In for the long haul: 8 motorcycle shows to binge on in self-isolation

As a large proportion of the nation bunkers down in self-isolation, here are eight motorcycle-based shows and films to help get you through lockdown

Republished from original publication during the first lockdown in March

The prospect of self-isolation doesn’t fill anyone with joy but in times of crisis, sacrifices need to be made… but it doesn’t have to be ALL bad.

The onset of the coronavirus means many of us have battened down the hatches and settled in for the long-haul with no clear idea of when we’ll be able to shop, party, work and generally live a normal public life.

If getting out on your motorcycle – the ultimate self-isolation accessory at the moment – then we’ve picked out some motorcycle themed TV shows and films on the Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming services to help you get some fuel-burning kicks in the meantime.

(Ed note: We also recommend getting onto YouTube and enjoying some classic motorsport, there’s plenty out there to enjoy!)

(Ed note II: These shows are free to stream on UK networks, so if you’re international reading this they may not be available… we suggest a VPN)

Speed Is My Need (Docu-film, Netflix)

“I’m gonna rip your neck off and shit in your neck”

Colin Edwards is nothing if not animated as the opening lines of the trailer for this showcase of the mentality behind those who pursue a life of motorcycle racing. Anyone who watches racing regularly may quibble a bit at the dramatization of the crashes, but there are some great moments to be enjoyed against the backdrop of the 2018 BSB season and the Isle of Man TT.

Plus, there some pretty impressive talking heads to get some insight into what it means go flat out on some of most demanding courses in the world.

The Ride: London to Beijing (Documentary, Amazon Prime)

We all love a long ride, but this one is a true epic. A group of motorcycle enthusiasts set out on trip from London all the way to Beijing, taking them across Europe and into Russian, Central Asia and beyond in this gruelling trek that’s a test of endurance for man and machine. Available across six episodes of a series, think of it as the Long Way Round without Ewan McGregor, Charlie Boorman or a Harley-Davidson LiveWire.

Sons of Anarchy (Drama, Netflix)

“We’re not a gang, we’re a motorcycling club”

This isn’t ‘all’ about the bikes but you certainly get to see plenty of them in this series, described as an ‘American crime tragedy’, whatever that means. Regardless, Sons of Anarchy remained hugely popular over the years, making its seven series about the outlaw motorcycle gang the perfect binge-worthy boxset to get your teeth into.

It also stars Ron Perlman, who has the most formidable jaw on television

Ride with Norman Reedus (Amazon Prime)

Norman Reedus, best known for his role as Daryl Dixon in The Walking Dead series, brings his passion for motorcycles to television in this series which sees him explore the United States’ wide and varied motorcycle culture.

With two series’ to work through on Prime (of the four that have been televised so far), Ride with Norman Reedus will have you heading to a different destination on a motorcycle in each episode while exploring the city's biker culture and checking out various locales.

Champion Barry Sheene: Profile of a Legend (Documentary, Amazon Prime)

Arguably the most iconic motorcycle racer to come out of the UK, Barry Sheene lived his life as fast off track as he did on it. Enduringly popular right up to his death in 2003 – and in memory - Sheene’s exploits in grand prix racing and the Isle of Man TT makes this documentary – narrated by Nick Harris – a fascinating watch behind the visor and scenes.

Burn Out (Film, Netflix)

There is plenty of fast bikes, burnouts, crime and furrowed brows in this French-Belgian thriller, which sees an aspiring Superbike racer dragged into the world of crime to settle a debt for a gang. It’s not the most original plot but the action is en pointe and the stunts befitting of its adrenaline pumping premise.

I, Superbiker

The 2011 British Superbike Championship sets the scene for this dramatized season review following four riders – Tommy Hill, Shane Byrne, Gary Mason and James Ellison – through their ups, downs, wins and slips in their fight to be champion, with mixed results.

CHIPS (Film, Netflix)

CHIPS is a 2017 film based on the 70s/80s TV series of the same name based around the California Highway Patrol (CHP) starring Dax Shepard, Michael Pena and Kristen Bell.

Shepard’s Jon Baker is a former motocross champion who joins the force to lend his skills on two wheels when an armoured van is attacked by a crew on bikes. Maybe not the best if you like your films high-brow, the Netflix apportioned categories of ‘raunchy’ and ‘exciting’ should give you a glimpse of what to expect.

Bonus:

TT On-Bike John McGuinness (17mins of racing glory, Amazon Prime)

This is probably best for those working from home at the moment because at 17mins it’s ideal for a quick lunchtime break before it’s back to facetime meetings and live Google spreadsheets.

It’s also a little poignant since the 2020 Isle of Man TT has been cancelled altogether now so we’re going to have to get our Mountain Course kicks another way. So why not start with an on-board lap from the one John McGuinness riding a Honda Fireblade at full throttle with the volume right up (because you won’t have work colleagues to disturb if you do so…)

Plus:

Easy Rider, The Great Escape, TT Closer to the Edge and Faster just because they are classics that need no introduction

Also, a re-run of the opening WorldSBK round in Phillip Island – which took place before coronavirus took hold – just because they were three exceptional examples of why motorsport is awesome!

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