It’s about time a decent motorcycle movie was made – and Girl Meets Bike could be that movie.
The independent American motorcycle movie about a woman who buys a 1991 Moto Guzzi 1000s with her wedding dress money is struggling to find distributors and is likely to go straight to video.
From the trailer, it seems like the arthouse film actually “gets” bikes. That’s because the Minneapolis-based filmmaker, Eric Tretbar, is a biker.
“Freedom, danger, defiance and escape – motorcycles have always been about cultural and sexual anxieties,” he says. “But I wanted to use the motorcycle as not just a symbol of freedom, but as an actual feeling, because that’s what we all love about riding – the physical sensation – the speed, the vibration, the sound.”
The movie is about a young woman, Kat, who is sick of being told what to do by men.
She uses her wedding dress money to buy an old Guzzi that she has fallen in love with and then joins up with a group of riders of similar retro bikes for a 400-mile ride through the pretty state of Minnesota in the summer riding season.
Along the way there are crashes, fun, romance and drama.
It’s beautifully shot and, despite most of the extras being amateurs (like in Easy Rider), it’s pretty well acted.
Most of all, this motorcycle movie seems to understand bikes and bikers.
Tretbar actually owns the lead bike.
“I fell in love with my Moto Guzzi at first sight in a Guzzi dealership located on a rustic Minnesota farm – which is frequently the case in the US,” he says.
It is interesting that his film’s lead character is a woman.
“I intentionally told a woman’s story since the built-in social tensions, expectations and pressure accentuate the drama.
“Girl Meets Bike is an education plot, but making the student female and the teachers mostly male, it’s a story of a woman in a mostly male world of motorcycling.
“I learned from Melissa Holbrook-Pierson’s amazing and poetic book, The Perfect Vehicle, that since 1900, 8-12% of motorcyclists have consistently been female. But, first-time buyers of new motorcyles are 30% female today.”
It’s been a long time between popcorn for bike movies.
The first decent bike movie was The Wild One, an angry postwar film starring Marlon Brando in 1953.
It spawned a raft of rip-off teen biker movies that were simply a waste of celluloid and cast bikers as shallow one-dimensional menaces to society.
Easy Rider in 1969 turned the outcasts into multi-dimensional characters that we cared for despite depicting a drug-fueled bike experience.
It again spawned another generation of rip-off films of no consequence.
Australia took up the mantle of portraying our outlaw bikie culture with Stone in 1974, a film revered by many even today. Despite its success, the rumours of Stone 2 are just that … and that’s probably a good thing. Sequels rarely live up to the original.
We then didn’t see any decent motorcycle movies out of Hollywood until Wild Hogs in 2007, a comedy about mid-life crisis bikers.
And that’s about it.
Faster and TT: Closer to the Edge were great, but they were feature-length documentaries about motorcycle racing and the Long Way series were travel documentaries for TV.
Sure, there have also been some great bike chases in movies, such as The Great Escape, The Bourne Legacy and a couple of James Bond films, but there hasn’t been a whole movie that depicts the bike culture.
That is, until now.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for Girl Meets Bike to hit the silver screen, but you can buy the DVD for $25 plus postage from the website. You can also buy merchandise such as biker boots like Kat wears in the film, t-shirts, scarfs, stubby holders and patches.
What’s your favourite bike movie? Add your comments in the box below.