Why We Ride: A Documentary For Motorcyclists
It’s a challenge to explain to people why we choose to ride motorcycles. How can you possibly put into words the excitement and fulfillment that comes from riding without sounding crazy to someone who’s never ridden? The Why We Ride documentary did just that in a way that left chills on my skin and tears in my eyes.
During the movie, we meet racers, war veterans, mothers, stunt riders, bike builders, kids, grand parents and authors. They each have their own reason for riding but the most important theme throughout the movie is that riding a motorcycle levels out the playing field for humanity. When it comes to riding a motorcycle, we are all part of one creed, one family, one way of life regardless of disability, background, age, race, sex, occupation or beliefs. It makes me realize if everyone in the world rode a motorcycle, there would be no war. Or at least the wars would stop long enough to go for a ride together. This movie is the perfect portrayal of what riding is all about.
A motorcycle is a vessel for freedom, a means to bind a family together, a way to bring a lost soul into light through challenges, lessons, direction and most importantly, fun. Motorcycles can be motivation for a better life. You can teach a child discipline and follow through by teaching them to ride a motorcycle. You can make a disabled person a hero and a role model by building a bike to their needs so their disabilities are no longer handicaps. You can help a cancer survivor to fight the effects of chemo by providing a will to live through riding. And finally, you can teach a little girl that she is only bound by the limits she makes for herself – limits that can be beaten if she believes in herself.
This documentary is a classic depiction of the motorcycling way of life and anyone who sees it is bound to learn something about themselves, whether they ride or not. Beautifully filmed at several locations, this film also discusses the history of motorcycling and how it’s closely linked to bicycling. This is important to highlight considering how bicyclists and motorcyclists share the same roads and often ride alongside each other. Sometimes we complain about each other, but this film shows how our roots stem from the same place.
But one reason this film really got to me, especially because of MotoInked, is that it explained how motorcycling, like tattoos, is an art form, a lifestyle, a form of self expression and a means for healing. It’s a way to pull a complacent population away from their computers and phones so they can experience the open air. Rather than going through the motions, a motorcycle can pull back the curtains of a dormant existence and show anyone with a need for adventure the advantage of going outside.
The only downside of the film was how the genre of freestyle riding we left out. Freestyle stunt riding has acquired such a huge following. The riders who participate in the sport spend hours a day practicing and lose sleep most nights fixing their bikes to so they can do it all again the next day. Still, stunt riders are a breed all their own, worthy of their own documentary.
Why We Ride is a documentary for the every-day rider, the people who’d be otherwise average if not for two wheels, which is why riding is so extremely important. People can find greatness through riding, a greatness they may not have known without it.
What I loved most about this video was that it showed how all riders throughout all genres of motorcycling are family. Whether you’re broke down on the side of the road or waving to another rider in passing, you’ll meet “some of the friendliest people” on motorcycles and “make friends for life.” People who ride can “restore your faith in humanity.” And that is why this documentary hits the nail on the head.
Favorite Quotes from the movie:
About teaching kids to ride
“I took her for her first ride. Hopefully she’ll take me for my last.”
About the value of training:
“I thought I had 26 years of riding experience. But I just had one year of riding that I experienced 26 times.”
About making it possible, regardless of background:
“It’s not about strength or even bravery. It’s about determination.”