Easy Rider Again

February 17, 2012

All Posts, Editorials, News

For awhile, the airwaves hummed with shows featuring colorful welders and “custom choppers.” One of those shows was called American Thunder and it was different from all the rest because instead of welder it featured a model named Michelle Smith. (Seen squatting in the photo above.)

When the depression hit and people became less interested in bikes that were worth more than their homes but not their mortgages the show’s producers blamed Smith. She was fired and replaced by a manly millionaire who was once on Survivor. Maybe he was on Survivor more than once. Then he was fired and Smith became part of a new version of American Thunder called Two Wheel Thunder.

Two Wheel Thunder might be available for viewing on a television near you. Or maybe not, depending on your cable provider. You might get a home shopping show in a language that sounds like gagging instead.

I only bring this up now because I am too lazy to chase an actual story today and because Smith recently sent out an alert to 18,000 of her closest friends that Two Wheel Thunder will be “in Tampa for the premiere of the Easyriders Sequel.” I know because I am among Smith’s 18,000 closest friends, although some days I fear I may actually only be number 18,000 in a very long line. So when I heard from her my first thought was “There is an Easy Rider sequel?”

Easy Rider Sequel

Yes there is, I soon learned. Yes there is.

The late Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda proposed a sequel in 1985. Hopper’s idea was to set the movie in a grim and distant future, like, oh maybe, 2012. The original characters would be magically brought back to life and take a road trip through this post-apocalyptic America.

That sequel didn’t work out but other Hollywood entrepreneurs liked the idea of milking more money out of Easy Rider. The actor Martin Landau tried to produce a new version of the film in the 1990s. After Landau, a producer named Glenn Tobias raised money for a sequel but didn’t actually make one. He kept the money anyway and was sued by the estate of one of his investors in 2004.

The Lawyer Dreamer

The estate won that legal battle and a wealthy lawyer in Ohio named Phil Pitzer bought Tobias’ rights. Those rights, however, did not include the title Easy Rider. The original film’s producers Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson retained those rights. So, more litigation followed and to make a long and dreary story a little shorter, the Ohio lawyer eventually got to make his movie.

“I had a total vision of what I wanted in this movie. If it works, good for me. If it doesn’t, it’s my fault,” Pitzer told the Springfield, Ohio News-Sun in February 2010. “The last thing the Hollywood establishment wants is for someone like me to do well in their backyard.” Hollywood did not care.

The film was originally scheduled for release in September 2009. In May 2009 Pitzer flew a half dozen cast and crew members to the Cannes Film Festival for a “photo opportunity.” Pitzer tried to drum up an audience for the film at Sturgis that year. And, the film was not released that September.

The Ride Back

Easy Rider: The Ride Back was probably finished in 2010. “This movie may not be appreciated immediately,” Pitzer said. He was right about that. Since Pitzer was playing with his own money, no estimate of the film’s cost has ever been attempted. The movie has never been distributed but it does have an official web site.

That site describes the movie as, “The long awaited prequel to one of the highest grossing independent films of all time. Easy Rider defined the thoughts and values of a generation. The prequel Easy Rider: The Ride Back shows through flashbacks how these much loved characters became the classic icons of a generation. Millions of fans around the world know the throb of the Captain America Harley-Davidson, the roar of that great 60s music, the thrill of the open road. Now a whole new generation can experience the same sense of freedom….”

The movie seems to have not yet been released on DVD. If Easy Rider defined your “thoughts and values” and you want to see this prequel your best chance may be at the Gary Amphitheater in Tampa on February 25. And, if you are also one of Michele Smith’s 18.000 closest friends, now you know what she is talking about.



79 Responses to “Easy Rider Again”

  1. Brian "Papa" Irwin Says:

    Seen it it’s shite

  2. Grumbler Says:

    ruffrider – according to gasprices dot mapquest dot com, it’s $4.99 for regular at the Chevron in Lee Vining. The tiny town of Gorda, on the coast highway south of Lucia, probably has the highest gas prices in California. It’s in the grab your ankles and pass the vaseline category.

    In my immediate region, the highest gas prices would be at the Sinclair in Stanley, ID. That’s 130 miles northeast of Boise via SH-21.

    I’ve always enjoyed riding alongside the Eastern Sierras on US-395. Stayed in Mammoth Lakes while out there.

  3. Rebel Says:

    Dear Shyster,

    And the 395 is one of my favorite rides. Although for a shorter ride, I have always loved Foxen Canyon Road in Santa Barbara County. Wineries, scenary, wild turkeys, llamas, miniature horses and not much traffic.


  4. ruffrider Says:


    You bet. one of my personal favorites. I try to do it at least once or twice a year. Its a beautiful ride and the people in the owens valley always seemed to be motorcycle friendly even before it was popular to be.


  5. Shyster Says:


    Expensive yes but the ride up and down 395 is worth every penny.


  6. DocB Says:

    Just one other thing about that budget.
    When money for riding gets tight I cut back on non essential shit like food, clothing, or housing

    ride safe

  7. DocB Says:

    Dear Grumbler

    On a trip to Florida last spring the price per gall was around $4.00.
    We kept it between 80 and 85 most of the time and ran into a headwind
    the whole day. I got about 31 mpg and figured it cost me close to $10 an hour (road time) to run 800 miles. Or stated another way it cost more than twice minimum wage per hour to ride to Florida.
    Aww WTF? Who’s countin?

  8. ruffrider Says:

    Try the chevron in Lee Vineing for high gas prices. Over 5 bucks for premium 3 years ago. Cant figuer what it might be now.


  9. Grumbler Says:

    During a Redwood Coast loop back in June 2008, the highest price I paid for fuel was almost $5 gallon for premium at the Chevron in Weed.

    Out here in southwest Idaho regular was $3.36 yesterday.

    Those of us with budget constraints might have to change 3-day weekend rides to overnighters and overnighters to long day rides. Brown bagging it instead of mom & pop cafes an option, too.

    Might have to start packing my own beer if this gets out of hand.

    It’s gonna be a memorable summer.

  10. ruffrider Says:


    I like memorable rides too. Especially way after the fact. They are nice over beer.

  11. RVN69 Says:

    Abraham Iker,
    If I could attach pictures to a post I would attach one I got put on a coffee cup. It was taken in June 2006 in Glascow, Montana, my wife and I were on the return leg of our coast to coast ride and very nearly got caught in a tornado. The picture was taken by a couple from PA., it shows me on the bike with my wife standing next to me in the lobby of the hotel. I pulled in about 40 yards ahead of the funnel cloud which paralled the road next to the hotel.

    Potius Mori Quam Foedare

  12. sherides Says:

    Just wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone for the “riding in the rain” advice.

    It’s very much appreciated.

    I do have a small windshield on my bike – it’s more of a bug catcher than anything.

    This May 15, I will have been riding for 5 years now. I hope I never stop learning how to be a better rider.
    Lots of my rides have been memorable. Some for all of the wrong reasons.

    Now I have to go click a bunch of ads so you can get that tooth taken care of.

  13. Phuquehed Says:

    A pair of Halcyon goggles is what I wear whenever I ride (and a half-helmet is all I own also) – sunshine, rain, snow, sleet, day or night. The lenses are real glass so I put Rain-X on ’em and it’s all I need. I can see in any storm I’ve ever rode though. The stingining ain’t too bad with rain, but try it with sleet. Now *that* stings!

    There’s not enough money on the planet to pay me to have a windshield on my bike. Never have and never will. I *LIKE* the weather and wind hittin’ me as I ride the road!

  14. Abraham Iker Says:


    The first trick for riding with glasses, goggles, windshields or face-shields is to keep them clean. The dirt, oil, and other road muck that ends up on those surfaces will hold onto the water pretty well and make them difficult to use. That is the simplest and best thing I have found. The main issue I have is fogging. I use “blaze,” an anti-fogging product that has worked very well, but does wear off. I tried to use the short windshield that came with my bike upon purchase but it fogged so bad on high humidity nights that I couldn’t differentiate shit from Shinola. Using that windshield also gave me the urge to drink cosmos and listen to show tunes, so I detached it.

    The worse rain riding experience I had was on the way to Myrtle Beach Fall Bike week. Actually, I was going to see a chick and found out about the festivities when I got there. I left the FF helmet at home and used on bandana as forehead cover and the other over my lower face with shooting glasses for my eyes. At highway speeds there was no fogging or beading and the cotton kept the pins and needles feelings to a minimum. However, cotton swells when wet. So after an hour or so, breathing through a soaking wet bandana is similar to how I imagine waterboarding to feel. I also found out when I arrived that I was riding through a tropical storm that had just been downgraded from a hurricane.

    Appropriately, the name of the fall rally is “Hurricane Alley.”

  15. observer Says:

    RVN69: that’s a pretty common affliction. The French even have a name for it, and it translates to “staircase wit”, the stuff you think of too late when you’re walking away down the staircase. I think I’ve got the gene for it.

  16. RVN69 Says:

    “DocB Says:Guy at work asked if I rode my bike in the rain one day. Told him it got wet and wouldn’t start so I carried it.”

    Shit DocB, wish I was quick witted enough to come up something like that. I can think of witty retorts, usually about an hour after the fact!

    Potius Mori Quam Foedare

  17. RVN69 Says:

    I mostly wear a beanie helmet so I bought a cheap 3 snap flip up shield for the rain. Sometimes if it is bad enought I also slip on a riding mask made of neoprene for the stinging that Grumbler is talking about. And alas I do have a windshield on my FLHR, it is too short to protect my face, but on long rides it does reduce fatigue by keeping the wind off my body. After a long ride, 600-800 miles, I don’t feel like I was hanging on to my bike instead of riding it. I don’t particularly like a windshield, but as I have aged I have become more of a function over form kinda guy.

    Potius Mori Quam Foedare

  18. Grumbler Says:

    Got caught by a sudden rainstorm with 3 other guys while southbound on Hwy 1 from Davenport to Santa Cruz. No helmet law then. Let me tell you, rain really, really, really, REALLY *stings* when it hits your nose. I instantly put my gloved left hand over my nose to protect it then glanced into my mirror to check on the dudes behind me. Almost fell off my bike LMFAO as they, too, had left hands covering their noses. We must’ve been a bizarre sight to northbound motorists.

    Fairing or windshield and a FF helmet, as others have mentioned, offer the best protection against the elements.

    The biggest hazard, during inclement weather, are tailgating cagers.

  19. Rebel Says:

    Dear Big V,

    Windshield? Windshield!


  20. BigV Says:

    The newer flip face helmets are ideal for rain and most other weather. Nothing beats a good windshield, either.

    I kept the windshield/fairing off of my FLT to someday do a frame mount fairing on the Boyce frame FX bike I built.

    I used to have a pair of Georgia boots that were made near my hometown and they were awesome in the rain, but the newer Made in China Harley boots are terrible for traction in the rain.

    Take it easy.

  21. DocB Says:

    Dear sherides

    Rain just sucks. Nobody likes to ride in it. Everybody just does what they can with what they’ve got. It’s hard to see through anything in the rain.
    If you short shift it helps keep the wheel hooked up and stay off the paint.


  22. Rebel Says:

    Dear sherides,

    The worst thing is the rooster tails from the trucks. I carry a pair of goggles when I take long trips but I have never used them. If it is bad I just try to see through the rain drops on the glasses. I usually slow down some. One time at night in a pouring rain I wound up going up an exit ramp and had to turn around. Another time, at night in a pouring rain, I was coming down the Cajon Pass and the clouds were literally like ten feet above my head. The headlights were reflecting off the rain clouds. That was so memorable. I like memorable motorcycle rides.

    And yes, the raindrops really sting. Look at it this way, riding a motorcycle is an accomplishment. Not everybody can do it. You’ll get the hang of it.


  23. sled tramp Says:

    Since they may need to identify the body after the fact,I use a full face during the worst weather.I’ve actually grown used to it.I use two things that work exceedingly well.A) A pinlock inner shield which prevents fogging very well.Should that not be enough,I put in a breather mask.B) Plexus.The stuff sheets off water fast.

  24. sherides Says:

    Question for you guys that have alot of experience riding in the rain.

    It’s a law in my state that you either have to wear glasses/goggles/or face shield at all times.

    What’s the trick to seeing through any of the above in pouring down rain?

    I usually just push my glasses down as far as I can on my nose and look out over the top best as I can. The faceshield was the worst – couldn’t see at all through it.

    Riding in pouring rain is painful – I try to avoid it if at all possible. I can be a little wimpy at times……

  25. Rebel Says:

    Dear Chiyo,

    No, that guy knew. He just couldn’t imagine doing it himself so he had trouble getting his mind around the fact that you guys did it.


  26. Rebel Says:

    Dear DocB,

    Very good line.


  27. Phuquehed Says:

    My bike’s all I got. Even do my grocery shoppin’ with it. Yep, the stupidity really comes out in people when I gotta ride in the cold or rain or both here too. I mostly just ignore them and keep going about my business.

    @YYZ – Nice, hand-sized boobs are best! Anything more is a waste. Besides, those big-assed boobs that jiggle so much it looks like a tidal wave going across her chest just because a butterfly landed on one are just plain gross, to me they are, and fake boobs are just as gross and nasty.

    And *any* bikini is good on a chick on a bike! Nekkid is better but leavin’ things to the imagination is real nice!

Leave a Reply