Monday, March 10, 2014
Why We Ride is the first really good general interest bike movie since On Any Sunday came out more than forty years ago. My friend Dave bought the WWR DVD and brought it over to watch on my big screen TV.
WWR was a nice movie and more relevant for "modern" viewers than On Any Sunday is now. We watched OAS right after it and the contrasts in style and storytelling were interesting. OAS came out at a time when dirt riding was still getting big in the US and flat track motorcycle racing was THE big form of motorcycle sport in the US, so it fit the times. Dave, who had never seen On Any Sunday, saw it mostly as "a racing movie" and thinking about it, I believe he's right.
The big advantage of WWR over OAS is that it shows a much wider perspective of the motorcycle sport. Why We Ride does give a broader looked the world of street riding, for instance, that was missing in On Any Sunday.These days the sport of motorcycling is different, perceived differently by the public, and so the two movies are decidedly different to my eyes.
I found On Any Sunday was much more fun and more entertaining --I've watched it over 50 times now -- but I did enjoy WWR despite some tedious interviews that seemed to have no point and the movie's general lack of a storyline. It was nicely filmed and the visuals were great eye candy. WWR drags a bit in places, the director seems in love with slow motion shots even when there is no purpose to them. Motorcycles are often about speed and sometimes you have to really show that speed.
So, despite it's few short comings, do take the time to see Why We Ride, you can find it sometimes in special theater screenings or you can buy the DVD or even download the movie. Big screen would be more fun that shown on a TV, motorcycles are big enough for the big screen and often diminished a bit by the small one. And if you have some non-riding friends or family who just don't understand why you ride, it's a good movie to show them, better even in that respect than On Any Sunday.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
I've been puttering around a bit on the Gold Wing, riding with Dave and some other riders I've gotten to know through Facebook. All of us from this area are trapped in the same sort of motorcycle doldrums, that is, we live in an area where there is a dearth of interesting roads and to get to the few fun roads in Arizona means at least a 250 mile ride. Last weekend three of us wandered up to old copper mining town of Globe, AZ to have Mexican food only to find the restaurant was closed. Oddly enough, we found their other location in the town of Superior to be open. Food was good. Yum. I love Mexican food.
But apart from the meanderings I have not done any meaningful rides in a long time but I'm thinking about it. A friend up in Edmonton, Alberta (1800 miles north of me in Canada) is getting married in June and would like me to attend. I could fly up there, it's a cheap ticket, or I could make an adventure out of it and ride. Along the way I'd pass through Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, and other scenic points that I've yet to see in person. I've especially always wanted to see the Grand Teton Mountains by bike.
Funny thing is, flying to Canada would be a lot cheaper than riding, riding would be at least a four day trip up there plus hotel rooms. And the ride back would be via the aforementioned scenic spots and several days longer. So what's the issue? Well, the first one is money. I racked up some doctor bills in December courtesy of some kidney stones and the bills are still arriving for that special torment. Side note: Drink lots of water, you don't ever want to get kidney stones. I thought I knew something about pain having broken assorted bones over the years, had a couple of head concussions, and suffered second and third degree burns on my arm in a motocross crash in ancient times. Kidney stones, especially ones that won't come out all on their own, are a special kind of torment. Someone said kidney stones are the only pain equal to giving birth to a child. I wouldn't personally know about birth pains but I know women often decide to have another child while no one ever wanted kidney stones a second time.
Anyway, I've been pondering the whole ride-to-Edmonton thing and trying to decide if I really want to do it. I'm retired so I have the time. Goodness knows the Gold Wing is the right machine for the ride. At 1800 miles it's not even that far, I did longer rides on lesser machines in days gone by. By June the doctor bills will be paid off and I'll have a few sheckles put aside again for whatever. I've always wanted to see Yellowstone, Banff, etc. I have not been on a long motorcycle trip since about 2001 so I'm overdue. What's holding me back? I dunno. I turned 63 in January and while the doc says I likely have a lot of good years left in me, it's not like I have an abundance of time to waste either. None of us do, when you get right down to it none us are guaranteed even another day. And yet I am reluctant to commit to the trip for reasons not clear to me. I know it will be fun and of course I could get a whole bunch of blog entries out of the trip. Too, there is the wedding, seeing friends I've never actually met in person, and I admit I enjoy good cake. Decisions, decisions.
Monday, January 27, 2014
|Yamaha MotoGP bike front brake.|
In all candor, the show wasn't great, most of it was booths from the big bike companies, a hand full of interesting customs, a few vintage Japanese bikes that show up at every event here, and an assortment of vendors hawking products in which no one seemed too interested.
Which comes first, a great show or good attendance? I'm thinking the show needs to up it's game a lot, including in promotion, if they expect great attendance. I had reasonable fun at the show but there is lots of room for improvement.
|Yamaha MotoGP racer|
|Yamaha Bolt custom scrambler by Hageman Motorcycles|
|A Kawasaki for the ladies|
When have adventure bikes gotten too big? I'd say when you need a winch on one.
Other stuff: Harley had their new 500cc entry level bike on display. I sat on it, it seemed nice but pretty much looks like a Honda Shadow. As my friend Brent pointed out "If everyone can copy Harley year after year I guess it's okay if Harley copies them once." Regardless, I think the bike will be a hit with entry level women riders in this country and huge overseas where regulations and high prices force riders onto smaller displacement machines. Harley seems to be doing a fine job of catering to the ladies, they even had a young woman their booth demonstrating how to pick up a dropped bike and she'd pull a woman from the audience to do it to show how it's about technique, not strength. I think that's better marketing than skull shirts and loud pipes.
A few more pictures here on Flickr
"When my mood gets too hot and I find myself wandering beyond control I pull out my motor-bike and hurl it top-speed through these unfit roads for hour after hour." - T.E. Lawrence
An Important reminder from the past:
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison