Discovering a celebrity's hobby behind the scenes of their movies or music can be interesting and surprising. It's even more so when the interest coincides with the reader's passion. The appeal of motorcycles stretches across all walks of life. These ten famous motorcycle riders listed below are quick to reveal their love of the freedom they feel when riding.
Celebrities Who Ride Motorcycles
Hunter S. Thompson
The self professed connoisseur of fast motorcycles, Hunter J. Thompson was a journalist and author. He was best known as the founder of the gonzo journalism movement, in which the writer would immerse himself into the subject of his work.
Thompson spent a year living and riding his BSA A65 Lightning with the Hell's Angels before writing the book Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. Thompson suffered a beating at the hands of a few members. They believed he was exploiting them for personal gain and wanted a portion of the book's earnings.
Owning such bikes as a Ducati 900 and 650 BMW Lightning, Thompson often spoke of his love for riding along the beach highway at night.
In reference to his book, Midnight on the Coast Highway, Thompson was quoted saying, "Later on, I can look back at something like that thing about 'the edge' which I wrote about twenty minutes after coming back from doing it. My face was such almost freezing dark red and crusted with tears, not from crying, but from tears that start coming to your eyes just from the wind. I was so high on that -from coming back- that I sat and wrote the whole thing, right through, and never changed a word of it. It's one of my favorite pieces of writing".
- Hunter S Thompson on his BSA A65 Lightning with his son Juan
- Hunter S Thompson on a Penton, an Ohio based race bike.
- Buddy Holly a Rock-n-Roll legend in some people's eyes and an avid motorcycle lover.
Although he died very young, Buddy Holly made an incredible impact on music. It was no secret the talented singer/songwriter also loved bikes. Notably, one of the more famous celebrity bikes, his 1958 Ariel Cyclone is currently displayed in the Buddy Holly Center in his hometown of Lubbock, TX. Belonging to one of rock n roll's greatest is not the only history this bike has.
At the end of a long tour, Holly and a couple of his band members stopped at a bike shop in Dallas. It was there that Holly bought the Ariel Cyclone. The two other band members also bought bikes, and all three rode them home to Lubbock, TX.
Many know the story of Holly chartering a 4 seat Beechcraft Bonanza airplane for himself, his guitarist, and Waylon Jennings, who was playing bass for Holly at the time. His guitarist lost his seat in a coin toss to Ritchie Valens, and Jennings gave up his seat to J. P. Richardson, who was sick with the flu. The plane crashed into a cornfield not long after takeoff outside of Mason City, Iowa.
The Ariel Cyclone stayed with Holly's father until it was sold in 1970. Years later, former members of Holly's band, The Crickets, searched for and found the bike. Knowing Jennings had been deeply affected by Holly's death, they presented the bike to him on his 42nd birthday. Being one of about 200 built with the twin-cylinder 650 cc Huntsmaster engine, the Ariel Cyclone is a collector's dream.
- Buddy Holly's 1958 Ariel Cyclone. Waylon Jennings gave the bike to the Buddy Holly Center on a long term loan.
- Alice cooper back in the 70's.
The famous School's Out shock rocker has a passion for golf and bikes when he's not touring. Better known for riding in his earlier years, Cooper was often photographed on motorcycles. He doesn't shy away from trying any type and can still be spotted trying out different styles.
He's been pictured riding Cosmic Customs VW Trikes. These trikes were choppers designed with a two person backseat and a roof cover. Cooper has spent recent years touring biker circuits, and his scene from the stage is best described as black leather and every type of bike you could imagine.
His best known bike is the custom built 2014 Harley Davidson Sportster XL 1200X that was recently auctioned for charity. Dubbed the Billion Dollar Baby, the bike was built by Eric Klenk and painted by Chris Cruz Artistry. The Nightmare Bike custom built by Klenk and EEC Parts and Design is a Harley Sportster 1200N.
Portraits of Cooper were painted on the bike and he autographed it to make it even more valuable. It was also auctioned for charity. In recent interviews, Cooper still talks of his passion for riding.
- Check out this killer Trike with Alice Cooper.
David Allan Coe
Once this eccentric outlaw singer put his prison days behind him, he became quite well known for his hits The Ride and You Never Even Call Me By My Name. He made his enthusiasm for bikes known by choosing to ride his Harley out on stage and taunt the audience instead of performing. Claiming he grew up around members of the Outlaw MC, it was only natural for him to join.
He once rode out on stage in Outlaw MC colors and joined Waylon Jennings for a duet. His bikes have included, in his words, "whizzers, cushions, and sportsters" over the years, and no doubt a bobber or two.
Although his riding days are mostly behind him, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Clint Eastwood was once a bike enthusiast. Most of his movies have featured him either riding a horse or a bike. The Hollywood icon has starred in biker movies such as The Gauntlet and Every Which Way But Loose.
Early photos of Eastwood show him sitting on a variety of Triumph motorcycles, but it appears that Norton bikes were his favorite. He has mentioned his Norton Commando Fastback a few times over the years in interviews.
- Clint Eastwood on a crazy Triumph police bike in Dirty Harry.
- Bob Dylan on one of his Triumphs.
Bob Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone was voted #1 in both 2004 and 2011, in Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Best known for singing and writing all genres of music, Dylan also had a passion for fast cars and fast motorcycles. He's stated his first ride was on a Harley-Davidson Knucklehead, but he's most known for his 1964 Triumph T100 that he's spoken fondly of over the years.
Many rumors erupted after a bike accident in 1966 that kept him out of the limelight for a couple of years. His injuries varied among different reports, but by the late 1960's, he was back in Nashville. He claims the accident helped him slow down. It's a good thing he learned to pace himself. He's toured and performed for over 50 years now.
The Terminator 2 and X-Files actor was able to bring his passion to work in Sons of Anarchy. Patrick is currently president of the Boozefighters MC Chapter 101. Quick to correct anyone that calls it a gang, Patrick says the club is a nonprofit organization that raises money to help veterans, children, and the poor. Patrick can often be heard in interviews discussing adventures on his bike. He rides cross country at least once a year.
In one interview he told the story of riding through the desert in Arizona on his Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide CVO when his back tire blew out. He contemplated riding the rim several miles to the next town before remembering he had roadside assistance and his cell phone. Whether for religious or other reasons, Patrick recently had his newest Harley-Davidson blessed at Hollywood's St. Thomas Apostle Church.
- Robert Patrick on a chopper mid 90's.
Keanu Reeves- Keanu Reeves on a Norton Cammando
Perhaps one of the most dedicated bike fans on this list, Reeves has taken his love of motorcycles a step further by co-founding Arch Motorcycles. The company designs and builds custom motorcycles, and in 2014, released its first bike to the public.
The KRGT-1 has the specs of a show bike but is meant to be ridden hard. The Speed and The Matrix star is known to purchase a bike on location and then sell it when the movie is finished. He admits he's kept a few to add to his collection over the years.
He had a wide variety of bikes including a Norton Commando, 2005 Harley Dyna Wide Glide, and a 1974 BMW 750. He's admitted trying to create a bobber or chopper trying to get a bike exactly how he wanted. Reeves first bike was a Kawasaki 600 Enduro, and has owned more motorcycles than he has cars.
- Keanu Reeve's first production motorcycle with his company Arch Motorcycles.
The Deadpool star tells in an interview of the first bike he bought with his own money at the age of 15. It was a Honda CB750 he and his brother had to repair just to get it to run. He's often spoke of the bike, and how he would drive it illegally. He had to fight with his father over keeping it due to his older brother having crashed an Interceptor 750 years earlier.
He owns several bikes including a 1962 BMW R60 and a Ducati Paul Smart 1000, but Triumph seems to be his bike of choice. His most recent acquisition is a Triumph Thruxton Cafe' Racer built by Dustin Kott of Kott Motorcycles.
Reynolds says, "I love the fact that when you're on a motorcycle, riding a motorcycle is the only thing you're doing". He loves the idea of taking a break from the craziness of his career and just focusing on the ride. Reynolds avidly takes long rides with his brother.
- Ryan Reynolds and his Triumph Thruxton cafe racer.
There is not many things this award winning entertainer hasn't done in the entertainment industry. A car and chopper buff, Queen Latifah owns the 1962 Chevy Impala from her movie Set it Off. Admitting she spiraled downward after her brother's bike accident that took his life, she has certainly turned her life around. She continues to wear the key to her brother's bike around her neck in his memory. She's stated she had to keep riding because, it's one of the last things they did together.
Her passion for riding became even more apparent when she entered the stage of her talk show riding her bike. She is a member of the Redline MC which promotes safety while riding and enhancing riding skills. Queen Latifah can often be seen sporting around Hollywood on her Honda CBR. She once said, "Riding is fun for more than one reason. I have worn a helmet most of the time. People don't know it's me. So I can just rip and run and be at one with myself."
- Queen Latifah on a Cbr 600 back in the day.
A Legacy on Two Wheels
The Impact of Famous Motorcycle Riders
The popular motorcycle riders featured in this exploration have left an indelible mark on the world of motorcycling. We analyze their impact and lasting influence.
Their Contribution to Motorcycle Culture
These iconic figures have contributed significantly to the evolution of motorcycle culture. Their stories reflect the changing landscape of riding and the enduring spirit of exploration.
Inspiring the Next Generation
The tales of these legendary riders continue to inspire new generations of motorcycle enthusiasts, ensuring that the legacy of the road lives on.
As we conclude this exploration of famous motorcycle riders, we pay tribute to the legends who have defined motorcycle riding and left an indelible mark on its history. Their stories serve as an inspiration for us to carry the torch forward, embracing the spirit of the road, and continuing the legacy of those who rode before us.