"First Ride," though less than four minutes long, is guaranteed to stir some deep feelings in those of us who ride. The memories of all our first rides mix with the adventures we have enjoyed since – the joy of the solo ride, the cheer a good riding partner brings to our days in the saddle, our feelings of oneness with the machine on those days we are in the zone and get everything right. We remember all the motorcycles we’ve loved (and some we’ve lost). The gratitude for this sport runs so deep within so many of us. Without motorcycles, would we have found the camaraderie, the far-away interesting destinations, the countless evenings around campfires with like-minded folks who share a wordless understanding of this craziness we embrace, the love of two wheels?
These are the feelings expertly stirred in the short film created by Brett Smith, editor and founder of “We Went Fast.”
Filmed on three different farms in the area of Mt. Airy, Maryland, the short film “First Ride” is, on the surface, the story of (the actor is Caden, who races motocross) a young boy’s first ride (on a Honda XR75) as well as his mentor (Dennis, the boy’s real grandfather) who provides guidance through the function and maintenance of these machines we love. Let the film sink in a bit deeper, though, and the film is the story of all of us.
Smith created the film for the 2018 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame ceremony. Usually the focus of these kickoff ceremonies is the museum itself or its members, but this year, the opening film communicated inspiration instead of congratulations. For a sport that seems to be in real danger of aging itself out, sharing these moments becomes more important as the years pass.
New riders are so important to the sport, more inspirational films like this need to exist. This writer hopes fervently that, women being the single fastest-growing contingent of new motorcyclists out there, more films like this begin to exist with women teaching their daughters to fix, maintain and ride motorcycles. So many of us were actively discouraged in our youth. So many young girls and women still are discouraged from following their passion for this sport. Imagine, fellow female riders out there, the inspiration and encouragement that would come from a film similar to this one, with a little girl riding dirtbikes!
All young people, however, are less inclined to have interest in the sport lately, and it is a problem for manufacturers and dealerships alike. Many are scrambling to come up with smaller, friendlier bikes for the incoming (though small) crowd of enthusiasts. All the retailers and service providers who rely on the motorcycle industry are beginning to sweat for business. Hopefully, more encouragement and inspiration will begin to turn that around.
Spencer Grundler was the Director of Photography for “First Ride.” He filmed it in 8k on RED Epic with Kowa Evolution anamorphic lenses.