Although most of us resist, there’s something about a motorcycle that dares you to disappear, hit the road and just see what happens. In this episode, I talk to someone who regularly takes that dare. Kendall Wright lives the freelance life, and with the freedom that gives her, points her bike toward the horizon whenever inspiration strikes. We spoke on the eve of her departure for a spontaneous lap of the continental U.S., and her cheerful sense of adventure will inspire anyone who wonders, “what would it be like to just go?”

Show Notes

Freedom Machine is an annual event of a kind that’s popping up all over the world. To me, it was as much or more about motorcycle culture than the bikes alone, and therefore all the more worth attending. Maybe because it’s still relatively new, or maybe because of the weather that day, I found it delightfully intimate, with a wonderfully weird edge contributed by its location. But it’s bound to grow… if you’re nearby, you should put it in your calendar for next year. (Come for the day, at least. I’ve heard things get weirder when night falls. Also, pro tip: If it’s raining, bring a kickstand pad!)

Here’s the bike that inspired my reverie about ‘just going’. The heart of this bike is a 1968 Triumph Trophy 650, and it was built by Shane Burkholder. You can find Shane on Instagram and share the pains and joys of bike building @s_burkholder.

Below is a photo Kendall Instagram’d from the road the day I published this podcast. It’s exactly what I picture when I imagine a trip like that. You can follow Kendall’s adventures on Instagram @kendallbitesback. Her feed is a bit of a gateway drug into a pretty cool network of moto-folk.

This is Bessie Stringfield. There has been less written about her than you would think, given her astonishing story, but this article from the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame is a good way to get started. What was most amazing of all about her wasn’t just what she did and the obvious obstacles she faced, but her attitude, sense of humour and unalloyed lifelong passion for riding (and Harleys). A reminder that none of us deserves to take ourselves as seriously as we sometimes do.

Here is the Jamie Elvidge article Kendall and I spoke about. I think it’s one of the finest pieces of writing about motorcycles I’ve ever read, and comes closest to what I imagine goes on inside your helmet on a long journey.

Drivin to Kalifornia was excerpted in this episode with the kind permission of Redlight King. You can purchase your own copy on iTunes, and learn more about Redlight King here. Do yourself a favour and spend some time checking out his other tracks. Old Man is a masterpiece with a great back story, and Born to Rise is not only a great fist pumping anthem, but its video features some excellent bad behavior on motorcycles… just to name two.

And finally, a cautionary tip for tech nerds:  I record these podcasts on a Roland R-05, which is an excellent and versatile digital audio recorder. The only flaw I’ve found so far is that it doesn’t appear to signal you when its card fills up while recording. I got lazy about keeping it clean, and lost a few minutes of this very enjoyable interview. Lesson learned.

To be passionate about motorcycling is to be passionate about motorcycle films, or so it seems lately. In this episode, I talk with Caius Tenche, director of the Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival, about why our appetite for two-wheeled cinema is so insatiable. Tenche gives the digital age its due; it’s never been easier to record and share our stories. But behind this, it turns out, are reasons far more timeless and essential to why we ride.

Show Notes

You can find out everything you need to know about the Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival here. To stay current and connect with fellow enthusiasts, here are the Festival’s social media coordinates: Facebook torontomotofilmfest | Instagram @torontomotofilmfest | Twitter @tomotofilmfest

According to Wikipedia, at least, the first film that featured a motorcycle in a significant plot role was ‘Mabel at the Wheel’, by Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand and Mac Sennett. Here it is on YouTube.

Here’s the trailer for this year’s Lisbon Motorcycle Film Fest. The images do the talking, here, and give you a great sense of the kind of energy these films generate.

21 Days Under the Sky came up a couple of times in our discussion. Here’s the trailer. If you decide to watch the film, I’d love to hear what you think.

This is MotoGeo’s ‘Night Rider’, a confection I watched more than once while I waited for my own Triumph Scrambler to come. It didn’t hurt that Jamie Robinson loves this bike. Find MotoGeo here.

Caius also mentioned ‘Stories of Bike’ as an inspiration of his. A little more polished and people focused, you’ll find their films here.

Caius talked about the links between motorcycling, film and maker culture, and it would be hard to beat ‘The Greasy Hands Preachers’ for proof. You might want to pour yourself an artisanal IPA for this one.

If you’re not a rider but you’re curious about why people get so worked up about it, the film ‘Why We Ride’ is worth your time. Yeah, it’s sentimental, but this is who we are.

“It’s All A Blur” was used in this episode with the kind permission of Cuff the Duke. It’s from the band’s album “Way Down Here”, a personal favourite of mine for long, quiet rides in the country (only when it’s safe to listen, of course). You’ll find their music in all the usual places, including here.

The best kept secret about motorcycling, and the maybe thing that surprises new riders the most, is its deep sense of community. In this episode, I talk with Marina Mann, co-founder and CEO of EatSleepRIDE, a community-powered web site and app for motorcyclists, about why we’re all brothers and sisters on two wheels. She nails it, and after hearing our conversation, you’ll never let a salute from another rider go unanswered again.

Show Notes

You can probably tell I’m a fan of EatSleepRIDE. You’ll learn a little more about them by visiting, but I wouldn’t hesitate to just download the app and join the fun. Personally I’m kind of a nerd about the ride recording feature, but it’s got plenty more to offer, including its impressive CRASHLIGHT crash detection technology.

Here’s some information on the Babes Ride Out. This piece from Motorcyclist gives you a flavour for what the event is like.

If you want to be part of the SyncRIDE event later this month, this link will take you straight to ESR’s SyncRIDE information.

During Sons of Anarchy’s seven season run, much was written about the deliberate parallels between its storyline and that of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This article offers a handy list of those parallels, and helps explain why a show about a violent criminal gang was such a favourite with gentle liberal arts majors.

‘Freedom Road’ was used in this episode with the kind permission of The Giants. You’ll find the band’s web site here, and more of their music here.

Nothing is more fun on a motorcycle than a twisty road, and nothing is more difficult to master. In this episode, I talk with former pro racer, riding instructor and million mile veteran Todd Eagan about what it takes to get there. After a steady diet of stern lectures about physics and skills, Eagan’s perspective is refreshingly human. And cornering mastery turns out to be as much art as science, and as much about faith as technique.

Show Notes

If you’re an avid rider visiting Los Angeles, Todd Eagan is a guy you need to meet. You can reach him through Ride Malibu. He’s on Instagram as both @ridemalibu and @rentaguzzi. For a taste of what it’s like to ride with Todd, check out this test loop video for GuzziTech, Todd’s tuning business.

Here’s a picture of Todd’s first bike, the MR 50, in case you didn’t know this Honda (I didn’t, but I certainly would have lusted after one in those days).

Antoine Malye, who let me share his music to close this episode, is on SoundCloud under his own name. He doesn’t seem to have a web site, but here’s his SoundCloud page. If you’d like to own some of his mesmerizing music, it’s available in all the usual places, including here.

The epic long distance ride is as close to the heart of motorcycling mythology as anything except maybe the machine itself. This episode explores why these odysseys tug at so many of us through one rider’s story. After 50 years on two wheels, Terry Bell had never taken that long ride. Then one day, everything changed. The trip would be called ‘The Big Stupid’, and its lessons were surprising.

Show Notes

Besides being a lifelong rider, Terry is also a pretty great photographer. If you’d like to see his work, you can follow him on Instagram @bellman27

DenManTau, who let me use their music to close this episode, are also on Instagram, and you can share their odyssey and awesome energy by following @denmantau. Their web site is at The track I shared on the show is called “Busker’s Philosophy”. You should buy it.

Long rides have inspired a lot of writing, starting perhaps with Persig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values.” The Neil Peart book Terry and I mentioned is called “Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road”. Despite its tragic premise, it’s an inspiring and redemptive read.

A few weeks after this episode was released, Quora randomly dropped a question about long motorcycle trips into my in box. If you want to really feel the call of the open road, check out the answer by Paul Turner.