Bikeriders, Books and Buttered Popcorn

May 30, 2024 | By Mike Seate

The much-anticipated “Bikeriders” movie based on photographer Danny Lyons’ 1968 book of the same name opens on Friday, June 21. I’ll be appearing at the Lindsay Theater in Sewickley, PA. (12 miles from Pittsburgh) to introduce the film and discuss Lyons’ work. Back in 2000, I’d authored my first book “Two Wheels on Two Reels” about motorcycles in film that covered all sorts of biking cinema, from racing epics like “Once A Jolly Swagman” to low-budget director Roger Corman’s 1960s drive-in chopper flicks. Motorcycle movies, unfortunately, haven’t changed much in the ensuing two-plus decades, with Hollywood still addicted to the cheap thrills and box-office appeal of violent gang scripts like “Sons of Anarchy.” Still, the mere fact that someone developed a screenplay around Lyon’s book is amazing in itself.

A few years before penning my book, I worked for a sleazy chopper magazine that managed to interview Lyons about his time photographing the Outlaws motorcycle gang while attending university in Chicago. He shared some poignant, funny insights into the making of the “Bikeriders” book and images which I’ll share during the upcoming event. I’m also cleaning out my memorabilia closet and dragging along a few fun artifacts from many years covering both movies and custom motorcycle subcultures, which should prove fun for anybody who’s seen “Wild Angels” World’s Fastest Indian” and other biking flicks. Longtime friend and fellow motorcycle enthusiast Phil Caruso worked as a set designer on “The Bikeriders” when it was filmed in Ohio a couple of summers back and I’m hoping to have him join me for a few insights into the creation of authentic, early 1960s motorcycles and fashions displayed in the film. The festivities start at 6 pm.- has more info. Stop by and check out the show.