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The Last Motorcycle on Earth: Indie TV portrays the unthinkable

Is a world without motorcycles a realistic possibility? According to the filmmakers at Air Mail Pictures, the answer is yes, and they’re making an indie drama mini-series about a future with no motorcycles.

Titled The Last Motorcycle On Earth, the three-part miniseries extrapolates on current transportation trends to seriously question the future of motorcycling. Air Mail Pictures has shot the first episode, and the team is looking for funding for the next two parts, via IndieGoGo.

Here’s the premise of the series, according to the IndieGoGo page: “The Last Motorcycle on Earth is a dramatic series about a vintage motorcycle collector and bike builder, Conrad Mendel, as he grapples with a new world of technology that threatens to destroy his passion and way of life. 

After spending a lifetime collecting, racing, and building motorcycles, Conrad watches as the United States seems poised to turn away from a culture of individual freedom– the right and ability to travel anywhere, anytime– to one where passengers ride in a robot vehicles, trusting in technology to safely carry them to a destination.

After the Supreme Court decides that the Constitution does not guarantee us the right to own private, petroleum-powered vehicles the clock starts ticking toward an outright ban on motorcycles and eventually all human-driven transportation.”

OK, whatever, it’s not a James Ellroy plot. But it’s the next paragraphs that are more interesting:

This series was devised by looking at authoritarian governments around the world and their real-world actions against motorcycles– banning them inside major Chinese cities, laws against customizing motorcycles in Singapore– and many others. Researching the rapid shift from horse-drawn to motorized transportation in the early 1900s it is clear that a tipping point for long-established forms of transportation– and even entire cultures– can be reached very quickly. The current wave of news about self-driving and autonomous cars is impossible to ignore.

And then, there’s this background, from writer/director Eric Ristau.

Our current youth culture is largely focused on virtual experiences rather than the tangible, physical stuff past generations were drawn to– in this case, motorcycles, cars and expression of personal freedom through travel. More young people than ever are deciding against getting a driver’s license and interest in ownership of vehicles by that group is at an all-time low. It is said that the last person to receive a driver’s license has already been born. … I see a major cultural shift, maybe even a culture war, on the horizon– as the world’s vehicles go electric and autonomous.  Is this symbolic of something larger?

The story of The Last Motorcycle on Earth explores what happens if room is not left for motorcycles and vintage vehicles in new transportation systems across the world. What happens to people who have built their lives around motorcycling? What happens when technological and culture shifts are pushed by tech companies, government leaders and court decisions?

These are valid questions. Increasingly, we are seeing the world’s large urban centres enact legislation that hamper petroleum-powered vehicles in general, and gas-powered motorcycles in particular (London, Paris, and many Asian cities have made these sort of headlines in the past few years).

So, maybe there’s more to this idea than just scaremongering, and maybe this is the perfect time to film this mini-series. If you want to know more, head over to IndieGoGo for more details. Currently, the team is at 11 per cent of its $145,000 US fundraising goal.

7 thoughts on “The Last Motorcycle on Earth: Indie TV portrays the unthinkable”

  1. The concerns brought up here reflect thoughts I’ve shared with friends elsewhere. I can easily see a time when governments ban autonomy under the guise of safety. First, make autonomous vehicles optional, then make them mandatory to “save lives”. Think it won’t happen? One merely need to look at how kickbacks drive the medical prescription model. If you have similar incentives driven by lobbyists to politicize transportation, all bets are off. Money, ultimately, is power.

    1. You’re right. I once thought the last gasp for motorcyclists would be the track and off-road, but off-road is no good if you don’t have riding range, and the tracks are getting shut down before we can get EVs to reduce the noise.

      1. I hope that sanity prevails and that people truly grasp what’s at stake. Since 9/11, freedoms have been slowly-but-surely whittled away in the name of security south of the border. If Canadians allow their freedom to be similarly cut back, we’ll enter an era in which we may not be able to reclaim those things we now take for granted.

        None of this suggests that I’m against autonomous vehicles. I’m just leery of a possible future that has preposterously expensive insurance for dinosaurs who insist on being their own pilots that then leads to outright bans. We already have precious few common sense approaches in Canada with regard to motorcycles, e.g., lack of filtering and the inability for motorcycles to use carpool lanes. We must stay vigilant.

    1. I thought the same thing.

      “I strip away the old debris, that hides a shining car
      A brilliant red Barchetta, from a better, vanished time
      Fire up the willing engine, responding with a roar!
      Tires spitting gravel, I commit my weekly crime…”

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