Okay, the weather outside is frightful. Whether it be rain, snow, extreme cold, or icy conditions, there are some days (or months) where your need for speed gets thwarted. That’s why there are movies! We’re going to explore the best ways to get your fix when you can’t get out on the road. These are the top rated motorcycle movies, websites, and, for those who are looking for sophistication, books. Yes, gear-heads can read, and it’s time that you prove it.
Who doesn’t like a good biker gang movie? It’s really a genre in and of itself. We are going to explore 5 amazing biker movies; some classic and some obscure. For those who are new to biker movies, these are where you begin. For those who are not new to biker movies, these are the ones that you watch over and over again.
- “Easy Rider”: Sure, this one is a no-brainer. Famously starring Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, and Bridget Fonda, this is arguably the most famous biker movie ever made. The classic 1969 American road movie was actually written by Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. Did you know that? Watch it again and again and again.
- “Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man”: Mickey Rourke stars in this 1991 hit. The action-packed biker film is loosely based on Tony Zuzio's life biking around New Jersey. It was a flop when it came out, but it has since become a cult classic. If it was never on your radar, now is the time.
- “Beyond the Law”: We all need a little Charlie Sheen on a rainy day. This is a 1992 TV film written and directed by Larry Ferguson. It's about Dan Saxon, and undercover cop who goes in on a group of criminal outlaw bikers who are into drug-smuggling and arms-dealing. To gain their trust, he must engage in their heinous crimes.
- “The Wild One”: Guys and gals, this is an obvious one. Marlon Brando started it all with this classic film made in 1953. Brando’s performance is the iconic portrayal of a motorcycle gang leader. This was the first movie to show American outlaw motorcycle gang violence.
- “Stone Cold”: Brian Bosworth stars in this 1991 movie. The action-packed film is about a biker gang that is on a mission to assassinate the governor and free one of their members that’s on trial for murder. Wouldn’t we all do that for one of the guys?
Okay, so once you’ve seen all the movies portraying biker gangs as heinous and criminal, it’s time to turn to something a little more docile. As motorcyclists, our brains get obsessed and we always want to learn more. These sites provide valuable information while still giving you something to do when it’s snowing outside.
- Cycle-Ergo.com: Looking to find the perfect bike for you? This site allows you to input your height and inseam, and then you can look up bikes and determine what is the best fit. Cycle-Ergo can also tell you your forward lean angle and knee bend level. This is really great for shorter riders or female riders who are really stumped when it comes to finding the right motorcycle flat foot.
- GearingCommander.com: Here you’ll find a wonderful free service that lets you look up your motorcycle model and compare stock gear ratio to your front or rear sprocket or chain changes. You discover near gear ratios, and the site also calculates what the top speed is for every gear. Great for those that are always tweaking their machines.
- HorizonsUnlimited.com: Online since 1997, this is the place where countless motorcyclists share adventures, and post their travels from all over the world. Horizons Unlimited is all about inspiration, because you can see what others have done and live vicariously. The perfect escape on a bad weather day.
- cyclepedia.com: Here you find tons of digital manuals with vivid color images, and even videos, so you can service your bike with ease. Ideal for those days where you can’t go out but you want to do a little maintenance.
Okay, things are about to get heady. But seriously, reading about others’ adventures, whether it be fiction or non fiction, is a great way to relax and go on an adventure from your couch. Let’s explore some of the best riding books ever written.
- Around the World on a Motorcycle, 1928 to 1936: This book by Zoltan Sulkowsky is unforgettable. In 1929, the author and his friend, both Hungarians, bought used Harleys and decided to see the world. It was eight years later when they returned home. This is a page-turner that you’re never going to forget.
- One Man Caravan: Written by Robert Edison Fulton, Jr., this is the true story of the author’s ride through Europe and Asia on a 750cc Mastif. He returned to Austria 18 months later and published his book in 1937. A new edition was published in 1996.
- The Rugged Road: Want to hear the story of riding through South Africa on a Panther M100 with a Watsonian sidecar? Here’s your story. Written by Theresa Wallach, this remarkable tale will take you across the Sahara Desert on the Tamanrasset Route. You’ll learn about what extreme heat and deep sand can do to a bike.
- Around the World with Motorcycle and Camera: The name explains it all. This remarkable father/son journey was on a 600cc Zundapp with a sidecar. Set in post-war Germany, Eitel and Rolf Lange head to the warmth of Italy, followed by Istanbul, and finally India. The journey takes you as far as Hong Kong and Japan.
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: Everyone has heard of this classic. Robert Pirsig wrote this in 1968, telling the story of a father and son that took off from Minnesota for a motorcycle trip to California. Dealing with mental health, family, and the journey of life, Zen took a long time to get published, but eventually sold more than 5 million copies.
As you can see, there’s a lot to do on a rainy day when it’s simply unsafe for a ride. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many movies, websites, and books to choose from when you want to get your motorcycle fix. And we didn’t even begin to touch upon all the magazines.
When it looks bleak outside, and you see that one rider out on the road, braving the elements, you feel awe. You want to salute him. And you’re jealous as hell. Bury that jealousy in a good book or film, and know that because you’re concerned for your safety, and comfort, you’re taking the high road.