By Troy Siahaan
What would you do if you came face to face with your own mortality? For many of us, especially in this sport, it’s a scenario we think about in the abstract; we’re either going to go out in a blaze of glory doing something we love, or Father Time will continue undefeated. We don’t think, much less expect, something like cancer to get in the way of our plans. Peter Starr was one of those people, living comfortably – some would even say successfully – thanks to motorcycles.
One fateful day in 2004 would turn his world upside down. Starr was diagnosed with colon cancer, bringing into crystal clear focus how finite his life really was. It was then that he stopped giving in to the excuses he told himself and decided to check off something he’d always wanted to do: explore the world on two wheels. In his book, Motorcycle Traveler, Starr takes us through his six-year journey, crossing 12 countries off his bucket list long before that was ever a phrase.
If the name Peter Starr rings a bell to some of you, there’s a good reason. If not, let’s put it this way: any motorcycle video you’ve ever seen since the 1970s has been shot and/or influenced by him. Starr is the godfather of motorcycle movie-making. Ever watched a race and marveled at the on-board footage? He started it way back in 1980, long before GoPros, putting a shoebox-sized camera on the gas tank of Don Emde’s bike and having it record during the 1980 AMA national at Laguna Seca. Yes, during the race. In all, Starr produced and directed more than 50 movies or TV shows centered around motorcycles and motorsports.