By Wade Thiel
A Motorcycling Icon
Peter Fonda, actor and AMA hall of fame member, died on Friday, August 16. He was 79 and passed away from respiratory failure due to lung cancer. Fonda is best known for the movie Easy Rider, which was a motorcycling counter-culture film that propelled him to stardom and enthralled audiences. He was always a rider and will be remembered fondly by family, friends, and fans.
One of my earliest memories of really wanting to get on a bike came from watching Peter Fonda in Easy Rider. I was probably way too young to watch the movie or really understand what was going on in it, but I remember Fonda’s Captain America and the awesome chopper he rode and the song “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf playing in the background.
Fonda’s film undoubtedly brought many people to motorcycles. The film is an important one for the time period and remains important today. When it debuted it Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Fonda starred in the movie but also co-wrote it and helped produce the film.
Fonda was an avid motorcyclist. He rode for years and was inducted into the AMA hall of fame in 2002. He participated in and supported many motorcycle-related charity fundraising events, including the Love Ride and the Easy Ride for Autism. His importance to motorcycling cannot be understated.