Michael Hardman owns Cold Starts Moto, which sells motorcycle-related apparel, vintage “petroliana” and other accessories. It moved this month from 165 Main St. in Cold Spring to 64 Main St.
What was your first motorcycle?
A 1983 Honda CB650sc Nighthawk. It was a bit heavy and a little too quick for a first bike, but it’s what I could get my hands on. My father, most of my uncles and one of my aunts all rode, and ride. The day my mother went into labor with me, my father was riding dirt bikes with his brother on the trails in Elmsford — yup, off-road trails in Westchester County — and had to be hunted down to let him know he was having a kid.
Why does Cold Spring seem like such a center for bikers?
Bikers from New York City and all over come up and check out the Gunks [Shawan-gunk Mountains], the Highlands, Bear Mountain, Storm King Highway and Route 301. [Hardman sells T-shirts with a Route 301 sign.] Cold Spring is in a great spot for motorcyclists — it’s a perfect place to stop on their routes for coffee, breakfast or lunch, so they can tour the valley and still be home for dinner. I moved here 10 years ago because I was one of those riders coming up from Brooklyn on the weekends.
What is a “cold start”?
A cold start is the start of an engine when all the liquids in the motor have cooled and settled, which is the toughest time for a motor to start. I chose this name because if you’re out there looking for a good used motorcycle to buy, you’d like to see it “cold start.” Someone with a poorly running machine could have spent an hour bump-starting the bike, and once it’s hot it will start without issue. An owner who believes in the quality of what he or she is selling will allow you a cold start. It’s a form of integrity.
Why do motorcyclists have a bad reputation?
Short answer: Hollywood. Outlaw motorcycles clubs refer to themselves as One Percenters. They make up 1 percent of riders and 90 percent of the focus on film. Starting with The Wild One in 1953 and continuing with lots of “bad biker” movies in the 1960s through the Sons of Anarchy series [2008-2014] and a film, The Bikeriders, coming in December, it’s always the 1 percent, which makes sense because their lives are exciting and extreme. Only about 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the U.S. are motorcycles, yet for some reason most action heroes (and villains) in movies and books ride a bike. Yet most motorcyclists are regular people out there having some fun or getting from place A to B. We’re hard to see on the road sometimes, so please keep an eye out for us — we’re small.
What’s the appeal of the gear to non-bikers?
Cold Starts was always meant to be a shop for everyone, a window into the clothing and media that surround moto culture. Moto-gear and ephemera can be lots of things: fun, playful, irreverent, scary, nerdy, corny, complex. While bikes are inherently dangerous, they and the culture surrounding them are unequivocally fun — which is why they’re always in the movies. Bikes appeal to everyone because they embody risk, and we’re all a little bit attracted to risk. And we all look pretty cool in a leather jacket.
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