"Shaking his head, the Son of Saturn spoke and addressed his own deep heart. "Poor creatures, why did we give you to King Peleus, a mortal doomed to death. You immortal beasts who never age or die. So you could suffer the pains or wretched men. There is nothing alive more agonized than man, of all that breathe and crawl across the earth." -Homer - The Iliad, Book XVII

Ghosts in the Machine: An Illustrated History of the Motorcycles that Carried Legends

The biker myth, told to us by Hollywood, the news media and law enforcement. A tattooed, unshaven and unclean outlaw on a big machine. He's not too bright, barely literate, certainly not lawful, and lives by a code that is misunderstood by the average folk. A rebel, a voluntary outcast of the norms of society. A modern day Visigoth clad in black leather. Indeed, our mothers warned us about this mythical biker, but is inclusive or representative of the many millions of riders?

In researching the history of motorcyclists I found many examples that were not only quite contrary to the common biker myth, but in many cases they pre-dated its creation. This was not just a search for the people, but also to find their motorcycles. Although most of these machines have been lost to time, clues have been left. Grainy black and white photographs, brief descriptions, tales written by their riders and stories told by friends and relatives. With this information I have created illustrative restorations of the motorcycles. 

Imagine an alternate reality where motorcyclists win Nobel prizes, are knighted by the Queen of England, compose symphonies, lead revolutions, fly to the moon, direct theater, and are some of the most prolific writers and journalists in history. Think of how different the culture of the motorcyclist would be, how different we as motorcyclists would be. As it turns out, we live in this alternate reality, and should we choose to acknowledge it, the identity of the archetypal motorcyclist may forever change.