wear, and this meant every day, not just when it rained or when we felt like wearing them. That autumn, I was treated to a Peter Storm suit, a one-piece suit in PU proofed nylon, like the cagoules which were becoming popular at the time. It had a hood as well, which I had to wear under my helmet over my balaclava. I also had to replace the headscarf with a much heavier wool scarf. My colleagues at work ( by some strange chance I was the only man in my section) were very good, nobody seemed bothered by my layers, and I noticed that after I had been there a while a couple of the ladies began to wear plastic macs over their ordinary coats in wet or very cold weather. I wore this for about five years, though I have to say that after a couple of years my wife decided that I could wear my gaberdine mac with the wool liner removed during the summer. Some days I was also allowed to leave my nylon hood down, though I always seemd to put it up to ride home! Finally, after eight years in the same job, with a fifteen mile commute each way, firstly by train and bus then later by motorbike, I got a job nearer home, with a four mile trip each way.
By this time my waterproof lining of my nylon suit was beginning to peel away, and the hood had become completely porous and a bit thin, so it was dispatched to the bin. My wife also decided that a new suit for riding was in order, and we went to a local motorbike shop which was closing down. The idea was to get a smart clean new riding suit to go with my new suit for my new job. We got one which was reduced in price (like everything in the shop), a PVC suit with a cotton backing and a thick quited lining right down past the knees. The lower part (salopettes again, right up to just under my armpits) were a closer fit than my old unlined ones, and the legs, wide enough to pull on easily, then closed tight with a zip from just below the knees down to the ankles. This made a warm, very snug fit, and together with the zips at either side of the body from the waist up, the trousers fitted almost like a second skin. The jacket was also quite close fitting, the sleeves closed with zips for the last seven or eight inches down to the cuffs, and a press stud connection rather than an adjustable strap on the collar. With my balaclava and scarf it was still beautifully warm, and I continued to wear my wellingtons inside the trouser legs, which made them fit even more tightly. My new colleagues were again not really bothered, but I did usually get to work a few minutes early to get undressed and ready for work, so they rarely saw me wearing my gear. I started in early September, so I was quite warm, not really a long enough ride to get cooled off at all. One morning, after about three weeks, I got dressed up, and then decided that I would wear my old rubber mac, so I put it on over my suit. My wife watched me, checked my buttons and belt, made sure my collar was buttoned up, and then said " That's much better. Well done. It will keep you lovely and warm. You like your big rubber mac, don't you?" I had to nod and admit she was right, I loved to wear it, although by now it was showing signs of wear. A couple of weeks later she came home from work one Friday evening with a big heavy bag, which she took into the cloakroom, followed by her own boots and macs (she nearly always wore a trench coat with a nylon mac over it). She told me that after tea there was a surprise for me, but I would have to wait. After tea, she told me to get dressed up for riding my bike, which I did, but as I went to put on my rubber mac she stopped me, and told me to close my eyes and put my arms out behind me. I assumed that she had bought me a new rubber mac, which you could buy then for about three or four pounds, but when I got it on and opened my eyes it weighed a lot more than my old one. It was an ex-military dispatch riders coat, double textured (rubber between two layers of heavy cotton canvas), and had lots of lovely features which I had never come across before. It had straps to fasten to my thighs, keeping the coat well wrapped round my upper legs. There was a big flap under the back of the coat to pull under my bottom and buckle up to straps inside the front panel. There were press studs to pull the tail of the coat under my bottom, effectively making the skirt into a sort of trousers, which kept all the wind and rain from your bottom. The cuffs studded up tightly, the collar had a pair of big brass hooks and eyes to keep the neck securely wrapped, and the huge collar had a buckled strap and a big buttoned flap to hold it up, and it fastened right up over my mouth. The following day, I was sent to visit my wife's cousin, about thirty miles away, fully buttoned into my new coat, to deliver something or other. I was allowed to take off all my gear, sat for an hour or so for a cup of tea and a bite of lunch, then I had to get all kitted up to ride home again. The cousin was fascinated by my new coat, and asked if it was comfortable, was it warm, wasn't it very heavy to wear. I said yes to all of those, and when I was putting it on she watched me pull my leg straps tight, and then buckle up my crotch strap, then she helped me button the front up and belt it up. Then she said "I want to fasten up your collar" She buckled me up and buttoned my mouth flap over, gave me a hug and sent me on my way. When I got home, the cousin had phoned my wife and told her that she loved the coat, and that I must always wear it when I rode over to see her. Needless to say I had no choice in the matter!
About four or five years later I had gone somewhere on the bike, and hung my outdoor clothes in the public cloakroom. When it was time to leave, I was one of the last to go, and when I got to the cloakroom my coat was gone! Someone had taken it, leaving my suit, scarf and wellingtons and helmet. I had to ride home without it, and there were tears from both my wife and myself over it. Although we reported it to the police and the place where it happened, I never saw it again, and I never found another. Luckily my wife managed to find a rubber one like the old one I had worn previously, and I continued to wear it for quite a few years. Indeed, for sixteen years I rode the four miles each way to and from work in my PVC suit, wellingtons and rubber mac, until I retired due to illness. Since my wife died and I remarried, my new wife does not share my love of macs, so I have to ride my bike in a modern suit with a waterproof suit over the top, although I have a waterproof nylon cagoule to wear underneath once I get away from home!
Macjames Macjames
61-65, M
2 Responses Oct 28, 2010

I speak from experience when I say you were so lucky to have had a wife sharing your love of macs<br />
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My love of macs goes back to the early 1950s and when I married in 1974 I approached my wife(tactfully) about this attraction<br />
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Her response was negative to say the least<br />
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She said macs were for wearing outdoors in the rain or to stay warm in..not for any other "pleasures"<br />
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So until we split up in 1999 my mac wearing was just outdoors in the rain or colder weather<br />
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I don"t know if I told her because I was hoping she might join me in mackintosh fun indoors or accept me wearing them indoors or even buying her a sensible mac so we could go out together similiarly dressed in our macs<br />
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On my own now I wear macs indoors as much I can

Sorry I have not seen your post earlier. What troubles we have with the ladies. Perhaps we should be happy with the delights our mackintoshes afford us and stay together without risking their disdeign and scorn for our interest. I have been enjoying black rubber mackintoshes and rubber boots ever since I was a small boy. It started when somebody gave me a mackintosh to stop me getting wet playing out of doors. I was about 5-6. I soon discovered that the sound it made and the smell of rubber gave me an excited feeling and it wasn't long before I was enjoying it all the way secretly in the garage pretending I was on a motorbike. The rubber boots all kids wear added to the pleasure. My first problem was when I was caught in the act and my mackintosh was rudely taken away from me and burnt. The anger and frustration were beyong belief. I soon got my own back by 'borrowing' a very shiny black mackintosh that had been hanging in the school cloakroom quite some time. The new mackintosh was even more exciting than the one they had burnt and the memory of its burning added to the continued pleasures. I was now a confirmed 'motorcyclist' in my mind and this stayed with me until I bought my first motorbike at18 and a pair of new Dunlop overshoe waders. The combination was dynamite. I also bought a second mackintosh for anyone who wanted a ride on the pillion. It also came in useful when enjoying mackintoshes indoors or in the garage. I managed to keep my secret after getting married. A lot of careful timing at home but the most frequent opportunities were when out riding although somehow this never gave quite the same frantic plleasure as the garage or indoor sessions. All was well until the day my wife came back having forgotten something and walked in to find me wearing a black mackintosh, black rubber thigh boots, an old leather helmet, goggles and rubber gloves thrusting joyfully backwards and forwards against a second mackintosh spread over a 'mock-up' motorbike put together from a small bench seat with cushions on top. There was no way I could explain. The situation became painfully clear to her and she tore into me with words like pervert, unbalanced, sexual deviant, dirty rubber behaviour in my house, and much else was added as I shamefully took my mackintosh off and pulled off my waders. My pleasures were not quite fulfilled I recall which made sensible conversation extremely difficult. She tried to take charge of all my rubber gear but I stopped her. I was too fond of my mackintoshes to have them destroyed in the way I was deprived of my mackintosh in my early teens. I tried to reason with her using all the basics of our interest and assuring her that it had nothing to do with our personal life but she did not give an inch. It took a long time to get back to anywhere normal, if we ever have, but I am still enjoying my mackintoshes and my rubber waders and still pretending I am on my motorbike as often as I strict secret.

great story, keep on riding.