Many people ride motorcycles and celebrities are no exception. It would be impossible to write a book about all of the celebrities who are into bikes. On most every other chat show the celebrity will talk about their love of bikes, mainly due to the fact they have to appear to ride one in their latest film and because they earn a load more money than us they can afford to buy one or two and then just leave them in the garage as some sort of trophy. So like us mere mortals there are two flavors of celebrity biker, the wannabees and the real deals. Today I want to write a little about the real deals, the ones who grab their skid lid, not the keys to the Ferrari.
First up is Lawrence of Arabia, or T. E. Lawrence.
Lawrence was a Soldier, an Adventurer and a writer who loved England and his bikes. There is so much that has been written filmed and talked about him but it is what he has written that shows his true love of motorcycles. In a short essay called “The Road” he tells of a weekly ride to London and a race against a Bristol Fighter Airplane. Oh yeah, this was in 1930 and he was on a Brough Superior and travelling at around 100mph. He had 7 of them, and they were all called George …yep George 1,2,3….. he was awaiting for delivery of George 8 when he died in a Crash on George 7. He swerved to avoid 2 children on bicycles and lost control, cart wheeling over the bars and suffering terminal injuries. Reports from the time suggest he was probably doing close to 100mph…the man loved to ride fast!
“ I pull the throttle right open, on the top of the slope, and we swoop flying across the dip, and up-down up-down the switchback beyond "
The guy has ridden round the world with his mate! Ok he filmed it and probably made some money out of it but to even consider that you have to have a love of bikes and travel. His wife rides a bike, ok not very well, his brother rides, his dad rides, I think he has the correct credentials for this article…oh and he was Ben Kenobi, some people just have it all don’t they. It is just possible that you might bump into him on the roads of Europe and America, he seems to get everywhere on his bike and I know people have met him in France and had a chat as he rode to see his wife’s family.
What more can be said about the “King of Cool” that hasn’t been said. The guy lived for his bikes, owned more than a hundred and created an iconic movie moment and it was on a motorcycle. A legend who loved his bikes, raced his bikes and lived for his bikes.
"A Husqvarna 405 at about 12,000 rpm—that’s music. In bike racing, I specialize; I do rough-country riding, the long-distance kind of thing. With a cycle, you’re dealing with natural terrain, you learn to read the earth. . . I like being out there in the desert on a set of wheels. You’re really alive out there."
Steve McQueen, from Star on Wheels, 1972
Check out the film “On any Sunday” , it shows McQueen doing what he loved most and arguably did best.
Three guys, three famous guys, but more than that three bikers….