Two wheels, a massive engine, a tendency to fall over while standing still, loud pipes, dangerous on slippery roads and one giant F.U to the world. That is the point of a motorcycle. And in the heart of every biker is that element of danger and devil-may-care attitude. This is what has made them the darling of the Hollywood film circuit. Anytime you need to showcase a tough guy, put him on a bike. Hells bells, you can even do that to a woman. Place a woman on a bike, and instantly she turns from demure to hardcore, from subservient to rebellious. That is the mystery and the appeal of this machines of death and daredevilry.
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Every boy and girl have, at some point of their lives looked at their wall and wanted a picture of a Harley or a Triumph or a Ducati or a Norton. If you have been riding around in a cage (a biker term for cars), then I feel sorry for you. There is freedom down the road. On goes the jacket and the bandana. You strap on your brain bucket, pull on the gloves, and prime the engine. One kickstart and the beast is alive. Shift into first and pop the clutch. Twist the throttle and in a roar, you are screaming for the horizon. The landscaped blurs into colors, your breathing quickens. As the noise reaches a crescendo, you find the next gear and… whoosh, there goes the world!
What I have just described has been the norm for everyone whose blood hasn’t turned cold. For whom the world of Rock hasn’t stopped turning. For whom black is the color. For whom, tattoos are clan markings, and scars are marks of pride. That makes up the outside of a biker. But what makes up the inside? What goes on inside? Movies have given us a peep into that life.
A biker is loyal and believes in a simple code. This code of honor is what has mystified people. It has led to some amazing stories about camaraderie and brotherhood. For example, in Wild Hogs, four middle men get on the road and along the way they find their passion for life. Starring Tim Allen, William H. Macy, Martin Lawrence and John Travolta, this movie took us down the highway and made us laugh about the simple things in life. A cameo by Peter Fonda was a homage to the original rebel motorcycle movie, Easy Rider.
Riding off into the sunset was romanticised by the cowboy films and made cool by the sound of Harleys thundering down the road. None more so than Captain America and Billy from Easy Rider. Fonda and Dennis Hopper take us deep into the hearth land. At the time of anti-establishment and rebellion, the ’60s for you kiddies, this movie made waves, turned Jack Nicholson into a household name and showed boys and girls out there that there is nothing like taking off the watches and kickstarting the chopper. A whole generation of teens came to conclusion that the world needs to just chill and ride.
Being alone but never lonely. A biker is always alone. The road, the horizon, the sound of the engine and the wind rushing by. Oh, once you get the taste of the throttle, you will never be happy riding pillion. If you want to take a look at a lone rider, The Wild One is the movie for you. Marlon Brando with his swagger and leathers makes looking cool seem effortless. A leader of a biker gang, but always at the head of the pack. And quite capable of riding alone. Independent and tough, rebellion flows through the veins. But with a heart.
A biker has a heart of gold. Just watch Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man to see for yourself. Starring Mickey Rourke and Don Johnson, this movie is about a coupla well-meaning tough guys whose code of honor is absolute. One of them can ride like no one’s business, the other can shoot. In the end, you are left watching a buddy movie where things explode, silly one-liners are dropped, and you will want to get on your bike and make vroom noises.
A motorcycle is a thing of beauty. Capable of insane speeds and danger, she has made us all speed demons at least once. No better example than “World’s Fastest Indian”. No, it isn’t about an Indian running nor is it about a Native American who takes part in a race. It is about a really old motorcycle, a 1920s Indian Scout Motorcycle, and the speed record it set on the Salt Flats. Burt Munro took a 600 cc engine and bored it out, modified the body, shaped the tires and took his modified bike to 950 cc all the way to 295 kmph. This record still stands. By the way, on one run, he crossed 320 kmph. That is the addiction of speed.
In the end, all that matters is the passion that every motorcycle elicits. This makes the world go round. So that passion and the love of riding can shine through your life. Just come on down to the Bike Festival of India and see for yourself. Be a part of the tribe. Be there and roar down the road in an unholy combination of petrol, rubber, leather and speed. Kickstart your life!