Showing posts with label Movie Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Movie Review. Show all posts

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Andrey Kotofey: Winter Nordkapp

Here's a man after my own heart, a winter Uralista who rode to the Nordkapp in Winter.

It's worth the slightly more than 14 minutes of your time, if you like riding in the Winter like I do.

He and his passenger made the ride in January of 2014 apparently.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Beemer R90S Safety Videos

The R90S Beemer Airhead motorcycle was instantly an icon of the 70's when it first came out. Take a look at these safety videos put out originally by BMW and placed on youtube for your viewing pleasure by

Check out the guy's riding outfit, I am thinking the color of his leathers was more red than pink in real life and it was just the crude state of color film technology perhaps? Then again, his rain gear is even more flamboyantly pinkish! He rides though like I wish I would ride all the time.

Some of the stuff he's shown doing though, like passing cars while going up a mountain, is not what's done around here. Apparently it's all one way traffic in Germany up the particular mountains that the films were shot in but even it that were the case here, I doubt cagers would take kindly to motorcycles zooming past them while on the way up or down the mountain!

Part 1 of the safety video. Direct link here.

Part 2 of the safety video. Direct link here.

99% of the rider's actions and the narrator's advice holds true today as it did the day the film was shot. I invite Irondad's feedback of course in light of modern day traffic patterns and his experience as a motorcycle safety instructor.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Movie Review: Globerider's Iceland Expedition

I remember a scene in some TV show where guys in the Air Force are threatened with a sudden assignment to Iceland if they don't perform some mission well. After seeing a production of riding motorcycles in Iceland, I am now thinking perhaps it would not have been that bad a punishment.

Helge Pedersen, renowned world rider and author of "Ten Years on Two Wheels" where he rides the world on a BMW GS and Chris who makes a living as a pharmacist are the featured riders of this short DVD movie I got from the public library. His website is here: LINK, there's a video trailer about the Iceland trip here: LINK.

Courtesy of

It's about these two guys on BMW 650GS's with huge panniers along with a third rider acting as camera man. The trip happens during late August through early September. They started their riding from Seattle, WA, across Canada towards the end goal of Iceland which of course they reach via aircraft.

At the beginning of the movie, the roads and dirt trails they showed looked highly doable, though they moved across them much faster than I would have on Brigitta. The terrain becomes more challenging as they ride into the boonies where beautiful vistas, wind and solitude are their only companions.

The Icelandic countryside is filled with lots of waterfalls and a lot of volcanic activity which has allowed for about 86% of homes to be able to use geothermal heating. The predominant colors are the gray/black of lava and very green moss covering the areas where rain and humidity permit it.

The riders sought out 4x4 trails in their travels, even practicing riding on the same terrain where NASA trained astronauts to eventually drive on the moon.

Riding through the highlands, they were able to find and navigate pretty rough roads at last. One thing I liked was how they show the use of lower tire pressures in bad terrain to create a larger footprint for the tires.

The riders ride all day, stopping to camp by the ubiquitous hot springs and pools....enjoying the solitude. If you're seeking some time alone, with just beautiful scenery to keep you company, Iceland may be what you want.

They experienced all types of weather during their time in Iceland. This weather ranged from fog, rain, clear skies and wind. Iceland can provide high winds, don't forget to bring your tent stakes!

There are over 40 small river crossings in the highlands, and the riders crossed quite a few of them, making it look pretty easy at times and not so easy in others. I don't think Brigitta would do as well since her air intakes are lower, not to mention her exhaust pipes would be below water level in some of those crossings! They mentioned tales of other motorcyclists having their mounts swept downstream by the strong currents.

Some of the roughest terrain consisted of boulder fields! Small to large smoothly rounded rocks, embedded into the dirt! Probably the remnants of ancient glaciers.

Some of the scenery they saw and stopped at included Crater Lake, a geothermally heated, water-filled volcanic carter. It kind of reminded me of the big meteor crater in AZ, though not as big.

The local tradition of building houses into the sides of small dirt mounts against the ravages of the weather is shown. They also dine at a restaurant built in such fashion. The menu was pancakes and apple schnapps, which apparently was a quite satisfying change from their regular camp food.

Apparently, its pretty cheap to camp in Iceland with camping costs ranging from $3 in the boonies to $6 in more civilized areas.

One scene showed some of the soft mud that they had to cross. The camera shows Chris digging a furrow in the mud from where his GS had gotten its rear wheel buried.

Some of the varied terrain offered by Iceland included of course iceberg fields and glaciers with over 500 varieties of moss growing on the lava fields giving the Iceland an "Irish" look.

The riders then take a slight detour from riding in the boonies and venture into some tourist locations, to include:

A brief tour of the Capital of Iceland, Reykjavik including singers in the square and city dwellers bathing in yet another geothermal lake. I am thinking hot water is not a rare commodity in these parts. In some locations, the ever present volcanic/geothermal activity made living there kind of like living in Yellowstone National Park. Geyser watching is a popular tourist activity.

And then, back to the boonies:

Their first real mishap involved wet hard clay....they said it felt like being on ice and both the camera man and Chris went down, damaging the panniers and a few dents on the motorcycles. No injuries to the riders fortunately. A great McGyver type moment was when the film shows Helge Pedersen demonstrating how to unbend a bad 90 degree bend on the right handlebar....pretty smart. This accident Only delayed them a couple of hours.

More riding, lots of views of horses and the reaching of the Herring capital of the world according to Helge finish out the film They cover about 3000 miles of riding in their adventures and the film ends with Helge stashing their used knobbies in an abandoned structure. The GPS coordinates are shown on the screen so if you happen to be riding in Iceland, you may want to go and see if the tires are still there!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Movie Review: The Long Way Down - Director's Cut

Yesterday evening, I and about 100 or so sat at the local mall's theater to watch the director's cut of the film "The Long Way Down". See link to prior posting describing the film: LINK

The film had its amusing/comedic moments, mainly driven by the spoken commentary between Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman as they motored along Africa's sometimes quite bad "roads", more like trails sometimes.

For instance: They chanced to meet a bicyclist who's going around the world on pedal power alone, using a motorcycle obviously when on land but using a pedal boat for Christ's sake when crossing intervening large water barriers. Now that's a serious bicyclist. Anyways, as the man departed, Ewan is sitting on his R1200GS loaded to the gills with gear, he turns to Charlie and says: "So, how much of a pussy do you feel like now, Charlie?" The whole crowd of us burst out laughing.

There were many shots of their GS's going down in the extremely poor road conditions they had to endure, mostly it was Ewan's motorcycle doing the crashing as Charlie had his Dakar experience to help him along but even he dropped it on occasion I think.

Some really beautiful scenery served as backdrops and side shots of the trip, much footage of the people they met along the way and the truly primitive conditions they live under, and a couple of instances of recounting of massacres that happened under that poor continent's continuing tribal warfare.

Ewans wife, Eve joins them for a small part of the ride, on a 650GS I believe. She was quite the trooper, only recently having learned how to ride a motorcycle! There was footage of some of her crashes, which did not discourage her as it would have me, she always got up and rode on.

Throughout the film there was the "trip diary" entries of each rider's impressions of events, their thoughts on stuff, all mostly in HD which was a bit disconcerting since they sometimes tended to hold the cameras real close to their faces!

To me it was amusing to see Charlie's reactions when he was asked to not do wheelies by the guys in the support crew in order to decrease risks. He does fine for a while but then apparently something lets loose and there's footage of him doing it repeatedly. : )

This film was only two hours so I only saw bits and pieces of the series that starts 02AUG I believe on Fox Reality Channel, it's worth a look on your part.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Film Review: Twice Upon a Caravan

Today I received from the Denver Library system a DVD containing the film created by Robert E. Fulton Jr when he rode around the world during 1932-33 by himself on a six horsepower motorcycle.

LINK to where I got these images and where you can buy the film if you wish: LINK

Mr Fulton on his trusty steed

It's 53 minutes of black/white movies that were a great complement to my recent reading of the book by Fulton: A One Man Caravan.

While the book did an excellent job of describing the many varied views and people that Fulton saw as he rode; the film films in some of the blanks for the viewer. The book remains a must-read before the film, then let the film finish the job of bringing you along this man's great adventure at the tender age of 22. Wow.

The film starts with Robert Fulton, now 92, sitting on his trusty motorcycle which he still has in his possession, it's his voice that narrates throughout the film and he mentions portions of the book as examples. Having recently read the book, I found the repetition of these book portions to be great aids to the film and to my enjoyment of the films.

Watching the film, you'll get a small idea of what kind of rough terrain he had to negotiate during the early thirties and you'll wonder how he ever managed at times. After all, it's not like he had a support crew and chase vehicles, a mate to ride alongside him, powerful BMW dual-sport motorcycles etc. The man did it on his own and not a single whine did I detect.

A scene caused some wishful thinking on my part. Fulton shoots some footage of himself and his motorcycle, they're next to a stone marker marking the Equator in Sumatra. He eats a sandwich, while straddling the Equator....that's cool! Maybe someday I'll do the same.

One commentary I found noteworthy, which highlighted the changing times that were the 30s; he was the 100th person to make an international long distance call from Bangkok to NY on their recently installed phone cable!

Some of his film was destroyed by heat and humidity during his travels he mentions, but he made it a point to mention he'd lent the US Army his footage of roads in Siam and Indochina during WWII. The army apparently lost it all and he's never been able to recover it. That's a darn shame.

So, check your local library system and get this DVD sent to you for viewing! Specially if you've read the book by Fulton but even if you have not. Its title is in the subject line, the author is Robert E. Fulton Jr, made by Searchlight Films of Bernardston, MA. Now this is a visual record of a world-class motorcycle rider!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Wild Hogs - Go see it!

I went tonight to see the movie "Wild Hogs" with a buddy. It was a great movie, we found ourselves laughing out loud at some of the antics these guys did.

The movie itself is about four middle-aged guys caught in ruts and using a road trip as a way to work things out, get away from it all and recapture their youth. Along the way they manage to ride through some great scenery, piss off a biker gang, get their asses kicked while standing up to them and help save a town, shy guy meets cute girl, friends bare their souls to each other and begin to get a grip on what really is important to them. Throw in burning tents, poop in a bag, monster bug hits while riding and you've got yourself an amusing way to kill a couple of hours.

Sounds a bit predictable but the movie is quite funny, specially to those of us who ride motorcycles. It pokes fun at the Harley-Davidson stereotypes commonly held out in the world so if you ride a hog, be prepared to laugh at yourself a little.

From a safe riding point of view, these guys pretty much threw away the rules at various points in the film but that's hollywood, where you can get away with doing stupid things on a motorcycle.

One guy kept falling off/crashing his sportster so often its a wonder the dang thing was ridable by the end of the movie.

They sure looked like they had fun though.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Movie Review: The Long Way Round

I recently viewed this movie which was a documentary on Bravo back in 2004 I believe. I read the book that came out about it at the same time and with some comments do heartily recommend viewing the film if you are at all interested in Motorcyle Touring and just riding motorcycles in general. The trip was planned for 20,000 miles of travel on motorcycles! The terrain they had to traverse once they left Europe and entered the wilds of Asia was amazing in its beauty and incredibly tough to ride through in many spots.

Truly is the US highway system an incredible achievement when compared to some of the stuff these guys and their support crews had to traverse.

For you BMW riders out there, they used BMW motorcycles and apparently the motorcycles performed very well given the conditions.

Just be prepared for what I perceived to a bit of whinning from both riders where even though they were on the adventure of a lifetime, they thought "things were just too hard", "I miss my family", and even had thoughts of changing their route in search of better roads. Not sure what they expected the trip would be like but when reality hit, they faltered but eventually they "did a package check" and drove on.

Easy for me to criticize of course, I was not there, axle deep in muddy goo, constantly having the motorcycle fall over and having to pick it up and helping pick up the other's motorcycles as well, sleeping in tents with wet gear and at times eating weird and exotic foods from the locals. However, these guys had support vehicles and satellite phones for Christ's sakes!

The handling issues they had in rough terrain (and yes, at times it was impossible terrain) I got the impression came from their overloading their motorcycles with gear. Their cameraman did not apparently have as many issues with handling and his load was lighter it seems. Again, I was not there but that was my thought at the time. Their ability to get their motorcycles repaired though was great and they were fortunate to find locals with mechanical/welding skills when mishaps happened.

I found their interactions with each suceeding local culture most interesting even though they were ill prepared once they entered eastern europe and points beyond in terms of language. Of course, their being able to call up on the satphone, get an interpreter and have him talk to the local officials they encountered probably enable them to slack off on the language lessons. God knows Russian is a very hard language to learn!

Still, despite the negatives above, a great film to watch for motorcycle buffs.

From the website:

A once in a lifetime adventure….

Setting off in London in April 2004, Ewan and Charley travelled through some of the most beautiful, and at times dangerous, terrain the world has to offer. Crossing over into mainland Europe, they rode through France, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, Alaska, Canada before arriving 115 days later at their final destination, New York City, USA.

Ewan McGregor: “Now it’s come to an end I can hardly believe that we’ve made our dreams come true and although at times its been very, very tough, the people and places on the way have moved and touched me to my core. It’s been a ‘Long Way Round’ but I’m glad to be home.”

Charley Boorman: “The trip has been incredible in itself but it’s the people in all the countries that we’ve met that have made it fantastic.”