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Icon’s Icon: St. Christopher Rides a Motorcycle

Compared to the leather and denim of years past, modern motorcycle apparel offers miraculous value, protection and comfort, thanks to modern design and materials. So when Steve Simmermon of San Jose, California felt a lump in the pocket of his Icon jacket, he figured it was some kind of modern safety or comfort feature.

What he found instead was a St. Christopher medallion, dutifully sewn into the jacket by an anonymous overseas textile worker. St. Christopher, for those of you without the benefit of a Catholic upbringing or a few seconds to check Wikipedia, is a (unverified, meaning the Catholic Church does not have an official feast day for him) martyr who, legend has it, carried the infant Jesus Christ across a stream, staggering under the child’s bulk, as he carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. This has made him the unofficial patron saint of travelers, including mariners, bus drivers and fruit dealers. One would presume motorcyclists as well but the Vatican has actually declared St. Columbanus of Bobbio our patron saint (motto on his medallion: “Pray for Us,” which seems more apropos for Icon’s bad-boy image). No matter: travelers we are, no matter what the Holy See may say, so St. Christopher can surely do the job. And Simmermon doesn’t mind: “It’s an interesting conversation piece.”

But why did Icon sew it into his jacket? In this age of careful corporate Political Correctness, it seems odd for a company like Icon – operated by mongo moto-accessory distributor Parts Unlimited – to do this. So I emailed Phil Davy, Icon’s opinionated and straight-shooting brand manager, to get the 411. Yes, Davy told me, Icon has been including St. Christopher medallions in all its jackets and vests for the last four years. But why? “Because!”

When I pressed for more information, Davy wrote, “It really was not meant as a religious statement as it was a much-needed good luck charm for all faiths, or no faith. If you don’t like it do one of two things: cut the medallion out or just don’t buy the garment. For the complainers out there, go complain to your Mom.”

Either her or your parish priest. In any case, you can see Icon’s hipster-oriented product line either on the Icon website or at your local Parts Unlimited dealer.

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MD Readers Respond:

  • I’ve worn a St. Christopher medal every day of my life since I was 16. Not due to religious conviction, but as a good luck charm. Right or wrong, luck, coincidence or miracle, I’ve lived through 3 incidents (motorcycle and non motorcycle related) that doctors were at a loss to explain why I didn’t die. I applaud Icon for having the backbone to a) include the good luck symbol in their product and b) for not apologizing for it when questioned. I’ve never bought Icon products before, but they have just moved to the top of my list for my next round of gear. Tony
  • I will now put Icon at the top of my buying list. I like their style. I am tired of all the Pussy Politically correct turkeys out there. Chris
  • Great article. In my opinion, this type of action by Icon is
    thoughtful and classy. Sure, you may have some atheists or agnostics
    who will cry till the angels come home, but the thought of a major
    motorcycle apparel company actually looking out for their customers
    with a good luck charm, instead of just making sure their garments are
    crash-proof, is incredible. Icon, I salute you. My next apparel
    purchase will be from you.

    Signed, the not-so-holy but still appreciative (and at the moment
    fully moto-clothed), Lou