One of my secret vices is motorcycle movies. I’ve gotten more selective over the years – crikey, some of them, especially from the sixties and seventies, are really bad. The bikes are there as props or symbols of danger or ruggedness or whatever.
But anyone who’s spent any time aboard a motorcycle soon realizes that most movies simply gloss over the reality of being on a bike. The riders never get tired or sore or cold or miserable. The weather is always nice…ever notice how it never rains in Easy Rider and only once in Wild Hogs?
That’s what I think about when I watch the pilot of the 1969-70 TV show Then Came Bronson and see Michael Parks and Bonnie Bedelia riding together – two-up, as we say – on a Harley-Davidson Sportster. They’re literally crushed against each other on a saddle that’s thick as a Better Homes & Gardens magazine. And they’re going mile after mile after mile…
I shake my head at this, even though I like Then Came Bronson. (Despite some admittedly sappy episodes, some were good and the show had its heart in the right place.) And Parks on his motorcycle fired the imagination of any kid who watched him.
But people watching Parks and Bedelia weren’t thinking, “Gee, that looks like fun.” No, they must have been thinking, “Good God, that looks painful.”
But the prize for Most Uncomfortable on a Motorcycle should go to Theresa San-Nicholas, the young woman at the end of the 1991 movie Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. Mickey Rourke offers the attractive hitchhiker a ride on the back of his Harley; she sits on the bare fender, about an inch from the spinning tire, wraps her legs around him, snuggles in, and they’re off. And you know darn well she won’t last a mile in that position.