Summer is here and the heat is on! Since the 4th of July is right around the corner we wanted to highlight ten famous American Motorcyclists who helped shape our country and culture.
An avid motorcyclist, Bob Dylan started on a Harley 45 in his teen years and then a Triumph T100. He famously crashed his Triump bike on July 29th, 1966 near Woodstock and went on to become an American icon with hit singles such as “Like A Rolling Stone”.
Clint Eastwood was an avid car and motorcycle collector. This famous actor, director, and filmmaker rode bikes such as the Commando S scrambler and a Triumph 650 TR6 (made famous in the bike chase scene in Coogan’s Bluff).
Oscar winner and philanthropist Paul Newman is known for his love of cars, but he had motorcycles in his heart as well. Made famous for films like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, he also was rumored to have crashed before making Alfred Hitchcock’s “Torn Curtain” and needed skin grafts on his left hand.
American bad boy and movie star James Dean was a motorcycle enthusiast. Famous for his role in Rebel Without A Cause, the late, great James Dean was mostly into Triumph’s.
Charles “Lucky Lindy” Lindbergh was an American aviator, military officer, author, inventor, explorer, and environmental activist. Made famous for flying the Spirit of St. Louis in the world’s first nonstop transatlantic flight, Charles’ first motorcycle was a 1920 model “x” Excelsior.
Hunter S. Thompson
American journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson helped shaped counter culture as we know it today. Known for works such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and the founder of gonzo journalism, he was a rider until the end of his days.
Sir Michael Philip Jagger also known professionally as Mick Jagger, is a musician, composer, songwriter and actor who was famous for being the lead singer and one of the founder members of the Rolling Stones. He has been described as “one of the most popular and influential frontmen in the history of rock & roll”.
Jimmy Carter, The 39th President of the United States, served the presidency from January 20th 1977 until January 20th, 1981. He previously was the 76th Governor of Georgia from January 12,1971 to – January 20th, 1975. Former president Carter rode motorcycles frequently prior to running for office.
Muhammad Ali, an American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist. He is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century. From early in his career, Ali was known as an inspiring, controversial, and polarizing figure both inside and outside the ring.
William Clark Gable was a famous American film actor and military officer. He is famously known for his role in Red Dust (1939), Manhattan Melodrama (1934), San Francisco (1936), Saratoga(1937), Boom Town(1940), but no more than his role as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind(1939). Gable then joins the US military in 1942. In 1944, He was promoted to major. Clark rode several bikes during his time, 1934 Harley Davidson RL, to 1934 Harley Davidson VLD.
Elvis Presley aboard his red and white Harley Davidson KH, 1956
Elvis Presley owned numerous motorcycles in his lifetime, preferring Harley Davidson’s and had a long relationship with the brand until his death. His first motorcycle was a 1955 S-Series that he saved up for but he eventually traded it for a Model KH and with a $47 a month motorcycle payment. After his music career took off he never had to struggle to make his motorcycle payments.
Steve McQueen riding a Triumph TR6 650 cm3
Steve McQueen was one of the most recognizable actors of the 1960’s and 1970’s and was the star of many great movies of that era including “The Great Escape” from 1963. He also helped finance the influential motorcycle movie “On Any Sunday” in 1971 . His first motorcycle was a 1946 Indian Chief, which resulted in this famous Steve McQueen story, “I was so proud of that Indian that I rode it over to see a girl I was dating,” he recalled. “She said, ‘You don’t expect me to ride around with you on that, do you?’ I surely did. The girl went and the bike stayed.”
Ann-Margaret on a Triumph
Ann-Margaret, a famous sex symbol and movie star from the 1960’s to present is 70+ and still riding! She inherited her love of motorcycles from her Uncle but her interest really got ignited when she saw Marlon Brando in “The Wild Ones”. She rode often with Steve McQueen and their love of speed did not escape the studio, Paramount Studios banned them from riding their motorcycles to work or they couldn’t be insured.