A review from Vonny of the Celtic Crew MCC:
"We've found... Bikers Paradise!
In need of some decent leathers and clean vests for our colours, we spent days online looking for what each of us needed. Although Ryan was quick to find a vest he wanted online, I, on the other hand, being my usual uncompromising self, couldn't find exactly what I had in mind. After trawling the net for days, eventually, Ryan suggested visiting some shops so I could experience the quality and fit of what I was buying, rather than take a chance.
I started by checking out some online shops, to find out which of those welcomed customers to their shop. Having drawn up a short list, based on distance, prices and those showing the closest to what I had in mind, Ryan suggested one in Coventry as he knew a good route there for a ride out.
So, next day, we headed off to Bikers Paradise in Coventry. Having stopped for a late lunch along the way, we reached Bikers Paradise from Wroughton in just under 2 hours. It was in an industrial estate - Unit 7 Portway Close, Tile Hill, Coventry, CV4 9UY.
First impressions upon arrival? Just another typical unassuming small industrial unit. I was a bit apprehensive but, once through the door, I felt we had stepped through a porthole in time. Warm and inviting in an Olde Worlde style. We left our lids on the settee and headed up the stairs, through the door and into an Aladdin's cave for bikers leathers. Wall to wall jackets, trousers, vests, boots, plus bandannas, hair ties, tassels for grips, even under garments for both ladies and gents. Not only was there everything leather imaginable, there was also helmets, goggles, luggage, shades, Kevlar's etc. Aptly named, I thought... a real Bikers Paradise!
We browsed for a couple of minutes in this little wonderland. We were then offered assistance from a charming gentleman called Malc, which we took. The choice of styles seemed endless, as was Malc's patience with me. After numerous times of "I really like this one, but oh... Look at that one, can I try that one on, oh what about this one, or that one over there..." etc, nothing was too much to ask.
Ryan was, by now, exploring the racks for himself. He found a pair of Kevlar jeans he liked. Now for those of you who know me and Ryan, you know we are not the usual "off the peg" sizes... Ryan is F.B. (fat b*st*rd) size and I am a F.B.G. (fat bottomed girl - a slightly more polite term for ladies).
Bikers Paradise stocked our sizes and bigger! That, in itself, is quite unique. The only snag was the length of leg... Way too long... Everything had seemed to be going so well up to that point. "Oh well", I thought, "all too good to be true, I guess...". How wrong was I? Not only do Bikers Paradise do alterations, but they are done while you wait. Total perfection! Out with the measuring tape and ten minutes later, Ryan had 100% perfect fit Kevlar jeans. The same with the leather trousers I eventually chose...
An hour after we had arrived at Bikers Paradise, we left with really good quality leather jacket, trousers, vest and neck warmers plus Kevlar jeans, that all fitted us two F.B's perfectly, and all at internet prices.
So the next time you need to get some leathers or any biker gear, for a truly fantastic selection at excellent prices, plus a customer service second to none, (with the added attraction of a nice ride out to get there), you can't go wrong with Bikers Paradise.
Vonny (the Celtic Tigress)"
An article from Ian Pogson of the Bromsgrove Motorcycle Club:
LEATHER & LACE
Funny how advertising works (or doesn't). Some attempts to part me from my hard-earned just jar with me so much that I rail against them. Take the Asda strap-line "Saving you money every day". No they so**ing don't! If I venture through the doors of Associated Dairies (as was, now a 'Member of the Walmart family'), it costs me money to leave with purchased items. That is costing me every day. And I am not sure that I want to support a bunch of gun-toting foreigners (American owners). At the risk of going all Gutteridge on you, here's another (no bad thing - he looks good for 60 and thanks for the drink, Mike). The ad for a certain cosmetic ends with "because you're worth it". No, you are not. You are an over-paid actress who smiled at the right producer when you were an extra on the set of 'Captain Scarlet'. Yet another advertising rant - why should I pay extra to wear clothing with a brand name thereon? The brand should pay me (putting MG mug down, looking at Triumph watch while adjusting Chinese Gucci budgie-smugglers).
Any road up, as they say in Lancashire (on account of the continual carriage repairs caused by steel cart-wheels still plying the streets full of match-stick men and women). "To the point, accursed, bespectacled scribe", I hear you say. (It may have been something else, but you were muttering). The point of this little ramble is to a) stroke my writer's ego and to b) muse over the effect of an advert. I saw one for repairing and taking in motorcycle leathers, in the back pages of a certain motorcycle magazine. As I had two sets of leathers, neither of which fitted, I thought it was time to sally forth and infiltrate the emporium in question - Bikers Paradise - to see what was possible.
Usefully, the atelier of this Paradise is in Canley, a district of Coventry, once known for making fine (and some not-so-fine) motor cars and other associated parts and machine tools. I had worked in Canley as a young strip of a lad (such a phrase always has connotations of nakedness or of being torn off something, perhaps while naked). Anyway, in an unfashionable end of an industrial estate lie the workshops of real craftsmen and women. It is one of those - "now why have I not been here before?" places. I lived in Coventry for years as a student and have regular cause to visit the fair city for work and studies, but never known about this place. I clearly must 'take more interest in local affairs', as the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy suggests, just before Earth was demolished to make way for a hyper-space bypass.
So, back to the plot. Bikers Paradise was set up, according to the website, by two tool-making mates who started part-time creating items of leather clothing for the discerning fetishist. After a while, these lads took the almost inevitable redundancy and set up full-time designing, testing and making quality leather motorcycle wear. You can read their history on the excellent t'internet site. Bikers Paradise is just what it says over the door. Whatever PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) or just fashion goods you require of mostly leather manufacture is available from here.
The two gents who started the company as a cottage industry back in 1966, Alec and Malc, pooled their redundancies in 1974 from local engineering firms and used their design, test and manufacturing talents gained in tool-making to run a business full-time. Virtually everything you see on the pegs has been created and tested by them on bikes in the real world and here is a real sense of Perceived Quality (the subject of my PhD). You can see, touch, hear and of course smell the leather, but laced with modern materials such as carbon fibre for abrasion resistance and lightweight comfort. New product is highly sought-after and I only went in to see if two pairs of racing leathers could be altered from a wide-boy fit to suit my spindly frame.
The response was considered, expertly assessed and deliberately conveyed - a quality piece of feedback given in a straight-forward fashion. "You are wasting your time, they are just too big. Come along when you are ready and we can talk custom-fitted leathers that will be safer for you, with armour in the right places". I like that sort of comment: no messing about with bushes or flowers. Being a bloke and luckily with some money I declared I was ready then and so without further ado, Malc sized me up without the benefit of any metrology equipment and produced the best-fitting leather bike jeans I have ever owned. PQ was oozing from these pants. Details such as two calf zips so they could be worn in or outside boots was a great touch and there was a useful waist adjustment band as well as stretch panels at the right spots.
Bloke shopping; in, see, discuss, assess, try, pay, bye. No wandering around a faceless mall. In and out. Done. Now there is a company with an eye to PQ (perceived quality) and the confidence and experience to deliver. PQ has to be a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) for them; I wonder if they consciously know it.