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Friday, October 15, 2010

Ride a Royal Enfield motorcycle
and feel like Steve McQueen

"Royal Enfield 50s Steve McQueen!"

That's the headline on an ad for a 2009 Royal Enfield Bullet offered for sale on CraigsList in Stratham, N.H. It sure attracts attention — some of it unwanted.

"Some wiseguy had to point out that McQueen rode a Triumph," the seller notes in the ad. "The point is I FEEL like Steve McQueen when I ride this."

Fair enough, I think. Nearly every motorcyclist is a fan of actor Steve McQueen. We're all free to imagine ourselves sharing his feelings when we ride our Royal Enfield motorcycles.

What's interesting here is that the seller goes on to suggest a way we can get to know how Steve McQueen himself felt when he rode his motorcycles or drove his cars.

"If you are a fan, there's a great book called McQueen's Machines — awesome," he writes.

The book is fully titled McQueen's Machines: The Cars and Bikes of a Hollywood Icon. Written by Motor Trend editor Matt Stone and McQueen's son Chad, it has 184 pages of gorgeous pictures and extensive comments on the vehicles, backed by significant research.

The book lets McQueen's motorcycles and cars tell the story, in effect, as we learn when he bought them, modified them, sold them and, sometimes, bought them back.

McQueen owned more than 200 motorcycles, we're told.

The Index lists many of them, but not all. Who is to say there wasn't a Royal Enfield among them at some point?

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