…but how much for the chopper?

Looks like you can own a piece of Easy Rider – Some of Peter Fonda’s own memorabilia is up for auction. And sure, that’s pretty cool. A more iconic piece of late sixties counter culture you’re unlikely to find. But I’m left wondering who’s going to fork over a a hundred grand to own a […]

Looks like you can own a piece of Easy Rider – Some of Peter Fonda’s own memorabilia is up for auction.

And sure, that’s pretty cool. A more iconic piece of late sixties counter culture you’re unlikely to find. But I’m left wondering who’s going to fork over a a hundred grand to own a piece of that image, to hang it in some multi-million-dollar mansion, admired by the kings and queens of hollywood or silicon valley.

The word irony comes to mind.

Still, I saw items about this auction in BoingBoing, and SFGate, and My first thought was the chopper – which isn’t for auction.

My mother used to save things like old christmas wish lists, and she recently ran across several from my childhood. You can imagine the things on them; GI Joes, ‘Major Matt Mason’ dolls. Hot Wheels and SST racers. Weapons, of course, knives (which I usually got), guns (which I would get if they were BB guns), and machines guns (which I still vaguely hope Santa will leave in my stocking). But the one thing that was always there – always – was chopper.

My god, I wanted a chopper. I used to dream about roaming the highways in leather, my motorcycle one of those absurdly raked, over-chromed monsters like I’d see from time to time roaring down the main streets near my house. My aunt used to date bikers, and I desperately hoped for a ride on some snarling monster of a bike (though when we visited, her boyfriend tended to have a truck full of harley parts (always pronounced as one word, harleyparts), and never a running bike one could actually ride.

I can’t say that absurd chopper lust has ever gone away. I recently watched Ghost Rider with my daughter, and all I could think (other than wishing the film were better) was I want that bike. No, not the cartoon skull-and-bones one, the real one, the one they called grace (which I can’t find a decent picture of, anywhere). The one that looked just like the Captain America bike. “You need a bike like that,” Ruby said to me, after the movie was over. And I agree with her.

I watched the above-linked intro from Easy Rider – a film I haven’t seen in years – and it brought bake all that silly, boyhood notion of the wide-open road, and the tragic, doomed hero. And you know, that’s part of the appeal, I guess. Because who can separate the image of that flag-striped machine, from the aerial shot, flames on the side of the highway. Pointless, random, manifest destiny.

Or maybe, you know, I just need a shiny new toy.

7 thoughts on “…but how much for the chopper?”

  1. Silly question: That chopper — the little red white and blue stripy thing is the gas tank, right? How do you do a road trip with such a teeny tank?

  2. Hiromi, you’re right of course. One of the typical features in really cool choppers is a tiny gas tank. I’m not sure *how* tiny, but I’d bet a couple gallons.

    But there;s nothing practical about these bikes. They generally have no suspension to speak of, and a geometry that would be murderous on the back. They’re supposed to be really difficult to ride, as well. Often, they lack front brakes.

    But y’know, when you’re riding toward your inevitable, pointless doom, you might as well look really fucking cool.

  3. *pulling up on Harley*
    Arrrrrrrgh & Ahoy!
    Whar ya been, landlubber? – Just a drive-by to wish you a belated Happy TLAP Day. lol =P
    *revs engine & spins off, kickin’ up gravel in her wake*

  4. My cousin looks really fucken cool on his Harley…not a chopper but still. He makes a 3-4 week ride om the “open road” every year with his buddies….including a trip to the Sturgis Harley thingie. Open road on a bike can be a reality if you really make it so.
    Chopper or whatever.

  5. And that particular gas tank had a few thousand dollars in plastic tubing hidden inside it as well, so it’s a wonder they ever got anywhere.

  6. “Out on the road today I saw a Deadhead sticker on a cadillac…”

    🙂

    G-d some days I miss the ratbike. Man that thing was oogly and slow, but I loved it.

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