Motorcycle: Live Ride - Style
Date: Sunday, October 31 @ 14:37:15 UTC
Topic: Motorcycle, Motorcycles, Motor Cycle
The image forged from steel in the American Midwest travels across frontiers and media. It's as instantly recognizable in Bangkok as it is in Brooklyn, as rich with associations in Clackmannanshire as it is in Cincinnati. Advertisers know this and use it as shorthand for youth, freedom, rebellion and freewheeling affluence. It is almost impossible to watch a commercial for anything from cars and pensions to jeans and toiletries without a Harley-Davidson cropping up sooner or later in a mood-setting role. In other words, Harleys may be motorcycles — but they're also stars.
Some of this rubs off on the people who ride them. Owning a Harley isn't about speed or performance, or about imitating your favourite racer or impressing friends. It's about individuality but also brotherhood, retro-cool and happening places, latter-day cowboys or folk who just want to get away from it all.
When they move, Harley-Davidsons cruise. To the ear, they also thunder rather than rev. You can cruise around the block, along the beach or down to the bar; equally you can cruise from New York to San Francisco if that's your thing. They work equally well on the long-haul because of where they evolved — in a land of empty spaces and almost no corners at all.
• BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE
"God rides a Harley", according to some. The King certainly rode one. As well as Elvis Presley, celebrity hoggers have included Muhammad Alt, Bob Dylan, Clint Eastwood, Sly Stallone, Mickey Rourke, Dan Ackroyd, Malcolm Forbes, Cher, Whoopie Goldberg and dozens more. You're as likely to see a film star in Hollywood riding a Harley-Davidson today as lounging in a stretch limousine. Often, the stars want something out of the ordinary. Custom builders can easily charge $40,000 for bespoke machines and, in the process, become minor celebrities themselves. The phenomenon is far from new, especially in Tinseltown. Photographs from Hollywood's golden years show everyone from Cone with the Wind's dark Gable to Marlene Dietrich astride Milwaukee machines. In some cases, the pictures were pure publicity stunts, but even Roy Rogers rode a Harley when he wasn't riding Trigger. Hollywood even had its own Harley group once - the Three Point Motor-cycle Club.
Harleys themselves have become film stars, notably Robert Blake's mount in Electra Glide in Blue and, of course, in the hugely successful Easy Rider starring Dennis Hopper. Hopper's co-star in the film, Peter Fonda, remains a committed Harley-Davidson fan to this day.
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