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As a motorcycle enthusiast, you will likely be asked what you ride just about every time you stop. Maybe it’s the dad in an SUV who gave up riding to raise a family, or the soccer mom in a minivan who dated the bad boy in high school, or the veteran who craves the comradery, or the child who gets excited by the sight and sounds a motorcycle makes. We all know so many people approach us because there are few things cooler than riding a motorcycle.
When I think back, my introduction to motorcycles was watching Easy Rider on TV with my dad on a Saturday after doing chores all morning. Later I would hear of an earlier motorcycle movie, the 1953 movie The Wild One, and that got me to thinking about, did the actors actually ride or was it the stuntmen? It turns out there are quite a few celebrities who ride.
Buddy Holly rode a 1958 Ariel Cyclone. A rock-n-roll legend who died before his time, Buddy Holly not only had a love of music but also of motorcycles. He purchased one of the most famous celebrity bikes after a long tour in Dallas and joined two other band members to ride home to Lubbock, TX. After his death in a plane crash in 1959, his bike stayed with his father until it was sold in 1970. Waylon Jennings, who gave up his seat on the plane that killed Holly, was deeply affected, and years later Holly’s band The Crickets searched for and found the bike and presented it to Jennings on his forty-second birthday.
Hunter S. Thompson isn’t a movie star. He rode BSA A65 Lightning, Ducati 900, and 650 BMW Lightning. A journalist and author, he founded the gonzo journalism movement in which writers immerse themselves into the subjects of their work. As a result, he wrote two books about his experiences as a self-professed connoisseur of fast motorcycles. One titled Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, and another about his love for riding along the beach highway at night titled Midnight on the Coast Highway.
Clint Eastwood liked the Norton Commando Fastback. It should not come as a surprise that Clint Eastwood is a motorcycle enthusiast since he starred in biker movies like Every Which Way but Loose, and The Gauntlet. Most of his movies feature him sitting on either a horse or a bike. Though he’s been photographed sitting on a variety of Triumphs, Norton motorcycles seemed to be his favorite.
Robert Patrick rode the Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide CVO. Robert Patrick is most famous for his acting roles in Terminator 2, Sons of Anarchy, and X-Files. He is currently the president of the Boozefighters MC Chapter 101 and, since 2018 co-owner of Old Road Harley-Davidson in Santa Clarita, California.
Keanu Reeves is known for Arch Motorcycles KRGT-1, Norton Commando, 2005 Harley Dyna Wide Glide, and 1974 BMW 750. Being a dedicated bike fan led him to co-found Arch Motorcycles. They design and build custom motorcycles and their first model released to the public is the KRGT-1. Based upon the specs, this bike is meant to be ridden hard and looks great. Keanu has tried to create a bobber and chopper but admittedly has not got the bike exactly the way he wants it. He often buys a bike on location only to sell it when the movie has completed filming. His first bike was a Kawasaki 600 Endura.
Famous women love to ride too. Elizabeth Taylor road a purple Harley-Davidson. She fell in love with the culture, got tattoos, and hung out with bikers.
Jewel has biked across America. She comments on the way her mind works differently between riding and driving a car. On a bike, safety comes first, and she must focus on that.
Tina Turner rode an Electra-Glide Harley. She loved motorcycles so much she put them on her album covers, and you can see her bike of choice in the video of “What You Get Is What You See.”
Catherine Bell is best known for her acting in JAG. She started riding at seventeen and at one time owned nine motorcycles. Who are your favorite celebrities that ride?