There are a lot of "Classic" categories when it comes to the biker industry and pastime. Names like Harley Davidson and Indian motorcycles set the standard for classic bikes, and fashion has long been associated with black rugged road leather and denim for look, function and practicality. And while the helmet debate will never end, those who choose the option most likely settle for half or full head coverage (you pick the color).
If you are wanting to "customize" or personalize your look outside of these "Classical" boundaries, you had to take it upon yourself to seek those craftsmen and women who make it their trade to personalize your look. Outside of that, your options where extremely limited. That is until now.
Enter "Biker Chic Boutique" and "BADASS Helmet". If the names don't speak for themselves, their products scream it loud and clear. Edgy, inventive, unique and outside of the box might be some words to describe what you find in their product offerings and, yes, just maybe someday the word "Classic" biker fashion, though on a whole new level.
We asked Lisa Buster, owner of Biker Chic Boutique, to give Born To Roam some background on both companies and how their product is changing the look in typical biker fashion and accessories. We caught her just after her return from Laconia's Bike Week where she shared a vendor booth with BADASS Helmet.
B2R: What was the inspiration for Biker Chic Boutique and can you give us a brief history of the company?
LB: The inspiration for Biker Chic Boutique came about when we found everything out on the market so incredibly boring. I’m involved with Marix Stone's (her boyfriend) helmet business BADASS Helmet, (formerly Hells Bells Customs), and he was making handcrafted 3-D helmets. We would do a number of shows each year, including Sturgis. I would go shopping towards the end of the show in Sturgis, and the first year I came back with a number of things, including the obligatory T-shirts as gifts for everyone. The next year I already had the things I’d bought the year before, so I didn’t need to buy them again, but found a few jewelry items. By the third year when I went to shop, I came back in 10 minutes. There was literally nothing to buy. All the shops up and down Main Street were selling the exact same things as the year before, and most of the shops were selling T-shirts and the exact same ones at that; as the same vendors buy up multiple storefronts and sell the same things. There was literally nothing new or interesting.
Marix is very artistic (a former Disney artist), and the helmets are also very different. We have some gorgeous ladies’ helmets and I thought we needed something to go with those helmets. Our helmets were always about style and attitude, as well as safety, so I was looking to extend that look. I like artists and handmade items, so I looked at other areas and at friends’ shops that were in different markets, such as Steampunk and some other edgier areas. I figured there had to be others like me that wanted something different. So I put together things from different artists and vendor booths I came across while doing shows, as well as things from some boutique shops I go to. So that’s how the Biker Chic Boutique came to be.
My personal style is reflected on the site. I was a customer first of many of the items I have featured. I don’t like to buy things at the mall, or wear something that everyone else has. I also prefer things that are handmade and built to last.
Biker Chic and BADASS - Game Changing Biker Fashion
B2R: Your products are hardly "traditional" but still speak directly to biker fashion but are not the typical road leather look. Are they Biker Chic originals or do you source designers who are already out there with unique product?
LB: Everything I have is functional, for what any lady biker would need. But it’s for the woman who likes her own individual style and is looking for things that are sexy and classy, not trashy. I have things from different
designers, and one "Hipstirr" makes a certain colors just for me. Some designers are in alternative markets, others are bikers (like the ladies who make the hip bags) and originally made items for themselves. It’s a combination of things I’ve run across where I see how they would work in the bike market, yet those designers are not in that market, and artists or vendors I’ve come across through doing shows in different areas of the country. Jungle Tribe makes awesome stuff. They’re so creative and edgy and the quality is excellent. We also do the apparel designs ourselves on high-quality distressed fabrics. If it’s something typical, we’re not going to sell it.
B2R: Recently you were a vendor at Laconia's Bike Week. Have you always taken this show on the road or is this a new venue for you? What was it like?
LB: We usually share a booth with BADASS Helmet at shows such as Sturgis and the OC BikeFest. As I mentioned, I started taking things there to coordinate with the helmets to spice things up, as everything was either the same or so cheaply made. We consider the helmets not only a safety product, but also an accessory item. We want women to be able to coordinate items to enable them to create their own personal style. The last several years people have told us we were the best booth at those shows because we had the only items that were different. And we are the only place there you can find what we have. I’ll also do some local gun shows at times if they don’t conflict with a bike show, as the concealed carry hip bags are very nice. We took helmets to Laconia for the first time last year, and set up in Laconia Harley-Davidson (one of our customers). We did the same at Orlando Harley-Davidson (same owners) during Orlando Bike Week, so they asked me to bring the hip bags and pocket belts with us for this years rally. Laconia Bike Week was great, and we sold over 500 helmets and a good amount of Hip Bag and Hipstirr bags and pocket belts.
B2R: What is the best or most often given feedback you get about your products and selections?
LB: The best thing is when customers tell me how much they love the item they got, especially the hip bags. I just love them and it’s like opening Christmas presents every time I get new ones. I have no idea what they’ll look like and one is prettier than the next! It’s like giving up a puppy when I sell one, so I’m really happy when the person who gets it tells me how much they enjoy it. I also love hearing when people tell us that we have the best booth because everything is so different and the quality is so good. It’s pricier, but good leather lasts a long time and doesn’t wear out after a year or two. One thing’s for sure. . .you’re going to stand out, and nobody will have the same look as you. It’s about being individual.
B2R: It seems like the possibilities with your lines are endless in the design offerings and different styles from bags to belts to gloves and who knows what's next. What is in the future for Biker Chic Boutique? Where or how would you like to see the business expand in reaching an even bigger audience?
LB: I’ve really done minimal advertising of the site, but am stepping that up. We’re looking to increase sales of the ladies’ style helmets and have more people see the site. I also hope to keep the ladies that make the hip bags busier, selling many more of their wonderful bags.
B2R: If you could leave us with one thought or two about why Biker Chic Boutique and BADASS Helmet is the first place to go to for Biker Fashion and gifts, what would it be?
LB: If someone is looking for something different, and not wanting to follow the crowd, you’ll likely find it at our site. I don’t have anything made in China, and we focus on style and quality.
Biker Chic Boutique and BADASS Helmets are truly game changers when it comes to "Biker Fashion". It is easy to see why both companies are growing and becoming more and more popular in the world of Biker wear.
B2R: With so many varied offerings , what are your most popular products?
LB: The Concealed Carry hip bags and BADASS helmets are very popular. We have cute helmet styles such as the Rose Tattoo, Fit 2B Tied (a corset-inspired helmet with leather lacing) and Diamonds in the Ruff (which has 41 Swarovski® crystals and is absolutely gorgeous in the sun). The helmets are stylish, comfortable, lightweight and come with the best warranties in the industry. They have a lifetime manufacturing warranty and the company replaces a helmet for free if a rider goes down. And anything over $175 qualifies for free shipping.
The hip bags are great because they very pretty, but also functional as they carry your things. The Concealed Carry bags offer more space with a hidden back pocket, so easily hold larger items if not used for carrying a weapon. So they sell quickly, especially when I’m at a show. The fact that they’re one-of-a-kind means that nobody will have the same bag as you. But because of that, it’s hard to constantly put stock up on the website. I need more time than I have to put them there, and then when they sell they disappear from view. People who know me know to go to the Biker Chic Facebook page as I post new things there first, and others will message me to ask what I really have. I usually have much more than what’s shown on the website, especially when doing shows. And some items, like the Swarovski crystal bandanas, don’t photograph well and look better in person. More variety of Hipstirr pocket belts are found on the Facebook page.
Born To Roam Bikers Cruising the Highways and Byways of Northeastern Oklahoma!
There is no doubt that every Biker charity is one that is on a mission to aid a charity, organization or individual (s) who are in need. But this month’s Chips Champs feature “Bikers With A Mission” that actually has one (a Mission that is) The City Union Mission of Kansas, City Missouri.
City Union Mission is a "Evangelical Christian ministry committed to sharing the gospel and meeting the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of men, women and children who are poor and homeless". Services are broken down into four main categories; Women and Family, Men's Services, Youth Services and Community Assistance.
Bikers With A Mission (BWAM) was originally established by Guy Girratono and the Disciples of Jesus Ministries in 1990, along with the assistance of Freedom of Road Riders (F.O.R.R.) and
has raised over $580,000 for the City Union Mission. This year’s 28th annual charity ride was on June 10th and was attended by more than 230 bikers, passengers and bike enthusiasts. The benefit ride raised $17,500 for City Union Mission.
City Union Mission started back in 1924 by the Reverend and Mrs. David Bulkley in order to provide warm beds, nutritious food and a place of safety for poverty stricken homeless men, women and children. The Mission was first established down in the city market area which was known as “Skid Row”. In 1927 the Mission acquired the home that once belonged to Madame Lovejoy in the “Red Light” district. By the start of the Great Depression the need continued to grow and so did the Mission. The following is a brief history of that time period and how the mission came to be as taken from the City Union Mission website.
“David Bulkley saw the broken men of Kansas City as “God’s human sparrows.” A Kansas City Star article in 1934, described them as “men staggering to their feet from all sorts of knockout blows, men who had lost heart in the battle of life … beaten men”. Mrs. Bulkley became acquainted with Annie Chambers, former owner of what was once the finest and most elegant brothel in Kansas
A Word of Thanks
Born To Roam would like to thank Lisa Buster of Biker Chic Boutique, Dan Doty of City Union Mission and Tom and Geri Scanlon of The Dubliner for their contributions to our stories! Each month we will continue to bring our readers more "news" from our partners in order to help spread the word about the many and varied wonderful places, products and events available to our Roaming Community.
If you enjoyed our newsletter and would like to be featured in one of our monthly issues, please let us know and we will put you down on our list. There is no cost or obligation to you at all.
Please help us in spreading the word about all of our partners by posting, sharing our newsletter on Facebook or by sharing, liking and following us on Facebook. It is our goal to be the number one "Free Listing" website for Biker Resources.
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City. For decades, she ran it protected by police and businessmen, until prohibition and a crackdown on prostitution closed her down. By 1934, Annie was 92 and had been supporting herself by giving tours of her decaying brothel. The friendship between the Bulkleys and the lonely former Madame grew. She shared her life story with them; they shared the Gospel with her. Soon after giving her heart to the Lord, she deeded her home to City Union Mission. “I have been thinking lately that there are many women who need just such love and sympathy to save them,” she told the Bulkleys. “I want to give you this big house of mine for that purpose.” With the acquisition of this property and finally, the Eva Prince mansion, the Bulkeys began ministries to men, women and children that reach “God’s human sparrows” even today with the same vital, life-changing information of God’s love and sacrifice for them.
Today, City Union Mission is the largest rescue mission in the 6-State area. In 2016 City Union Mission provided 134,865 nights of shelter, 256,915 meals where served, 12,383 medical services where provided and 567 salvation and rededications occurred. City Union Mission receives no government support and is not a United Way agency.
The Mission depends completely on the gifts of God’s people - individuals, churches, groups, foundations, and businesses who have a heart for the poor and homeless in Kansas City.
To learn more about Bikers With A Mission please visit them on Facebook or see visit their webpage on the City Union Mission website by “Clicking Here”. To learn about becoming a supporter of City Union Mission and ways to help them provide the needed services for those in need please visit them at www.cityunionmission.org.
NOTE: If you have or know of a worthy cause, charity or project hosted by a Biker organization and would like it to be considered as part of this feature, submit your information on our form page by “Clicking Here”. Chips Champs is about charity awareness and the positive impact Bikers have on a local and national level. To see charities already listed by State on Born to Roam Biker .com, go to our full listing page by “Clicking Here” now!
Bikers gather at City Union Mission for the 28th Annual Bikers With A Mission Charity Ride
I don't think there is anyone who doesn't enjoy or appreciate spending some time in a good old traditional Irish Pub. Not necessarily a Pub that has an Irish name and a few beers and whiskeys on the drink menu. I mean a true "dyed in the wool" Irish Pub. One where once you walk into the place you could lose yourself in the atmosphere (and alcohol) in actually feeling you are transported to the traditions of what makes an Irish Pub something to seek out to begin with.
So what are these traditions? Well the beer and whiskey selection is definitely one of them, a warm welcoming atmosphere that has plenty woodwork and memorabilia and lets not forget music and if your really lucky live music and maybe dancing. Even with these things a great Irish Pub can still be a hit and miss experience. Well this months feature, The Dubliner of St. Paul, MN is definitely a hit. If not a Home Run.
Without going into too much detail about it's history and beginnings (you can read about that on their websites "News Page"), lets just say the Dubliner was established by Tom Scanlon, a true Irish immigrant from Tarbot in County Kerry, Ireland in 1965. In 1983, he bought the
Ace Box Bar and the rest, as they say, is history. Though there have been many changes to the neighborhood and The Dubliner since that time, the one thing that hasn't changed is the dedication and hard work that Tom (and wife Geri) have put into making it the "Best Pub in St. Paul" by City Pages. Quoted from their review "The beer is plentiful, the shots of respectable girth, and the atmosphere welcoming to one and all. It's not unusual to find bands of Irish dancers high-stepping across the floor. On most nights, traditional live music fills their air. Bagpipers in full regalia occasionally stop by. In other words, this isn't a joint that slaps up some shamrocks and a Guinness sign and calls itself Irish. This is the real McCoy".
On the "About" page of The Dubliner's website, it mentions that "There is Irish and American music six nights a week." and "Low key Irish dance lesson on Wednesday nights starting at 7pm". It also boasts of "a long tradition of serving up some of the best tap beers around, a great selection of top shelf whiskeys and of course, a mighty pint, poured to perfection". They post both the Draft List and Whiskey Menu on the website as well to back up the fact that the selection is anything but limited to meet a wide range of tastes and almost guarantees that even the most picky of patrons will find something to their liking.
The two page Pub Menu list mostly tradition American bar fare of appetizers, sandwiches,
burgers and pizza with a few Irish themed selections including their featured "Guinness Battered Fish & Chips".
It is also important to mention that The Dubliner also has the traditional Pub recreations, Darts as example and a patio for those who would prefer the outside when the weather permits. Seating consists of wooden tables and chairs, Highback booths and a "people watching" counter seating looking out a picture window. Of course there is an ample bar complete with brass rail and stools.
Besides the fact that The Dubliner is a true Irish Pub, like all of our featured stories, it is the history behind The Dubliner that also makes it a place to appreciate. A great account of this story is in an interview by Bruce Johansen of the Twin Cities Daily Planet and can be found on The Dubliner's website by "Clicking Here". In the interview Tom tells about how he came to America and fulfilled the "American Dream". Not by taking from our country but by adding something more to it. More than owning another place to have a beer. His story is about bringing the best of your own native culture to add to your new one. A true example of how our great country can be enriched with cultures from around the world. It is a story that needs to be heard now more than ever. Simply because it's about bringing something to our country rather than just taking from it.
The Dubliner Pub
A Bit of Ireland in St. Paul
Traditional Irish Music Played Regularly At The Dubliner.
We Need Your Help In Honoring Our Service Men and Women.
"I figured there had to be others who wanted something different like me"
"The helmets are stylish, comfortable, lightweight, DOT and come with the best warranties in the business"
"...you're going to stand out and nobody will have the same look as you"
Tom Scanlon Pours "A Perfect Pint" Of Guinness
"The perfect pint of Guinness is waiting for me still
It’s not at Gus O'Connor's or O’Brien's on the hill
For it's poured by Tommy Scanlon in old Meiriceá
At his Pub that’s called The Dubliner
where the Irish music plays"
-Born To Roam