2013-2014 have been some good years for motorcycle enthusiast movies. First with Why We Ride (2013) and then later On Any Sunday, The Next Chapter (2014), like the title says two sides of the same coin. Both movies set out to say the same thing but do it in two totally different ways, yet they both end at the same conclusion. Motorcycles solve the world's problems-literally. On Any Sunday (1971) lit the torch and brought motorcycling to the masses, these films just keep the torch burning.
First up Why We Ride. In 2013 Director Bryan H. Carroll gave us a fresh take on the motorcycle documentary. Something that has not really been successfully attempted since Bruce Brown's On Any Sunday (1971). However rather than re-hash or try to be something it's not, Why We Ride took a look at motorcycling from a historical and sociological point of view. Why We Ride follows the history from the early days as a utilitarian vehicle that was once more practical and affordable than a car, through the "outlaw" period and into the modern, hobby era. The film focuses on the stories with in each motorcycle discipline through regular folk, or so it would seem, at the end is when they reveal who the commentators are which is a nice touch. Basically Why We Ride is a slow-mo epic with pacing to match, where much emotion is projected and explored. The main downside is your heart never gets much above a resting heart rate. All and all a must see for non-riders with a curiosity and established riders that want an ego boost.
Next up On Any Sunday, The next chapter. 2014 saw a release from Dana Brown, Bruce Brown's son. Motorcyclists will recognize both names, but will more recently recognize Dana's name from the epic documentary Dust to Glory (2005) about the Baja 1000. Dana Brown does it again with his updated version of his father's movie, and that is just what it is, a modern take on his father's legacy. One would think this is just a rehash, while the structure is somewhat similar the pacing is much more like Dust to Glory. Dana explores many motorcycle racing disciplines some from his dad's film and ones that didn't even exist back in 1971 and this is where the film really stands on its own. Unlike Why We Ride which is an emotional journey through the history of motorcycling, OAS-TNC gets the blood pumping right out of the gate with the first segment (spoiler alert) Robbie Madison jumping his motorcycle off an Olympic ski jump. OAS-TNC keeps this going meandering through other forms of motorcycle racing both new and old finishing off with the wholesome and inviting Day in the Dirt event.
The conclusion is simple, two sides of the same coin. If you want an emotional, historical and artsy look at motorcycling from its humble beginnings to the present day, Why We Ride is your film. If your interest is more centered around racing and the prominent figures within each type of racing then On Any Sunday, The Next Chapter should fit the bill. In my opinion if there was a way to combine these two movies you would probably have the perfect motorcycle movie.
After On Any Sunday 1971, these are required watching for anyone even thinking about getting a motorcycle. Verdict: watch both! Each movie fulfills what the other is lacking.
Jon "the junk man" helping to promote responsible riding and recreation whether it be at the track or at the trail. Your source for motorcycle how to videos and much more!