The Cyclist: a snapshot of motorcycles in 1971

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The_cyclist.jpgI didn’t live through them, but there’s something about the 1970s that’s incredibly appealing. Looking back through films like The Cyclist I see a time when Americans were a positive, motivated, happy people. Motorcycles weren’t too dangerous for kids, personal freedom was valued and practiced and colors were faded. Photojournalist Bill Jensen wanted to capture this unique spirit as it weaved its way through all the various disciplines of the motorcycle world. We challenge you to watch The Cyclist and not want to grow your hair long, throw your leg over an old bike and head west.

via KOMO News

  • Stacy

    My very favorite quote about the 70s: “How did all teenagers in the 70s manage to look both 18 and 35 years old simultaneously?”

  • brian

    hmmm…interesting, both this short film and the iconic “on any sunday” were released in 1971…..wonder who saw who’s first?
    ……amazing early evel footage here though…..

  • will

    Not only is there killer raw footage, but the editing is insane for the 70s, much less now! And brian has a good point, it would be interesting which came first, this or on any sunday…

  • thomashenny

    I’ve been waiting for everything to collapse so we can return to times like this, great video.

  • chili sv

    Thanks for posting this. Wow, the first part and the very end of that brought back a lot of memories. I did live through the ’70s. In fact I did so in the same areas where this was filmed – Western Washington. I can remember being about four years old and sitting on the tank, holding onto the middle of the handlebars while my dad rode on trails through the forest, wheelie-ing through the ever present mud puddles so we wouldn’t get so wet. Hanging around the camp fire with the other kids whose parents had also trailered them out to the middle of nowhere every “summer” weekend. El Caminos with “Yamahauler” stickers plastered on their back windows. I’ve sat on that same hillside over turns 3a and 3b, looking down at SIR, err Pacific Raceways. We had a GP track less than a mile down the road in Puyallup. We couldn’t leave our house on race weekend because of the traffic. But as always happens, the late comers passed a noise ordinance that forced its closure. As if they didn’t know they were moving next to a race track. Ah well, times change and it was a good time to grow up.

  • Ben Part

    What a tear jerker!
    the Triumph riding synchronized display team, was the Royal Signals. I saw them at Earls Court in London when I was a kid; my earliest motorcycling influence. I’m still a fan of the jodhpurs & jack boots combo.
    I always thought the gnashing the strung-up mustard covered weiner, was a biker invention. Ahh innocent days eh?

    Wonder how much lead was flying around in all those kids bikes?
    Must have been really dangerous.