Cool thing.

The R nineT Scrambler and a Dream Come True - A Perfect Duo.

Impassioned motorcyclist Laura Antoine travels on her Scrambler from her home town in Toulouse to Lyon. She is visiting someone there who has made his style into whole life's mission, and who – like Laura – loves vintage and motorcycles: Sébastien Chirpaz. A true free spirit, who understands his trade and also has a small present at the ready for his visitor. 

ENTHUSIASM EVER SINCE CHILDHOOD

Laura Antoine, originally from Toulouse, was born with her passion. She barely made it past the custom and vintage scene, because her father is a member of the Toulouse Southsiders MC, which among other things also organizes the Wheels and Waves Festival. "My father is the reason why I have been fascinated by motorcycles since my childhood", Laura explains. "I love motorcycling. It gives me this unique feeling of freedom. Life is precious, and must be enjoyed to the full. When I am sitting on my bike, my head becomes clear and I find solutions to problems".

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On her days off, the 28-year-old gets on her bike and rides out from Toulouse to enjoy the beauty of southern France. When she has more time, she heads even farther afield. She has even ridden through Namibia and later through Cuba. "For me it is important for me to feel free and to go wherever I want and whenever I want", she says, adding: "Of course, I do have fears. But I need this feeling to feel more alive and to be able to enjoy life more intensively."

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"
Life is precious, and must be enjoyed to the full. When I am sitting on my bike, my head becomes clear and I find solutions to problems.
"

Laura Antoine

A fascination for travelling with the motorcycle.

A fascination for travelling with the motorcycle.

Laura has had numerous positive experiences during her travels: "People get much closer to you and you yourself get much closer to the people when you are travelling with your motorcycle. Because people are surprised and curious. "The bike also lets you discover crazy places in the middle of nowhere that you would never get to with a car." These experiences apply to Laura for each trip – even for a relatively short trip, such as to Lyon. Here, she will meet Sébastien Chirpaz, with whom she shares both her passion for all things vintage as well as here hang-up for the unadjusted lifestyle. She is excited about the present which Sébastien designed especially for her: a silk cloth as a lucky charm for future journeys. 

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As she nears Lyon, the roads get increasingly windy. The Rhône-Alpes region, the capital of which is Lyon, has some fantastic routes. Upon arrival in Lyon, Laura winds her Scrambler through the narrow streets up to the La Croix-Rousse hill, which provides a spectacular view over the city. Weavers were among the first to settle in its working-class district, and rolled out their long banners in the windy alleys. So it was clear that Sébastien would seek to manufacture his silk cloths in precisely this region. After all, this extraordinary free spirit loves authenticity. 

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LIKE OUT OF A BLACK AND WHITE FILM

The world of Sébastien Chirpaz is hidden behind an inconspicuous brown wooden door. Anyone who enters will be overwhelmed by the charms of the past. Fashion, music, motorsport and architecture from the 30s to the 60s are the theme here. The antique shelves hold rock ’n’ roll records, a tube radio and alongside this a bass fiddle. A worn-in leather couch makes up the heart of the room. It is also clear from looking at it how much the 45-year-old embodies the lifestyle of that time:

Moustache, silk cloth and suspenders over a lined shirt - Sébastien could be out of a film from the days when they were still filmed in black and white. "The past has no end. It is an infinite source of inspiration and creation, which brings a bit of elegance into today's world", he proclaims, straightening his black framed glasses.

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Instinct as opposed to business plan.

"The ongoing search for style is my lifestyle. It is my daily drive and gets me through the day. Nothing is worse for me than routine, consistency and monotony". This is why Sébastien gave up his job as a Marketing Director and founded his fashion label in 2012; "A Piece Of Chic". He operates the traditional craft of silk cloth printing in his studio. He quickly made a name for himself thanks to the unusual designs and the high level of quality of his handmade goods. His cloths are meanwhile being sold worldwide in 50 selected stores. In Spain, Italy, Germany, England, Japan and America.

But Sébastien's assortment also gleams in Lyon and Paris in lifestyle shops like the Pop-up-Store of Deus Ex Machina or in the famous Parisian department store Le Bon Marché. "I wanted to escape the rules, processes and controlled risks. I didn't come up with any business plans or do any SWOT analyses; instead, I trusted my instinct. The thing with the silk cloths was like proof", he says. Then he hurries ahead into the studio, where his famous goods came into being from an idea and progressed right through to production.

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"
The past is an infinite source of inspiration and creation, which brings a bit of elegance into today's world
"

Sébastien Chirpaz

A silk cloth with the story of BMW Motorrad.

A silk cloth with the story of BMW Motorrad.

Laura follows him eagerly. In the studio, Sébastien grabs a pile of freshly printed silk cloths, which came back from the dryers just a few moments ago. With an experienced grip, he spreads them out on one of the work surfaces which are scattered around the light-drenched studio. With a critical eye, he inspects the imprint, which illustrates the story of BMW Motorrad. "I don't just print nice designs on silk". I recount heroic stories", Sébastien tells us. He has already told many of these stories on the finest of silk. "In the late 19th century, pilots wore silk scarves with the flight path drawn on them. This is the inspiring part of our history. These adventurers and pioneers who risked their lives to fulfil their dreams are my original inspiration."

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With enthusiasm he goes through the production steps from the first sketch to the finished cloth. Impressed by Sébastiens creations, as well as his vintage decor, Laura asks: "What fascinates you so about this time?" Sébastien reflects for a moment before he carefully utters his response. "I think this admiration for the past has something comforting about it. Back then, people still had real heroes – not nerds who become millionaires in two years after a successful start-up. But beyond this nostalgia, I am enamoured by the art-deco and style of this era. Then, freedom was more than simply breaking the rules. It was a much more subtle acknowledgement".

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On the road

Kerouac, one of the big unconventional thinkers in world literature, was another influence for Sébastien. And taking cue from one of his novel's titles, off they go on the road. Because Laura obviously didn't come to Lyon just to get to know Sébastien's work and to pick up her lucky charm. And so the pair set off on their R nineT and R nineT Scramblers into the surrounding land around Lyon. Sébastien knows each and every one of the winding roads meandering their way up into the mountains. "This bike really exceeds my expectations", Laura says euphorically, when they take a short break.

"The R nineT Scrambler is easy to ride, convenient and comfortable. But it also has power and a quick response – you can take it offroad. And of course, it looks good and the sound is simply perfect. I love this bike. Performance and aesthetics are unified in the R nineT Scrambler", Laura enthuses. Sébastien also adds: "When you ride this bike, everything is so easy – in any situation. You can use it to take advantage of every type of surface that Lyon has to offer, either asphalted roads, field or forest paths. You have got everything you need to make riding safe and easy".

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The gentleman nods silently.

The gentleman nods silently.

It starts to rain. A quick shower, which is typical for the Alpine region surrounding Lyon. "How did you get into motorcycling?", Laura asks. "From vintage Vespas and the Mod subculture. "In the vintage motorcycle scene I kinda found a new family with the same community rules and the lifestyle that I celebrated with my mates as snowboarders: a continuous search for excitement and style." 

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You see, Sébastien was one of France's first snowboarding experts. In the mid-80s, when there was a handfull of snow freaks that built their own boards. Motorcycling for him is a kind of revelation and rebirth, as was boarding back then. "It is a life that is driven by creativity and self-projection", he says. So motorcycling is another way of showing that your style is as far away from mainstream style as possible. "If I ride a motorcycle, it has to have class. We're not a bunch of rebels – we're noblemen", he says – throws a glance at the R nineT Scrambler and nods appreciatively.    

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