Freedom Stories – Speedy Donahue | Harley-Davidson

(soft footsteps tapping) (garage door opening) (low note playing) (motorcycle engine revving) – I thought I was prepared for this. I was just thinking it’s gonna be just like your weekend motorcycling but longer. No, not this, 2,200 miles, the weather, the people, I mean, I didn’t
have rain gear until the last day of this ride, until 90
miles outside of Milwaukee. No, I wasn’t prepared for this. (light upbeat music) – This is the Southwest ride, head back to Milwaukee to celebrate 115 years of building the best damn
motorcycle in the world. (group cheering) – Day one, started in
San Diego, beautiful day. As we’re setting up our cameras to film, we got left in the dust. It set the tone that these
guys are here to ride. This isn’t a joke, this isn’t some sort of put up for social media kind of thing. This is the real deal,
so I rode out alone. (engine racing) Here I am, the biggest ride of my life, 2,286 miles of asphalt and sunshine, a nine-day journey from San Diego, California to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. An unorganized ride with a bunch of Harley-Davidson enthusiasts. I don’t really know what to expect. I don’t know what I wanna get
out of this, but right away, this is definitely not
what I thought it would be. My first lesson, I had a lot to learn. (motorcycle engine roaring) – [Interviewer] So tell me a little bit more about the fast things. – There’s something
about really fast things, big motors, airplanes, hearing airplanes, seeing airplanes, seeing
these giant motors and just watching them
cruise across the sky. I mean, it’s incredible, who
wouldn’t think that’s cool? As a kid, I mean, I would
take bikes, tricycles, you name it, skateboards,
down the biggest hill I could find and shred each hit and fall. But I kept doing it, and one day my dad called me Speedy and it just made sense. My life is pretty structured
and I keep it that way. It’s pretty organized. I’m a motorsports adventure photographer. – [Interviewer] Is this
ride home going to test you beyond where you’ve ever been tested? – I don’t know if I’d be
that dramatic about it. Ha, I had no idea. One month before the ride we recorded that interview in the cozy confines
of my garage in Austin. I really didn’t even know what
the hell I was getting into. – [Interviewer] You ever been part of a production like this before? – Nope. But here we are day two,
let’s try this again. Okay, we’re off, this time with the group. It’s not that I don’t
fit in with these riders. It’s just that I’ve
never done this before. I have a ton of respect
for this type of riding, long-distance, hundreds
of miles, big bikes. But it’s kind of hard to understand what it means to do something like this. (calm music) What I do know is that everyone out here must be doing it for a reason. (calm music) – [Man] Drink and a fry. – [Chef] Onion rings to the window. – [Man] Thank you. – The reason why you’re getting
out there and doing those rides, you’re doing two to
three hundred mile rides. Why, you love motorcycling. What does it feel like
when you’re out there? Why do you do it? – Once you get a bike and you love it, you just can’t not do it again. It’s like part of your
DNA, your bloodstream. – It’s a passion. We all have new bikes, we take
very good care of our bikes. We tweak them to be more personal to who we are and what we want. – Yeah, the bike I’m riding right now was actually my best friend’s. It was two years ago
now, he got glioblastoma, inoperable, incurable brain tumor. And he passed away, and he had two bikes. This one wasn’t his primary bike, but I bought it from his widow, and that’s why it says Cowboy on it. It’s a… – So what does it feel like to be able to ride Cowboy’s bike now when
you get to take it out and? – He’s with me every time I ride. – [Chef] Double mushroom. – [Chef] Up to the window. – Sounds like there may be
some rain on the way back. Do you ride through
it, do you put on gear? Do you stop and wait, what do you do? – [Biker] Depends on where we’re– – [Biker] Depends. – So we may get soaking
wet riding down the hill, but as soon as we get out
of Payson and go south– – It’s gonna dry up. – You’re gonna dry out. – Yes, you may get a little bit wet, but we got great sunshine
most of the time, comfortable temperatures,
you just dress for it. – You just dress for it. (rain falling) Of course, I don’t have rain
gear, why would I need that? I told the producer before we left we’ll just stop or something. Forget the 400 miles we
need to travel today. We didn’t stop, we rode into the rain, through the rain, and out the other side. To top it all off, I thought it’d be really authentic to camp along the way. Yeah, I know what you’re
thinking, this is crazy. Maybe it is, but I’m finding
myself or something like that. (haunting music) (coyote howling) It is Wednesday, about 11:30 at night. Day two I’m here camping just
outside of Grants, New Mexico. I mean, I’m currently dry, but I wasn’t a couple of hours ago. Today was a day where I
had a lot of time to think and really reflect on
what am I doing out here. Why am I here and where is this going? You think about the people
that mean most to you, so I’m thinking about my partner, Megan, thinking about my dog. I’m thinking about every
little piece to life. Everything makes a little
bit more sense when you have time to kinda piece
it all together in your head. If this trip continues to
be or is as good as today, we’re in for a hell of
a ride and I can’t wait. For me, Harley riders were intimidating. I always thought of them as badass dudes that had been riding for
years with loud bikes and patches of conquered
milestones on their vests. I didn’t know what they’d think of me, skinny jeans and earbuds and no patches. (calm guitar music) Then I met Manuel Huerta. It’s day three and I’m starting
to discover that there’s an open sense of family and
community that I didn’t expect. I can’t really explain it,
but as Manuel and I ride old Route 66 through the
heart of the Southwest from New Mexico to Texas,
I get this goosebump, hair-raising sensation of spirituality. I feel it in the landscape, the red clay, the smoky hills, the empty
veins of dried rivers, the canyons of our ancestors,
of gods and generals. History runs deep in the
blood of this wild place. I feel it in the connection between me, the bike, and the road. I feel it in Manuel, and
even though we’ve never ridden together before this moment, I feel like we have an unspoken language. There are reasons that
we’re all here on this ride, this trek for enlightenment. I’m still trying to find mine, but this is certainly part of it. What is it about just being
out there on the road? What do you like about that? – What I like about the
motorcycle, especially Harley, doesn’t matter where you are from, the language, the age, as soon as you ride a motorcycle, it’s like a family. You can be from Germany or
Mexico or United States, and once you’re in that group, all the windows are
open to meet new people from wherever the world it is. – Absolutely, the sense of community? – Yes.
– Yeah, I hear you with that. What’s one of the longer
rides you’ve done? – [Manuel] This is the longest. – Same, so this is my
personal longest ride. – I’m gonna have, by the time I get home, 6,000 miles on this trip. – On this trip? – [Manuel] Uh-huh, only this trip. – Holy cow, and how
much bigger is this trip than every other trip you’ve been on? – The most I done, probably
1,000, yeah, about 1,000. – So this is significantly
larger, then you’ve already done. – Oh, yeah, yeah. (upbeat pop music) (flag flapping in the breeze) (slow peaceful music) – For me, I’m out here
because the adventure. It’s 2,200 miles, it’s pretty crazy long. Why are you out here? – I recommend it to anybody, it’s therapy. I’m a combat vet, I came back from Iraq. Had some issues, and riding a bike is just phenomenal for it. – Oh man, I feel that my
soul gets bigger, happier, more complete, it’s a
sensation that I think every human being must feel
at least once in its life. (motorcycles engines revving) (calm peaceful music) – [Speedy] Traveling to the
home of America’s most iconic motorcycle maker, the
birthplace of riding, Mecca. Me and thousands of other
riders with the same end destination, all with different goals. (slow rock music) When we started, I knew
I might not have the same lifestyle as everyone out here. The things we do off the road
couldn’t be more different. But out here, your views and opinions, political and social bend, whatever other bullshit you carry with
you, it doesn’t matter. Because it’s not what defines you, it’s not what makes us who we are. This trip isn’t about riding a motorcycle a really long distance. I’m learning that it’s so much more. (motorcycle engine humming) There is no place that I discovered this feeling of belonging and
understanding more than Blip Roasters in the West
Bottoms of Kansas City, Missouri. Who knew that my chance
encounter with Blip Owner, Ian Davis, and his
faithful patrons on day six in KC, Mo, would turn out to be everything I always wanted in a Sunday morning. We’re on a 2,200-mile journey
to Milwaukee from San Diego. We’ve seen a lot of cities,
we’ve stopped a lot of places. Come into Kansas City, and we found Blip. There’s a huge motorcycle scene here. – We just decided to
start meeting every Sunday for coffee and it started
with about four people, and it’s kind of organically
developed into what it is now. It’s referred to as Blip Sunday Church. – The difference in
types of people and types of motorcycles, it’s every
kind of motorcycle you can think of and every different
kind of person that rides them. How do you establish that community where it’s just everybody and anybody? Usually, you find a scene of cafe racers or sports bike guys or Harley
riders, something like that. This is a mix of everybody. – People are here for the community and they’re here to meet their friends. And every step of the way is
kind of meant to be inclusive. – So you guys all ride? – Yeah.
– Yeah. – How long have you been riding for? – Four years now. – Four years, yeah, me too. About the same, four or five years. – I’ve been about 15 years or so. – Wow.
– I’ve been going– – I started when I was 13, I’m 48 now. – Wow. – Yeah, and 13 years. – Dang, a lot more years
than I got under my belt. Have you been here before? I’m imagining that you come here Sundays. – Yeah, every Sunday. This is the only thing I get
to do on Sunday that’s just… – A you thing, you get to chill out and– – Yeah, yeah, well, it’s the fellowship with other people who
are doing the same thing. (slow peaceful music) – Whew, day six, wow,
about 1,600 miles in, seven states, a handful of hotel rooms, a couple of campsites, and what feels like 945 fuel stops later, we
made it to Kansas City. I’ve had such a blast, this isn’t easy. We’re riding hundred of
miles a day on a motorcycle, and we’ve been fighting the
rain and the wind and the heat and the cold and I ran out of
fuel on the side of the road. I think part of me
didn’t realize the extent of how difficult this would be. But at the same time, there’s
growth to all of this. You learn so much from
so many different people. The people that I’ve met
out here and the community that’s shown up here is unreal. Everybody has your back and it just feels really good to have that with you. (light calm music) And here I thought this was just gonna be some nine-day, 2,286-mile kind of put up for social media thing, but it didn’t turn out that way. The wind against my chest, the
shade whipping over my body, through the corn fields, so much more. The freedom of the dirt
roads and the highways, and the rain, and the
hella hot temperatures, this is the real deal. (light calm music) Along the way, the people that I’ve met, the stories that I’ve heard, it’s these experiences that I wanted, that I needed and searched for. To understand what makes
us different is not what separates us, it’s what
brings us together. This has taught me a number of things. Don’t think too much
ahead, and don’t worry about what’s gonna happen
in an hour or a day. Don’t think about 2,200 miles. Think about what you’re doing
right now and just enjoy it. There’s a freedom to motorcycling. When you get on, you can
do whatever you please and that was this trip. (motorcycle engine idling) Day nine, here we are, the last ride to our final destination. 16 miles left, a palpable
sense of jubilation in the air. We’re all here, ready, excited, nervous. (motorcycle engine revving) (“New Ground” by Cyrus Reynolds) This ride home delivered
everything I thought I knew about spirituality
and the importance of life all wrapped up in nine days of intense, miserable, bone-soaking,
isolating, overwhelming, and meaningful adventure
that I never asked for. And I loved every mile. (“New Ground” by Cyrus Reynolds)

100 thoughts on “Freedom Stories – Speedy Donahue | Harley-Davidson

  • Fat bob.. fat fuk .. эй мен на братов посмотри на чем ездят на дальнобой эта смесь v- max + antipidoras даром бы дали ещё подумал бы ездить ! Уебок а не мот дизайнера Харли факен респекто ..m.f.

  • That’s nothing fukn wuss………..

    Watch this:–4xUm_FsPCrGV-ldk01DkB1

  • No rain gear on a ride this long? I bet you won't make that mistake again. Even cheap rain gear will really help. But those lessons are a big part of motorcycling and most of us learn a few of those hard ones near the beginning of our motorcycling days.

  • Planning a trip in June. Riding from San Diego, circumnavigate the Great Lakes, stop in at Harley on the way home. Why? Because I'm going to be a long time dead. I'm 70 and have a very supportive wife. Going solo, because when your on your bike you are solo. A riding buddy is to call 911 if needed, and have meals with.
    I'll be riding to BC Canada with a buddy, probably August.

  • where'd you find this guy… 2,000+ ride and he didn't even have rain gear. did you teach him have to shift gears before you shot this video too?

  • Now take a 3 week trip with no time schedule or place to be. That's when you really see what a motorcycle is all about. Try to camp as much as you can. It will be a trip you never forget. No plans no time schedule no reservations just take as it comes damn it's great that way.

  • Great another product placement commercial for “freedom” & “one with the world” drivel see through the eyes of a newb rider hipster kid. I’m amazed there wasn’t anymore obligatory drinking coffee while contemplating life shots… 🤔

  • This is absolutely disgusting, sickening. What a pussie this ass clown is. Hadn't realized that the corporate world of the MoCo advertisement department had become dominated by candy assed, leftist, faggs.

  • Hey Harley, you are trying to cater to younger riders 10 years too late. We are a generation with student debt, housing costs that are through the roof and we can’t afford a $15,000 motorcycle. Your customers are getting older and you will fail to capture a new market of younger riders.

  • "great presentation,and it's feels like a movie.truely life on two wheels.its not about riding or travelling so much distance ..But it's like, feel the life, knowing everything thinking what would be on that next corner of every road…………"

  • I ride a lot, just for the joy of riding. I am glad you took the time to talk to other people and make this video. I do feel cold when I am wet and while I am quite uncomfortable, I keep going. There is nothing like riding and feeling every mile of it.

  • Outstanding film. Loved the pan from silo to you and drone over corn fields and canyons. Absolutely beautiful. I’m in Austin and would love to get coffee sometime

  • Finally a long documentary styled video every HOG wishes for ! Thank you 🙏🏼, looking forward for more similar stuff

  • Outstanding Video, If it was boring, it wouldn't be memorable, Thank You for taking us along on your adventure.

  • Cool video,but the truth is I never being able to afford one,that is why is a dream bike for me, until then I'll ride other bikes,and hopefully someday I'll be part of the Harley Davidson family.

  • I must be in a bad mood or something but I couldn't take more than about 3 minutes of this beta soy boy hipster douche. What happened to men?

  • Nice video, but you need to think a lot less and feel more instead, don’t over analyze or analyze at all, don’t think about what people think of you or how you fit in because if you do, they don’t think something you like and you will not fit in. We bikers like pack animals know when someone is out of their element so just stop with what do we think and become comfortable with who gives a shit. Then you’ll be one of us. Don’t think of miserable weather as a negative, it is something to grit through and embrace, like someone said, soaked on 2 wheels beats dry standing still. Somehow I think you are figuring it out, peace out!

  • I ride a metric bike but i'd never trade one day of my past riding , 50K miles "in the wind"……wish I was there now!

  • I enjoyed watching this and I get it Harley wants new riders.  But some of his comments are making me laugh out loud.

  • Poetry in motion Well done Speedy Donahue. Thank you for sharing…..P.S. Harley-Davidson don't forget your core supporters!

  • Ran out of fuel and then what? You learned what from people?
    Your descriptions are very vague.
    Great videograhpy though.

  • This was excellent video. It really expressed what that kind of trip does to the body and soul. I ride every weekend it gives me Joy and happiness after a hard work week! Forget all your troubles, I say screw the economy lets ride! My first bike 1980 hooked!

  • Harley was the reason I fell in love with motorcycles.
    Sadly I will never buy a harley since I found out they named their motorcycle after 2 atomic bombs which killed 50,000 or so people.
    Its about time harley changed the name of fat boy to some thing else.

  • I think everyone should experience our great country. I am a firm believer that you can spend years riding the states and find something new every time. I think it is hilarious that young people are son intimidated to try and fit in the Harley crowd. I think it is because they spend to much time staring at their phones and computers. Look a man in the eye, take your ribbing and if you can dish some back. Give respect and earn respect. Oh and get rid of the skinny jeans! They are like yoga pants on a dude…

  • FatBob looks good with a windscreen. Hipster doesn't even have a license plate though. Must not be his bike. Looks brand new and day 1 he didn't have the windshield. Harley everything. Brand new. But no rain gear. Bwahahahaha! Harley thinks of everything, don't they?

  • that was pretty intense!!beautifully made story, but then i could watch harleys standing or rideen all day long!!!live to ride -ride to live!!!thanks for sharing!!

  • Maybe try a harder ride .. somewhere outside US where everything is controlled, marked and labelled with gas, toilets and bars everywhere…. be true to yourself.. take a real challenge !!

  • welcome to the world of harley and motorcycling. no shut up and ride, if we cross path, i will buy you a beer

  • Lovely movie

    My turn to go there it will be soon.
    I hope to go there soon. I dream about it.I can't wait to be part of you, on your roads, riding a piece of American History.
    What a hell of a journey, a great adventure that will be. Lot's and lot's of hours riding,
    Going against Mother Nature on it's own.
    Cold, rain. Hot, sunny days. Sometimes with others by my side,
    And some other times, completely alone.
    It will be a hell of an adventure to live, to feel, to really reencounter myself.
    It will be a pleasure to discover new landscapes. To became part of it.
    The never ending romantic vision wich is:

    Ride yourself into the endless road to sunset. Live free, live wild, live strong, live by, your own free will.

    Hope to see you all, soon…

    Best regards from Portugal,
    Paulo Serra

  • “These guys are here to ride, this is the real deal”……You’re not going to war mate, it’s riding a motorbike FFS!

  • Great job. I did the ride from Portland, ME to Milwaukee for the ride home and it was so awesome I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

  • Brilliant, made me cry just watching people getting this experience. Beautifully shot, this is so worth watching. Two comments, and I do the same, after getting soaked and everything, one still avoids the puddles! Second, how did you get the bikes home? Guess no-one turned around and said "oh ok, ticked off, let's go back." That would be cool for people thinking about following your footsteps. Thanks!

  • It was amazing to be on one short leg of this trip from Scottsdale AZ into the mountains and the rain. Everyone has a unique story but the bottom line, it is therapy!

  • Stunned at his final words – Any Monk – Asian – North American – anywhere – will tell you the same words about what he discovered in the Monastic experience. Pretty Amazing – Not a coincidence. Thanks….

  • " To understand what makes us different color does not separate us but brings us together"…so sweet!!)

  • Why is every one of these videos featuring people with brand new bikes who admit to not riding often or ever lol, I don't get it. Harley's clearly grasping for new markets, unfortunately while simultaneously forgetting it's current market. Yeah us young people have money to buy new bikes with our tech jobs, but damn, I can think of so many, so damn many other riders / business owners who would have been significantly better subjects for a documentary like this. Never heard of these people and won't remember them after the videos done. Gg harley

  • 5:12 – This guy’s small story is the reason you need to do the things you wanna do when you have the time. You never know how life will turn out for ya.

  • Brother, this documentary is as good, well spoken as I have ever seen. You eloquently described everything that can’t be described about the journey, not the destination, the culture, the community, the family we are. I’ve often told others “if I have to describe it, you’ll never get it”. There is a special bond between you and that bike. I remember my first road trip, leaving at 5am with a buddy, 540 miles ahead of us for Day 1. 30 miles out of town, I caught myself watching that pavement fly by under my foot pegs, thinking… “wow, I’ve got 5 more days of this”. The weather, the elements, is part of the deal. You endure, and it makes for fun story telling later. No social media, no phones or laptops, no music or tv, no busy-ness; only a time to let your mind defrag. The people met, the tourist who want a picture with you at the gas pump, the guys next to you in a diner, asking “where ya from, where ya going”, living vicariously thru your adventure in their minds, who are as genuine as can be, are the salt of the earth. Nothing matters more than a smile and a handshake. And yet, our riding community, those that ride further than our nearest neighborhood sports bar, is at yet another level. You said it best, they have your back, they/we thrive for community. Your piece here has spurred on my thoughts, my excitement about our family on the blacktop. Keep riding brother, and ride often. You’re on to something, and you author up better than most.

  • … not to mention, we have some incredible guys leading, riding, sharing, vlogging, encouraging, giving back, at a high level, in growing our community, where to ride, where to eat, where to stay, where to camp….. guys we should all be following here:

    Adam Sandoval:
    Robert Merz:
    Matt Swedland:
    Shawn Smoak:
    Granite City Riders:
    Angela Murray:
    John Maxwell:
    Kyle Petty:
    Black Bear Brand:


  • Very well done, the explanations, the scenery, the camaraderie, the ability to put aside petty politics. Motorcycles bring folks together, like nothing else. Only thing missing was how that seat feels on the old tailbone after many miles.

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