Review: ‘Why We Ride’ is a loving ode to the motorcycle

Review: ‘Why We Ride’ is a loving ode to the motorcycle
A scene from “Why We Ride.”

An unabashed love letter to all things motorcycle, the documentary “Why We Ride” will surely warm the souls of bike enthusiasts while prompting many nonriders to join the fold. It could in fact be one of the best movies-as-sales-tools to speed down the pike in some time.

Director Bryan H. Carroll, with an invaluable assist from cinematographers Andrew Waruszewski and Douglas Cheney, takes an all-embracing look at motorbiking (including a nice bit of history on the subject) enhanced by testimony from a wide array of its enthusiasts — men and women, young and old, able and disabled, hobbyists and record-holders. Although these eclectic interviewees go unidentified until the closing credits, their passion for riding proves enormously personal and stirring.


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Carroll covers the gamut of revved-up, two-wheeled vehicles while visiting popular biking events and locales across the country (Daytona, Fla.; Sturgis, S.D.; Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats, the California deserts). Themes of comradeship, family bonding, free-spiritedness and charity prevail; there’s plenty of breathtaking motorcycle maneuvering on display as well.


On the downside, the film, written by Chris Hampel, has an increasingly wobbly narrative structure. Also, messaging here goes on a bit long (motorcycling is great, we get it!) and what might be thought of as the darker side of biking — and bikers — is only fleetingly touched on. To that end, the movie is virtually all angels, no hell; it’s easy, breezy riding.


“Why We Ride.”

MPAA rating: PG for mild thematic elements and language.


Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes.

Playing: AMC Puente Hills 20, City of Industry; Nov. 4 only at ArcLight Cinemas, Sherman Oaks and ArcLight Cinemas, El Segundo.


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