Mary Anne’s Bikes

Back in 2001, we got an email from some folks at the BBC, saying they were producing a TV program about global biker culture called Mary Anne’s Bikes, and wanted to do a feature on us (another benefit of having a website back when that was still relatively unusual). We got a bunch of our friends together and rode around Tokyo with their film crew, causing major congestion on the Shuto expressway in the process, and got some sweet shots. Since I’m on a Google Video kick right now, I’ve uploaded the clip.

This is back when I had no hair and my bike still had short forks, Owen was still single, and we were both noticeably younger than we are now. Thanks once again to professional editing and a kickass voiceover by Mary Anne Hobbs, we come off looking a good deal less dorky than we were in real life.

Mary Anne’s Bikes was a great show. The episode we were on also featured guys who test sportbikes on the Riviera, a biker from India who lost his leg but kept riding, a muddy no-frills biker rally in Russia, and more. It’s a pity it only lasted one season and doesn’t appear to be available on DVD, because I think more bikers around the world should see this show.

14 thoughts on “Mary Anne’s Bikes”

  1. Kind of off-topic, but on impulse, I test-drove a Harley from the Shibuya store today. It was an Ultra Classic Electra Glide with all the trimmings. Took a second to get used to the sheer bulk of it and the shifting.

    I had it for a half and hour and cruised around with the radio pumping out tunes. Lots of (positive) looks from drivers and pedestrians. And a surprisingly smooth ride. AWESOME!!! Only problem is the seat heats up a lot. By the end of the ride, it was butt-sweat city.

    Anyway, heat aside, I liked it a lot.

  2. So you’re starting to feel the pull of the big cruisers?
    You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile. Or something.

    I borrowed a big dresser from a friend once when my bike was in the shop. Not as much fun in the twisties, but they can be really smooth and comfortable, and it’s nice to be able to hear your tunes on the highway.
    The lack of wind makes for an easy ride, but as you noticed, losing out on the natural cooling can be a problem too.

  3. Why not, in the late spring throughout summer I use my Electra as my daily ride to and from work. I need to because I work at night and the sheer numbers of bugs coming off the rice paddies at night going home from work is astounding. When I get causght at night riding the sportster I go REALLY SLOW!

    By the way, I might be getting my 15 minutes of fame here in Korea. This weekend was the first meeting/rally for the Korean, American and Japanese International bike association. Quite a few Japanese people flew over and turned out but only two rode on the ferry with their bikes. I wouldn’t say most but a majority of the Japanese folks who came are ethnic Koreans. Anyway, KBS TV sent a few people down to shoot photos and videos of the event and for some reason (there were only a few of us Americans there, and I being the young fresh face of the club) they kept singleing me out. They asked me a few questions like if I’ve ever modeled before (yeah right, I’m an aircraft wrench monkey) and if I could ride dirt and sportbikes (if it has two wheels I’m all over it). I don’t know the nature of why they were asking me about sportbikes… I’m not too keen on riding at Mach .99 on a ‘busa doing stunts (if that’s what they were thinking) but I think it’s more of the stare at the waegookin (gaijin) type parade me around on TV or ads. I don’t know. They wanted my email, phone and cell phone numbers to keep in contact with me.

    I wouldn’t say I’m the photogenic type, I like to live in obscurity but that’s a pipedream being here in Korea. Who wants to look at a fat 31 year old greasemonkey with no hair and a goatee?

  4. Rich,
    GB’s commuting in the heart of Tokyo, and it just not as easy to squeeze between a bus and a taxi on an FL. I’m mostly commuting through suburbs, but even so I often find that my Softail it just too big for some of the holes in traffic I want to slip through.

    If you get any pics or video of your 15 minutes of fame, please point me to them.

  5. OK yeah I can see GB’s point. That’s why I love my sporty. Especially when I ride up to Seoul…. it’s as bad as riding in Tokyo traffic. The only thing I hate is not being allowed on the freeways an a motorcycle.

    On the fame and fortune (hahaha) I’ll keep you updated
    BTW:here’s Lee from Fukuoka’s bike

  6. Rich,
    I edited your comment so the picture is visible.
    (the html is <img src=”~.jpg”>)

    On the BBS, submit is the longer button right next to the title field.

  7. On the BBS. I’ll fill everytrhing out and submit and takes me to an empty page with the fields on it with nothing else and gives me a B003 and B101 error codes.

  8. Damn. The BBS is hosted elsewhere and is the only thing on the site I can’t debug to find out what’s wrong. It sometimes gets weird, but it’s free, so I guess I’m getting what I pay for.

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