New Cold Spring store offers motorcycle fashion
One of Michael Hardman’s four motorcycles has taken up permanent residence inside his new shop, Cold Starts, at 165 Main St. in Cold Spring. There, it has found good company in the store’s motorcycle-related apparel, vintage “petroliana” and other accessories.
Hardman, who has lived in the village with his family since 2014, is making his first foray into retail after spending 25 years as a creative director in Manhattan.
“The marketing aspects come naturally to me, but running a small business is new,” he says.
After working from home in the early days of the pandemic, he decided to make a change. His life’s passion is motorcycles, so he started there.
“In this world full of division, the connection around motorcycles crosses religion, race, age,” he explains. “As in many sports, people come together over a love of team, and they move past their differences.”
He also wants to get past the stereotypes of the “bad boy” motorcyclist. In the movies, “the hero is traveling around and suddenly there are three bikers behind him who are villains,” he says. “The stigma of the outlaw, I hope that changes. Don’t get me wrong — motorcycling does make you feel like kind of a badass. But the culture is shifting. For instance, there are far more female riders, and manufacturers have taken notice. They’re building in seat height as an important variable.”
Why does he ride? “If you do anything that requires your full mental capacity, you get into a meditative state of clearing; the stresses of your life go away,” he says. “It’s that, plus the visceral experience of flying. There’s a cheesy saying that nevertheless holds weight: ‘You don’t see motorcycles outside a shrink’s office.’ ”
Hardman grew up in Westchester with a family of die-hard riders. “They were riding them and fixing them, from dirt bikes to Harleys. Motorcycles were part of my life, but never part of my livelihood. I saw this store as my moment to bring these two things together. There’s inherent risk in doing something like this as opposed to 9-to-5, well paid, but it’s a now-or-never moment for me.”
What’s the correct term to use for people who ride motorcycles?
Hardman: I use rider, or motorcyclist, because that encompasses a broader group. Cyclist implies something with pedals. Biker means outlaw.
What’s behind the store name?
Hardman: A “cold start” is when a vehicle sits for some time, then starts. Whenever you go and look for buying a motorcycle, especially used, you’ll find online videos that always show an immediate start. You need to request a cold start, in person. If it’s been sitting, it may have trouble starting. Cold start is honesty and trust: You believe that what you have is going to do what you said it would do. It’s in “good nick,” if you will. There’s a positivity behind it.
The lure Cold Spring holds for motorcyclists is related to its geography. “The Hudson Valley and Lower Catskills are wonderful places to ride, and Cold Spring in particular is so accessible from New York City,” he says. “I lived in Brooklyn for a long time, but this is where I rode. Plus, Perkins Drive and Harriman State Park are big draws and Cold Spring becomes the spot to have lunch or coffee. It’s a congregation point, which creates more focus and more community.”
After considering places where riders could hang out, such as a coffee shop or garage, Hardman settled on men’s clothing and retail, in part because he did not want to “trample on any of the established businesses here doing things very well.” The stock includes vintage and new motorcycle-related and-inspired clothing and accessories.
“The vintage is so much fun; I didn’t realize what an important component of the shop it would be,” he says. “A lot of my vintage is moto-centric — anything from old signs to caps, beanies, jackets, pennants, old moto books.”
The men’s basics include sweatshirts, T-shirts and thermals made by Goodwear, a Massachusetts-based manufacturer. “I worked hard to find a brand that was approachable for anyone, made in the U.S.,” Hardman says. “They’re practical and rugged, even though riding a motorcycle isn’t practical at all.”
There’s also a line of Hardman-designed T-shirts and sweatshirts. One displays the number 301, for those in the know.
Cold Starts, at 165 Main St., in Cold Spring, is open Thursday to Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hardman says he will extend his hours during riding season, which is pretty much any time when there’s no ice, salt and sand on the roads. See instagram.com/coldstartsmoto.