Motorcycle History Buffs Rejoice!

Transcript below the video

Let’s face it. History can be boring. In a country where attention deficit has been described as a national epidemic, a 30 minute television show devoid of celebrities judging something, or adultery and drunkenness among suburban housewives is going to be a tough sell to Hollywood.

Stan Ellsworth, host of American Ride on BYUTV

But history can be fascinating, especially when it’s presented by 6’ 2” 300 lb, former NFL lineman Stan Ellsworth. Ellsworth, using the “open road” as a metaphor for freedom, travels the blacktop ribbons of the USA, and passionately narrates the quintessential story of America.

Right now the show is only available on BYU television. Yes, you read that right. Brigham Young University, ground zero for The Church of Latter Day Saints, is airing a (gasp) show featuring a long haired, bearded biker dude on a Harley-Davidson!

Forgive my sacrilege, but I’m not sure if the rumble is from Ellsworth customized Softtail Deluxe or Joseph Smith’s casket spinning in his tomb in Nauvoo, Illinois. (Smith was the founder of and leader of the LDS Church.)

But either way, American Ride is probably the best show that may never reach a mainstream audience simply because it doesn’t have sex, violence or people acting stupid as its central theme.

Introduced last year, the first season covered the dramatic story of the colonies and the Revolutionary War. For history buffs and motorcycle enthusiasts, (especially cruiser / Harley-Davidson enthusiasts) American Ride is the best of both worlds.

There’s no doubt Ellsworth knows his stuff, and his large and imposing stature, unscripted and enthusiastic delivery keeps viewers’ attention though what might otherwise be dry and boring when narrated by anyone else.

Now in its second season, American Ride continues following the progress of our nation’s early years, leading up to the Civil War.

I screened the first two episodes of season 2 on a pre-release DVD and thoroughly enjoyed each one.

If your cable or satellite company doesn’t carry BYU TV, surf on over to www.byutv.org to catch up on the first season and become a fan of USRIderNews on Facebook as we’ll be giving away season one and season two DVD sets in the coming months.

Does it beat Full Throttle Saloon on Tru TV or the Hairy Bikers on BBC? That depends on your tastes. For me, I’d rather watch American Ride, Full Throttle TV and Hairy Bikers than American Idol, Desperate “Hose Wives” or Jersey Hores, uh Shores any day of the week.

But that’s just me. I could be considered biker trash.

Until next month, ride safe and always take the road less traveled.


Arkansas Launches Civil War Trail by Motorcycle

With state budgets shrinking, tourism departments across the nation are seeking novel ways to lure travelers this summer.

Arkansas is leading the charge by combining history and motorcycling with a tie in to the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.  They’re hoping a new Heritage Trail created to make battle sites easily accessible by motorcycle will give them a much needed bump in visitors to the state.

Eight Civil War campaigns in the southern state are designated on the trail produced by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

A brochure with a map lays out how those on motorcycle can visit the battle sites and pay tribute to the men who lost their lives in the Civil War by traveling along similar routes as those taken by the troops.

The first 1,000 bikers to travel on all eight routes will get a commemorative “I Rode the Civil War Trail Arkansas” patch. Their road trip will also be chronicled on the state’s tourism website, state tourism officials said.

The state’s Civil War sites include Prairie Grove, one of the most intact Civil War battlefields in the nation, where Union and Confederate troops saw intense fighting on Dec. 7, 1862.

Other trails featured on the map for motorcyclists lead to Pea Ridge and follow the Little Rock Campaign, the Attack on Pine Bluff, the Confederate Approach to Helena, the Camden Expedition, Price’s Raid and Ozark to the Battle of Fayetteville.

Motorcycle tourism is a popular way to explore rural locations around the United States and states are urging businesses to become biker-friendly by opening up spots designated for motorcycles and creating patches and stickers for enthusiasts’ gear.

The Arkansas effort was announced at the 37th annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

Other Civil War sites to see on a motorcycle.   Civil War Travel

Visit the most infamous Civil War POW Camp, Fort Sumter in Motorcycle Journeys Through the American South.