Why We Ride Movie Review — Watch It Here

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Why We Ride Movie Review

Why We Ride tells the story of the motorcycle and the motorcyclist. It’s full of passion and made with an obvious love for the sport. Want to watch it? You can do so right here. Can’t decide? Read this Why We Ride Movie Review to find out what it’s like.

Why We Ride tells The Story. You know the one. It started with board tracks, moved onto the beaches at Daytona, eventually got on a banking and found popularity with soldiers returning from WWII.

The Story is told with archival footage and narrated by a who’s who of American motorcycling — Jason DiSalvo, Arlen Ness, Don Emde et al. There’s also some guy in a matching flower-skull shirt/bandana number, we weren’t sure who he was, but admired his commitment to the pirate lifestyle.

It’s a tale you, as a motorcycle enthusiast, have seen retold a thousand times, but never before with this level of slick editing or with such a moving soundtrack. And, unlike previous retellings, Why We Ride incorporates a powerful call-to-action to ensure motorcycling’s future, compelling viewers to get their kids started on small dirt bikes.

Nor does it adhere to only one discipline. We here riders ranging from the aforementioned pirates to dirt bike racers to Daytona 200 legends to fathers, daughters, uncles and grandmothers explain how their own particular interpretation of motorcycling has improved their lives.

Now, maybe I’m just a jaded motorcycle journalist, but about 10 minutes into the whole thing, I couldn’t help but wonder what the point was. A movie made by motorcyclists for motorcyclists about motorcyclists is…to put it nicely, preaching to the choir. I get it, you get it, that’s why we put up with getting wet and cold and injured to do it. Sure, as an affirmation of our belief system, it’s worth a watch, but you can’t shake the feeling there’s a sell here. The entire movie feels like it’s trying to convince you to take up motorcycle riding, but the trouble is, if you’re watching it, you already have.

That problem is compounded by the film’s discoverability. It’s not in theaters, it’s not promoted outside of the motorcycle world. It is now available streaming, which is a step in the right direction. But, it’s $5 to watch it on Amazon Instant Video (even with Prime), which is what I did or $13 on iTunes. Not to begrudge the film’s makers their chance to make a buck, but propaganda works best when it’s free. Even better when it’s shoved down the viewer’s throat. Why We Ride misses both tricks.

Where does that leave us? Well, the film’s general wholesomeness will work great for those of us who have a hard time explaining our lifestyle to our families. A great coming out of the motorcycle closet starter kit, if you will. It’ll likely entertain you, the already converted and it may even help you brush up on your two-wheeled history or at least give you the ability to recognize Keith Code the next time you’re at Willow Springs.

But, if you want to sell motorcycling to a wide audience in video form, freely available, widely viewed, general interest projects that seek to showcase the unique lifestyle available on two wheels are available elsewhere. Jamie Robinson and MotoGeo are doing more to make motorcycles relevant to a new audience than Why We Ride ever will.

  • hunkyleepickle

    Looking forward to watching this on a plane this weekend…..unfortunately i’ll be awake from my bike for a week at that point, and i have a feeling its going to be even more tortuous than usual!!

  • Michael Howard

    Anyone who plans to download a digital copy to their computer from Amazon or iTunes, be aware they both require installation of their software.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Software that approximately 99.9999% of humans already have and use daily…

      • Michael Howard

        The gentleman doth exaggerate too much, methinks.

    • Michael Howard

      I give a heads up to people that AFTER they’ve paid to download the movie they’re going to find out they have to install software (if they aren’t one of the 99.9999% of humans who already use it) to be able to view it, and I get voted down for that? I’m not criticizing the software. I’m not telling people to not use it. I’m simply trying to save others from going through what I did. Not that I really give a **** but the person who votes down something like this is an idiot.

  • 200 Fathoms

    Why would you expect a filmmaker to distribute a movie for free? Do you work for free?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      As you can read in the article, I address that. But at the same time, if you’re going to make a movie about why you should get into motorcycles, then limit that movie to existing motorcyclists…. I dunno, it just doesn’t make much sense.

      As an existing motorcyclist, I don’t need a “why,” I’d much rather watch one of Mark Neale’s epic, in depth documentaries that will teach me stuff I don’t know yet.

    • Mike

      this article and all the articles on Rideapart are free. Rideapart videos on youtube are free. Jamie’s Motogeo videos are free. that doesn’t mean the person/people behind them are working for free.

      i assume what Wes is saying is that a different financial model might have improved the films chances of widespread viewing, although maybe not financial success. which leads to the question of what the filmmakers really wanted out of this: financial success, breaking even, reaching out to motorcyclists, appealing to non-motorcyclists? and did they achieve it?

    • notfishing

      I work in Construction and actually I do work for free many months per year. In the really bad years you work the entire year for free.

      Just an inconvenient truth of the private sector.

  • imprezive

    I saw it in the theater, it was available in limited release. I don’t think they were going to a broad audience just to make a movie that fellow enthusiasts would enjoy. I liked it but it was a bit self aggrandizing. I saw it with my gf and it gave her that final push to go take her MSF class, so it got at least one person riding.

    • Michael Howard

      I think it’s kind of an invitation to potential new riders. “Here’s what we’re about. Here’s what we do. Check it out.” As happened in your case, existing riders can use it to help introduce others to the world of riding

    • the antagonist

      Agreed. Saw it in a theater, too. Local club organized a Tugg event to get it here. It was worth the cost of admission. It had some great visuals. But it was definitely a bit of a circle-jerk. It almost felt like a 90 minute infomercial for motorcycling. It could have used a tighter focus and a bit less talking, more bikes and riding.

      But all in all, if you’re into riding, it’s worth a view.

    • Blixa

      Saw it in the theater as well. I liked it. The movie would probably have been more enjoyable if it had been half as long and lacked the hilariously over-the-top soundtrack, but it wasn’t a bad way to pass the time. The movie is aimed squarely at bike fanatics, so I personally would not ask someone with no interest in bikes to watch it.

  • markbvt

    I’ll tell you what the point of this movie is (for me anyway): winter entertainment.

    That said, it is actually also interesting to hear some different perspectives on what people get out of riding a motorcycle. We don’t all ride for the same reasons. This movie does a pretty decent job of showing that.

  • zion

    I promoted this film in conjunction with Tugg.com The filmakers went the route of not using conventional distribution, which can financially kill a film anyway. By using Tugg, you volunteer to utilize social media and hit a pre purchase threshold, set by Tugg and the participating theater. We hit our mark and had 100+ people happy to see it in a theater.

    While I get what you’re saying about how it’s geared to the “choir”; sometimes it’s okay for us to revel in our own joys. If it happens to snag a few new riders along the way, that’s just icing on the cake.

  • Paul Cypert

    Yeah, I kind of felt like it should have been openly sponsored by the big companies like Honda, Yamaha, etc and then released for free. Was oddly crafted to be an apologist’s argument for motorcycling…but for some reason targeted to moto riders. Very bizarre.

    I wanted more slow mo race shots and haunting images like when the bike was howling across the salt flats at Bonneville. Would love for the same team to treat each aspect to a full length. So a full movie on Moto GP from children to adult racers or something like that.

    I’m glad it was made and glad I took the time to watch it, but I do keep coming back mentally to “what was the point really?”

    • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

      I’m glad other folks feel this movie forgot to be fun.

      • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

        It would have benefited enormously from an explosion, car chase or, at the very least, revealing DiSalvo to be an android impersonator from the moon.

        • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

          Batman sitting there, explaining what it feel like to barrel roll.

  • motorock

    I saw it, appreciated it but I, too, have my own issues with it. Not to give any spoilers here but it seems to be centered mostly around racers and racing. A vast majority of us bikers are “commuters” and “tourers”- none of which were touched at all (or barely). Then, this whole movie focused on the US- I would say, if they took a more global view, it would make a more interesting watch and give more reason for “why we ride” and appeal to a larger audience. Also, speaking of missing out touring and the rest of the world, Ewan & Charlie were noticeably absent- 2 guys who have done wonders to the sale of the the big BMW adv bikes! Or Nick Sanders. Or even MotoGP racers. Or Isle of Mann racers. Or the Custom people like Deus. And the list goes on. Then comes the limited demographic the movie focused on-there are several riders out there of different color and race that ride bikes- their exclusion only alienates even a larger audience across the globe. I think Long Way Round and Long Way Down (and even the MotoGP-centric Faster) did a bigger favor to motorcycling, world over, in a way this movie should have tried to better. Unfortunately, I feel it fails massively- due to a combination of Wes’ points and mine.

    • Tom Byrne

      Reminded me of a modern “On Any Sunday.” It even featured Mert Lawill. It had its shortcomings, but I enjoyed the cinematography. Beats no motorcycle movie.

  • octodad

    bitch,bitch, bitch. quit being so hyper critical. cost ten bucks on I Tunes. you piss that away on coffee daily. excellent production values, show cased a lot of female and family riders. can show it to your non riding friends to give some perspective. the history was awesome. my dad rode, I ride, will get my kids to ride. what could be cooler? made me want to visit a rally and hang with people that get it…

    • Truthbot

      So people can’t have an opinion? You’re the only one here bitching. It was a terrible movie and people are stating facts to support their opinions.

  • JP

    Motorcycles! – Brought to you by the Church of Latter Day Saints.

  • Jack Meoph

    I already know why I ride, because I hate public transportation and the smelly people that use it. blah.

  • http://turnerart.la/ Justin Turner

    Did I hear the Batman score?

  • Jose Barreira

    In my oppinion you better have this than nothing! I do believe that riders that watch this movie will tell other people to watch it. For me, anything that promotes riding motorcycles it’s always wellcome. I’m from Europe and feelt the movie was made more towards Americans than general world population. But that’s ok. We still have the world motorcycling champions… ;-)

    If it’s about motorcycles, keep them comming!

  • Jose Barreira

    In my oppinion you better have this than nothing! I do believe that riders that watch this movie will tell other people to watch it. For me, anything that promotes riding motorcycles it’s always wellcome. I’m from Europe and feelt the movie was made more towards Americans than general world population. But that’s ok. We still have the world motorcycling champions… ;-)

    If it’s about motorcycles, keep them comming!

  • Justin McClintock

    I need to see this. I have lots of friends who have entertained the idea of riding but aren’t yet for various reasons. I’d point them at this….but not without seeing it myself first.

  • Justin Henry

    this is a great movie. i saw it in a theater and just bought it yesterday online.

  • Larry

    And here I thought I was the only one who thought this trailer looked unbearably dorky. I’m not sure if selling Oprah’s audience a version of Eat, Pray, Ride is really what we should be going for. Actually, with the exception of the Long Way films I’m not sure if any movie can ever really draw people into motorcycling. Audiences are a lot more jaded since the days of On Any Sunday and Take It To The Limit. What the Long Way films did was take the Mondo Enduro formula (a film no one saw) and put an A-list celebrity at the centre of it while upping the production value. And the Long Way films are as much about travel and adventure, which greatly broadened their appeal. A lot of people who don’t give a fuck about bikes watched those films. And a lot never will. But I’m sure they inspired a few…I’m one of them. But they weren’t shoving motorcycles down the viewers throats. It was a soft sell. Every classic biker film…Easy Rider, the Wild Ones…none of them are as much about motorcycling as they are motorcycle adjacent. Peter O’Toole wordlessly crashing a Brough Superior in the first 2 minutes of Lawrence of Arabia probably did more for motorcycling that this self-help film ever will. Ideally, a bike should make a film cooler…and hopefully, vice versa.

  • Hans

    To me the film just seems like one big trailer. I kept waiting for it to start but after 45 minutes i realized it this was it.

  • Raph

    couldn’t agree more

  • CanadianBiker

    It may be preaching to the converted but it also exhibits facets of motorcycling in a way that may make riders want to give them a try. I’m a cruiser guy but watching the movie made me seriously think about giving dirt bikes a go. And maybe some sport rider is now thinking that ADV is worth trying. It showed all aspects in a positive and interesting light. And frankly, that does more good for the overall motorcycling community/industry than snide little comments about pirates/power rangers, etc.