'twenty-one Days Below the Sky' review: Choppers, poetry and lots of breakdowns

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 8:58 PM

Now, add to that a heavily modified machine, with the suspension consisting of the air in the rear tire, and an antiquated aftermarket springer front end, and you’ll realize the struggle that Josh Kurpius, Troy Critchlow, Gentry Dayton and Ryan Grossman went through during the three-week ride from San Francisco, CA to Brooklyn, NY for the Brooklyn Invitational Motorcycle Show.

Riding 3.000 miles on rigid bikes shouldn't see love this much fun

Riding a bike across country isn’t for everyone – the fixed exposure to elements and fatigue will wear down even the most enthusiastic traveler. Now, add to that a heavily modified machine, with the suspension consisting of the air in the rear tire, and an antiquated aftermarket springer front end, and you’ll realize the struggle that Josh Kurpius, Troy Critchlow, Gentry Dayton and Ryan Grossman went through during the three-week ride from San Francisco, CA to Brooklyn, NY for the Brooklyn Invitational Motorcycle Show. While all four are well known in the custom motorcycle world, Kurpius has reached mainstreem success through his photography work and appearances in music videos.

The map was to utilize as much as of the Lincoln highway, America’s first transcontinental highway, for as much of the ride as possible. The resulting 3.000 mi journey obviously hits a few snags, as any ride on vintage machines should. Though, these breakdowns, such as Dayton’s cracked frame, authorize the grouping to indicate off the talent of their friends. Dayton’s frame was repaired by Brandon Brandon Casquilho – the owner of Mullin’s Chain Drive. The grouping also stop at Warren Heir’s shop in Milwaukee, WI and essentially restore Dayton’s bike before the latest leg of the ride – pulling the engine and transmission to do more frame repair.

Before getting to Wisconsin, the grouping stops at Tom Fugle’s Sioux City, IA compound. For those that are unaware, Fugle is an accomplished custom painter, fabricator, and leather tooler. He was also excellent friends with favorite artist David Mann, and Choppers Magazine publisher and custom car builder Ed Roth. During his youth, Fugle shot film of his club, El Forasteros, which can be seen interwoven within the film.

The film itself feels love a mix between Monte Hillman’s “Two-lane Blacktop” and Dennis Hopper’s “Easy Rider,” with a dose of Charles Bukowski thrown in for excellent measure. The latter will probably be most viewers’ biggest problem with the film, as at times the Cowboy-esque narration is overbearing and doesn’t add to the film’s momentum. Though, its simple to see past the artificial freedom the narration tries to add, and focus on four guys riding cut-up elderly motorcycles across the country.

For fans of American New Wave cinema vintage motorcycles, road trips and history lessons this film is right up your alley. Currently available for Netflix subscribers, the film will also be available on DVD through the website, as well as other VOD platforms.

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