LEISURE LETTER 33: TWO WHEEL LEISURE
For us, the life of leisure we preach often implies a style of living that’s as calm as a setting sun and at times effortlessly indulgent. However, there are the occasions when Dandy must stoked the embers of adrenaline to mix up the steadfast routine of relaxation. A way in which we do this is by sparking the machine that rides the line between chaos, danger, grace and elegance: the motorcycle. For this Leisure Letter we’ve included a few Dandies and the bikes they rode to get their BPM climbing.
He’s the actor that wanted to be a stuntman. Those were his chums; the stuntmen ran more at his speed rather than his fellow actors. The Great Escape showed that. Even though he did most of the driving and he wanted to do the famous jump (aboard the Triumph TR6 Trophy), insurers had other plans. McQueen wasn’t just a rider, he was a true gearhead. He built his personal bike the Métisse Desert Racer. This was a man that dug anything with an exhaust, but the motorcycle was an appendage.
A renaissance man that checked many boxes. Photographer. Filmmaker. Playboy. Art collector. Millionaire. A gearhead. Married, at one time, to Brigitte Bardot. Sachs had motor oil in his genes with his family owning Fichtel & Sachs (aka ZF Sachs), a car and motorcycle parts company. One of his more famous motorcycle builds that he owned was the Münch Mammoth. A 1,000cc, four-cylinder engine taken from an NSU Prinz car and engineered for this two-wheeled beast. Arguably, it was the first superbike, topping out at 120mph, even coming in at 600 pounds.
DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON
The legendary journalist that threw himself in the mix of the Hell’s Angels in his first published novel. He had a slew of bikes over his riding career. The Doc was a man that only dealt in roads. He needed speed in his life, he admits it. One of his best accounts was in his Cycle World article, “Song of the Sausage Creature.” Read it just for the fact that Thompson demanded a Ducati 900 Campione del Mundo Desmodue Supersport double-barreled magnum Cafe Racer for his coverage.
DENNIS HOPPER AND PETER FONDA
The duo that brought counterculture to the 40-foot screen. Easy Rider brought motorcycles into pop culture, especially Harley Davidsons. It turned the opinion on hippies. It might be flower power, but horsepower mixed in. 1950 and 1952 Harley Davidsons were the choice for the two actors, Captain America and the Billy bike. These two showed one of the first times motorcycles were used in a film with journey-like nature, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza with ape-hanger handlebars. .